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Revenue Managers - Feeling on Edge?
Here's a Way to Stop Costly Pricing Mistakes


by Marco Benvenuti, Co-Founder/Chief Analytics & Product Officer
Duetto Research
May 6, 2013

As revenue managers, we’ve all been there: Someone inputs the wrong price, forgets to switch a third-party channel back on after a big block of group business cancels, or is slow to react to a significant change in demand.


Even though revenue management systems, channel management systems and other software, including Excel, can help drive hotel revenue management, human beings are still the ones ultimately responsible for pushing the right buttons and pulling the necessary levers.

Every few months, you read examples of hotels accidentally charging an unbelievably low rate. The most recent I saw was the 144-room luxury Metropolitan hotel in London taking £18 bookings for next Jan. 1-2, according to a tnooz story last month. Supposedly, more than 100 reservations were made at booking.com for those dates, and a quick check now reveals Jan. 1, 2014 is already sold out. The days before and after aren’t, but rates are approximately £400. Think about those losses!

Who knows how that happened, but I’ve seen similar situations firsthand.

The most common example is through old-fashioned operator error — “fat fingers” — when an employee might accidently load a $15 rate instead of $150 for an OTA channel. We got lucky, and caught the mistake through a manual check we did every day, but a number of lucky customers booked an incredibly cheap room, and eventually got it comp’ed, rather than us risk the story getting out about our property offering $15 rates.

Rather than why it happened, the question should be how to avoid costly mistakes -- or at least catch them before too much damage is done.

Channel management systems, central reservation systems or extranets can often be configured to prevent this, but you cannot count on them being fullproof - or that a failure will not occur across dozens or hundreds of distribution channels that are becoming more plentiful and complex to manage.

To address the problem, and other issues of concern to revenue managers, we have created Duetto Edge – which includes a proprietary alert system that spots these mistakes, whether they’re made from inside the hotel or externally at the OTA site . . . or in the fragile channel management space in between.

The first alert is activated if the total occupancy for any given period is two or more standard deviations from normal. The second is similar, but based on pickup: If during the most recent 1-day, 3-day, 7-day or 15-day period, any channel or yielding segment is getting significantly more or less action than is expected for any future day, the alert is activated.
 
Most important, when an alert is activated, you can find out immediately – via a notification that appears on your computer screen.

Both alerts could have caught the mistake in London, long before the hotel had booked 100 rooms a year in advance at £18 a night. An alert would have been triggered when Duetto Edge saw an unusually high pace of bookings for those dates. If by chance the bookings were only coming in one or two at a time over several days, the pickup alert may not have been triggered but if it continued like that and the occupancy climbed, Edge would have sounded the alarm.

In either case, the revenue manager or other property executives would see the alerts highlighted when they log into Duetto Edge. They’d also see them on their daily email digest or via SMS, which is something we will be deploying soon. The alerts are prioritized in order of importance, so the revenue manager who has limited time can dig into only the most serious issues. If there’s unusual pickup, the revenue manager can drill into individual reservations to identify the problem and would notice that $150 rates were being sold for just $15.

A number of other sophisticated and customizable alerts are being developed and will be rolled out soon – and we will be sharing details in the coming weeks.

With Duetto Edge, revenue managers can manage by exception rather than spending inordinate time reviewing average days. The system cues up the alerts in order of importance so revenue managers don’t have to go month to month looking for the days that need extra attention.

They get access to critical insights anytime and anywhere — the information is never more than a few clicks away.

 
About Duetto Research  
Duetto Research (www.deuttoresearch.com) provides hospitality 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.
 
About Duetto Edge  
Duetto Edge delivers powerful tools hospitality executives need to achieve profit goals and understand demand and revenue channels better than ever before.
 
Among the unique benefits of Duetto Edge:
 
  • Cloud-based functionality: with no hardware or software to install and no implementation fees -- updates are automatic, free and frequent.
  • On-demand visualizations: expose changing demand patterns so hoteliers can adjust pricing and channel strategies accordingly. 
  • Automated Alerts: notification of spikes in demand, competitor tactics, channel outages or rate parity discrepancies, and recommend corrective actions. 
  • Improved productivity: receive critical data and insights anywhere, anytime from a web browser, tablet or mobile device. 
  • Powerful algorithms: recommend actions to help hotel executives increase rates, expand occupancy and optimize channel mix.

 
Contact:

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


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Also See: Lee Pillsbury Joins the Duetto Board / April 2013

Seismic Shift: Brands Are Looking for Tech Partners, Not Vendors / Marco Benvenuti / April 2013

Celebrating its First Year, Duetto Research Announces that Battery Ventures' Brian O’Malley Joins its Board / March 2013

Hotel Big Data Innovator Duetto Research Announces that Brad Gerstner Joins its Board / March 2013

Time to Lower the BAR for Good / Marco Benvenuti / February 2013

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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