Managing the Complex Myriad of Online Distribution
Charlestowne Hotels commits exhaustive resources to managing the complex myriad of online distribution channels to fully maximize the hotel’s revenue yield. The company’s approach to enhancing revenue and profit generation is at the core of what differentiates it from its competitors.
The most significant ingredient in the revenue optimization program is not going to be listed in any of the concepts below. Instead, Charlestowne Hotels implements a revenue maximizing culture and belief system at each property, without compromising the quality of the guest experience. This is the first step in the attempt to drive higher returns.
Inventory and Rate Management
- Evaluate the existing booking engine and property management system to ensure these platforms are being fully maximized while costs are minimized.
- Implement effective email collection procedures to enhance digital guest communication.
- Conduct audits, and provide “best practices” for responding/managing online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Google, Expedia, Facebook, etc.
- Implement rate sequencing throughout all distribution channels to ensure that rates are positioned correctly in the marketplace and are offered to the consumer in the most effective way.
- Evaluate current inventory restrictions and pricing structure.
- Determine all conditions that affect demand (weather, groups, compression, etc.) and create a process for logging those accurately.
- Create and determine the appropriate maximum group ceiling commitments based on what the demand will permit.
- Review the pricing strategy to determine the highest rates that the market will bear in order to attain maximum revenue during peak-period.
- Assess the hotel’s current participation with Opaque Travel Sites (Priceline, Hotwire and Last Minute Travel) and develop a strategy to utilize those particular platforms to sell distressed inventory (rooms that would otherwise go unsold).
- Rewrite or enhance room descriptions so that they are representative of the product and consistent throughout all of the distribution channels.
- Create a detailed forecast model that is used for determining appropriate sell strategies and anticipating need times.
- Track the pace of transient and group reservations on a daily basis to better determine projected demand.
Charlestowne Hotels utilizes Smith Travel Research (STR) as a tool to determine how the hotel is competing in the market. The competitive set is strategically determined by Charlestowne’s executive team, revenue manager, and general manager to ensure that the hotel is fairly measured on occupancy, rate and RevPAR share.
A tour of the competing hotels in the market will be completed to analyze the hotel’s positioning within the competitive set. If necessary, a SWOT analysis will be performed to assure that each person responsible for generating revenue understands how the property’s positioning affects price points.
A consistent competitive shop program will be implemented to gauge where the market is priced on any given day. These shops will include, but are not limited to, GDS/CRS, hotel direct, online travel agent sites, and proprietary web sites.
- Daily pick-up report
- Weekly segmentation report by day
- Weekly month-to-date segmentation report
- Weekly annual pacing summary
- Weekly Smith Travel Research report
- Monthly Smith Travel Research report
- Monthly marketing revenue tracking report
- Monthly “Experience Reports”
- Annual room revenue budget comparison
A daily forecasting report provides management with a snapshot of the hotel’s predicted revenue performance during the following 90 days, and includes room nights, ADR, and segmentation (group and transient). This report is used as an operational tool to determine necessary staffing levels.
- 30-60-90 and annual forecast
- On the 1st and 15th of every month, an annual forecast as well as a 30-60-90 day-by-day forecast report is completed and is used as a basis for financial forecasting.
Channel Management Programs
A majority of the hotels managed by Charlestowne Hotels have moved to a cloud-based system for the purpose of allowing many different associates to view pickup and demand patterns at any time of the day while also increasing PCI compliance. Rates are typically built in the property management system and then distributed through the world’s distribution systems. For hotels that have not yet transitioned to a two-way, single image inventory system, programs such as EZ Yield and Travelclick are often put in place for channel distribution. Due to the number of properties in the portfolio and deeply established relationships, Charlestowne’s clients receive preferred pricing for transaction fees and OTA margins, minimizing the cost of a reservation and providing an increase in average daily rates.