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  • Writer's pictureMichail Tzouvelekis

Will your hotel rate shopper give you the edge in the race to attract post-COVID-19 bookings?

As COVID-19 restrictions gradually begin to ease in some countries, revenue managers and their colleagues need to hit the ground running if they are to steal an early competitive advantage by winning those all-important bookings and gain market share. Central to this will be having the ability to track in real-time not only competitor rates but their visibility and guest reviews too. An intuitive tool that provides comp set insights from all possible angles enables revenue optimization professionals to make more accurate decisions faster, in order to strengthen their market position.

Until now, hotels have relied on their trusted rate shopper to inform their rate strategy. But, in the "new normal" there's an opportunity to take a fresh look at your revenue technology stack and consider whether there is a better way. Next-generation rate shopper technology is providing properties with greater, more meaningful insights, to ensure they stay on top of competitor pricing and performance.

The recently launched FornovaCI tracks more than 100,000 and OTA websites, including Booking Basic, and continuously collects rates from over 60 million dynamic IPs giving clients the confidence that they have the most complete, up-to-date competitor picture. Unlike other rate shoppers, it not only ranks comp set rates but crucially tracks rate visibility and guest reviews too. Combined, they produce the Fornova Competitive Intelligence score - which makes benchmarking any property easy.

Here are the key questions you need to be asking - to discover whether it's high time to upgrade your rate shopper:

1. Is the data we receive as complete and current as it should be?

Having quick and easy access to real-time data you can trust at the push of a button is what a good rate shopper is all about. Users need to know the rates they are seeing are not fake and come from the correct point of sale for the source market.

But, as the number of channels and points of sale continually expand, some traditional rate shoppers are struggling to keep up, particularly with accurately scanning rates from sites such as Ctrip and Booking Basic.

FornovaCI's patented technology ensures consistent and high data accuracy. It tracks and verifies the most comprehensive data set available for the global hospitality industry and FornovaCI is the only rate shopper with the ability to track Booking Basic rates.

2. Am I confident the rates are comparing "like for like" each time?

You need to compare apples to apples. With different room types, membership or promotional discounts, flexibility rates, geographically adjusted rates, and third-party rates, it's essential you know that you are comparing "like for like" rates every time. What's more, with travelers increasingly using mobile apps and mobile websites to make their bookings, having access to competitor rates for mobile sites is key to implementing an effective mobile-specific rate strategy. Last but not least, you also need to be able to compare rates by length of stay (LOS) too.

FornovaCI gathers prices for all available combinations (e.g. best flex or lowest, multiple LOS, number of guests, room types, meal plans, etc). Its Room Level Matching feature gives hotels the capability to match the rooms in each property to those in the respective comp sets.

3. Can I customize the point of sales that matter to my hotel?

Knowing exactly how your competitors' room rates are shown in the regions where guests are most likely to be traveling from is a crucial part of the price, visibility, and ranking mix. Having a configurable tool for simultaneously comparing multiple POS enables revenue managers to adjust rates across all channels by region. Yet, many of today's rate shoppers are missing this precise ability to track Points of Sale in potentially business-critical regions, such as China.

FornovaCI enables users to customize any Point of Sale - across 72 countries, including difficult-to-track regions such as China, Latin America and Africa. These insights are critical both to reactive rate setting and proactively creating an effective rate strategy in any market conditions.

4. Does my rate shopper show prices from Booking Basic?

Continuously monitoring third-party rates is critical. FornovaCI is the only rate shopper that tracks Booking Basic. Without a rate shopper of such capability, you are likely to be missing the whole picture - as you have no view of a key channel that is potentially selling competitor rooms at the lowest available rate!

5. Can I easily see our comp set's rate visibility?

There's little point in being able to compare competitors' OTA rates if you have no way of knowing where those hotels actually rank. That's why FornovaCI combines rate comparison with visibility insights so that you know where their rates are showing on each website.

6. Does our head office have cross-cluster or cross-chain visibility?

To deliver the most effective marketing and distribution support, cluster or region managers and revenue managers at a corporate level need to have visibility of your rate shopper data. That way, the right support can be provided at the right time.

FornovaCI features cross-cluster and cross-chain reporting, which allows the admin for a chain to switch between hotels. While most other rate shoppers in the market can only cater to individual properties, FornovaCI is an enterprise solution that enables the cluster/region/chain manager to monitor any hotel's performance against its comp set, and to monitor and enforce the corporate policies on pricing against the comp set.

7. Can I see how upcoming events are influencing pricing?

It goes without saying that an integrated events calendar is a must-have, to help you plan pricing around key dates. FornovaCI shows two types of events in the calendar - holidays in the hotel's source markets and local events in the hotel's market that could impact demand.

8. Does it help me benchmark our hotel's rates strategy?

Benchmarking is an integral component of an optimized rate strategy. Your rate shopper:

  • should allow you to compare each property to the last week, month and year so that you can

  • determine if your approach is giving your property a competitive edge and plan effectively for the future. The FornovaCI score will allow you to do this. It also allows you to analyze competitor rates up to 90 and 180 days in advance, ensuring you're always one step ahead.

9. What other systems does it sync with?

A truly intelligent solution that provides a single trust hub for all your hotel data will set you apart from your competitors. In the post-COVID-19 world, it's time for the best revenue optimization professionals to rethink their entire revenue stack - to ensure their hotels are in the strongest position possible to capitalize on opportunities as the market begins its recovery.

Check that your rate shopper can integrate with your distribution intelligence platform to enable you to correlate competitiveness with real occupancy and distribution insights, demand, and additional data. This can provide revenue managers with the understanding they need to determine whether losing to the competition is a "real" problem or not.

FornovaCI will soon integrate with Fornova's full suite of intelligence tools, to enable hotels to create and maintain the most profitable online distribution mix without using multiple vendors. These include our industry-recognized FornovaDI and FornovaEC solutions, as well as our business intelligence suite, FornovaBI.

10. Is expert support available whenever I need it?

Although your rate shopper should be intuitive, knowing you have around-the-clock support gives you total peace of mind. Fornova's customer success team is available 24/7 to provide one-to-one expert support whenever you need it, no matter where in the world you are.

FornovaCI, the latest innovation from Fornova, the market leader in Big Data for the travel and hospitality industries, is here - and is unrivaled for data quality.

Every day, Fornova tracks over 100,000 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?


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