Question for Our Revenue Management Expert Panel:

What are the top “must-have” revenue management technology and tools essential for hotels today?

Industry Expert Panel

Our Industry Expert Panel exists out of professionals within the hospitality & travel Industry. They have comprehensive and detailed knowledge, experience in practice or management and are forward-thinking. They are answering questions about the state of the industry. They share their insights on topics like revenue management, marketing, operations, technology and discuss the latest trends.

Silvia Cantarella
Silvia CantarellaRevenue Management Consultant, Revenue Acrobats

“A tough question as there are so many great pieces of technology out there and implementation is particular to each property type. Taking PMS and Channel Managers/Booking Engines as an example:

  • RMS: the era of gut feeling pricing is gone and Revenue Management Systems are enhancing our ability to predict demand and price at a micro-segment level. They are now more important than ever, considering the non-reliability of historical data.
  • Price Shoppers: not just for pricing, they also give relevant insights on rate changes, price parity, strategy per channel and big data information on demand compression.
  • Benchmarking tools: simply put, revenue management without benchmarking is like driving blind.
  • CRM tools: to engage and retain customers and create loyalty, understand their sentiment, improve our service.
  • Business intelligence: it can be one single tool, or it can come from different tools, the need is to have the possibility to analyze data as a whole: including F&B, S&C and other revenue streams.
  • F&B & Venue Management software: because it’s not about rooms only, we are in a total revenue management era.

There are so many other great technology platforms available that might be seen as not naturally linked to the RM space. but due to the evolution of the discipline (and the demand) it is great to have and to leverage! Taking chatbots as an example, digital marketing conversion tools, F&B analytics… It is a matter of choosing what piece of tech makes sense to the hotel and, as always, do not expect technology to do the magic but manage and leverage it to enhance our human capabilities.”

Theresa Prins
Theresa PrinsFounder, Revenue Resolutions

“Must-have technology starts with a flexible, user-friendly PMS. Gone are the days of complex systems where we require downtime for paid upgrades, access restrictions from outside the property or high costs and complexity to integrate with additional software.

Second on my list is a flexible, user-friendly channel manager. This is as important as WiFi (which, by the way, is not a value-add anymore). It must be fully integrated with your PMS. Together with the channel manager, you need an excellent, guest focused booking engine, with all the direct booking converting trimmings.

Third on my list is a pricing solution or an RMS. Depending on the size and market mix of your property, there are multiple solutions available out there. You need smart and fast decision-making to remain competitive.

Fourth would be a top-notch customer relations and reputation management solution. Make sure this is guest-centric and it is an ever-evolving solution. You want to deliver a service to your customer that is seamless and up to standard on the lastest trends.

Fifth would be a rate shopping tool, a tool that considers multiple scenarios and can keep up with the ever-changing pricing modules of the hotels. Clearly, I love technology, so I will stop here for now!”

Patrick Wimble
Patrick WimbleManaging Director, Lightbulb Consulting

“Annoyingly, most revenue managers still rely on Microsoft Excel to do their data analysis and visualisation. Why? There are far better tools out there, often for a fairly low yearly cost, that would enable revenue managers to display their data in ways that encourage decision-making. Options such as Microsoft PowerBI, Tableau etc., are far superior, easily learned and can display the data in a way that everybody understands. If you haven’t used the pandemic to upskill in these tools, it’s not too late!

You might also think that your revenue management system, irrespective of which one you have, is obsolete in the pandemic. I would argue that whilst pricing decisions might need to be reviewed more frequently, simply overriding its recommendations now will potentially create long-term challenges to the pricing algorithms. So, using the data in the system (i.e., pace week-on-week, segment analysis, rate shopping data etc.,) and teaching the RMS, will help your system deliver more realistic pricing recommendations sooner.”

Celine Quek
Celine QuekSenior Lecturer, School of Hospitality at Republic Polytechnic

“I believe hotels must invest in a proper BI analytical tool and an automated revenue management system. Hotels collect a great deal of data from various systems – Property Management System (PMS), Point Of Sales, Sales & Catering System, Guest Satisfaction Tracking system and many other systems that relate to marketing etc. Without a central depository to consolidate, transform and analyse, this data will not bring much value to the hotel.

Another advantage of investing in such tools is that the revenue team will be more efficient. Instead of trying to tie the data from the various sources, they could spend more time in analysing the information to help them make better decisions.

As for an automated revenue management system, this will help revenue managers to analyse the booking trend, forecast more accurately and deploy their strategy more efficiently.

The other important system that hotels should be spending time evaluating before implementation or upgrading would be the PMS. Although cost is always a concern, the PMS is the main source of data for a hotel. A hotel must invest in a PMS that can integrate with various tools. Only then, hotels can make technology work for them and leverage their data analytics to be more productive and efficient in improving their competitiveness and driving both top-line and bottom-line growth.”

Paulo Aragao
Paulo AragaoRevenue Management Professional

“The realm of technology and tools for Revenue Management is dynamic. Over the years, companies have evolved their products to offer a more holistic approach to revenue management. Many started as channel managers, then became rate shoppers, then became Revenue Management Systems.
All three types are important, along with a good historical market share data source.

What changed with the pandemic is that historic demand data became irrelevant to forecast the future. So, systems must be flexible enough to tweak and change their algorithms to reflect the new reality. These changes are not only about forecasting revenue and occupancy rates with a modified algorithm but also about adding more visualization options on cancellation data, enabling cross-analysis between denials and quoted prices, and a more dynamic and fast way to input new crisis-related events.

All systems and tools, whether they are RMS, rate parity, or channel managers must offer flexibility. Hotels need to demand from vendors that their systems are customizable, that they understand the environment and the pressing needs of hoteliers in these challenging times, and that they are willing to work together, think creatively, and be ready to send a lot of emails to their development departments.”

Edyta Walczak
Edyta WalczakCluster Revenue Manager, Arora Hotels

“A good RMS system is a key tool for hotels; one with extensive reporting functionality to facilitate a more accurate decision-making process based on reliable data. It is very important to have a tool that can generate detailed, good quality reports that can be used as a base for forecasting and decision-making.

Systems which help and support revenue generation are even more important, starting with a booking engine. This is where the customer searches for the best deal, product, or package, so it’s important to be able to showcase your best product and offering.

Another suggestion is a rate shopping and market stats tool. Ideally this tool should provide real-time data and have an extensive reporting to it. For effective yield management, you need historical and market data, so a good rate shop tool is a must.”

Pablo Torres
Pablo TorresHotel Consultant, TSA Solutions

“An RMS is a must-have at a basic level. There are many available on the market, and more expensive does not necessarily mean better. It’s all about what best fits the needs of the hotel. It’s not the same to operate a 1,000 room resort that’s part of a chain or a small, independent boutique hotel. For the former, a top-of-range RMS should be advisable (for example, IDeaS, Duetto, etc.). As for the latter, something more affordable (for example, Atomize) could be good enough.

Once the RMS is in place, a tech-savvy Revenue Manager needs a good CRS, Rate Shopper, Channel Manager and Business Intelligence tool. Again, there are many available, with OTAInsight and SiteMinder worth highlighting.”

Tanya Hadwick
Tanya HadwickGroup Revenue & Yield Leader, SunSwept Resorts

“Business Intelligence tools are a must, with competitive insights and overall market intelligence to understand the new norm, from benchmarking tools to rate shopper and parity tools. It’s easy to forget that customers have choices and you need to remain competitive and relevant.

A good PMS system whereby you have good connectivity to other systems and the ability to analyse data efficiently and effectively is also important. In addition, distribution tools are useful to ensure quick and easy access to markets.

Also on the list are booking engine and channel managers that are integrated with the PMS to ensure the ability to manage inventory and pricing in real-time, thereby stopping past habits of overbooking rates and rooms.

Depending on the market and volitivity of pricing, a good revenue management system for fast response to demand changes is key.

However, while automation is good, ensuring you have a good revenue management culture within the organisation and the skills to take calculated risks and think outside the box is still key to the success