The Art of Rate Shopping
There's no doubt that as the hospitality sector begins to adjust to the 'new normal' post-COVID-19 world, the fight will be on to win market share and secure heads in beds. The battle among hotels to gain ground will never have been so fierce.
An effective Rate Shopper could be the decisive weapon in a revenue manager's armory. One that enables them to take decisive action and gain a competitive edge.
Inspired by great military strategist Sun Tzu's classic, The Art of War, we wanted to share some timely insights for hotels looking to make an early strike.
"In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity." It's a battlefield out there, already with many casualties. The 'new normal' will be a battle for survival in H2 2020 but those that do well will establish themselves for future success - whether hotels and hotel chains or individual revenue professionals.
"Spies are a most important element in warfare because on them depends an army's ability to move." Rate Shoppers are essential tools used across the industry to keep up with your competitors' current, past, and future rates in a user-friendly dashboard. But, the quality of your 'spy' determines how reliable your information is. It could be time to re-evaluate your sources.
"We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country - its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps." It's vital to have the full picture of all critical markets. That's why the accuracy and completeness of competitive intelligence are so important. Revenue managers should be able to pull rates from multiple channels including online travel agencies (OTAs), brand.com sites, and GDS, from all of their relevant Points of Sale (POS) and across mobile apps and mobile websites too.
"You may advance and be absolutely irresistible if you make for the enemy's weak points." In the case of hotels, third party rate visibility is your comp set's Achilles heel. FornovaCI is the only competitive intelligence platform to track third party rates (e.g. wholesalers and Booking Basic) and loyalty rates (e.g. Booking Genius and Expedia Plus).
"He wins his battles by making no mistakes." A broad-brush approach just won't cut it in these new times. Defining the geographically appropriate POS for each property based on its relevant market so that hotels can compare its rates to its correct comp set is what will give them the advantage.
"If quick, I survive. If not quick, I am lost." Revenue teams will need their wits about them and be ready to adjust their rates much more frequently than they have before. Refreshing data on demand in seconds, when they need it the most will ensure they remain agile.
"Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing." Knowing just your comp set's rates is unlikely to give hotels the strategic win they will so badly need. They need much more detailed intelligence. Understanding visibility and ranking will build a clearer picture of the competitive landscape. These are two of the most important elements when positioning a hotel's price on OTA and metasearch websites, while being more visible than your competitors is key to increasing their conversion and getting more bookings from the OTA channel.
"Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare, there are no constant conditions." As feeder markets are changing and travel "bubbles" or "corridors" are introduced post-COVID-19, revenue managers should be able to dynamically update their competitors and not keep a rigid list in their Rate Shopper for years. FornovaCI allows them to do just that.
"Soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity but kept under control by means of discipline. This is a certain road to victory." For properties that are part of a chain, working in isolation is ineffective. Their strength comes from being greater than the sum of their parts and to achieve that they need clear leadership. That's why a rate shopper that is fit for the recovery battle should enable property level and Corporate level views. Group, chain, or cluster revenue managers will make sure their hotels are making the right decisions to increase revenue and occupancy.
"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." While a Rate Shopper is a critical tool for understanding your comp set. without the right tools to understand your own rates and distribution your actions may be futile. A Rate Shopper that combines with a distribution intelligence platform will make any hotel a formidable adversary.
FornovaCI, the latest innovation from Fornova, the market leader in Big Data for the travel and hospitality industries, is here - and is unrivalled for data quality.
Every day, Fornova tracks over 100,000 brand.com and OTA websites - providing FornovaCI with the most comprehensive data set in the world.
Can the rate shopper you are using show you rates from:
Any POS? - FornovaCI tracks rates from 72 different countries and counting, incl. difficult to reach China, LatAm, and Africa)
Any channel? - FornovaCI features Ctrip and 3rd party rates such as from Booking Basic
Any source? - FornovaCI accesses rates through desktop, mobile web, and mobile app using 60 million dynamic IPs
If the answer is no, has the time maybe come to upgrade to enterprise-grade rate shopping.
Combine FornovaCI with FornovaDI to gain actionable insights into how your own rates are shown. The platform provides the most comprehensive channel coverage across OTAs, metasearch and direct channels and allows hotels to monitor all the factors that affect distribution health including rate integrity, availability, and visibility.
As Sun Tzu says, "If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in."
If your competitors aren't already using FornovaCI and our leading distribution intelligence tool FornovaDI then you have the opportunity to strike and emerge victorious from the COVID-19 carnage.