As the global hospitality industry seeks to understand what the ‘new normal’ will look like, gaining a competitive advantage in the drive to attract back leisure and business guests will be critical. Central to this will be having the ability to track in real-time not only your competitors’ rates, but also their visibility and their guest reviews too.
Martin H. Sabag, VP Products at Fornova, explores why hotels need to consider upgrading their basic rate shopper tools to a more insightful solution.
According to The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the hospitality sector will face a gradual return to travel over the coming months as restrictions slowly begin to ease. It believes the domestic markets will be the first to benefit with a return of staycations as people choose to drive to their destinations, followed by trips to neighboring countries before expanding to regions and finally long-haul flights. Younger people between 18 to 35 years old are likely to be the first to step out.
This gives hotels an opportunity to reinvigorate a targeted rate strategy to secure bookings. In the post-COVID-19 world, gaining the competitive edge will never have been more important. That’s why Fornova has launched a Competitive Intelligence solution, FornovaCI - that not only gives a real-time view of competitor rates, but combines that with competitor visibility and guest reviews to provide a CI score to help users benchmark and optimize their rates approach.
There’s a wider discussion on hotels rethinking their revenue infrastructure to capitalize on opportunities but, for now, let’s start with the key piece of technology that every property has and needs - the rate shopper.
So is your current rate shopper still up to the job?
Five features any rate shopper should have to ensure you can compete in the ‘new normal’:
1. Accurate and complete data
All rate shopper providers will say their data is accurate, but not all are created equal. Just how accurate they are depends both on how extensive their data mining is and what happens to the results before they reach you.
FornovaCI tracks more than 100,000 brand.com and OTA websites, including capturing Booking Basic prices, and we continuously collect rates from over 60 million dynamic IPs, giving clients the confidence that they have the most complete, up-to-date competitor picture.
It's important to use technology that analyzes the web by emulating human site-visitors, that can operate at scale, and is agnostic to language, currency, layout changes, and bot-blocking technology.
A good rate shopper should gather data even from hard-to-scan websites, such as Ctrip. It should also have the ability to show rates from mobile apps and mobile websites. With an increase in bookings made on mobile devices, hotels are making offers exclusive to those users. Therefore, a pricing strategy for mobile users absolutely needs to take into consideration competitor rates available on mobile devices.
2. Customizable Point of Sale settings that cover all regions - including China
If your hotel in London relies on guest bookings from (for example) China, you need to be able to accurately compare competitor rates as they are shown in-country. FornovaCI geo-tags every Point of Sale (POS), enabling users to accurately compare prices and identify pricing differences between markets.
You can define the geographical POS for each property based on its relevant market so that you correctly compare rates as they are seen by your potential guests. These insights are critical both to reactive rate setting and also creating an effective rate strategy.
3. Tracking of third party rates
Continuously monitoring third party rates is critical in order to know what you are really up against. But until now, no rate shopper has had that ability. FornovaCI is the only rate shopper that tracks Booking Basic. Without that visibility, you have no way of knowing what could be the lowest and most popular rate available for your competitors!
4. Capability to compare comp set online visibility
Visibility and ranking are two of the most important elements when you position your price on an OTA or metasearch website. Understanding the ranking of any hotel in the different channels (OTAs, metasearch sites, and Google) is critical for competitive pricing, because if you’re not on the first or second page of the search results, does it even matter what your rate is? Nobody is likely to see you.
5. Benchmarking of each property over time
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 the competitive edge and see if you’re improving. The FornovCI score will allow you to do this.
Fornova is a market leader in Big Data for the travel & hospitality industries, and that is why FornovaCI’s data quality is unrivaled.
We track over 100,000 Brand.com and OTA websites, and have the most comprehensive data set in the world:
- Any POS (72 different countries and counting, incl. difficult to reach China, LatAm, and Africa)
- Any source (incl. Ctrip and 3rd party rates from the likes of Booking Basic)
- Any platform (accessed from desktop, mobile web, and mobile app)
- 60 million dynamic IPs
Are you maybe ready to upgrade your rate shopper?