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RFP Season is Coming: Is Your Data Ready?

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 9 August 2017
As a former member of a major hotel chains global sales team, I would spend the entire year building relationships, wining and dining customers, and conducting site inspections of some of the world’s top corporations. The goal was to shift market share, book group and meeting business, and ultimately be selected in early fall to receive the all-important request for approval (RFP) from the corporate travel manager so that my hotels were included in next year’s travel program.

How the Guest Journey Can Help Your Hotel Hit the Revenue Bullseye

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 3 August 2017
If you’ve read an article about hotel technology in the last 6 months, you’ve probably heard about the guest journey. Typically, the journey describes three main phases: pre-stay (or search & booking), onsite, and post-stay. When building or iterating on your hotel tech stack, take a step back and think about how your technology and solutions fit in the guest journey. Are the processes and solutions you have in place setting you up for success during each phase? Much like a game of darts, if the two pieces are strategically aligned, there’s no way you’ll miss your mark.

The Convergence of Hotel Marketing and Revenue Management

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 6 July 2017
At the start of my career, marketing was entirely different than what it is today. Without aging myself, I’ll just say that it was more my experience that marketing tested a lot of different programs, and we as sales members hoped for the best. But now, with so much data to rely on, the marketing game is no longer trial and error.

The Psychology of Pricing: Takeaways from HSMAI ROC 2017

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 28 June 2017
What does every revenue manager need to know about the psychology of pricing? Dan Skodol, Rainmaker's VP of Revenue, gave a 2020 Lightning Round Presentation at HSMAI's 2017 Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) in Toronto, sharing his research-based facts and tips on using psychology for insights into pricing strategy. Here are the key takeaways from his talk.

5 Ways to Master PMS/CRS/RO Integration

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 23 June 2017
When asked how you would assess the integration between your property management system (PMS), Central Reservation System (CRS) and Revenue Optimization (RO), over 75% of webinar attendees indicated that their systems are not integrated at all, their systems are not fully integrated, or that the integrated systems do not communicate well. To address this issue, here are the five key topics covered in the webinar.

Five Key Takeaways from OPTIMIZE2017 for Hoteliers

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 10 April 2017
In the weeks following Rainmaker’s 5th annual OPTIMIZE user conference at the stunning Terranea Resort in Southern California, we have continued to reflect on the compelling content presented during that fast-paced three-day event. With thought provoking and informative sessions addressing such key industry topics as the convergence of revenue management and marketing, industry disruption, the evolution of the hotel landscape and much more, we uncovered several trends that are on top of everyone’s mind this year. Below are the top five conference takeaways for the gaming and hospitality industry.

Hotel Patterns & Parsing: How to Use Data for Maximum Profitability

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 21 March 2017
Hotels and resorts collect massive amounts of data every day. From reservations to food and beverage, to parking and valet, each instance money is exchanged; a valuable hospitality data point is accrued. The use of a high-quality data management system can decipher and connect these data points to predict future results and maximize profitability.

OPTIMIZE2017 Day 1: A Spotlight on the New Power Couple

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 9 March 2017
When I first arrived yesterday at Southern California’s spectacular Terranea Resort for Rainmaker’s 2017 OPTIMIZE user conference, I must admit that delving into the new dynamics of advanced data science and hotel revenue management strategies wasn’t exactly the first thing on my mind. After a grueling flight, I couldn’t wait to just grab a perfectly chilled glass of California chardonnay from a local vineyard and step out onto the verandah to take in the sweeping cliff-top views of the Pacific.

Hospitality Revenue: 5 Things That Break a Demand Forecast

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 23 February 2017
In a previous blog post (“Revenue Management Forecasting: Outrun Your Pace Group”), I talked about the differences between Business Forecasts and Revenue Management Forecasts. This blog post digs a little deeper into Demand Forecasts, one of the cornerstones of revenue management. It is critical for revenue managers to understand future demand in order to project occupancy, revenue, and operational needs.

Hotel Revenue Management: Collaboration is Key at Rainmaker OPTIMIZE2017

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 23 January 2017
This week I was interested to read an article in Hotel News Now entitled "Collaboration needed for revenue management in 2017". The article covered a recent "Connect with HSMAI" event that took place in my native London last week. The event - and hence the article - focused on an expert panel of hotel distribution of distribution and revenue management experts, covering a range of mostly marketing-related topics.

5 Ways to Improve Revenue Management Analysis

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 27 December 2016
In order to stay competitive in an increasingly challenging market, hotels must be able to translate complex data to see what’s really profitable. A solid revenue management practice is the most effective way of finding out what’s working and what could use some help. Not having the right data, or using the right data for the wrong reasons, is basically leaving money on the table. It’s important to think of revenue management analysis as flexible to the ever-changing market instead of formulas that are carved in stone. By analyzing sales trends and forecasting results, pricing strategies can be adjusted to maximize profit. Below are five easy ways to get the most out of revenue management analysis.

Three Steps to Revenue Management Performance Measurement

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 29 November 2016
In the hospitality industry we have heard that “A revenue management program/system has the potential to increase revenue by 3 – 5%”. By revenue management system, we are talking about sophisticated and intelligent – and automated – software data analysis solutions. While there has been plenty written about revenue management best practices as a discipline, very little has been written about how to measure whether specific revenue management strategies and the software tools that support them are effective revenue increasers. Without this information and insight it becomes very difficult to identify precisely where improvements can be made and how.

Four Ways Hotel Business Intelligence Drives Successful Promotions

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 15 November 2016
To this day, I am still surprised by the lengths hotels will go when creating a promotion or sales strategy. Often, they overlook where the bookings will transact and, even more importantly, what effect those transactions will ultimately have on property revenue and profit. This is because, all too often, the property spends more time developing the creative for the promotion than analyzing the data to support it. This can lead to “promotions” which result in the dilution of rates or worse, shifting bookings into less profitable channels.

Six Revenue Management Tips for Independent Hotels

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 8 November 2016
A tremendous opportunity exists for independent hotels in today’s marketplace. Travelers are looking for unique experiences that big brands cannot provide. They would rather stay somewhere memorable than spend time at a cookie cutter hotel – as long as the price is right. If you’re an independent hotel, now is the time to seize this opportunity to develop new business based on the unique experience you offer your guests. At the same time, you have to deploy solid revenue management strategies using the right distribution channels to make sure you are matching the right rates to your value proposition.

How Comprehensive Rate-Shopping Helps Hotels Drive Direct Bookings

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 25 October 2016
Last month, I attended the Hotel Data Conference in Nashville. Unsurprisingly, there was much buzz about industry consolidation and its multi-faceted effects on hotel operations and marketing, including channel distribution and revenue management. One aspect of this phenomenon is the potential shift in balance between the big (and getting bigger) brands and the ever-powerful OTAs. Hotels love the OTAs’ reach, but would much rather avoid the 20-30% OTA commissions by channeling potential guests to their own booking engines on their proprietary property websites.

Don't Be The Bottleneck in Group Revenue Management!

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 18 October 2016
Imagine you’re at the airport. You’re rushing to board a flight. You arrived with no time to spare, you run into the airport to the security line, and it looks long. You wait patiently, telling yourself that you’ve got plenty of time, but the seconds keep ticking by. And the seconds turn to minutes, and at some point you start to get worried that you might not make your flight. At this point you start to analyze the situation you see before you. The line next to you looks like it’s moving more quickly than yours. You look all the way to the front of the line and you see there are two TSA agents at the front of the other line and only one working on yours. Panic sets in!

Five Take-Aways from the Hotel Data Conference

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 15 September 2016
Last week I had the privilege of attending another excellent Hotel Data Conference in Nashville TN. As usual this event - produced in association with our friends at Hotel News Now - delivered a persuasive mix of industry expertise and insight, and the opportunity to network with some of the leading experts in hotel revenue management. Here are my top five insights from a stimulating conference.

DNC Lessons on Group Revenue Management

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 30 July 2016
Love them or hate them, eventually every major metropolitan city gets a mega event. US presidential elections (specifically the Republican and Democratic conventions) are a perfect example of highly passionate events that take over any host city. Sounds like a great opportunity for your hotel’s bottom line, right? Unfortunately at a broad level, hotel owners who haven’t gone through events like these end up almost always disappointed in the revenue outcome. This is mostly because of the following factors... By Dom Beveridge

Revenue Management Forecasting: Outrun Your Pace Group

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 19 July 2016
In the last mile of a recent distance race, I suddenly found myself running alongside a pace group leader. If you’re unfamiliar with pace groups, they’re an optional means to assure yourself of a certain finishing time so long as you stick with the group for the entire race. This particular pacer turned to me and said, “I’m just the pacer – go on, go ahead and beat me!” I mustered up some energy and pushed myself a little harder to see what I was capable of at that late stage of the race.

ROC 2016: Big Revenue in The Big Easy

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 19 July 2016
This year’s HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) was the best yet. While leading sessions, networking at parties, and presenting awards, the Rainmaker team and I had a great time connecting with our customers and friends, including revenue managers from all over the world. And on top of it all, we got to enjoy the great city of New Orleans!

Why I Could Have Used Science in Group Pricing

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 22 June 2016
banquet-453799_1920r.jpg Accountants and merchants used counting frames, or abacuses for centuries as a way to keep track of profit, losses and inventory. The abacus, when it was invented in the Ming dynasty, was the modern technology of the time. The frame with the wooden dowels lining the middle and the movable beads were used to conduct business everyday. As the world continued to grow and evolve, so did technology. Merchants and accountants transitioned up the technological ladder to the cash registers and mobile payments we use today. Why? If the abacus worked, why aren't we using it now?

Get Ready to ROC With Rainmaker in New Orleans!

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 15 June 2016
Get Ready to ROC With Rainmaker in New Orleans! Every year, the Rainmaker hospitality and gaming team looks forward to attending the annual HSMAI ROC (Revenue Optimization Conference) event. This year the event is taking place in the historic and fabulous city of New Orleans. Revenue managers, stakeholders and optimizers from hotels of all shapes and sizes travel from all over the US and abroad to gather at this event. It's so exciting for our industry that I like to call it the annual Revenue Management Nerd Prom.

A Group Business Note From Tammy Farley

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 19 May 2016
festival-962946_960_720.jpg It's a seller's market for hotels in the group business - the strongest in more than a decade. While new hotel construction in North America is experiencing a healthy jump, the focus is on limited service and boutique offerings without a meetings product, leaving supply stagnant at a time when purse strings are loosening on meeting budgets across all regions. In fact, demand is now growing at up to four times the rate of supply, according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel's 2016 Meetings and Events Forecast, which reports that hotels are finding themselves in a position to raise group room rates by as much as 4.3%.

Using Group Business To Maximize Your Hotel Profitability

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 18 May 2016
Using Group Business To Maximize Your Hotel Profitability Hotel Revenue management teams frequently have the responsibility to report performance results to corporate, owners, and other senior leaders. A component, and sometimes a very large one, is to discuss results from the STR report. Usually, this discussion is around the year-over-year change in RevPAR index - a metric that that is important enough that it often affects people's bonuses. There is a potential downside to focusing solely on RevPAR - particularly when it comes to evaluating group business.

Revenue Management Roundtable Discussions at National University of Singapore

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 5 May 2016
Revenue Management Roundtable Discussions at National University of Singapore Rainmaker was represented by Patrick Andres and Joey Kang at the 2016 National University of Singapore (NUS) Revenue Management Roundtable held at their Singapore campus. The event was hosted by Professor Sherri Kimes. Sherri is a Visiting Professor of Decision Sciences at NUS, and a Professor of Operations Management at Cornell University.

Top 3 Forecasting Ideas to Avoid The Continuous Improvement Trap

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog 3 May 2016
Top 3 Forecasting Ideas to Avoid The Continuous Improvement Trap We are well into 2016 and it is apparent that while we see RevPAR growth, it is considerably lower than years past. As a result, hotels are going to have to work very hard this year to achieve their targets. Many hotels have a budget that is built on a continuous improvement philosophy. For instance, if the hotel expects the market to grow by 6%, they may budget 7%. However, what if this isn't good enough? What if your RGI is far below expectations? What happens when a disruptor shows up in the marketplace and changes everything? To combat this, hoteliers should be thinking about discontinuous improvement. In other words, not just marginally better results, but finding ways to create dramatically improved performance.

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