News for the Hospitality Executive
Tiered Pricing and Yield – Key Drivers of Extended Stay
By Mark Lynn
February 28, 2012
Extended-stay hotels began evolving in the 1970s to serve business travelers, vacationers and families seeking a home-like atmosphere. They differ from traditional hotels in terms of room types, amenities and particularly, pricing.
The Residence Inn by Marriott first launched in Wichita, Kansas in 1976 is credited with initiating the extended-stay concept. Currently, most major hotel franchise organizations offer at least one extended-stay product under their umbrella of brand offerings. The extended-stay concept is comprised of several unique design, operational, and pricing strategies that all contribute to its success. As an example, the Residence Inn by Marriott operating model has evolved from its inception through “generations” of design concepts beginning with the initial “Generation 1” that has evolved into the current design concept of “Generation 8” as new designs and concepts evolve to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of the guest. The current design model of this brand consists of three room types: studios, 1-bedroom units, and 2-bedroom units. All units are equipped with full kitchenettes and offer complimentary wired and wireless Internet access. Additionally, the hotels provide a free full-breakfast, a fitness center, an afternoon offering of complimentary light snacks and beverages, as well as a Manager’s Reception. The studio units comprise the largest percentage of available rooms, followed by 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units - with the mix of room type influenced by local market conditions. Most extended-stay concepts offer these (or a variation of these) general design and operational concepts.
TIERED PRICING STRATEGIES
Two of the key drivers of the success of the extended-stay concept are the ability to offer different room sizes; coupled with pricing strategies that are driven by varying lengths of stay. For example, the Residence Inn by Marriott concept offers rate tiers based on length of stay ─ with four tiers generally the most prevalent. The optimum blend of all rate categories driven by length of stay is key to maximizing RevPAR, and profitability. An example of rate tier pricing is shown below.
1-4 nights 5-11 nights 12-29 nights 30+nights
The longer the length of stay, naturally, the lower the daily rate becomes. As an example, Chart 1 depicts a range of negotiated corporate rates for key accounts for four different lengths of stay. Rate tiers are negotiated based on each corporate account’s needs and production of room nights. Importantly, to maintain the integrity of the extended stay concept, some of the major brands actually monitor the length of stay in each category on a period basis, and provide a report to the franchisee at the end of every operating period indicating how the individual asset is performing against the benchmarks established. For example, Marriott considers a long-term room night as “extended stay” when it falls into one of the more than 4 nights categories.
CHART 1: EXAMPLE OF NEGOTIATED CORPORATE RATES FOR KEY ACCOUNTS BASED ON LENGTHS OF STAY
YIELD MANAGEMENT AND RATE MONITORING
To allow management to continually monitor and evaluate the efficacy of the extended stay operating model, the daily operating report generated at the property level (Chart 2, below) contains data that are used by management to monitor the complexion and makeup of the length of stay characteristics on a daily basis - for one day and period-to-date, to enable management to continually maximize yield.
CHART 2: EXAMPLE OF DAILY LODGING REPORT GENERATED AT THE PROPERTY LEVEL
BRAND SUPPORT AND OVERSIGHT
Marriott has established acceptable ranges of extended stay utilization, and diligent, aggressive yield management is obviously key to maximizing RevPAR in a traditional hotel, and doubly so in an extended-stay business model. As noted, any room stay longer than 4 room nights is considered “extended stay” for the purposes of this measurement and monitoring and the following chart is an example of the report the franchisee receives. It contains data regarding how the subject property is performing on a period and year-to-date basis against the established benchmarks.
CHART 3: EXAMPLE OF FRANCHISEE REPORT
In conclusion, the extended-stay concept has proven to be highly successful and it represents a significant percentage of available room inventory serving a targeted audience. It is through ongoing, diligent yield and rate management practices that the integrity and success of the concept is preserved and financial performance is maximized.
About Mark Lynn
Based in San Francisco, Mark C. Lynn oversees the wide range of hotel asset management, strategic planning, development and operational consulting services provided by the firm. Mr. Lynn has more than 30 years of hotel industry experience and has been involved in the development and management of more than 100 hotel projects with an asset value exceeding $2 billion. Mr. Lynn holds a BSBA degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a member of HAMA (Hospitality Asset Managers Association).
HVS is the world’s leading consulting and services organization focused on the hotel, restaurant, shared ownership, gaming, and leisure industries. Established in 1980, the company performs more than 2,000 assignments each year for virtually every major industry participant. HVS principals are regarded as the leading professionals in their respective regions of the globe. Through a worldwide network of 30 offices staffed by 400 seasoned industry professionals, HVS provides and unparalleled range of complementary services for the hospitality industry.
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