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Time to Lower the BAR for Good

by Marco Benvenuti, Co-Founder/Chief Analytics & Product Officer
Duetto Research

February 27, 2013

The primary reason so many hotels and chains continue to revenue manage using a fixed-tier best-available-rate (BAR) pricing approach is its simplicity. It’s easy for hotels to implement and then manage. But that simplicity is also the exact reason it’s not the best choice.

With a fixed-tier revenue management strategy, hoteliers set the BAR, typically the lowest public price you’d find on the hotel’s website, and all other rates adjust accordingly, usually based on a percentage difference from the BAR. For example, if the BAR is set at $100 for any given day, the loyalty rate might be 15% less, OTA package rate 35% less, all the way down to opaque channels like Hotwire that might be discounted 45%. If the BAR goes up or down, so do all the other rates.

You set one price and everything derives from that and you’re done. Clearly the benefit of this methodology is its simplicity, but the disadvantage is the loss of potential revenue. Money is without question being left on the table. Look at this basic demand curve, showing the relationship between price and quantity sold:



The six blocks represent revenue captured from tiered pricing, but the static price points limit a hotel’s opportunity to capture everything in between (the triangles where there are no price points). The more price points you have available for your demand, the closer you get to capturing the entire opportunity for revenue.

The detriment of this fixed-tier strategy is worsened by hotels managing the other segments (OTAs, loyalty members, groups, opaque channels, etc.) as percentages benched off the BAR. The hotel is missing the opportunity to use differentiated pricing applicable to different behaviors exhibited by people booking from other channels. Is someone booking through an OTA automatically only going to accept paying 35% less? Maybe they’d be willing to pay 30% less. Maybe even 20%.

The other pitfall with this strategy is when a hotel misses high on a group rate established in advance. If there’s a rate parity clause in the group contract, as is often the case, the hotel can’t publically sell rooms for less than that agreed upon rate. Then the hotel must keep the BAR above that, and all the other segment prices fall in line accordingly.

Now the hotel has artificially (and automatically) inflated all other rates because it has made one mistake on a group rate. In that instance, the public BAR is gone and there’s no fixing it, but why give up on all the other discrete segments. You should still be able to revenue manage those and can recover from the original mistake.

To capture as much money as possible, hotels should be determining the right rate for all the different segments of their business every day. Hotels need not be slaves to a structure that won’t optimize their revenue anymore.

Duetto Edge is a cloud-based revenue management software (RMS) system that provides free-floating pricing derived for each individual segment. Automatic rate recommendations make it simple to start dynamic pricing and to get away from the fixed-tier structure.

Hoteliers shouldn’t be afraid of more complex revenue management, because the process can remain just as easy and comfortable, but far more profitable. Armed with powerful algorithms and more data sources than anyone, Duetto Edge provides recommendations a revenue manager can trust for all the different segments to optimize both revenue and channel mix. Duetto handles the complexities, keeping it simple for the revenue manager to act only when and where it’s needed.
 
About Duetto Research
Duetto Research (www.deuttoresearch.com) provides hotel executives with cutting-edge solutions to optimize demand, maximize rate, and minimize cost. Powered by leading Silicon Valley technologists and hospitality industry veterans, Duetto is where innovation and insight meet – to help the hotel industry create new standards of efficiency and profitability, and re-think how revenue management is done. Duetto has attracted many of the highest regarded investors and advisors from the hospitality and technology industries, including, among others, Thayer Ventures, Trinity Ventures, Battery Ventures, and Marc Benioff, founder, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com.

 
Contact:

Michael Frenkel, MFC PR – New York
For Duetto Research
(212) 808-6559
michael@mfcpr.com


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Also See: Denihan Gets the Duetto Edge; Denihan Hospitality Group's Portfolio Can Now Optimize Demand, Maximize Revenues and Minimize Expenses, With Duetto's New RMS / February 2013

Duetto Research Announces $10M Series A Funding Round; Duetto gains traction with its cloud-based service, employing Big Data technology to optimize hotel demand pricing strategies / December 2012

Sonesta ES Suites Gets the Duetto Edge; All 17 Hotels in the Sonesta ES Suites Brand Can Now Optimize Demand, Maximize Revenues and Minimize Expenses, With Duetto's New RMS / November 2012

Introducing . . . Duetto Edge; Duetto Research Unveils Cutting-Edge Demand Optimization Solution, and Launches www.DuettoResearch.com / October 2012



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