Kristi White and special guest Mike Medsker, co-founder and president of Focal Revenue Solutions, discussed topics that ranged from demand to revenue management, specifically on how you should be changing the way you consume data and what data you are looking at to get on the road to recovery.
Here’s a quick wrap up of the highlights from the final webcast of 2020 for Bring It On with Kristi White.
Industry upheaval has accelerated trends – Both agreed that they could not have predicted the upheaval of 2020. Mike noted that while there were some signs of the commoditization of the industry, no one could have predicted the current situation. He also noted that in addition to the current crisis, Airbnb and others are accelerating the trends that were already in motion.
What we need to work on – Mike doesn’t believe things will go back to the way they were before. The industry has gotten reliant on an established pipeline of business coming into the market. Hotels are now realizing they need to do a better job at strategizing ways to get in front of their customers directly. Kristi noted that hotels have tended to be transactional in the way the interact with guests and weren’t really taking a holistic approach to understanding the value of the guest as a whole. It is important to have long term view of Total Customer Value, as well as short term strategies in place.
Determining when to focus on actionable versus informative data – Mike brought up the point that many executives tend to focus on informative data, the “report out” data that provides a snapshot of revenue ups and downs. While many spend a lot of time reviewing this data, where we need to focus more is the actionable data which shows steps they can take today to get a result tomorrow. Both agreed this is where future success lies.
Is 2019 data the right metric to use for comparison? – Both agreed the industry should not benchmark future performance against 2019. We need to think about the shift of demand from traditional to alternative housing, such as Airbnb. We should not be looking in the rear-view mirror, rather use data to understand where you should focus going forward and how to grow and better understand the consumer housing market. Airbnb has shown us that there is demand and we need to better understand it to capture that business.
Discounting doesn’t work. Period. – Kristi and Mike noted their surprise at the number of hotels that are still using discounting as a revenue strategy. Price drops will not stimulate demand. Only understanding the consumer and the experience they want will drive business growth.
A move to integrated commercial strategies – Mike pointed out that there are two distinctive schools of thought today, those who are waiting for business to return to “normal” and those proactively taking steps to become more customer oriented. He also noted there are many companies that are moving forward with an integrated commercial strategy with everything aligned under one umbrella and moving away from separate sales, marketing, and pricing functions. He noted the one lesson that we will take away from the COVID disruption is that we will not go back to the way things were because companies are learning how to do more with less and work more efficiently across functions. Linking traditional legacy systems such as marketing and sales efforts is key to tomorrow’s success.