Release of the New Distribution Overview Page
Giving hoteliers clarity on the quality of their distribution with metrics and prioritization tools to resolve issues efficiently
Today we will be talking to Fornova Distribution Intelligence’s dedicated project manager, Alina Povolotsky. Alina, please can you tell us a bit about your own background?
Of course, I’ve been with Fornova for 7 years, starting as an application engineer and progressing to product manager. My background is in data analytics and I have quite a few years of experience working in the travel industry having previously worked as an on-site consultant for Booking.com
You must be excited about the release of the new feature on Fornova Distribution Intelligence (DI), can you tell us a bit more about the product in general?
Firstly, this is a big release for FornovaDI, we are rebranding the product and giving it a whole new interface. We’ve received some really positive feedback from clients which is great for the team after all their hard work.
Back to Fornova Distribution Intelligence, it’s a tool that helps hoteliers identify and target distribution issues in order to capture more revenue and profits. Users can gain control over their online distribution with the tools that provide oversight of their performance on the different channels.
So, why did you decide to create the new Distribution Overview page and what were your goals with the new feature?
Well, we saw big changes in the industry as labor shortages and the pandemic layoffs led to smaller teams. We saw that commercial teams were desperate to save as much time as possible but needed the tools to help them. So, we came to the conclusion that creating one page that includes all the complementary elements and metrics would give hoteliers true oversight of their distribution without having to click through different pages and look for the data. As well as changing the layout, we wanted to find the distribution issues for hoteliers and help them to prioritize and take action. Lastly, we wanted to offer our customers more flexibility.
Ok, so what metrics did you decide would help users effectively prioritize distribution issues?
We have two main metrics on the page as well as a variety of others that appear in the In-Depth Analysis table. The Distribution Health Score and Revenue at Risk KPIs are the principal prioritization tools that allow users to open the page and, at a glance, have a good understanding of their online distribution performance. Just by resolving issues identified by the tool such as Point of Sale or specific OTA issues, users will see tangible changes in those two main metrics.
The Distribution Health Score has been a popular feature on FornovaDI for a while but Revenue at Risk is new. How is Revenue at Risk calculated?
Well, as it reflects the amount in USD that the hotel is at risk of losing because of distribution issues (an amount which the hotel could potentially gain back if they fix their distribution issues) it is a complex calculation. It takes into account the percentage of lose cases, the average lose price difference in dollars and the number of rooms in the hotel. The lose percentage tells you what is the chance of you losing to an OTA. Then, when you do lose, how much are you losing? Imagine the size of the hotel as a pie that represents the revenue you can potentially earn or lose. If a hotel with 100 rooms has 20% of lose cases, it will potentially lose revenue on 20 of those rooms.
So, not only do those metrics prioritize issues but they also facilitate a quick understanding. And in terms of your last goal, what do you mean by offering customers more flexibility?
Well, we became aware that many distribution tools don’t cater to the specific needs of different hotels. They give users preset filters that don’t offer a sufficient level of customization and, as a consequence, many users will download the raw data and add it to their own system or manipulate it in Excel. Both methods are time-consuming and require a high level of knowledge and skill. With our multi-layered filter and aggregation process, hoteliers can start with a broad overview and drill down into the data to find the source of their distribution issues.
It sounds very thorough, would you say that the filtering and aggregating process is the standout feature of this new page for you?
I think both the multi-layered aggregations and filters are game-changing features in distribution intelligence. Having the ability to select multiple layers of filters means that hoteliers can now trace their distribution issues right back to their origin in a fraction of the time. By using one simple dropdown box that allows the user to aggregate the data based on different elements, they can quickly identify what and where their issues are and are then able to prioritize them by severity. Adding another dropdown box and additional filters allows users to dive deeper into any breakdown that they want to explore. Many users of distribution intelligence tools were downloading the raw data and manipulating it either in Excel or in their own systems to get the breakdowns that are relevant to their company. The Overview page on the other hand gives users any aggregation that they want.
Ultimately these two elements give users the ability to get down to the bottom of the issues and be better informed to make strategic decisions.
You also have the view settings, how do they differ from the filters?
The View settings allow you to change what type of rates you see across the dashboard. For example, whether you see the public or member rates, whether you analyze all the bids on meta or only the cheapest ones, and also whether you’re looking only at your rate issues or also at inventory issues. This allows you to gain clarity in all areas of your strategy.
How will this new page help hoteliers navigate the changing market?
This page quickly highlights to users where their most critical distribution issues are so they can identify and resolve them before they cause too much damage to the brand's reputation and revenue stream. OTAs are becoming more aggressive in their price manipulation strategies, this tool gives users the insight to catch the changes in behavior and analyze them over time (with access to historical data and trends over time) to see if changes are significant and need immediate action. The two principal metrics, Revenue at Risk and Distribution Health Score allow users to prioritize distribution issues before they lose customers.
Does the tool do anything to address the highly competitive market that we see at the moment?
Yes! We wanted customers to be able to make strategic decisions quickly so we formulated the Overview’s In-Depth Analysis Table. This helps users to easily track and compare trends, as well as their hotel’s performance on the different channels and outlets. You can review metrics side by side and choose filters and breakdowns that you truly need.
In terms of the two main metrics, why do users need both DHS and Revenue at Risk?
Well, because they are showing information about two different areas of performance. The DHS will show you where you have the most distribution issues but the Revenue at Risk will show you where you are potentially losing the most revenue.
Are they correlated?
Not necessarily. It’s easier to explain the difference with examples.
A user may have a low DHS (which is bad) because they have a high number of beat cases but the Revenue at Risk may also be low (which is good) due to a small number of lose cases.
Alternatively, a user can have a similar DHS on two different OTAs because the number of lose shops is similar, but the Revenue at Risk figure will be very different because the price difference of one OTA is much higher than the other.
And similarly, if you compare 2 hotels, you might have a hotel that has a better DHS but a higher revenue at risk because it is much bigger than the second one.
Ok, so it’s best to consider the metrics individually rather than looking for patterns. Do you have any best practices to make the most of this feature?
When you start using the tool, be sure to start simple with a broad overview. By using a global breakdown such as grouping by OTA you can identify which OTA is causing the most critical distribution issues and costing you the most money. Then investigate further and see which hotel in the chain has the most issues and if a particular Point of Sale (country of origin) is being targeted with OTA promotions. You can drill down further into Meta and direct cases and not only understand where the problem is coming from but plan future strategies to combat such scenarios.
So start looking at the big picture and then add further breakdowns and filters to get to the root of the issue. Alina, if you had to describe the feature and how it serves customers in a few sentences, what would you say?
Well, the Overview page empowers hoteliers to save time and make better-informed decisions by combining all the metrics of the distribution solution on one page and allowing users to group the data by every possible category such as OTA, Point of Sale (country of origin), Meta, country, etc. The multi-layered aggregation and filtration process also provides users with the flexibility to drill down and see data that is highly relevant to their business and investigate the origin of their distribution issues.
Thank you Alina, this sounds like an exciting step for Fornova Distribution Intelligence and one that will really benefit their customers.
Yes, I think it will. As I mentioned, we have had some great feedback both internally and externally. Not only can we tailor what a user sees to their own needs, but we also provide actionable insights to ensure that they have a clear path to follow once the origin of the problem has been identified.