Our most recent Bring It On webcast held on October 22, featured Caryl Helsel, Founder and CEO of Dragonfly Strategists. Caryl has over 30 years of experience in the hotel industry before founding Dragonfly Strategists, a company that brings executive level experience and expertise to help hoteliers develop actionable strategies and transform them into higher revenues and improved performance.
She joined Kristi to discuss strategies for hoteliers and share insights from a case study on Hammock Beach Golf Resort Spa, A Covid Success Story. Below is the key advice they offered for keeping an eye on revenue management during this crisis.
Revenue Advice for a Successful Recovery
- Disruption, not downturn – Caryl noted that this is a disruption, not a downturn. The next 30 days are still booking up as last-minute bookings are happening. But cancellations will occur depending on regulatory changes, so being focused on what channels are picking up, being cognizant on where the business is coming from and how applying strategic creative thinking in identifying new business will be key for many properties.
- A COVID Success Story – Caryl discussed in detail the work her company has done with Hammock Beach Golf Resort Spa. She provided positive insight into how they were able to help the resort turn the month of June around in just 5 days after the government regulations were lifted in Florida. This was mostly due to pent up demand in the market, but also by applying strategic and creative principals including adopting a rational price position, watching the market closely, applying the right rate to the right room type as well as the right promotion to the proper customer and then implementing a consistent, yet thoughtful communication cadence. The combined effort resulted in an increase in the hotel’s BAR production by 100% and reduced the hotels OTA dependence by 40%.
- Don’t make these mistakes – Caryl and Kristi discussed some of the critical mistakes revenue managers must avoid for a successful recovery:
a. Dropping rates is the number one killer of your revenue stream and profitability. Low rates will not stimulate demand in this market. And if you do drop your rate substantially, it will take you years to recover to your original rate because once you put that low rate on your property, it take a long time to rebuild your value proposition. Protect rate at all costs.
b. Cutting sales staff or having them consumed by non-sales activities, such as manning the front desk. Let your sales team sell! It is the way to move along the path to higher occupancy and profitability. It is critical for your sales team to reach out to develop key relationships with customers by providing “compassionate care” but also reaching out during prime time selling hours. It is not good enough to send a handful of emails at the end of the day – put your sales hunters on the phone during prime time.
c. Not responding quickly and being available during these times is important. Many businesses have short work windows right now, so you sales team needs to be responsive. Your probability of success in getting the business is orders of magnitude greater if you respond within two hours of the initial call or email.
Join the discussion and attend Kristi’s next webinar “Myth vs Reality: What Hotel Group Business Will Look Like in 2021” on November 3. Click here to register today.
We look forward to seeing you then!
About Caryl Helsel, Founder and CEO of Dragonfly Strategists
Caryl brings over 30 years of experience in her leadership role at Dragonfly Strategists. Previous executive roles include heading revenue management, distribution, sales & marketing, IT, guest experience and reservations for boutique and luxury hotel companies. She co-authored the original HSMAI revenue management publications that serve as the basis for the CRME industry certification. She served on the board of HEDNA for six years and as president for two. She also served on the board of HSMAI for two years and currently is a member of the Digital and Innovation Advisory Council for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.