Revenue Management Dilemma of Small Independent & Boutique Hotels

September 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Economic uncertainty is hanging over the industry and being felt even more acutely by small independent and boutique hotels.   At the very time they need a revenue manager who not only does the usual opening and closing rates and inventory but also has the ability to generate revenue.

At the very time these hotels need more of a presence on the internet through the OTAs and other distribution channels, they can’t afford to hire an expensive e-commerce company.   What if they could hire a revenue manager with the skills to get them exposure that they ned to generate incremental revenue?  The salary and payroll burden for someone with this experience would likely be more than their payroll can support.

If the economy continues to be uncertain or even goes backwards, these are the hotels that suffer first.  

Now there is a company — real simple Revenue Management that guarantees to generate incremental revenue equal to or greater than their fees.  Check it out. http://tinyurl.com/3fuysft

Recession Lessons To Use Going Into the Recovery

December 10, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Hotel Sales Training Issues, In the News, Information, Social Media | 5 Comments
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The Recovery is here — so the experts are telling us.  This recovery may be felt in some markets more than others.   After all the dust has settled from the last brutal 18 months – what lessons can we carry into the recovery.

1.  Dropping rate does not create demand.  There have been studies on this by people smarter than I am, Cornell University for one, to the effect that those hotel’s that value add and are smarter about discounting generate more revenue than those hotels that jus follow the lowest rated hotel to the bottom.  

2.  Customers are now trained to expect value. Peter Yesawhich defined value as ‘ something that the customer could not otherwise afford.’  This could be the reason that the luxury segment of the industry is recovering faster than the other segments.    See — it’s not just about rate!

3.  Meetings are back but we lost 15% during the recession and are expected to only increase in this segment by 8% in 2011.   Value add- value add!  Be very careful of dropping rates especially on longer lead business.  

4.  Customers are locating, gathering information and booking hotels on different channels than they were prior to the recession.  How well does your hotel web site appear  on mobile phones, do you have a mobile app, how well is your property placed on Google maps? 

5.   It’s time to reward the warriors — those that have come to work every day and fought the frustrating battle of the last 18 months.   Say Thank You to everyone that stuck around.  While you are at it — pat yourself on the back!

The eBook The Best of Hotel Sales & Revenue Management is here!  The past two years have been among the most difficult in the industry’s history. This 55 page book contains lessons we all learned during the recession and those that will launch us into the recovery. Click below for  more info. 

http://www.carolverret.net/viral/dec10book.php

Mobile Apps & Google Maps — New RM Channels for 2011

September 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Posted in Events, Hotel Sales Training Issues, In the News, Information, Uncategorized, Webcasts | 2 Comments
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RMs have new tools for distribution that weren’t even on the radar prior to the recession and were barely on the radar in 2010. Now these tools are must haves!

As though revenue managers didnt’ have enough channels to manage there are several new ones.

Mobile apps have demonstrated that they have become a valuable new reservation channel and have the potential of generating incremental revenue from in house guests.

 However, a few questions to ask your team be fore enabling a mobile app. Is your res engine on the web site up to the task? Is it mobile friendly and how will it appear on a mobile device screen? Are your promotional eblasts mobile ready in terms of short concise offers that users don’t have to scroll down too far to access? Have you linked your Twitter and FaceBook to your mobile offers?

The second thng is Google maps exhibiting hotel rates on destination searches. I am in Des Moines and I needed a hotel room on Friday night at the airport. I searched for ‘airport hotels des moines’.  Most popped up with their rates but a few of the franschises weren’t playin’.

The real issue was that in many cases the rates were just wrong! Most consumers will make a selection based on the rate structure on the ‘Google map’. When I went into one hotel’s web site the rate was $10 higher than the one on the map and another was not only ten dollars lower than the rate on the map but also included breakfast and a ‘beverage’ — very welcome on a Friday night!

It is unclear where Google is pulling the rates from but this makes a clear case for rate integrety and parity across all channels.  How many people would go back to the map and take the time to click through all of the other hotels whose rates were displayed just in case they could find a better one.  Most of them will take the rates at face value.

Google maps is going to be a huge palyer in travel search and will drive business to those htoels that maintain parity and updates on offerings on all channels incuding the mobile app!

Join us on Sepptember 23 for a webinar Habits of Highly Successful Revenue Managers for 2011.  These are just a few of the issues we will be discussing.  Copy and past or click below for more info.  

http://www.carolverret.net/viral/sept1110.php 

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Social Media Angst

May 12, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Posted in Hotel Sales Training Issues, In the News, Information, Social Media, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I have been traveling pretty solid for the past eight weeks.  Many of   those seminar programs have been for AHLA and included a program on social  networks.   

The participation has been amazing.  Some hotels are using their Fan Pages and LinkedIn Profiles well to have conversations with their customers, some are in between but many are still unsure or having a degree of angst over  building out their pages and profiles to include  complete information that will give potential customers the information they need that results in lead generation.    

The purpose of social media activity is to engage with current customers and generate new ones! A recent article and survey from eMarketing.com revealed B2B and B2C leads generated from social media.

45% of businesses surveyed generated B2B leads from LinkedIn and 68% generated B2C leads! 

Why are these pages so important for lead generation?  These pages are dynamic in that they can be updated more frequently than the web site, include a great deal more information, actively engage with customers and potential customers and thus generate leads.

Asking your teenage cousin or hiring someone right out of college to build out your presence on these two networks (not tomention  Twitter) is not very helpful in that they they don’t undersatnd the intricate relationship that the hospitality industry has with these networks and industry best practices.   

Example:  One client that has and that has an ‘and’ in their name was virtually invisible on FaceBook. Why?  The newly minted social media manager had used an ambersand (&) verus the word ‘and’.    How many Fans would think to use an ambersand versus the word ‘and’?  As well,  there were available opportunities on the addtional pages that were not built out at all. 

How many of your hotels, epecially independent and smaller hotels, are having angst over your social media presence? Let’s have a conversation post your comments and concerns below!

Shoes for Connor — Shoes for Haiti

January 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Events, Hotel Sales Training Issues, In the News, Information, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The good thing about a relatively slow summer for buisness was the opportunity to launch the charity that we founded, Shoes for Connor that was inspired by a business trip to Africa. Log onto http://www.shoesforconnor.com to get the story behind this charity.

Now we have another another mission. We have already collected and sent 1200 pairs of shoes to needy parts of the world — this is an opporntunity for everyone to do a little more — dig into your closets and find those shoes that you are not wearing or your children have outgrown. Rally your hotel or company in an effort that everyone can assist with regardless of their means. We can provide suport in the way of flyers, a recorded presentation and distribution. If you want to help Soles4Souls reach their goal of 100,000 pairs of shoes for Haiti contact us at carol@carolveret.com. See below for more details.

Shoes for Connor – Shoes for Haiti!

We have all been deeply touched and troubled by the situation in Haiti following the earthquake. Following a news broadcast last week I logged onto Soles4Souls web site http://www.soles4souls.org and emailed Morgan Evans, our contact with them. See below her reply:

Hi Carol!
It is very sad what had happened the other day and we are committing to send 100,000 pairs over there. Thank you so much for your hard work with your past shoe drive! I also want to thank you for making an extra effort for more shoes to send to Haiti. We appreciate all that we can get during a time like this. Thanks again!
Sincerely,

Morgan Evans, Donor Program Specialist
Soles4Souls, Inc.

Remember Soles4Souls does not collect shoes. They rely on organizations like us to collect the shoes so that they can distribute them through their channels – they have responded to other disasters and gotten shoes where they are needed. As mentioned on their site, when the immediate needs of food, water and medicine are addressed there will still be a tremendous need to protect little feet from the debris left by the earthquake. People are becoming ill from cuts and abrasions left untreated — we can try to protect their feet!

If you have been thinking about getting organizations that you belong to involved in a shoe donation for Shoes for Connor now is the time to do it. Let’s help Soles4Souls reach their goal – contact me at carol@carolverret.com for info and support on how if we all dig a little deeper into our closets we can make a difference for all of the little Connors in Haiti!
http://www.shoesforconnor.com http://www.soles4souls.org

How the Recession has Changed the Sales Game

January 6, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Posted in Hotel Sales Training Issues, In the News, Information, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Think back to the sales processes that you were using in mid 2007.

Perhaps you were mining the database for new business — if you are doing that now you are getting a much lower return that you were then. Perhaps you were waiting for the phone to ring as it often did with inquiries and if you closed a percentage of them– you could make your goals. Perhaps you were making cold phone calls and now and again a live human would answer the phone — not anymore.

Maybe you were using ‘reader board’ reports for prospects having meetings at competing hotels — still not a bad idea. Maybe you were using Google searches to locate the web sites of security facilities that you couldn’t personally cold call — still not a bad idea but search has/is changing big time!

Than if you got a group booking, it had to be cleared with the Revenue Manager to make sure that it fit with the rate strategy — the higher the rate the better! You paid for information on an account on a platform like Hoovers — now you can find sites that give you that info for free. The client was often grateful to get the space and was ready, willing and able to plan coctail receptions, VIP dinners, restuarant dine arounds — remember those?

In the very short time period of the recession, the sales game changed. The verticals in the database became less prominant and strapped for cash — for example, if Financial was was your vertical market there was a long dry spell but it is is starting to show signs of life. Government per diem is beginning to look pretty good and now the entire comp set is competing for goverment transient and meetings.

Advanced search is the new Google tool as are Google maps and earth — Tweets are beginning to appear on search on results. Eighteen months ago Twitter wasn’t part of the game. Facebook pages are becoming the new web site and connecting with LinkedIn is the new way to contact a potential client. Social networks now have a section in the Marketing and Sales Plan!

The recession’s impact on the sales process has made some sales people uncomfortable but for those that embrace the changes — it makes sales fun!

PS. Where did those inquiries go and did you notice, no one is planning dine arounds or VIP dinners — YIKES!

Finally Good News! PKF Forecast Revised Upward-Demand to Increase in Q1

December 17, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Posted in Hotel Sales Training Issues, In the News, Information, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Have you heard the good news? PKF just revised it’s demand forecast for 2010. Demand will increase by almost 2% in 2010 begining in Q1 2010.

While this won’t mean a great flood in demand it should be enough to change our midsets from ‘survival mode’ to that of planning to optimize opportunities in this fragile but real first stage of recovery. Rates will still be under pressure but declining at a slower rate than in 2009. This should set the stage for real rate stabilization in 2010.

The increase in demand will be mitigated by new supply in the market. If your market has has seen the entry of new hotels, your results won’t be as impressive as in those markets that saw very little new supply come online.

Make no mistake — hotel sales and revenue management processes have seen changes during this recession. Use this quiet time during the holidays to reflect on how these processes have changed, how you can embrace them and prepare your sales and RM deprtments for 2010! Get training for your teams to make adjustments to this new approach to sales & RM. Yes, some things never change it is how we can conduct them faster and more efficeitnly to get the edge on the competition that will make the difference!

Happy Holidays — we have a lot to look forward to!

PS. CVCT has been selected by the AHLA to offer seminars to the state chapters on Power Selling, Revenue Management Game Changers and Social Networks as Sales Tools. Watch for them coming to your area!

Team Meetings, Training Programs — Is the Hotel Industry Hypocritical?

December 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Hotel Sales Training Issues, In the News, Information | 1 Comment
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According to STR, groups and meetings will be the last segment to recover. The AHLA and other travel groups have emphasised to companies and other organizations the benefits of having face to face meetings. We as an industry are trying to encourage a recovery in groups and meetings.

However, how many hotel companies are bringing in their teams for meetings and training programs? Many are citing the same reasons that our clients do for not having team meetings — cost being the primary consideration.

Yes, it has been the the toughest year in memory for the hotel industry but it has also been a tough year for our customers. If we as an industry cannot lead the way in demonstrating the effectiveness of meetings, how can we convince our customers to do so?

This may sound self serving but it is not intended to be that way. In times of difficulty, team meetings are a way of supporting the people that are out there in the trenches every day — making one more call, sending one more email, knowing full well that calls go unreturned and emails are often deleted without having been read.

The first part at least of 2010 is aticipated to be as diffcult as 2009 with a fragile recovery in group demand returning in the second half of the year. Let your team know that you support them, motivate them and give them tools to do their jobs!

Join us for the web cast marathon this Friday December 11. These are updates of the three most popular web casts of 09 — sign up for all three or jsut one or two.

http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PR2009_4th/Dec09_3WebCasts.html

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