Kristi White joined up with Josh Graham, Director of Business Development and Hospitality at Revenue Analytics, to discuss the recovery of the hotel industry and how hoteliers can grow revenue in 2021.
With his industry expertise, Josh believes now is the opportunity for hotels to rebuild. He suggests hoteliers do this by using historical data, optimizing revenue management, and training front-line employees.
Here are five key takeaways from the conversation:
Historical Data is Useful:
Some believe that historical data is no longer relevant, but Kristi and Josh believe that is true only if you look at it year over year. If you look beyond the past 12 months, and as we come into recovery, it will be important to consider historical periods that resemble your recovery, then determine how much weight to give it vs. recent trends and market data. It is also important for hoteliers to look beyond their comp sets, identify what opportunities are out there and explore ways to gain that business without having to drop hotel rates. The biggest positive is that most hoteliers have held their rates relatively well.
Revenue Management Brings a Lot to the Table:
Since revenue management answers the primary question of whether you have a 5% or 95% occupancy rate, its strategic approach will be vital in knowing how to price your hotel. Having a good revenue manager will help better determine where the business is, and it is important to arm your sales team with that information. For example, in the past you may have let those construction crews’ book at a lower-class hotel that falls outside your comp set. But now, you may want to look past that to identify new business in order to increase your occupancy rate.
Focus on Staff:
Even though it has been a rough year, hoteliers must think about their sales staff and how they can position them with their best foot forward. It’s also imperative to train them on how to think critically and creatively and pivot to new business. Now is the time to reevaluate your sales team to ensure they are in the right mindset for today’s current situation.
How to Prepare for the Post Pandemic:
Take a hard look at the way you do business, along the lines of what agreements you have, what distribution channels, what your rate strategy is, and more. Perhaps now is the right time to do a systems overhaul. Get back to the basics of selling and make sure your employees (both sales and front line) are armed with the right answers to the onslaught of questions that may come their direction. As airplanes fill up and TSA clearing numbers rise, make sure your sales staff, regardless of size, are back on board and properly trained to handle the coming onslaught. Now is the perfect opportunity for owner/operators to hire sellers, not order takers.
By ensuring you have hired salespeople that are passionate about making the sale and line works that are trained to provide excellent customer service to new and returning customers, your hotel will “build back better.”
Making a Reality of 2021 Predictions:
Kristi believes that this Summer will turn on a dime, as most major markets begin to flip the switch, sometimes overnight. You will need to implement new systems and hire the proper employees in order to stay ahead of the consumers’ desire to travel. She also noted that there was a 22% increase in meetings following the Easter holidays, but 150% growth since the beginning of the year as many big consultancy firms lift their employee travel restriction. The bottom line? Travel is happening and small group meetings are returning. While it will still take some time to return to 2019 levels, the world is ready to travel, whether for leisure or business, and will do so quickly. Is your staff ready?
Listen to Kristi and Josh talk about these and other interesting topics when you watch on demand.