Let’s face it: not everyone is a numbers person. But as data infiltrates virtually every aspect of the hotel organization, it’s increasingly difficult to avoid. And when data holds the key to navigating our way out of the current downturn, we have no choice but to embrace it.
Once the coveted domain of revenue managers, the revenue management system (RMS) and revenue data are now recognized as essential resources for boosting performance across the entire property or portfolio. But to develop a data-driven culture of revenue optimization, hotels need to demystify data and make it more accessible—especially for those of us who slept through statistics.
Who Can Benefit from Revenue Data?
Prior to the pandemic, years of growth had conditioned hoteliers to assume revenue would always continue its upward trajectory. That assumption came to a grinding halt in early 2020. Today, low demand and future uncertainty oblige all department heads, not just revenue managers, to dive deeper into revenue data.
Sales and marketing need reliable revenue forecasts to guide acquisition, pricing, and distribution. Operations also needs data-driven, demand-based revenue forecasts for planning, purchasing, and scheduling. And finance teams, corporate leaders, and owners need accurate revenue forecasts to anticipate financial performance, prioritize resources, and mitigate risk.
But much more than forecasts, revenue managers possess a wealth of knowledge and data on market performance, demand indicators, and market segments, all of which hold keys to boosting performance and better managing costs.
No Dumping or Hoarding Allowed
While revenue management has always been a data-heavy discipline, today’s revenue managers have the added pressures of delivering timely, detailed reports while juggling increased responsibilities and fewer resources due to downsizing. Things are even more challenging for regional revenue managers overseeing multiple properties—some may say it’s a “cluster.” Often it’s a mad rush to compile and distribute reports, especially when done manually.
As a result, reporting is all too often a process of dumping data in the inbox of stakeholders with minimal analysis or guidance. For recipients, revenue spreadsheets are confusing and hard to navigate. Everyone receives the same bloated reports even if only a fraction is applicable to them, and in some cases, the information is fragmented across multiple reports. Eyes glaze over and the reports are pushed aside or given only cursory attention.
At the other end of the spectrum is the revenue manager who hoards data. Whether this is due to time constraints, outdated technology, or control issues—don’t be that person—the effect is similar to data dumping. And when important data doesn’t get the attention it needs, critical (and potentially profitable) opportunities are missed.
Sharing Is Caring
If hotel companies truly wish to achieve the oft-touted goals of breaking down silos and aligning departments, they need to make revenue data more accessible. One way is to customize revenue reports and dashboards for specific departments or roles. This ensures the right people receive the data most relevant to them faster.
Another way is to present data visually using graphs, charts, indicators, and other visualization tools. This makes it easier and more efficient to identify trends, correlations, and variances. And remember, despite the name, an RMS isn’t just for revenue managers either. Modern systems provide functionality and applications that run the gamut of roles across the hotel organization. So, be sure to ask, “What’s my login?”
With the right technology in place, everyone is better informed and more productive. Advanced revenue technology tools can help hotel teams by automating the data collection process and allowing them to slice and dice as needed. Whether managing a single property, regional cluster, or entire estate, a high-level snapshot of performance allows hotels to quickly drill down to identify areas that need attention and take the actions needed to improve performance.
Also key to overcoming resistance is to demystify revenue data. With so much unfortunate downsizing and consolidation in the industry, more people are taking on revenue responsibilities without a solid grounding in the discipline. Others may simply need a refresher. In this year of transition, it’s an opportune time to provide updated training, coaching, and learning materials. A quick reference sheet will ensure answers are always close at hand. Check with your RMS provider for the latest learning resources.
Make Everyone a Numbers Person
While we all hope this pandemic will soon be in the rear-view mirror and we’ll be back to those reliable growth trends, it’s a safe assumption that the democratization of data is here to stay. By taking the necessary steps to demystify revenue tech and data and make them more accessible across the organization, hotel companies will be well-positioned to drive better performance in all revenue streams throughout the hotel and across the portfolio. And that makes everyone a numbers person—whether they know it or not.