For smaller properties, General Managers have so many responsibilities that they can’t focus their attention for too long on any one aspect of their property. Typically they are the ones to cover shifts when their desk staff calls out or the one running to the hardware store to pick up maintenance supplies. With their attention divided so often, it is hard to find the time to spend enough time on the most crucial aspects of the business. Revenue Management is a full-time job regardless of the property size, but its complexities can be overwhelming for someone wearing as many hats as the GM.
Yield Management is the process of adjusting your rates based on the market conditions to make the most per available room. To properly Yield, you need as much information as possible. Hoteliers continuously need to be aware of what is going on in their area. They also need to see how their competitors are doing. With the internet, this type of research has never been more accessible, but it still can be incredibly time-consuming.
So how can we make this easier? Assign some research to your staff. Anyone who has worked at the front desk of a hotel knows that there is usually downtime. Sometimes the phone doesn’t ring. Use this time to your advantage. Empower your staff and give them the tools they need to do some research for you. Have your clerks or night auditors collect rate information from your direct competitors. Assign each shift several properties in the area and have them call for rates and availability, or check them online. Chances are your staff will have more free time and be a bit more plugged in to what’s going on locally, so use this to your advantage. Place a whiteboard in a break room or common area and have them write down any events going on in the area they know about. Having all of this information will drastically cut down on time spent researching and help to forecast your future occupancy and set rates accordingly.
Inventory Control is monitoring the availability and accessibility to the room. Seems pretty straightforward, but managing it manually can feel like a never-ending task. Each sales channel you use will increase the complexity of inventory control. If you forget to update even one channel, it can hurt business. Overselling can add extra expense and bad reviews. Underselling leads to empty beds and lost revenue.
Thankfully there are ways to simplify this process. Channel Management software is available that can control access to all of your available channels from a single interface. This removes the hassle of having to manage your OTA, Booking Engines individually, and GDS channels, helping reduce the risk of making mistakes. If you’re not using a channel manager and doing them separately, the strategy should be the same. You want to keep Inventory Parity, an extension to Rate Parity, across any channel your selling through. Limiting your channels to small blocks of rooms are fine, provided you’re replenishing them if they sell out. It’s too easy to let a channel sell out and ignore it, hoping your others sell the rest of your inventory. If your OTA channel has ten rooms and sells out, give them ten more. Yes, this means you may run the risk of paying more commission, but you can’t make back the revenue lost on an unsold room. If your OTA channels are selling out faster than your booking engine, its time to address your marketing efforts, but in the meantime, take the revenue from when you can. If your desk agents sell the rest, then close out your OTAs. If you’re using the latest integrated software and have implemented a Channel Management tool, your extranets can have their inventory updates manually. If an agent makes a change in the PMS, your OTA inventories update and vice versa. This can be a hassle without the software in place, but active participation is necessary to maximize your property’s potential.