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When Every Second Counts

Secrets for making the most out of the new last-minute booking trend 

By Jean Francois Mourier 
April 8, 2011

In the past five years – and even more so in the past two years – the hotel booking window has been shrinking rapidly.  Unlike in the past, where travelers would book their hotel rooms months in advance, today’s consumers are instead choosing to wait to the very last minute to book – sometimes even as late as when they are standing on the pavement outside of a property.  In fact, Priceline’s research shows that 58% of customers with mobile devices were within 20 miles of their hotel when they made the booking — and 35% were within just a mile.
The Internet, or more specifically the availability of portable wireless devices, has completely changed the way consumers shop for hotel rooms. So has the recent economic recession.  In the past, travelers typically booked stays in advanced because it was common for prices to go up as your travel date got closer. In the current economic climate, travelers don’t always have the luxury to be able to plan so far in advance because their financial situation could change at any time. Because of this – and because many people have cut back on travel altogether in an effort to spend less, many hotels are enticing travelers with last-minute deals.

As well, with the ability to go online even while on the go - with WIFI access in most public areas, including the airport and in-flight, and access to the Internet on smartphones - consumers can not only spend more time browsing online for the best deal possible, they also don’t feel as pressured to book such a long time in advance.
Because of the changes in the booking window, the entire revenue management process must adapt for continued success.  With today’s shrinking booking window and the fast-paced nature of the industry ushered in by the growth of the online channel, a hotel’s success depends on staying tech savvy, particularly when it comes to revenue management.  The fact of the matter is, that even if a hotel had revenue management staff available 24/7, they would still be unable to update rates as quickly—or as accurately—as an automated revenue management system can.

With the use of an automated revenue system, hotel revenue managers are able to manage pricing, as well as their entire inventory, in one place. These revenue management systems are able to evaluate information, adjust inventory, and place the property in the ideal OTA page positioning to ensure the highest number of bookings at the highest rate possible. They can also update each online distribution channel and make real-time pricing changes automatically, leaving the revenue manager to oversee the process and work on developing the RM strategy that humans (and their strategic brains) are best at.

With the sophisticated technology of automated revenue management systems, optimal pricing can be determined quickly using traditional hotel and financial strategies. It allows hoteliers to keep their prices competitive and maximize bookings, while making their revenue managers more effective, and as a result, their hotel more profitable overall.

And looking forward to the next article in the revenue management series from REVPAR GURU & Hotel-Online…
The Great Debate
It’s an argument that has been raging since the dawn of technology – are humans or automated systems better at managing certain processes? In the case of revenue management, that debate has taken on an increased urgency with the exponential growth in sophistication of computer RM systems. In our upcoming article which will be running on April 22, 2011, we say that both sides can be the winners. Not only that, we also maintain that it’s imperative that they work together effectively. No computer system can train and motivate a sales staff, while it’s nearly impossible for even the smartest revenue manager to constantly track real-time market developments to arrive at the optimal room price. Cooperation and coordination between man and machine is not only the key to future success, it’s unattainable without it.

Jean Francois Mourier is CEO & Founder of RevPar Guru, a company that has developed an alternative type of revenue management and real-time pricing solution (combined with automated online distribution) to help hotels maximize occupancy and increase their profits. The company’s Yield Dynamic Price Engine, an integrated revenue management and pricing solution, adds unprecedented power and real-time adaptability to the pricing process, leaving managers more time to run their hotels. You may reach him through or by calling +1.786.478.3500. 

786-478- 3500


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Also See: Rev Up your RevPAR In 4 Different Ways / Jean Francois Mourier / March 2011

Pricing Beyond the Comp Set And other new pricing strategies that really work / Jean Francois Mourier / March 2011

Schooled By Wall Street; Using stock market principles for optimum hotel revenue management / Jean Francois Mourier / February 2011

System Underload; Inefficiencies in RMS Systems are Costing the Industry Dearly / Jean Francois Mourier / February 2011

Revenue Management: Back to Basics: The Importance of Revenue Management Principles / Jean Francois Mourier / January 2011

Revenue Management: Profiting from the Industry’s Growth in 2011 / Jean Francois Mourier / January 2011

Home For the Holidays: Tending to Hotel Operations When Your Revenue Manager is on Vacation / Jean Francois Mourier / December 2010

The World of Revenue Management: Past, Present & Future; Looking back on hotel revenue management in 2010 and what the industry is expecting for 2011 / Jean Francois Mourier / December 2010

All Science, No Guesswork: The Benefits of Algorithms in Hotel Revenue Management / Jean Francois Mourier / November 2010

The Great Debate: Humans vs. Automated RMS: Their strengths, weaknesses and what responsibilities are best suited for each / Jean Francois Mourier / October 2010

Rate Parity vs. Rate Integrity—What is Rate Integrity? / Jean Francois Mourier / October 2010

A New Day For Timeshares; Using automated RM systems for running your timeshare company / Jean Francois Mourier / October 2010

Best Practices in Revenue Management, Part 3; Automation, Channel Management and Decision Making / Jean Francois Mourier / September 2010

Best Practices in Revenue Management, Part 2; Rate discipline, the leveraging of real-time information, and price prediction / Jean Francois Mourier / August 2010

Best Practices in Revenue Management, Part 1; General revenue management and strategic pricing / Jean Francois Mourier / July 2010

The Irresistibility of the Obvious; How a new trend in revenue management and metrics is missing the point / Jean Francois Mourier / July 2010

Pricing Beyond the Compset - And other new pricing strategies that really work / Jean Francois Mourier / June 2010

A Tale of Two Strategies; Contrasting boutique and chain hotel revenue management approaches / Jean Francois Mourier / June 2010

Historical Pricing Is History, Well, Not Exactly; Examining the Role Historical Pricing Should Be Playing in Hotels’ Pricing Strategies / Jean Francois Mourier / May 2010

Tipping Your Cap (Rate) - Why hotel owners need to pay attention to RevPAR / Jean Francois Mourier / April 2010

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