Today’s hoteliers and revenue managers have access to a myriad of technology services, software, and tools that allow them tp better leverage data to efficiently operate their businesses and ease workloads for hotel employees. Recently, at HITEC 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, LODGING discussed with Klaus Kohlmayr, chief evangelist and development officer for IDeaS, his company’s latest capabilities, data aggregation, and the increased adoption of tech in hospitality.
IDeaS recently announced some newly added capabilities to its G3 RMS. Would you expand on what they include?
I’m a former revenue manager, and I would have jumped for joy to have the capabilities that we do now. It’s incredible what the analytics and revenue sciences can do. The newest capabilities we announced include the ability to have different best available rates. You can have the best available rate on a daily, weekly, monthly, or wherever you set the long-stay bar, and each of those can be priced scientifically. Then, all the products are linked to each of those bar rates. They can also be priced scientifically within the range you’re setting and across your own different types, including upgrade patterns. The power of it is incredible.
As hotels, vacation rentals, and leisure parks converge, it’s becoming more about where people stay at different paths in their journey. In the past, we could derive the best available rate scientifically by day or length of stay. Your longer-stay rates had to be done more manually, but now all that can be done automatically.
How do you plan to build on these capabilities?
The possibilities are endless. The limits are legacy infrastructures, like legacy property management systems (PMS) or central reservation system (CRS) booking engines. And there are limits around the data you can send back and forth. We make 15 billion pricing decisions every day, and we have a commitment to send them to our hotels before 8:00 a.m. local time. We do that for 23,000 hotels. It’s a huge amount of data that goes back and forth, and you have to continuously upgrade your tech stack and build capabilities in the backend to be able to do that at scale. So, having everything on the latest cloud-based technology, we’ve moved a lot onto Amazon Web Services (AWS) over the last couple of years. We continue to build out our teams around the world to be able to support our clients. We’re investing in our client capabilities as well as our infrastructure—both technology and the human element.
What’s the importance of the “human element” in revenue management?
The future of revenue managers is bright because the technology is there to enable them to do things better and at scale for more hotels at the same time. It’s really an enabler for efficiency and productivity rather than a replacement for a human. A lot of revenue managers want help with telling the story—they have the data, but they don’t know how to tell the story. We can help them with crafting the story.
How do you use and implement your data to help revenue managers tell their data story?
We use data to get insights into client behavior and user interaction. We use it to automate some of our processes. We’ve launched a way of automatically configuring the system based on user experiences and the data we collect from that. Instead of spending days configuring the system, you get it preconfigured. That all makes sense, and it takes maybe a couple of hours to do. We’re using data to make our processes more efficient and increase time to value. When someone buys our technology, they want to get it installed and running as quickly as possible.
Is there any segment of hospitality that you think would be better served by technology that isn’t already?
Some of the operational backend processes could be better served. I think a lot about the guest journey still. Digital check-in is available for some brands and not all. Sometimes you can use digital check-in, but you still have to pick up your key at the front desk. That’s not digital check-in. There’s a lot on the customer engagement and customer journey side that still needs to happen, and it needs to be a lot more efficient on the backend.
What’s IDeaS focused on next?
Two things: One is making more automated decisions for more revenue streams. The other is delivering revenue management tools and systems to more types of hotels.