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Sheraton Atlanta, UK’s Chardon Management Focus Revenue
Management on Forward-Looking Market Intelligence 

By Steve Swope

June 4, 2008 - Several years ago, Thomas Abraham, Director of Revenue Management for the renovated 760-room Sheraton Atlanta, would start his week by opening an Excel spreadsheet and making calls to area hotel reservation offices to inquire about the current publicly available hotel rates. He would compile the information by sorting through dozens of future arrival dates with different lengths of stay and rates that were restricted and others that were non-qualified.  He would then try to paint a coherent picture of the marketplace and adjust his own rate strategy accordingly. This approach left Abraham vulnerable to being unaware of market changes throughout the week and prohibited him from effectively forecasting future rate trends.

Fast forward to 2008.  Each morning, an email awaits Abraham detailing market changes and alerts for the next 365 days.  The report is customized specifically to Abraham’s unique market needs. Throughout the day, Abraham goes on-line to further survey the market in the event that new patterns emerge or he wants to assess different pricing scenarios.  All this aids in ensuring that his hotel is being marketed competitively, operating efficiently and capturing business. 

According to a recent report by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, “Eight Business Technology Trends to Watch,” several specific trends will enable businesses, including the hospitality industry, to leverage information in ways that will transform how they do business.  “Technology is helping managers exploit ever-greater amounts of data to make smarter decisions and develop the insights that create competitive advantage,” says the report. 
“We needed a tool that provides a detailed view of the future, enabling us to shape the future rather than just looking behind at what’s already happened.”
Carol Dodd
Revenue Management Director
Chardon Management Ltd
Atlanta’s Rubicon (  ) has recognized this need by developing a family of integrated market insight solutions under the product name MarketVision®.  By collecting more than 220 million hotel rates and 5 million bookings for future dates from over 350 sources each week, distilling this information into over 37,000 relevant reports and market alerts and delivering them to more than 12,000 hotel customers globally, Rubicon provides its customers with up-to-date, precise market intelligence.  Now, Thomas Abraham can ensure his downtown Atlanta hotel is competitively positioned weeks and months in advance. 

MarketVision also helps multi-property, independent hotel management companies around the globe make decisions faster and with more efficiency, including the United Kingdom’s Chardon Management.  Revenue Management Director Carol Dodds operates over a dozen hotels including numerous Holiday Inns by the InterContinental Hotel Group as well as Best Western, Choice and other independent hotels.  Dodd’s key focus is driving the revenue strategies that will improve revenue performance and gain market share growth. 

“Without the type of market intelligence Rubicon’s MarketVision provides to us, it would be like driving blind or only looking in the rear view mirror,” says Dodds.  “We needed a tool that provides a detailed view of the future, enabling us to shape the future rather than just looking behind at what’s already happened.”

The hospitality industry’s newer employees today are spoiled, says Abraham, accustomed as they are to having competitive intelligence rapidly delivered directly to them without lifting a finger.  “The old methods just wouldn’t work anymore.  In today’s market, we are on top of our game with MarketVision, and absolutely would not survive without it,” Abraham said.

Hotels must take full advantage of these and other emerging services if they are to outperform their market.  As an example of the information that can transform a hotel’s performance, Rubicon has expanded the reporting features in MarketVision to include future booking and demand competitive positioning.  This capability organizes and aggregates booking data from all channels to allow Rubicon’s customers to plan months or even further ahead based on future market demand analysis.  As a result, hotels, management companies, developers and owners will better understand the marketplace, capitalize on fleeting opportunities and claim greater market and revenue share. 

The goal is to go beyond just having access to mounds of market data and focus attention on actionable market information that provides impactful insights.  Transforming hotel performance can be achieved with powerful information, integrated in a way that allows today’s hotel executive to make lightning-fast – and smart – decisions. 

Steve Swope is President and CEO of Rubicon, an Atlanta-based provider of competitive market intelligence and market analysis to the travel industry, including eight of the top ten global hotel groups and three of the top five global rental car groups.


Ann Warren


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