Cookies on HFTP Bytes

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us give you the best possible user experience.
By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Read our Privacy Notice to learn more.

I understand
  • Next Event


    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    December 5–6, 2018
    Dubai, UAE

  • Upcoming Event


    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    April 10–11, 2019
    Palau de Congressos
    Palma, Mallorca - Spain

  • Upcoming Event


    Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference

    Minneapolis Convention Center

    June 17-20, 2019

Article by Jason Q. Freed

Is RMS Technology Actually Holding Hotels Back?

Duetto 14 September 2018
An overwhelming theme in 2018 is that hotel pricing power seems to be a thing of the past. More people are traveling and staying in hotels than ever before, but hotel operators are facing shrinking profitability margins because rates and revenue are not growing at the same clip as costs, such as labor, marketing and distribution.Ask why hotels can't drive ADR, and you'll get blame pointed in several directions, from online price transparency, increased hotel supply and new competition from home-sharing services like Airbnb. But in hallways and breakout rooms this year, I heard a new challenge: technology systems that rely too heavily on competitor rate-shopping and thus recommend severe discounting as day-of-arrival approaches.After some candid conversations, it's evident that some revenue managers and revenue management systems are relying too heavily on competitor prices and rate-shopping tools to make pricing decisions.Honestly, this caught me off guard. How could systems meant to aggregate and analyze data, build an accurate forecast and make profit-driven pricing decisions be in fact suppressing ADR growth?So, I came back with honest questions for Duetto's product team. And it turns out the answer is two-fold: mistakes are being made on both the strategy and the technology fronts.Here's what I already knew: rate shops and competitor pricing data is meant to be a guide and a measurement, not a "demand signal" or the sole data set off which hotels are making pricing decisions. Below, I'll highlight some new strategies and data sets to help hotels make better pricing decisions and ways revenue teams can break themselves from the competitor-driven pricing mold.I also knew that discounting rate to boost occupancy as day-of-arrival approaches is a bad strategy because it sends your competitors into a tailspin and more-importantly trains your customers to either wait to book or cancel and rebook when price inevitably drops.What I was more curious about though, was the accusations that revenue management systems are recommending heavy discounts, and it turns out that is partially true. Some hotels with a one-way integration to a lightweight RMS are in fact weighing rate-shops too heavily and thus overreacting to competitor price drops. Other revenue management systems use a legacy theory called "zero-bid" to shape their algorithms, meaning when demand is not there, the value of the next room to sell is zero. More on that after the strategy discussion.New Strategies to Move Beyond Competitor PricingOn a panel at the Hotel Data Conference, Ash Kapur, SVP of hotel asset management and CRO for Starwood Capital Group, said even with a revenue management system, the biggest challenge for any hotel is dealing with a foolish revenue manager in the comp set. We've all heard similar refrains from hoteliers about only being as good as their dumbest competitor on the street corner.Kapur said a core issue is that hoteliers are looking at market trends and competitor rates before simply evaluating how many rooms they have left to sell."People are starting to price based on these rate shopping tools. No!" he said. "We set the rate. Then we will push it to all channels: hotel website, call center, OTAs. If managed correctly, if you understand the demand channels and your customer needs, then you are able to push higher rates even through the OTAs."Competitive rates are one piece of the pricing puzzle, but many hotels are paying too much attention to their competitors. Whether it is done manually or with an automated system, any strategy relying on competitive rates and competitor data as the primary mechanisms for pricing is flawed, argues Michael McCartan, Managing Director of Duetto."Each hotel has unique demand every day based on its geography, branding, amenities, group business, corporate contracts, online reviews and more. A good forecast considers competitive data, but also other local factors like events, flight arrival information and even web shopping data to more accurately understand overall demand," McCartan writes here. "If you or your revenue management system are primarily focusing on competitor pricing and someone across the street cuts rate for little or no reason, and others follow, it could and probably will lead to a race to the bottom for everyone."It seems as if the No. 1 thing hotel revenue teams can do to drive rate is to stop pricing based on their competitors. Instead, look to the market as an indicator, not a decision-driver, and consider new metrics like GOPPAR and GOPPOR as key performance measurements.What Does Rate-Shopping Technology Actually Tell You?Until recently, it was common practice for hotel revenue teams to call neighboring hotels daily and ask their current rate. Understanding the importance of this data, new technologies were developed to help hotels move beyond manual, static rate shops and provide them with live visibility into competitor rate changes and updates.This insight can be key for hoteliers to ensure rate parity across channels, including, OTA, wholesalers, etc.But even rate-shop providers understand that room rates should not be set on competitor data alone, and thus provide their data to larger platforms that ingest and analyze additional data sets. Pricing driven by competitor rates as the main indicator sets hotels up for failure. For this reason, lightweight pricing tools without a two-way connection to the hotel PMS for availability and other in-house data sets are fading out of fashion.It's one reason shut down its in-house revenue management solution; the necessary integrations were just too complex and costly to build.At Duetto, the pricing application was built to put a much greater focus on finding a price that will make hotels the most money rather than on estimating demand as a means to that end. Rate shops do not influence the pricing algorithm unless a user wants to set up rules where they always sit at a certain position above or below a competitor, and even this strategy is vetted through a complex conversation before implemented.Instead, Duetto prices more holistically by using multiple Demand Signals, relying on price, web shopping data, and other third-party data as the cornerstones. Merging real-time signals with a hotel's historical data provides a better guide.In fact, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Marco Benvenuti told me that when he co-founded Duetto and was working with engineers to develop the algorithm, he made sure to buck legacy revenue management trends that were suppressing pricing power."The very first thing that I wanted to do was not to rely on what we call the bid-price approach to pricing. The bid price basically tells you: If I had an extra room in my hotel, what would be the value of that extra room, and traditional legacy revenue management systems base their algorithm on this," he said. "The weakness of that approach, in the modern world with complex distribution, is that [hotel rates] can go very low very quickly if you're not forecasting a sellout. So, if for whatever reason your forecast 90 days out was to approach a sellout, but something derailed that forecast, the bid price reverts to zero."Obviously starting the value of the next available room at $0 is not going to help hotels push pricing power.So, while there are plenty of events and trends that hold back hotel revenue teams from pushing rates, your RMS should not be one of them. If you're dropping rate as day of arrival approaches or relying too much on last-minute discount channels like Hotwire and HotelTonight, challenge your team to identify the causes and revise a strategy to break out of this mold. Proper pricing strategies will help the hospitality industry as a whole fend off disruptors and ensure profitability and longevity.RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESExperimenting With Price Elasticity and the Fallacy of the $0 Bid PriceStop Calling it Unconstrained DemandHotel Ecommerce Could Get a Boost from Data and Analytics
commercial Partners with Duetto to Elevate Revenue Strategy

Duetto 5 September 2018
San Francisco, 5 September, 2018 -- Europe's H-Hotels Group has partnered with Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, to maximize profitability across its portfolio of 61 properties in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), ahead of expansion into other European is implementing the technology firm's Open Pricing application, GameChanger; its solution for intelligent reporting, ScoreBoard; and its groups business application, BlockBuster, across its entire portfolio.The family-owned H-Hotels Group operates about 10,500 rooms across its own brands, including Hyperion, H4 Hotels, H2 Hotels, H+ Hotels and H.ostels, making it one of the largest hotel operators in the DACH region.Duetto's Revenue Strategy Platform brings together core technologies and data to make them accessible through multi-tenant cloud architecture, powering a suite of applications delivering a holistic Revenue Strategy that increases organizational efficiency, revenue and will use the GameChanger Open Pricing application to yield rates independently by property and stay date, room type, booking channel and customer segment, driving increased revenue, profit and efficiency.Using ScoreBoard, the company will be able to quickly and efficiently produce and share multi-property reports such as financial forecasts and budgets, leading to more accurate reporting and streamlined operations.BlockBuster will help to bring together sales and revenue management to effectively yield group bookings and optimise on contracted business."We have a lot of expertise and know-how but appreciate that we need to work with the best technology service providers in order to fully drive our Revenue Strategy. Digitisation is key. Duetto's Open Pricing solution will help us to optimise our rates to take full advantage of market demand. Duetto's solutions will also provide a more in-depth view of how our portfolio is performing, helping us to see opportunities and act upon them," said Alexander Fitz, CEO, H-Hotels AG."H-Hotels is an innovative industry leader in the DACH region eager to adopt the very latest technological solutions. They understand the benefits of operating a cloud-based Revenue Strategy Platform and how it will help them to make better informed decisions to maximise on opportunities. Working together, we look forward to helping them advance their Revenue Strategy," said Marco Benvenuti, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, has plans to expand in Spain, Italy and Hungary, with the company's first property in Budapest currently under construction.About Based in Bad Arolsen, Hesse, the H-Hotels chain is one of Germany's largest hotel operators. The family-run company employs more than 3,000 staff, and includes the Hyperion brand, H4 Hotels, H+ Hotels, H2 Hotels, and H.ostels, the most recent addition, all operated under the umbrella brand The group, which has 60 hotels at 50 different locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, is enjoying continuous growth. More hotels are planned for cities in the DACH region, and our first location outside of the German-speaking area will be opening in Budapest.Family holidays, weekend breaks, business trips or MICE events: locations provide everything travellers need for a modern vacation. Guests can collect loyalty points each time they stay, with our HotMiles bonus programme, and through cooperation with Miles & More and PAYBACK.Find more information at

Guestline, Duetto Announce Technology Partnership

Duetto 30 August 2018
San Francisco, 30 August, 2018 -- Duetto, the hospitality industry's only Revenue Strategy Platform, has entered into a technology partnership with Guestline, provider of hotel IT solutions, with the launch of a two-way integration between Duetto and Guestline's Rezlynx property management system (PMS).Both Guestline and Duetto provide fully native cloud solutions. The seamless integration enables users of both solutions to optimise on pricing, better manage inventory and segmentation, implement personalised offers and streamline the reporting process."As a web native application, we have a lot of synergies with Duetto. The alignment between Guestline and Duetto affords our mutual customers a deeper understanding of their inventory and rates. These powerful insights provide valuable pricing decision support to effectively deliver revenue growth," said Peter Fitzgerald, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Guestline.The high-quality data provided by Guestline's Channel Distribution System to Duetto's solutions, and the real-time nature of the integration, means that hotels can truly adopt an Open Pricing approach to Revenue Strategy, yielding rates independently based on dates, channels, room types and customer segments."In Guestline we have found a technology partner that truly shares our DNA. The integration has been swift, efficient and welcomed by our pilot customer. Guestline's support of our Open Pricing strategy allows us to provide hoteliers with rate recommendations tailored not only to their property but also to the specific guest, setting a new benchmark in personalised pricing," said Marco Benvenuti, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Duetto.The integration with Duetto enables Guestline customers to optimise their Revenue Strategy through Duetto's Open Pricing application, GameChanger; intelligent reporting solution, ScoreBoard; and contracted business optimisation application, BlockBuster.Duetto's Revenue Strategy Platform brings together core technologies and data to make them accessible through a multi-tenant cloud architecture, powering a suite of applications delivering a holistic Revenue Strategy that increases organizational efficiency, revenue and profitability.About Guestline Guestline's multi-award-winning property management, distribution and digital marketing software for hospitality businesses is cloud-based. The software enables hospitality business owners and managers in sectors such as hotels, serviced apartments, pubs, and more, to manage bookings and operations both efficiently and profitably.Innovative technology developments include integration with many leading third-party applications, tokenisation for PCI compliance, website design and additional functionality to improve customer service and capture more revenue.With offices in Europe and Asia, Guestline's systems are used in 25 countries across 5 continents and enables properties of all sizes to achieve maximum occupancy at the most profitable rate.For more information, visit:
Article by Jason Freed

Hotel Occupancy and Demand are Soaring. Why Can't You Drive ADR?

Duetto 28 August 2018
To illustrate, STR data shows the industry sold 117 million room nights in June, the most ever recorded in that month. June marked 100 consecutive months of RevPAR growth (since March 2010), with average monthly RevPAR growth at 5.8%."This clearly points at very healthy group, business transient and leisure demand, supported by still undeterred GDP growth and low unemployment numbers," said Jan Freitag, Senior VP of Lodging Insights at STR."We're in the best demand environment we've ever seen as an industry," added Isaac Collazo, VP of Competitive Intelligence at IHG, during the Hotel Data Conference last week.Yet, June data also showed year-over-year rate increases of only 2.7%, which is right around the historical average. In fact, for the first four months of 2018, ADR growth climbed higher each month, exceeding 3% in both March and April, which seemed to point to an increase in pricing power. But in May ADR growth fell to only 2.2%.Ask why, and you'll get blame pointed in several directions, from online price transparency, increased hotel supply and new competition from home-sharing services like Airbnb. During a panel titled "What Happened to ADR Growth?" at HDC in Nashville last week, hotel owners, operators and asset managers mentioned each of these factors, in addition to shedding light on new issues leading to rate suppression.Interesting stat from #hoteldataconf: we're probably still in the midst of record demand growth for the hotel industry (maybe another 2 years) but ADR growth still weak #trends -- Tim Peter (@tcpeter) August 16, 2018Are We Focusing on the Wrong Metrics?The panel agreed that hotel managers and franchisors are often incorrectly incentivized to focus on occupancy instead of rate and profitability."We do sellout incentives," admitted Michael Heaton, President of Waterford Hotel Group. "I actually think we've gotten to that point because of how we do displacement analysis, and we're asking operators how often they're selling out."Esther Gayfield, VP of Asset Management for Colony NorthStar, said the practice is not uncommon and often hoteliers will take low-rated business to get to break-even."When we're measuring, we don't always fully understand how this price of business is going to affect things like year-over-year margins," she said. "We're often taking occupancy at the expense of profitability."Gayfield also said asset managers tend to put pressure on operators to maintain their share in the market, and it's easy for them to shoot for occupancy increases to hit those numbers."If we don't sell out and we had a perfect fill last year, then they're afraid to slip in index," she said.To fix this, ensure management is focusing on top and bottom line, said Leticia Proctor, Senior VP of Sales, Revenue Management and Digital Strategies for PM Hotel Group. "You have to be fluid and flexible every day, and maybe at times you need to drive occupancy," she said.Gayfield added that displacement can be brought down to the gross operating profit level, and that sometimes those numbers dispel anecdotal evidence on whether a piece of business is profitable."Management companies are incentivized at the top and bottom lines. Below that, GOP is what the ownership has to focus on, which includes insurance and payments," said Ash Kapur, Senior VP of Hotel Asset Management and Chief Revenue Officer at Starwood Capital Group. "Expenses continue to rise, and we need to focus on a higher rate that will flow through better."The panelists all agreed that a new rate transparency created by an influx of e-commerce hotel booking sites is undermining hoteliers' pricing power. In fact, new data shows the average traveler visits anywhere from four to 18 unique sites before booking."Millennials love to shop and visit multiple sites, and now they're the ones booking lots of hotel rooms," Kapur said. "Years back they did not have TripAdvisor, all they had was directories. Today that transparency shows them how we perform, how we treat our guests, and actually has a greater impact on how we price."Heaton of Waterford Hotel Group said this transparency compels hotel revenue teams to look at paid placement to level the playing field."Why should I book direct if I see rates $150 less on a wholesale channel?" Proctor of PM Hotel Management asked. "We own the rooms, and we own the rate. Now my hotels are having a hard time filling up on weekends and compression nights because of Airbnb."How Hoteliers Can Gain the Confidence to Push PriceWhile the revenue management role looks much different than it used to, Gayfield of Colony NorthStar said she's worried that revenue employees aren't learning as fast as they need to keep up with technology innovations."We put too much pressure on RMs to make the decisions when the GM should also be the Revenue Strategy leaders," she said. "I think it's important to focus on education, from GMs to sales to revenue."Kapur said a core issue is that hoteliers are looking at market trends and competitor rates before simply evaluating how many rooms they have left to sell."People are starting to price based on these rate shopping tools. No!" he said. "We set the rate. Then we will push it to all channels: hotel website, call center, OTAs."Kapur said Starwood Capital has successfully achieved higher ADR from OTAs by understanding where the demand is coming from and by building room type and channel pricing strategies."If managed correctly, if you understand the demand channels, then you are able to push higher rates even through the OTAs," he said."OTAs have forced us get really analytical about this because there's always an expense," Heaton added. "A great way to challenge your GM is to disrupt a revenue management meeting and ensure the discussion ends with net rate."Kapur said that often brand-developed revenue systems aren't syncing up with that strategy."Larger brands have RMSs or platforms where you are not able to maximize ADR potentials," he said. "If we have a team of smart revenue people and can't maximize ADR by room type, why can't we do that?""Brand systems are looking too much at historical data before, say, a bunch of new supply came in the market," Gayfield added. "Everyone says, 'Trust the system. Trust the system.' Well, I have to question the system. You have to understand the data."RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESHow Hotels Can Regain Their Pricing Power (Video)Owners, Asset Managers Emphasize Need for Leadership in Revenue StrategyKalibri Offers Guide for Finding Optimal Business Mix
Article by Marco Benvenuti

What Casinos Can Learn from Hotel Revenue Management

Duetto 24 August 2018
It's astonishing to see how far the hotel revenue management discipline has come over the past decade.Ten years ago, revenue management was basically a finance guy in the basement office of the hotel looking at historical data, building a forecast or budget in Excel, layering in on-the-books data and recommending a single rate, which was then manually entered into the PMS. Very few universities had revenue management as a core part of their curriculum, and operations and finance people were finding their way around new data, new technology and learning a new discipline.At the time, I was fresh out of grad school and finding my way around casino revenue departments on the Las Vegas Strip. Back then, the revenue and marketing teams spoke two different languages, and what analytics we could find were cobbled together. OTAs were eating us for lunch, driving both rates and profitability in a downward spiral.When we met as colleagues at Wynn, Patrick Bosworth and I were both stuck in corporate roles. After a while of prodding, though, I was given enough freedom to construct a revenue team on my own terms. Since we started basically from scratch, it afforded us the opportunity to think outside the box, and our first priority was aligning several departments along the same strategies, data, goals and KPIs. Next, we looked for the ability to price each of our room types and distribution channels independently of each other so we could add even more dynamic pricing.It turns out many hoteliers across the world were facing the same challenges. A decade later, hotels -- particularly large brands and operators -- have made significant progress.The revenue team has moved out of the basement and brings analysis to the table that ultimately shapes sales and marketing strategies. The majority of hotels have embraced some type of automation, where instead of keystroking rate changes on a daily basis across all channels, they've invested in some type of technology to assist. And finally, new data sources have become abundant in the hotel industry, allowing revenue managers to make much more educated and segmented rate decisions.It's a transformation we commonly refer to as: "From revenue management to Revenue Strategy."More Opportunities in the Casino Revenue Strategy SpaceNow it's time for casinos to get on board.Not because Duetto thinks it's important to running a successful business, or because we want to sell you the tools to bring Revenue Strategy to life. But because the casino industry is changing fast, from less gaming to more entertainment, and from Las Vegas and Atlantic City to destinations across the country. Revenue Strategy is a proven way to shift your operations with little investment to drive more profitability, and frankly could be a necessary action to sustaining your business for the long term.Look, we already know that the hotel and casino industries are one in the same. Some casinos do not have hotels, but those that do can replicate many of the successes with little to no effort.Open Pricing - or the idea of dynamically pricing your dates, room types and channels independently of each other - is a no-brainer. This will help you segment your guests further and price each segment appropriately based on their value to your property.In comparison to hotels, casinos have even more tools and resources at their disposable to make significant impacts to the bottom line. With access to a guest's Average Daily Theoretical or even gaming spend, casinos can combine that data with Open Pricing and begin dynamically customizing offers and rates based on the total value of each customer.With the right tools, casinos can go beyond the typical comp or no-comp decision and optimize revenue for each booking. Operators can calculate a more appropriate reinvestment number to tailor marketing promotions and enticements.What's Holding Casinos Back?Hotels didn't jump all the way on the Revenue Strategy train right from the get-go, either. It took developing and adopting strategy best practices, as well as developing or purchasing tools to ingest the demand data, build a forecast, analyze it and send myriad rate recommendations to the right systems. All of those pieces and parts have been evolving over the past decade and will continue to do so.The cultural shifts -- trusting revenue teams to drive decisions, aligning departments around revenue goals, adopting more dynamic pricing strategies -- took more time to adapt, and some hotels are still recognizing the value.This is where casinos seem to hit a roadblock.A small number are grasping it, and the results show. When you're using the right data and making calculated decisions across departments based on this data, revenues will improve immediately. Cash revenue is the first to jump, but as you start getting the right players in the doors, total player value will follow and soon your higher-rated guests are driving month-over-month profit increases.Evolving revenue management practices to include new demand signals, automation and predictive analytics was a no-brainer for hotels, and now we're proud that a significant part of the industry has adopted the terminology -- and more importantly the practices -- of Revenue Strategy and Open Pricing.It's time casinos start to embrace the future as well, and it starts with adopting a cultural shift toward a more holistic Revenue Strategy. Here's hoping it doesn't take a decade.Related Casino Revenue Strategy Articles:Tribal Casino Operators: Embrace the DataThe House Wins: Elevating Casino Revenue Management to Revenue StrategyAtlantic City Casinos Hit Summer Hot Streak

Dorsett Hospitality International, Duetto Announce Revenue Strategy Partnership

Duetto 23 August 2018
Hong Kong, 23 August, 2018 -- Dorsett Hospitality International has agreed to implement several applications from Duetto, hospitality's Revenue Strategy Platform, as it looks to build out its core markets in Asia and expand further in new countries like Australia.Duetto's flagship Open Pricing application, GameChanger, will allow Dorsett to yield room rates independently by stay date, customer segment, booking channel and room type. Dorsett will also adopt Duetto's solution for intelligent reporting, ScoreBoard, which enables users to create and share budgets, forecasts and other crucial reports with a few clicks.The agreement covers a majority of the company's Dorsett Hotels & Resorts and d.Collection portfolio.Rebecca Kwan, Senior Vice President of Sales - Hong Kong & United Kingdom of Dorsett Hospitality International, said the rapidly evolving and highly transparent travel industry drove the need for Duetto's platform, which leverages real-time demand information to help Dorsett's properties make better, faster pricing decisions and quickly share reports, budgets and forecasts."We're at the forefront of changes in consumers' needs and shopping behaviors, because as a vertically integrated company, we design, build, own and manage all of our hotels," Kwan said. "We sought a solution that would empower us to optimize our revenue in an extremely price-sensitive industry and support our rapid expansion."She added that Dorsett is overhauling its website this year with enhanced e-commerce features and the launch of its global loyalty program."Our ultimate goal is to increase direct bookings through our hotel websites," Kwan said. "With the business intelligence solutions offered by Duetto, we are able to be more responsive to the changes of online rates in real time, to make sure our websites always offer the best rates to our guests."Patrick Bosworth, Co-Founder and CEO of Duetto, added: "Dorsett has captured a very attractive niche of four-star hotels in Asia, and we think our Revenue Strategy Platform can capitalize on that potential by making Dorsett's hotels more efficient and dynamic. We look forward to building up both companies' scale in key Asian markets for years to come."Kwan said Duetto's platform will be the Revenue Strategy solution for the hotels in Dorsett's pipeline, with nine more hotels opening within the next couple of years in Malaysia, Australia and the United Kingdom.About Dorsett Hospitality InternationalDorsett Hospitality International is under the Far East Consortium Limited, which has three brands under its umbrella: the upscale and midscale Dorsett Hotels & Resorts and d.Collection, comprising a range of charismatic boutique hotels, and the value-led Silka Hotels. The group currently owns, operates and develops 54 hotels making up close to 12,000 rooms in key destinations such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, China, United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.For more information, visit

Keynote Speakers Announced for Revenue Strategy Forum London

Duetto 14 August 2018
London -- Hotel industry leaders, innovators and strategists will come together to discuss the hot topics of the moment, including Blue Ocean strategies, blockchain and e-commerce, at the fourth annual Revenue Strategy Forum (RSF) London.Organised by Duetto, the hospitality industry's only Revenue Strategy Platform, RSF London 2018 will present a packed programme of debate when it takes place ahead of World Travel Market on 5 November 2018 at the Amba Hotel Charing Cross.Innovator, strategist and Chief Operating Officer of citizenM, Michael Levie, will open with a keynote presentation on the benefits to hotels of taking a Blue Ocean approach to business. He will provide the audience with insight on how to differentiate in a "sea of sameness" and find the blue ocean of profit to succeed.Levie will also moderate a panel discussion on blockchain. According to a survey by the World Economic Forum, 58% of executives anticipate that 10% of global GDP will be stored on blockchain before 2025. It is therefore imperative that hoteliers pay attention to this technological revolution.What can hoteliers learn from Amazon? How does the e-commerce giant always seem to know what to recommend next to their customers? Julien Simon, Principal Evangelist A.I./Machine Learning EMEA, Amazon Web Services, will provide the closing presentation, talking about how A.I. can transform the hotel business."Now in its fourth year, RSF London will continue to challenge Europe's hotel leadership on how their organisations should manage change and embrace new concepts," said Michael McCartan, Managing Director, EMEA, Duetto. "Burning issues such as blockchain, change management and personalised e-commerce are topics that need to be addressed if the industry is to continue to innovate. Those leading the change will be those leading the pack as the industry moves forward."RSF London 2017 was attended by more than 150 hoteliers and senior executives focused on revenue and distribution.For tickets and further information, please visit London 2018 Agenda:Innovator's Insight:Blue Ocean Thinking: Making Competition IrrelevantMichael Levie, Chief Operations Officer, citizenMSpotlight Session:Hype or Hope: Is blockchain going to change the industry, or much ado about nothing?Moderator:Michael Levie, Chief Operations Officer, citizenMPanellists:David Brillembourg, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Brillembourg HoldingsCharles Ehredt, Co-Founder & CEO, Currency AllianceBehind the Brand:Lean Luxury: Delivering a frictionless hotel experienceMichael Struck, Founder & CEO, Ruby GroupSpotlight Session:Boosting Direct Bookings Through PersonalisationModerator:Sam Weston, Marketing Manager, 80Days and Editor of Hotel SpeakPanellists:David Taylor, Chief Commercial Officer, glh HotelsAdam Rowledge, General Manager, Georgian House HotelKelly Cronin, Director of Revenue Management, Interstate Hotels & ResortsTechnology Focus:How AI And Machine Learning Can Transform Your BusinessJulien Simon, Principal Evangelist AI/ML EMEA, Amazon Web Services
Article by Mark Brandau

Owners, Asset Managers Emphasize Need for Leadership in Revenue Strategy

Duetto 10 August 2018
Hotel owners and asset managers led the charge at RSS 2018 for revenue-focused leadership that would help them and the major brands whose flags they carry. A more holistic Revenue Strategy that maximizes profitability is within reach, RSS attendees said, but it requires greater collaboration among all stakeholders, as well as all departments of a property.Highlights from RSS show that hoteliers recognize and emphasize the needs in the industry for greater alignment, leadership development and investment in technology.Aligning the Hotel Industry for Revenue StrategyThe prevailing sentiment about Revenue Strategy, shared by asset managers as well as the brand operators and owners, was that it's an all-hands approach, not relegated to one silo. Andrew Jordan, Chief Marketing Officer for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, said during a panel at RSS that responsibility for top-line goals shouldn't reside only with revenue managers and analysts."Revenue Strategy is way too important to be left to the revenue strategists," he said. "When I think about how our organizations are evolving, it seems like something that is not siloed at all. Not only is it about partnering with sales, marketing and e-commerce, but it's also about partnering with ops first and foremost."Doing so requires hotels to align those departments on not only strategy, but also on incentives and goals, said Nolan Wrentmore, Vice President of Revenue Management for Aimbridge Hospitality."It's about putting together a plan of what we all need to do to achieve a certain goal, whether it's as simple as a budget or STR report results or Net RevPAR," he said. "General managers are the ops leaders, and they need to be really involved. Everybody has to have that common understanding of what our goal is and how we're going to achieve it."Jordan remarked that a property's revenue strategists should be more involved than they typically are in the executive committee. Wrentmore completely agreed, adding that revenue leaders need the soft skills to effectively communicate a strategy to asset managers and owners."We get into situations where we like to explain what happened yesterday," Wrentmore said. "We have to explain why our STR Report sucked last week or month -- because nobody ever asks us about the good ones -- but more importantly, what owners and asset managers want to know is what are we doing about it? What are we strategizing for the future, and when is it going to turn around? People who can explain that are the individuals you need in your leadership team and executive committees."Developing Revenue Leadership for HotelsThinking about this involvement in the hotel's power structure gets hoteliers into thinking beyond revenue management or strategy toward what Bonnie Amato, Chief Revenue Officer of Fulcrum Hospitality, called "revenue leadership.""I actually don't use the term Revenue Strategy anymore; my new conversation point is revenue leadership," she said. "It's about defining what's the next step and leading to it."She added that when a hotel identifies a talented revenue manager, the most important investment to make in that person is leadership training. An expert in one particular revenue management system isn't as useful to a hotel as somebody who can communicate clearly and lead different departments into action."The best leader should lead," Amato said. "It doesn't make the second person any less important, because one person can't do it all."In fact, she said, it's exceedingly rare to find somebody already possessing leadership acumen and command of a revenue management system: "That's not necessarily a natural combination. So far, people have been brought up in one or the other silo and have a weakness in the other."Invest in Hotel Technology, TooAsh Kapur, Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for Starwood Capital Group, also remarked in the opening panel of RSS that investing in people was as important as procuring new tools to empower them. However, he said, don't short-change needed upgrades to technology and strategy over the long run.For instance, if hotel companies made the needed upgrades to CRM systems, the owners and asset managers of their branded properties would be far better equipped to drive higher gross operating profits, driven by higher average daily rates, Kapur said."It's not about how or where the guest came from; it's about what I do with the guest once he's inside my building," Kapur said. "If I have all the tools that enable my staff to give them a brilliant experience, I know that the next time onwards, whatever channel they use, I will have the ability to increase rates, because I have a lot of guests returning and have better scores on social media and TripAdvisor."A brand can win the buy-in of owners and asset managers, Kapur said, even though all three groups have different criteria for judging an initiative's success. Asset managers want higher gross operating profits, which correlate with higher fees for brands, while the owners need to maximize net operating income.Just as communication remains important for the revenue leader trying to win over ownership, it's also important for brands and asset managers to articulate the strategy to the group that ultimately owns the asset, Kapur said."What shouldn't happen is piecemeal approaches or Band-Aids to fix what's happening outside this technology," he said. "It has to be a concise, well-articulated strategy, and the vision needs to be shared with the hotel ownership group, and then as hotel owners we'd endorse it."RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESWhat NOT to Look for in a Revenue ManagerHotel Owners: DORMs Who Drive Profit are CoolHow Should I Build and Organize My Revenue Team? (Video)
Article by Vera Lye

Of Battlegrounds, New Channels and the Need for the Right Strategy

Duetto 10 August 2018
In such company, a discussion about the battlefield with new soldiers will inevitably ensue. This time was no different. The hospitality distribution chain was once again described as a "battleground" - a fight for customers and for ownership of those customers. A panel, entitled "Airbnb vs. hotels vs. OTAs," looking at the upsides and the downsides of the distribution landscape, started off with an astounding prediction - by 2030, Airbnb will be the largest revenue turnover accommodation provider.Not a totally left-field prediction if you take into consideration what Airbnb has already begun to do. With its recent partnership with SiteMinder, it now has access to the latter's listing of 35,000 hotels.In an earlier statement, SiteMinder's managing director and founder Mike Ford said, "In an increasingly-complex and competitive world, SiteMinder's partnership with Airbnb offers a new opportunity for boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts to engage the growing number of travellers who seek exceptional hospitality and an authentic local experience ... now makes it easy for these small accommodation providers to reach the millions of customers who use Airbnb every day."Hotels like Sydney's Old Clare Hotel has already jumped on the Airbnb bandwagon and is featured in its boutique hotel list. "We wanted to explore an additional market, a new demand channel made up of people who are not looking for a traditional hotel. Airbnb customers are different," explained general manager Timo Bures about its decision to list with Airbnb.VERIU Hotels & Suites is also on there. Marta Laguardia, its revenue manager, said the process of distributing through Airbnb is improving. "We used to have to upload our rates manually; Airbnb didn't provide any tools. But now, there are some, although still limited."So how big a threat is Airbnb to the current distribution chain? "There is no need for fear. If you have a value proposition, then you shouldn't be fearful of the growth of any distribution channel. Have a product that you are proud of and that people desire. Look at your product and focus on improving operations and services, and make your product more desirable than, say, an apartment. It is better to do that than spend money on public relations against guys like Airbnb," advised Bures.Moana Heal, group revenue and distribution manager of Wyndham Hotel Group, put it in perspective. "Airbnb is not as big a threat as people think. At the recent Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, a lot of the Airbnb listing was not sold. But hotels mostly did well, experiencing 15-20% higher occupancy."However, a warning was given to the OTAs that typically charge a commission rate that is higher than Airbnb. If Airbnb starts providing the same tools to hotels that OTAs now provide, OTAs could be under threat, said Laguardia.High commission rates being charged for distribution is another familiar refrain. "What's driving rates up is that a few of them are becoming bigger and bigger. Ctrip, Amazon, Google are some that are starting to throw their weight around in travel," said Dai Williams, senior vice president of global partnerships at SiteMinder.With the complexity of distribution increasing with each new and emerging channel, how much more important does that make revenue management and strategy?It was clear from the panel that sat to discuss revenue management and how it can be harnessed for optimal revenue and profit performance that this is a discipline that hotels can ill afford to forgo."We are in the cusp of change. We need to have a Revenue Strategy that looks at more data points and consider transforming the e-commerce experience to derive the right price. We should integrate all silos within the hotel to work towards the same goal," suggested The Grace Hotel's revenue manager Sawaid Saeed."In the past, we were working with a set demand. Now, it is more about generating demand. Revenue leaders should now be assisting in bringing the demand instead," he added.The panelists agreed that hotels need to put in more concerted effort to hold on to the customer and not "give too much away".Sawaid suggested using OTAs as billboards but complete the booking directly. Clare Coyle, director of revenue and distribution at DOMA Hotels agreed."Participate in sale activities by OTAs. Use them to do marketing, but provide more ancillaries or flexible terms to attract direct bookings," said Coyle.RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESNo One Revenue Strategy Fits All HotelsHotel Owners: DORMs Who Drive Profit are CoolHow Should I Build and Organize My Revenue Team? (Video)

PortAventura Extends Revenue Strategy Partnership With Duetto

Duetto 31 July 2018
San Francisco -- Spain's PortAventura has re-contracted with Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, after seeing a 12% uplift in revenue in 2017.The five-year contract will see all hotels in the PortAventura portfolio continue to use Duetto's Open Pricing application, GameChanger, and its solution for intelligent reporting, ScoreBoard.PortAventura, which operates four 4-star and one 5-star themed hotels with 2,100 rooms, has been working with Duetto for the past two years. The team there has been so impressed with results that they have re-contracted with Duetto for an additional five years."We're pleased to extend our partnership with Duetto and have been most satisfied by the support model and speed with which new product enhancements are released to all customers," said Fernando Aldecoa, Managing Director, PortAventura.Duetto's superior architecture enabled a Revenue Strategy to be built within the pre-existing technology at PortAventura's hotels, providing a bespoke solution that is tailored to the different types of hotel product on offer."PortAventura has been seeing great results with Duetto, and one of the main reasons for that is the success we have had with room type yielding. With five very different hotels within the campus, there are multiple room types on offer. Through GameChanger, the revenue team has the ability to yield these independently according to demand across the portfolio," said Marco Benvenuti, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Duetto."Room type optimisation has been the lynchpin to the ROI they've seen. We look forward to continuing our relationship with PortAventura and to helping them drive even more business to this unique resort destination."In 2017, PortAventura saw a 19% increase in arrivals to 4.7 million, following the opening of its third theme park - Ferrari Land. In 2018, PortAventura is forecasting more than five million tourists will visit the resort.About PortAventura World Parks & Resort PortAventura World Parks & Resort is the largest family leisure and holiday destination resort in Europe and throughout its 23-year history has welcomed over 80 million visitors. With a privileged location close to Barcelona, the resort operates four 4-star and one 5-star themed hotels (PortAventura Hotels) with 2100 rooms, and a convention centre (PortAventura Convention Centre) with capacity for up to 4,000 people. The range of leisure on offer also includes 3 golf courses (two of which were designed by Greg Norman) and a Beach Club with direct access to the beach. PortAventura World Parks & Resort is also home to a leading theme park and water park and the only Ferrari Land park in Europe, with a range of internationally-renowned attractions.
Article by Mark Brandau

Seeing Hotel Industry Threats as Opportunities Opens Up Revenue Strategy

Duetto 20 July 2018
Properties are fragmented across several different stakeholders. Hotel brands and online travel agencies are racing to consolidate their size and power. Distribution could change significantly if Google, Facebook or Amazon go from having a toe in the water to jumping into the deep end in earnest, as Airbnb has done."The disruption that we've seen is, if anything, accelerating," Bosworth said, kicking off RSS in Washington, D.C., at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum.Opportunities for HotelsPreviously, the hotel distribution conversation focused exclusively on gains the OTAs made at hotels' expense, he said. But more recently, the sentiment has started to shift, he said, citing the buzz at the NYU Investment Conference and HITEC about the latest moves by Google, Facebook and Amazon in the travel space."What's clear is that everyone's competing to create value for the consumer," Bosworth said. "That trend is unlikely to change. We have new potential gatekeepers in the market, and the costs of distribution will continue to be under pressure."And yet, there are real reasons for optimism, he said."To this point, hoteliers have been so far behind on being able to create value, particularly in online channels, that they've focused on channels that they still control," he said.Many hotels have maintained their base business with frequent business travelers through negotiated contracts, meetings and especially loyalty programs.Conversely, strategies for growing transient revenue and occupancy have eroded, and OTAs took advantage in order to grow their businesses. That's definitely a problem, Bosworth said, but it's also low-hanging fruit for hoteliers with the right mind-set."I think there's actually an opportunity today, where a lot of the intermediaries have become large enough to the point where now the game is being played on their turf," he said. "As new big entrants come in, they're competing for those same customers. It's no longer a duopoly, and hotels have an ability to leverage data and new technology, to be able to compete for those customers while also continuing to protect their own core."Holding Hotel Industry Disruptors at Bay?Hotels may own the inventory and the data that makes the difference, but it's still really hard to change, said Andrew Rubinacci, President of AMR Hospitality Consulting. Brands, owners and asset managers might focus on the current environment and forecast how that might look next year in a static environment.But hospitality is never static, and if properties allow their strategies to stagnate, they lose. As he kicked off his "Reordering the Hospitality Universe" panel at RSS, Rubinacci pointed out that companies recognize the need to change or evolve, but they're unwilling to sacrifice their STAR Report goals or revenue targets in the short term."Typically, if you do something differently, there's a gap," Rubinacci said. "You drop revenues up front, and that's what ends up killing us all."Avoiding that "dip" instead of managing through it is the reason businesses fail, he added. That won't help the hotel industry confront several challenges likely to intensify in the near term, he said, including:New entrants in distribution: Google, Facebook, Amazon and Airbnb are coming, Rubinacci said."If we sometimes get scared by or Expedia and what they can do, just look at Google," he said. "Google is the Internet."Chinese companies and consumers: "China is always a good way to see how things could change and be," Rubinacci said.There are several nuances to think about, including the fact that credit cards "really don't exist" among Chinese consumers, who prefer mobile payments like WeChat and AliPay. China's online travel market looks familiar, but with local companies surpassing the global players (Ctrip over the OTA duopoly, Baidu over Google, Alibaba over Amazon).Voice search: While Rubinacci and panelists didn't know if voice-enabled digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa will disrupt hotel distribution right away, he still asked the important questions: "If we think we have a hard time getting on the first page of a website, what happens when there's one hotel [for a voice search query]? And what do you think the commission rate's going to be for you to be that one hotel?"Responding to Hotel Industry ThreatsWill disruption always hurt hotels? Or will it drive needed change that benefits the industry as a whole? As always, it depends, agreed three executives on Rubinacci's panel."At the end of the day, a disruptor is really an innovator," said Alexander Pyhan, Marriott International's VP of Distribution - OTA, Meta and Wholesale. "When you use the example of Uber, they have addressed a consumer need before the consumer even knew they had it. That's why Uber is very successful."While Marriott keeps watch on giant tech companies' forays into travel, it also tries to think about its business differently, Pyhan said. He noted that Marriott and Alibaba have a joint-venture partnership to leverage their "ecosystems" of customers and inventory for mutual advantage."For all the concerns we have about the transient distribution landscape, it's enabled independent hotels to reach customers and thrive where otherwise it would be impossible," said Brian Berry, Senior VP of Sales and Data Analytics for Cvent. "Occupancy levels that we currently run as an industry are unprecedented. Some of it is the better revenue management systems and capabilities we have, but a lot of it is the distribution landscape."Ash Kapur, Chief Revenue Officer for Starwood Capital Group, agreed that competition with and among OTAs has been positive for companies outside the major lodging brands."I think [this disruption] is a positive, if I were to speak on behalf of hotel ownership companies," Kapur said. "It creates more options for hotels from a distribution standpoint. ... It also gives me optionality if I'm a small hotel in a brilliant location with a lot of demand. Do I really need to incur all these brand costs, and should I be flagging it?"He added that hotels aren't the only companies needing to respond to lodging industry threats. Disruption causes the OTAs to compete for more partners and find independents or smaller properties, benefiting asset managers and hotel owners.Pyhan said big brands like Marriott will still need to refine how they address consumer needs, because scale alone won't protect hotels from disruption."The consumer wants a high-quality product that's very dependable, but in today's environment the consumer would also like to see a seamless guest experience aided by technology," Pyhan said. "They want a local, authentic experience. That's where the brands have to evolve. Not only from a hotel perspective, but also from a transactional perspective, engaging the consumer from the research phase, through the booking phase, all the way to the stay and after."That will require legacy hotel brands and independent properties to pick what they do well and always deliver on those promises, Kapur said."Hotels have to move away from this concept of 'channel, channel, channel,' and say, irrespective of where that guest is coming from, you have the ability to own the experience," he said. "You will win that guest, irrespective of how that guest comes to you."RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESThe Blueprint for Taking Business Back from OTAs (Whitepaper)Are Airbnb's Latest Distribution Moves Affecting Hotels? (Video)Industry Sea Change Surging Upstream to Major Hotel Brands

Artyzen Hospitality Group Expands Revenue Strategy Partnership with Duetto

Duetto 17 July 2018
Hong Kong -- Artyzen Hospitality Group and Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, have announced plans to extend their partnership as the Hong Kong-based hotelier grows beyond its base in China and opens more branded properties across Asia.Artyzen has used GameChanger, Duetto's flagship Open Pricing application, since 2015 at its two resort properties in Macau: Grand Lapa and Grand Coloane. With this most recent deal, Artyzen will roll out GameChanger to its other two operating hotels, Artyzen Habitat in Beijing and citizenM in Taipei, and implement another Duetto app, ScoreBoard, to all four properties.The company has approximately 10 more hotels in development, including its Artyzen and Artyzen Habitat brands, as well as properties it will open under its joint venture with citizenM Hotels."Building on our momentum in China and accelerating growth across Asia-Pacific requires partners that are able to scale up as fast as we are," said Allan Yip, Artyzen Hospitality Group's Head of Southeast Asia and Vice President of Marketing. "Cloud-based hospitality technology like Duetto's applications make it easier and more efficient to manage our pricing, distribution and reporting. We look forward to implementing our Revenue Strategy further as we expand to important destination markets like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore."Artyzen uses GameChanger to yield rates independently by property and stay date, room type, booking channel and customer segment, resulting in prices that maximize profitability and increase booking conversion on its direct channels. With the intelligent-reporting application ScoreBoard, the company will significantly reduce the time it takes to produce and share forecasts, budgets and other vital reports."Artyzen Hospitality Group is a clear leader among hoteliers in Asia for merging authentic cultural experiences with truly luxurious properties," said Patrick Bosworth, Co-Founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Duetto. "The expansion of this partnership will ensure that a scalable Revenue Strategy, capable of executing a modern e-commerce experience, supports their ambitions to spread Artyzen's unique brand of hospitality throughout the region."The four hotels currently open and operating under the partnership comprise approximately 950 rooms.About Artyzen Hospitality GroupArtyzen Hospitality Group is an international hotel management company, with a head office in Hong Kong and regional offices in Macau, Shanghai and Singapore. Since its inception in 2014, Artyzen Hospitality Group has been expanding its portfolio across the gateway cities of Asia Pacific.With four distinctive brands -- Zitan, Artyzen Hotels & Resorts, Artyzen Habitat and citizenM -- Artyzen Hospitality Group offers unique guest experiences that reflect the group's philosophy. Guided by a sensibility that bridges East and West, Artyzen Hospitality Group celebrates the beauty of tradition and the heritage of the communities in which it operates. Artyzen Hospitality Group places a premium on making real connections that build loyalty and trust, and it is a champion of progressive thinking, flexibility and innovation.Artyzen Hospitality Group is a subsidiary of Shun Tak Holdings Limited, a multi-business company that has been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 1973. The group complements Shun Tak's extensive interests in tourism and hospitality, which include a sea-land-air transportation platform. Shun Tak also has interests in property and hotel development and was among the first to introduce five-star hotels to Macau.

RSS 2018: Revenue Strategy Begins With Strong Leadership

Duetto 12 July 2018
Washington -- The sixth annual Revenue Strategy Summit brought together technology innovators and hospitality industry leaders, including brand executives and asset managers, to examine the challenges hotels face in maintaining rate growth and managing a distribution landscape that gets more complicated by the day.The one-day conference, held at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., combined hotelier-led panel discussions with keynote presentations on voice-activated digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa, blockchain's potential to improve hotel loyalty, and Wall Street investors' sentiment toward the travel industry.In both networking opportunities and educational sessions, startup disruptors like Koddi, Koridor and Skylark shared the stage with leaders from hotel companies like Marriott International, Starwood Capital Group and Red Roof Inn."It's gratifying to see RSS continue to grow in its sixth year," said Patrick Bosworth, Co-Founder and CEO of Duetto, which co-hosts RSS with Kalibri Labs LLC and Silver Hospitality Group. "The hoteliers who joined us for RSS recognized that they're competing with online travel agencies and newer digital disruptors to create more value for travelers. The companies that can achieve this earlier in an evolving customer journey will see continued success."Cindy Estis Green, Co-Founder and CEO of Kalibri Labs, added: "Revenue Strategy is not just the way of the future for hotels -- it's needed in the present, as the digital marketplace that has come to dominate hotel bookings only gets more complex. There are few events like RSS focused on the needs of revenue strategists, who must keep abreast of emerging technologies while remaining proficient in the blocking and tackling needed to target and deliver profit contribution and improve asset values."A prevailing theme several hoteliers brought up during their presentations was the need for what one panelist called "revenue leadership," added Stacy Silver, President of Silver Hospitality Group."The important point our colleagues heard over and over this year is an effective revenue strategy has to start with investments in our people," Silver said. "To that end, we will always strive to make RSS the conference where current and future leaders can learn from each other and guide our industry through whatever challenges or opportunities come next."For information about attending or sponsoring RSS 2019, please email Stacy Silver at RSSThe Revenue Strategy Summit (RSS) is a one-day conference hosted by Duetto, Kalibri Labs and Silver Hospitality Group, bringing together thought leaders and practitioners to examine forces reshaping the hospitality industry. This innovative conference taps into industry leaders who help elevate the perspective of Revenue Strategy while addressing revenue data, marketing and technology.About Kalibri Labs LLCKalibri Labs evaluates and predicts hotel revenue performance with its cloud-based revenue strategy platform, next-generation industry benchmarking and analytical reports. The Kalibri Labs database, updated monthly, is comprised of guest stay records, including cost of sales and detailed source of business information, from over 31,000 hotels dating back more than 5 years, to give an expansive view of the U.S. hotel industry. The Kalibri Labs team is a seasoned group of executives with deep hospitality industry experience and a passion to sustain the hotel industry's financial health in a highly challenging and dynamic digital marketplace.For more information, visit Silver Hospitality GroupSilver Hospitality Group (SHG) specializes in building revenues and profitability for hospitality companies through targeted industry relations outreach, creative marketing solutions and specialty events. The firm and its network provide unparalleled experience and relationships in all facets of hospitality.For more information, visit

Duetto's Michael Skinner Wins 2018 Rakuten Data Challenge at ACM SIGIR 2018

Duetto 10 July 2018
San Francisco -- Michael Skinner, the resident "Data Whisperer" at Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, placed first in the 2018 Rakuten Data Challenge and has been invited to present at the 2018 SIGIR Workshop on eCommerce, July 12 in Ann Arbor, Mich.The competition, organized as part of the 41st International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval, tasked data scientists with developing a large-scale taxonomy classification to accurately predict the category of hundreds of thousands of individual products in a sample e-commerce catalog. As the winner of the Data Challenge, Skinner will showcase his findings -- including the "Balanced Pooling Views" method he developed -- at a poster session during SIGIR 2018.Skinner won the Data Challenge by developing and applying Balanced Pooling Views, a strategy that enhances the ability of a statistical model to "read" the product titles in the data set and accurately sort them into their appropriate categories."The big takeaway from this experiment is that solving a massive challenge, like classifying a giant e-commerce catalogue, doesn't necessarily need major changes to the standard architecture of common recurrent neural networks," Skinner said. "By focusing on the learning rate -- or how fast the machine 'learns' and makes adjustments -- and experimenting with new ideas that let scientists 'train' the networks with fewer iterations, we can tackle complex problems in a more methodical fashion."Skinner, a graduate of the University of Washington and a former software engineer for Google, said his new method built upon other recent findings in the field of machine learning. Skinner's system description paper for his winning solution builds on several previously published ideas, most notably a recent paper by Jeremy Howard and Sebastian Ruder, which applied similar techniques to traditional natural-language processing tasks."As a tight-knit team of software developers and data scientists, we at Duetto couldn't be prouder of Michael's achievement," said Craig Weissman, Duetto's Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, and the former CTO of "His contribution to a greater understanding of machine learning's application to e-commerce will move many industries forward, especially our own in hospitality technology."Skinner added that Balanced Pooling Views' unique method, which "reads" any giant data set -- be it millions of product titles in a catalogue or an occupancy forecast for a hotel -- already has influenced new ideas and new approaches to projects underway at Duetto.

Why Personalization Is the Future of Hotel E-Commerce

Duetto 29 June 2018
Personalization in the hotel industry has ceased to be a trend. Today, it's an obligation. Back in 2015, American Express Travel reported that 83 percent of millennials would allow brands to track their habits in exchange for a more customized experience. And earlier this year, Deloitte Consulting published the white paper 'Next Gen Hotel Guests Have Checked In: The Changing Guest Experience,' which noted that "-truly knowing your guests -what they have told you, what they request, what you have learned, and what should be implied -should yield larger results."Today's hotel industry is increasingly taking this personalization message to heart, using new technology-driven tools to help them streamline the booking process and create a more seamless guest experience. When potential guests are shopping on a hotel's website, there's a clear opportunity before a booking is made for properties to demonstrate the acute attention they've paid to individual guests' preferences. This is accomplished by using website personalization technology, allowing hotels to automatically and intuitively suggest particular room categories, package types, and even rates tailored to each user's expectations.

Inn of the Mountain Gods Announces Revenue Strategy Partnership with Duetto

Duetto 19 June 2018
Mescalero, N.M. -- Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, has partnered with Inn of the Mountain Gods, an enterprise of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, to implement three of its cloud-based Revenue Strategy solutions at the integrated resort.The mountain resort on the banks of Mescalero Lake will roll out Duetto's flagship Open Pricing application, GameChanger, to refine the pricing and distribution strategies for its 273-room hotel. Inn of the Mountain Gods will also adopt ScoreBoard, Duetto's application for intelligent reporting, and BlockBuster, which Duetto's customers use to optimize their group bookings and other contracted business."Duetto's core philosophies of casino Revenue Strategy and Open Pricing were born in integrated resorts like Inn of the Mountain Gods," said Marco Benvenuti, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer for Duetto. "Even more is possible in today's gaming industry, in particular increasing total resort profitability with flexible reinvestment for players and non-gamers alike. We're excited to work with Inn of the Mountain Gods to put the latest technologies and tactics into practice."Frizzell Frizzell Jr., Chief Operating Officer for Inn of the Mountain Gods, said the resort was drawn to Duetto's Customer Success model for implementing the three applications and ongoing guidance with a new strategy that involves the operations, marketing and revenue management teams."Software requires a great partnership to realize its full potential at the property level," Frizzell said, "and we see Duetto as a true partner, with a support staff that recognizes our most important initiatives because most of them come from the gaming industry. The ability to make our pricing, group sales and reinvestment more dynamic will help our property generate even more profit from our gaming offerings, the stunning views of our hotel rooms and our world-class amenities."In addition to 273 luxury hotel rooms and suites and an 18-hole championship golf course, Inn of the Mountain Gods boasts approximately 40,000 square feet of both Las Vegas-style gaming and meeting and convention space. The resort is also known for its outdoor activities, including big-game hunting and fishing, horseback riding, zip-lining, and skeet shooting.About Inn of the Mountain GodsAn enterprise of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, the Inn of the Mountain Gods is an integrated casino resort located in the picturesque mountains of South Central New Mexico. Offering mouthwatering cuisine, incredible gaming action, chart-topping entertainment options, championship golf and an array of outdoor activities with breathtaking alpine scenery, Inn of the Mountain Gods is New Mexico's premier mountain resort destination.

Duetto Releases Definitive Guide to Cloud Technology for Hospitality Industry at HITEC

Duetto 19 June 2018
San Francisco -- The foundation for success in today's hospitality industry and for further innovation can't be found on premise at any hotel, but rather in the cloud. The Business Imperative for Cloud Architecture in Hospitality, a new whitepaper from Duetto introduced this week at HITEC, describes four ways the software-as-a-service (SaaS) framework transforms a hotel or casino's technology stack into an engine for growth."The fundamental reason for multi-tenant cloud architecture is about innovation and the speed at which a product evolves and advances," said Craig Weissman, Chief Technology Officer for Duetto and the former CTO of "Having personally developed installed software in the 1990s, I can say the difference in productivity as a developer and company is profound."The groundbreaking whitepaper argues that cloud-based systems, integrating through open APIs, will accelerate hospitality's lagging innovation in the race against disruptors like Airbnb and online travel agencies. By automating many pricing, distribution and reporting functions, while making data collected from across the tech stack unified and actionable, new tools can make hotels far more efficient and strategic.To learn how cloud architecture can lower hotels' and casinos' costs of IT ownership, while increasing their scalability and flexibility to adopt new technology, all while securing data more effectively than on-premise systems can, download this new guide from Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform.Learn more directly from Duetto executives at HITEC and ROC in Houston this week, at Booth #2110. To schedule a meeting with Duetto during the conference, visit
Article by Sarah McCay Tams

Blockchain: Loyalty And The Next Generation Of Traveller

Duetto 15 June 2018
Blockchain is the next major disruptor to the travel industry, according to industry experts talking at the Blockchain Demystified - How will it change your business? panel discussion at last week's EyeforTravel Europe Summit.According to a recent survey by the World Economic Forum, 58% of executives anticipate that 10% of global GDP will be stored on blockchain before 2025. Hoteliers need to pay attention to this new, technological revolution.Talking at the EyeforTravel Europe Summit, Simon Talling-Smith, Chief Commercial Officer, Voy - a cryptocurrency and loyalty programme, tackled the issue of how blockchain and cryptocurrency could be used in travel loyalty programmes.He highlighted the current state of the loyalty market, in which 80% of users don't have enough points to redeem or can't log in or have forgotten their password. He said blockchain offered a perfect opportunity to fix some of the ills associated with loyalty."You need to motivate your customer. Give them something they can keep spending. There is a direct correlation between spend rate and engagement with product," he said.Talling-Smith explained how loyalty programmes are not just about providing a currency, but about tracking traveller habits. It's about personal data. However, the roll out of GDPR is changing all this. "Your power over your data is now more powerful than anyone thought it would be," he said.Using blockchain, users retain control of their personal data."You can permit access to a standard profile and choose whether or not to share your whole travel history. What incentives would companies put in place to allow them full view of your entire travel history? Imaging if you knew the entire travel history of your customers?" he asked.By giving the data control to the consumer, blockchain allows companies to track people with complete compliance.David D. Brillembourg, CEO, Brillembourg, provided a compelling overview of the future of blockchain. In his presentation, he pointed out that $1 trillion worth of travel will be in the blockchain in the next 10 years.He talked about his STEP travel ecosystem, which is powered by blockchain and cryptocurrency, and aims to provide a cost-effective solution for travellers and hotel owners. He explained how blockchain will provide an alternative distribution channel to the OTAs, via new blockchain distribution ecosystems.Brillembourg also highlighted how the consumer has changed and how they will change further."The change behaviourally has already happened; people are living in a virtual world. They already use virtual currency in their lives, for example, through video games," he pointed out.Millennials and Gen Z are set to inherit $30 trillion, according to Brillembourg. These generations were born with mobile, social media, the sharing economy and cryptocurrencies. With a strong send of wanting to belong, and susceptibility to FOMO and YOLO, this market was born to travel."Crypto economics allow us for the first time to empower the traveller, putting the digitally native traveller at the centre using the wallet and coins," Brillembourg said.Ilya Khanykov CEO, Bartini, Inc, wrapped up the session with a quick presentation on how blockchain could reduce transactional costs. Bartini is prototyping flying cars. According to Khanykov, blockchain reduces the barriers to entry, and will be used to manage the product's back office and make sure the system is safe and secure.He said blockchain provided a: "transparent playground for everyone to find their place, growing ecosystems far beyond what we thought."RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESCreativity And Innovation Fuel EMEA GrowthThe Definitive Guide To Hotel Blockchain TechnologyThe Blueprint for Taking Business Back from OTAs
Article by Joanna DeChellis

5 Reasons Your Hotel's Conversion Rate Is Low--And How To Fix It

Duetto 4 June 2018
Getting customers to your hotel's website is one thing. Converting their clicks into bookings is quite another.According to Sam Weston, marketing manager for 80 DAYS, conversion rates for hotel websites average between 1.7% and 2%. (If you're looking at anything higher than that, you're doing great.) But even in the best-case scenarios, where a hotel might be seeing a 5% conversion rate, 95% of visitors are still abandoning.The good news is, the majority of visitors who abandon a booking are not lost for good. It's more likely these visitors want to shop around. (According to a recent statistic by for the travel industry, the top three reasons for booking abandonment are around research, price comparison and checking with other travelers.)Even so, hotels can do more to lower the rate of abandonment.Duetto's Gabriela Guevara, Regional Director of Customer Success & Strategic Consulting, attributes the industry's low conversion rates to slow load times, designs that are not mobile first, poor site user experiences, insufficient content and confusing offers. Weston agrees, adding these additional reasons for why hotels might have low conversion rates.Risk/Investment. Booking a hotel stay, especially for a longer period of time, is not often a spur-of-the-moment type of decision. Many guests shop extensively before booking. "If you purchase a t-shirt for $40 and it turns out to be of poor quality, that's not the end of the world," says Weston. "But if you book a hotel stay for $400 and it's a poor experience, you are far unhappier about that investment. Guests tend to spend a lot of time researching and shopping."Choice and Information Overload. If hotels want to win the booking war, it's critical to know how to differentiate from the competition. "There are 1,081 hotels in London, for example," says Weston. "For you to sell a room at your hotel you need to have a better overall proposition than a thousand other hotels. And you need to make that very clear on your website."Confusing Offers. How you position your offers can have a big impact on conversion rates. "Hotel guests looking to book a stay on February 14th are more likely to want a romance-themed package," says Weston. "Hoteliers that present standard offers on their website at times when guests are looking for special packages are going to see low conversions."Poor Platforms. A lot of work goes into building a hotel's website. But once it's live, it must evolve in order for conversions to go up. "Often, hotel websites are built, go live and sit stagnate," continues Weston. "Sites should evolve as guest behaviors evolve. You must constantly improve usability and continue tweaking. This is a job that is never finished."Ancillary Services. Spas, golf courses and restaurants can have a massive impact on conversions. Visitor may be visiting a site to learn more about a hotel's highly rated restaurant and thus lowering conversions.Both Weston and Guevara see room for growth with conversion rates. After all, it's easier (and more cost effective) to generate more revenue from your existing traffic than it is to drive more viewers to your site. Plus, achieving even a slight conversion rate increase can have a huge impact on a hotel's bottom-line."Hotels shouldn't be aiming for a 2% conversion rate," says Weston. "They should be aiming much higher--well above industry average."One example of a strong site with higher-than-average conversions is The Doyle Collection. Another is citizen M.While improving conversions isn't a perfect science, there are a few things hotels can do right away to improve their rate.Here are Weston's top six tips:Have a clear and obvious call to action.Delve into your data by evaluating the booking funnel. Determine when and where guests are dropping off and experiment with improvements.Make your offers clear and simple. Avoid complicated term and conditions.Offer relevant content. This means good imagery and good copy. Your site should accurately reflect your property.Avoid industry jargon. Consumers don't always understand acronyms, especially international guests.Make sure your rates are the same across all your distribution channels (or, ideally, cheaper on your own website)."Number six is especially important if you're paying for advertising or have metasearch representation," says Weston. "It's essential to have strong revenue management processes and tools in place to avoid losing conversion to competitors and OTAs."Max Starkov, president and CEO of HeBS Digital, says hotels should focus on developing a website conversion strategy to improve direct bookings and lower distribution costs."Any investment in website conversions will not only pay for itself, but will reward the hotel generously by improving the bottom line," he says in a piece he penned for Hotel Online. "Start by evaluating your current website conversion rates, the quality of your website technology and the overall design."Guevara concurs, saying hotels should focus on a mobile-first build with concise content and availability to best offers.
Article by Patrick Bosworth

The value of hotel-direct bookings is measured by more than numbers

Duetto 1 June 2018
When a controversial report finds "no measurable" benefits for hoteliers who shift their booking mix from online travel agencies to direct channels, you can be sure its arguments--especially a specious claim like direct-booking campaigns' main goal is to "reduce transparency for consumers"--aren't backed up by credible facts. That's because revenue and distribution strategies are about more than just numbers. Granted, they should result in maximum profit over the long run. But in addition to the data science involved in revenue strategy, customer relationships matter a great deal to a hotel's success. The consulting firm Infrata seemed to imply otherwise in a study of hotel distribution costs published in May, sponsored by the European Technology and Travel Services Association. In addition to questionable metrics, the report's most puzzling assertion is that hotels' efforts to drive more bookings directly decreases customer transparency.What the ETTSA Gets Wrong on the MeritsFirst of all, hoteliers should consider the source of this report before analyzing its claims. The ETTSA--speaking of transparency--is a trade group representing OTAs and global distribution system providers. And, to be fair, maybe you're similarly skeptical of my opinions in this piece since my company's aim is to help hoteliers achieve their most profitable mix of bookings by modernizing the e-commerce experience they can provide through more dynamic pricing. Yet I would never argue that direct bookings are the only way for hotels to distribute their inventory. OTAs have a sensible use case for most hotels looking to fill need periods or enter new markets. The mix of those intermediary-sourced bookings--along with room nights secured from, wholesalers, corporate negotiations or other sources--is different for every property. A distribution strategy must maximize a hotel's engagement with its guests. That's how a property sells the optimal number of rooms for the highest possible profit. Unlike with OTA bookings, a transaction on or within a loyalty program enables a hotel to responsibly gather as much data as possible about each customer and use it to simultaneously improve the guest's experience and the bottom line. The approach does not negate the usefulness of OTAs in times when hotels need to acquire new guests. However, good hoteliers prioritize customer retention above customer acquisition. When would it ever make sense to rely solely on intermediaries for distribution, forcing a hotel to reacquire guests over and over?How Direct Channels Empower Better HospitalityThe end-to-end guest experience is more hospitable when the hotel secures a reservation itself rather than through a middleman. With direct bookings, the hotel-customer relationship is deeper and begins sooner.Hotels already have preference and spending data if a repeat guest is booking directly. The property can personalize a package or upsell in the run-time path, rather than putting that responsibility on a front-desk agent at check-in.The hotel's staff can take care of guests even before they arrive. If you've ever tried to change a booking that you made with an OTA, you know it's more difficult when the hotel staff has only the minimal amount of data the OTA shares with properties. Of course, at the property during the stay is where the hotel's hospitality comes into play. When hotels own their customer data and execute on it, their staffs know how to greet customers as the repeat guests that they are and to have the guests' rooms ready according to known preferences. And if that customer is a new person to the property after booking via an OTA, it's the hotel's job to collect contact information, encourage sign-ups to the loyalty program and begin tracking all that person's spending.What the ETTSA Gets Wrong by the NumbersThe costs involved with retaining these skilled team members, empowering them with new technology and maintaining the physical assets, are necessary to provide the experience that generates true loyalty to a hotel.Other costs can be volatile for hoteliers, such as franchise and brand fees over which they have little control, or the interest rates on their growth capital or existing debt. Distribution costs are the logical place for hotels to make back a lot of their profit margin because strategic changes that are wholly within a property's control can make a major difference. That makes direct bookings a powerful lever to drive incremental profit--as opposed to an OTA commission, which is just a percentage of room revenue that rises in proportion to higher room rates or longer lengths of stay. It's also a matter of scale. Given the thousands of room nights booked online for a typical hotel in a year, improving the average cost of acquisition by even a percentage point with a more favorable mix of direct bookings translates into significant money in the bank. A flexible, dynamic pricing strategy, in which all the channels are priced independently according to demand, gives hotels the best of both worlds. The lowest, fenced rates are reserved for direct bookers in the loyalty club, while retail rates can still be set at a price on an OTA that yields the highest possible profit that still converts into a reservation. In the latter case, a property will still benefit from the so-called billboard effect. I would caution that the ETTSA's report overrates the importance of that effect, though. Even the original research from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, first published in 2009 and revisited in 2017, said the benefit of direct bookings first discovered on an OTA is a range from as little as 5 percent to as much as 35 percent. That's not very precise!Neither is the last figure in the report that I would dispute: the ETTSA's statement that distribution via OTAs is "100% risk-free," because commissions are only paid on bookings and are "entirely success-based." Hotels always risk forking over a bigger cut of profits that they could have kept with a better revenue strategy. The most important thing for hotels to measure when they close their books for the day is the money they take to the bank. They should exert as much control over those numbers as they can with a diverse distribution strategy.
Article by Marco Benvenuti

Why Facebook Will Help Hotels Beat The OTAs

Duetto 25 May 2018
Honestly, I thought the war between hotels and online travel agencies would've died down by now. Clearly the battle rages on.Brands continue to attempt to woo travelers and franchisees with direct-booking strategies. And OTAs are punching back, with a recent reportreiterating the strength of the Billboard Effect and claiming direct bookings are no less costly for hoteliers.At the same time, more "billboards" are cropping up. Hotels have at their disposal hundreds of shelves on which to place their product, including Airbnb. Higher up the funnel, companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are starting to direct traffic differently.When it comes down to it, the distribution waters remain pretty murky.Bringing Clarity to Hotel BookingOne thing we're pretty adamant about here at Duetto is that neither hotels nor OTAs are providing the best booking experience.There are hundreds of websites listing the same hotel, all at different prices based on different room types and cancellation policies and packaged offers, and choosing the right one is a cumbersome process full of second-guessing. It's about as personal as the robot taking your luggage at check-in.Our hope is that one day booking a hotel will be as easy as calling an Uber, and our mission is to provide hotels with the open technology and analytics platform that would allow them to build out such an experience.To us, the goal should not simply be to build a 3-click booking experience, but to improve and innovate the entire hospitality ecosystem. It is our view that a customer's needs can be better anticipated from the dreaming stage through the booking path to the on-property experience and afterward.Starting with the dreaming phase, also known as traveler intent, a hotelier's goal should be to get travelers thinking about booking a stay at your hotel without visiting Expedia, or even Google.Hotel Guests are on Social MediaOne untapped market I feel strongly about is social media, where a whole world of potential travelers and their friends are milling about.Specifically, Facebook's goal in travel is to dynamically recommend the right hotel to the right traveler at the right time, taking into account destination, availability, dates and pricing.The company recently launched a product called Trip Consideration, which is meant to reach people who have shown they want to travel, such as liking a company's Facebook page, but haven't decided on a destination."Selecting a destination often comes after someone shows travel intent," Christine Warner, head of travel for Facebook, told Skift. "After you show them a trip consideration ad, then a brand could potentially retarget travelers with a dynamic ad."in conjunction with Duetto, Facebook Dynamic Ads allow hotels to display real-time rates in your Facebook ads that ebb and flow as your supply and demand changes. This ensures Facebook users that click on the ad and are redirected to your site see the same rate or offer listed in the ad, rather than the common bait-and-switch frustration.From Facebook, travelers are sent to your website to complete the reservation, saving on OTA commission costs and giving you all the guest data that OTAs won't.And if you ask guests to sign up for your loyalty program to receive these special rates, you're using a fenced offer to stay within rate parity constraints.Giving Hotels the Tools to Fight BackHoteliers looking to take back control of their business won't be able to beat the OTAs at their own game. If done correctly, however, social media can be the great equalizer.A December 2017 survey of ad buyers by financial services firm Cowen and Company showed Facebook as the second-best platform for ROI on ad spend, behind only Google. Nearly half of respondents named the platform as offering the highest ROI. Facebook ranked second, named by 30% of those polled.Think of the audience on social media. Unlike an OTA that spends millions of marketing and advertising dollars to drive travelers to their site, these same travelers are already on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. Reaching them with the right personal offers at the right time has never been easier.RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESRevolutionizing The Hotel Customer Journey ... With A Little Help From Our FriendsThe Blueprint for Taking Business Back from OTAsHow Your Own Data Resets The Hotel-OTA Relationship On Better Terms

How Should I Build And Organize My Revenue Team? - Duetto Video

Duetto 21 May 2018
Philip Niemann of Duetto wants his hotel revenue employees to have analytical backgrounds but also marketing savvy.

Duetto, Mews Systems Announce Technology Partnership

Duetto 8 May 2018
San Francisco -- Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, and Mews Systems, provider of intuitive cloud-based property management systems (PMS) that is revolutionising hospitality tech, have today announced a technology integration that enables Mews customers to connect into Duetto's Open Pricing application, GameChanger.Mews Systems offers hotels, hostels and multi-property groups a range of solutions to help streamline operations and improve the guest experience, all courtesy of its unique open API platform.The seamless integration with Duetto will enable Mews customers to optimise on pricing, better manage inventory and segmentation, and be more effective with personalised offers.Key benefits of the integration include: High data quality. This speeds up the data validation process and gets the two solutions talking to each other much quicker and with much more accurate data.Fast setup and configuration. Both solutions are cloud-based and with multiple built-in self-service steps allowing setup to be completed very swiftly.Automated data feeds. Reservation data is delivered into the Duetto platform and, together with other data points, is used to calculate and deliver optimised pricing directly into the PMS."We love finding ways to make our hotels more revenue while also partnering with companies similarly obsessed with integrations and collaborations," said Mews Systems CEO Matthijs Welle. "Duetto is blazing new trails in revenue intelligence, and it's exciting to be deepening our partnership even further.""In Mews, we have found a PMS partner that shares our advocacy of an open, cloud-based approach to hotel technology," said Marco Benvenuti, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of Duetto. "The beauty of this integration is that it works on very straightforward connectivity, via the cloud. This makes it highly efficient. Like a Formula 1 car, the speed of data transference is incredible."Mews Systems offers a fully cloud-hosted PMS, and therefore shares a lot of its DNA with Duetto. The integration uses the latest, slimmed-down transaction types, via JSON. Through the two-way integration, Duetto can efficiently provide rate recommendations and restrictions to Mews customers through its GameChanger application.About Mews Systems Mews makes cloud-based property management software that helps hotels and hostels automate their operations so they can focus on their guests. Founded by ex-hoteliers who were frustrated by the lack of a suitable platform on the market, Mews has built technology with a modern and intuitive interface with user experience at its core. The open platform allows hoteliers to quickly plug in their favourite apps, tools and services and to manage their PMS from any device and at anytime. Come join the Mews revolution!
Article by Ed Watkins

A Glance Into The Future Of Revenue Management

Duetto 7 May 2018
According to Cornell University professor Bill Carroll, a lot of hospitality students who focus on careers in hotel real estate are missing great opportunities in the field of revenue management."A lot of students want to go into real estate or own hotel property, but in many cases you can make more money by running an integrated, effective revenue management program than you can as an owner," Carroll said. He is a retired clinical professor from the S.C. Johnson School of Hotel Administration at Cornell and one of the pioneers in the field of revenue management. "It's an area that's under-resourced and under-appreciated but has significant impact. It's not just operations research on steroids."While Carroll values the role of revenue management in the hotel industry, he believes there is room for the discipline to grow and expand its focus while working to improve profitability for hotels.We caught up with Carroll recently to discuss the future of hotel revenue management and distribution:Q: While revenue management has come a long way, has it fallen behind in sophistication compared to OTAs and other intermediaries?Carroll: The tenets of revenue management haven't changed. You're still performing the same thing -- which is optimizing the availability of rooms inventory -- and that hasn't changed. What the OTAs optimize is conversions, while revenue management cares about optimizing revenue for the near term.If revenue management were brought to bear to take the next step -- which is probabilistic estimates of where am I going to get bookings, not only currently but in the future -- then maybe you should focus on conversions, as well as near-term revenue.Number two, revenue management looks at the OTA as if it is a distribution channel. They're quasi search engines. If you revenue manage the OTAs as a distribution channel you make enormous errors because you discount or don't recognize both the current and future advertising and promotional value of those sites.Here are the headlines: Revenue management is a significant operations research tool, but what's missing is that we forget that the distribution channel is more than just that; it's an advertising channel, and the OTAs are as much search engines as is Google.Q: What's your take on Amazon and Google getting into the distribution business?Carroll: If you were them, wouldn't you go after the sharing economy and the Airbnbs? It might be easier, and you can serve as a more effective distribution device, and it certainly isn't as complicated. The risks of moving into the market at the sharing end -- the individual owners of properties, vacation rentals, etc. -- would be logical place to start. You don't have corporate business, sophisticated services, F&B, groups, etc.Q: There's been a lot of industry buzz over AI, Big Data, blockchain. Which will have most effect on the hotel business, especially in regard to distribution?Carroll: The opportunity is for OTAs to use blockchain technology, which allows them the opportunity to hide what they need to hide and view what needs to be seen by groups and individuals. The core of blockchain technology is the ability to decipher and sift out and manage disparate databases and compile them together by having codes that are secure and sharable.Artificial intelligence technology allows the OTAs in particular to have much richer information on price response, availability, impact of airline traffic and information on consumer choice. They have the ability to do a much better job than any chain or any individual hotel in being able to provide information. I see them executing that opportunity because in effect they make money for doing that.Q: Do you believe Airbnb is more of a threat to the hotel industry or a potential asset as a distribution platform for independents and boutiques?Carroll: It could be an opportunity for hotels, particularly the major chains. Airbnb inventory could become satellite inventory for hotel properties. If they're within walking distance to the property, they can be an extension of availability of rooms and create the ability to brand it. The chains can become curators of Airbnb-quality places to stay.The flip side is it is a chance for hotels to protect themselves from the Amazons, the Googles and OTAs who are going after inventory that is not chain-related.Q: Brand companies have been trying to drive direct bookings. What will be the ultimate effectiveness of those programs?Carroll: The jury is still out. You want to be successful with loyal guests, but the problem is thinking you can discount and offer value-added benefits and that will drive business to book direct. Two things against that: How many loyalty programs do you belong to? You're either going to compete on price or on value adds. I call it being tentatively loyal.Revenue management needs to go to understanding conversions better. It's a combination of two things: a more discrete definition of who the customer is and second of all, where the customer is connecting to the enterprise. I might be a loyal guest and you might know who I am, but I might enter into an OTA metasearch for my favorite brands and find out who has the best rate and where.If you go that route, it's not just giving the right rate to the right person at the right time. It's not just who the customer is; it's where they're looking and where they are booking.Q: How do you value the relationship between the human element and technology when it comes to the revenue management function?Carroll: There is a unique problem by not allowing human interaction. What's missing is the strategic role of price in a marketplace. Understanding the impact of making a pricing decision that could have a strategic impact on pricing is problematic. That's why you have to have a human interact on top of that pricing element.Second is the role of price for any individual consumer and ultimately it's impact on conversion at future periods of time. Screw me once, I'll never go back again. I'll never forget. It's really easy to have an operational technology tool that cranks that number out and push the red button and it works. Wrong. Consumers are human beings.Q: Are educational institutions preparing students adequately in the areas of revenue strategy, distribution, etc.?Carroll: I'm concerned there is not sufficient focus on distribution channels, courses in distribution and its impact. And I'm also concerned that revenue management is taught in many places as an operations management tool and less a strategic tool.What's missing is that students don't come away from a course understanding the dynamic nature of markets. I can teach you all the tenets of revenue management, but until you get into the game and see how it works, I don't think we're doing a good service to our students.
Article by Mark Brandau

Revenue Strategy Report: How Blockchain Could Disrupt Hotel Distribution And Loyalty

Duetto 4 May 2018
Hype surrounding blockchain technology continues to climb, despite the volatility in related cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin seen earlier this year. While it's still too early to know how these distributed-ledger technologies might change the hospitality industry, experts are starting to share details of what could be effective use cases in distribution and hotel loyalty.The interest in blockchain that seemed to burst on to the scene last year has continued in 2018. LockChain launched in January as perhaps the first blockchain-based marketplace for hotels and private accommodations. Singapore Airlines, TUI Group, citizenM Hotels and JetBlue are all experimenting with blockchain-based platforms.So far, some high-level benefits of such platforms have emerged as near- to medium-term goals in hospitality, including more efficient handling of payments, traveler verification and greater interoperability of loyalty programs. For example, blockchain could be used to authenticate "known travelers" for travel screening and security, as Canada and the Netherlands are currently testing.Hype aside, are #hotels closer to finding significant uses for #blockchain technology in distribution and #loyalty?CLICK TO TWEETIs Blockchain Really Worth the Hype as an OTA Killer?While hardly anybody can say for sure what concrete benefits the travel industry can expect from blockchain technology, Skift recently made a convincing argument that its spinoff effects could nonetheless produce positive unintended consequences.Many people are looking to distributed-ledger technology as a possible alternative to online travel agencies. If an immutable, decentralized record of hotel availability, rates and inventory could replace the OTAs -- with their high commissions -- as gatekeepers, hotels could finally exert some downward pressure on acquisition costs, the thinking goes.Perhaps other annoyances of hotel distribution could be mitigated, as some speculate. Hotels and casinos would like to cut down on huge integration fees and not have to deal with the minimum volumes required to distribute on the big OTAs. If unalterable blocks in the blockchain become the norm in distribution, could that prevent wholesalers from slashing prices and causing rate parity headaches for hotels?Let's be careful not to get ahead of ourselves. Douglas Quinby of Phocuswright threw cold water on blockchain's hype, arguing that the technology won't completely kill OTAs' hold on hotel distribution.Hotels are looking for an alternative to OTAs' vexing commissions, but consumers don't really care about that, he wrote. What the OTAs do well is solve the customer's (not the hotel's) main challenge in travel: finding the best price for a room efficiently, from among hundreds or thousands of choices with an easy-to-use interface.Commissions could be lower, but Quinby wrote correctly that these costs to hotels "are not the result of inefficient architecture." OTAs, he continued, "spend billions to acquire customers (marketing and advertising) and make sure they convert (that means investing in the technology to build easy-to-use websites with plenty of relevant options and pricing)."That's the big caveat to consider for hotels learning about and experimenting with blockchain. Hotel distribution is still about advertising. Like it or not, the intermediaries are good at allocating your hotel marketing budget to fill need periods and reach new customers.As always, the imperative to hotels and casinos is to entice guests who book on an OTA to come back via direct channels next time.Another hurdle to wide or rapid adoption of blockchain among travelers could be that many consumers aren't ready to adopt cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin en masse. How many of your customers were glad they didn't jump in to Bitcoin late in 2017 when the cryptocurrency crashed to start this year?Also, it wouldn't surprise me if a backlash against big tech companies cools consumers' enthusiasm for blockchain or crypto for the time being.How Blockchain Could Improve Hotel LoyaltyAn in-depth look from Phocuswire at blockchain's potential to improve hotel loyalty programs revealed several interesting use cases:Data sharing on the blockchain system could give hotels a much more complete profile of their guests. Hotels could use all travel data gleaned from customers' transactions made with their entire cryptocurrency "wallets," which might house several different loyalty programs and many flight or rental car purchases.Being able to value guests based on all their purchasing behaviors and their future propensity to spend is priceless data for formulating customized rates and providing a personalized booking experience.Users could feasibly accrue their rewards immediately, rather than wait a certain period of time after their stays for their points to show up in their balance.That immediacy could also allow for better cross-promotions with other vendor partners. As soon as a hotel stay occurs or a flight is taken, credit for that action from each loyalty program would go to the same decentralized ledger. This is a "smart contract" feature typical of blockchain transactions.Normally, somebody from both the hotel and the airline would have to manually reconcile the activities in a back-office database -- which often takes days or weeks to be reflected on both accounts.With a click-through agreement verified on the blockchain, more affiliate partners could be on-boarded into a hotel or casino loyalty program much faster.Thom Kozik, former VP of loyalty for Marriott International and now the chief commercial officer for Loyyal, a blockchain-based loyalty platform, made a salient point about this in the Phocuswire article. He noted that Emirates Airlines used Loyyal to add a small startup ride-sharing service, Careem, to the airline's loyalty network."That ride-sharing service may be of incredible importance to several hundred thousand members of mine in the Middle East," Kozik told Phocuswire. "But for me, with 100 million members globally, [in the old system] it's not worth the effort for my IT department to do the integration and distract them from the other work."A blockchain-enabled integration is the "much faster route to put on more lifestyle-relevant redemption and earned partnerships into the program that are more relevant to even small microsegments of my customer base," he said. "My members then are becoming more loyal to my brand and my offering, because it feels to them like I'm paying more attention to them and their needs."RELATED BLOCKCHAIN ARTICLESTravel Industry Eyes Blockchain Potential for Fees, Delays, Lost Bags (Reuters)Tech Thinks It Has a Fix for the Problems It Created: Blockchain (New York Times)The Crypto Coworking Spaces Have Arrived (The Ringer)Why Everyone Should Care About Blockchain -- Even if You Don't Understand It (Quartz)

Frasers Hospitality Partners with Duetto to Bring Revenue Strategy to Serviced Residences

Duetto 25 April 2018
Singapore -- Frasers Hospitality, which operates nearly 150 serviced-residence and luxury boutique hotels across Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East, has partnered with Duetto to adopt its Revenue Strategy approach and cloud-based technology.Frasers is implementing Duetto's Open Pricing application, GameChanger, across its global portfolio, and the two companies are working together to innovate new features and strategies for room rates in the extended-stay segment of hospitality."Serviced residences are one of the most exciting -- yet underserved -- verticals in the hotel industry today, and Frasers is leading the way in developing not only this segment, but also new strategies for it," said Patrick Bosworth, Co-Founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform. "The brand is a natural fit as a design partner for further extended-stay capabilities within our flagship GameChanger app. We're looking forward to continuing this partnership for a long time."Frasers' diverse portfolio includes three serviced-residence offerings, two lifestyle hotel brands and two upscale-boutique concepts. The company was drawn to GameChanger for its ability to yield rates and manage digital distribution for traditional short stays and contracted extended stays, for many types of customer segments, said Joanne Ang, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Marketing and Sales for Frasers Hospitality."Having expanded from two properties to more than 150 properties over 80 cities, we now not only have a global footprint but also serve segments as diverse as luxury serviced residences and boutique lifestyle hotels," Ang said. "This requires us to have a Revenue Strategy solution that is capable of handling increasing complexity as we continue to scale."Our enhanced capabilities will help us in pricing inventory, forecasting demand and improving distribution," she continued. "This will enable us to make data-driven decisions to ensure we are achieving the best mix of business."Across all its brands, Frasers has approximately 23,600 rooms in more than 80 cities worldwide.About Frasers HospitalityFrasers Hospitality, a member of Frasers Property Group, celebrates 20 years of offering memorable experiences to guests through its Gold-Standard serviced, hotel residences and boutique lifestyle hotels across North Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.Growing from two properties in Singapore to more than 150 properties in over 80 cities, Frasers Hospitality is now one of the world's largest and fastest-growing providers of serviced residences. Conceived with the lifestyle preferences of today's discerning business and leisure travellers in mind, the global hospitality operator has three Gold-Standard serviced residences offerings - Fraser Suites, Fraser Place and Fraser Residence, a modern and eco-lifestyle brand, Modena by Fraser, and a design-led hotel residence brand, Capri by Fraser. In addition, it operates two brands of upscale boutique lifestyle hotels in the key cities of UK, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin.With a remarkable list of accolades and awards as recognition of its success, Frasers Hospitality remains committed to anticipating and exceeding the evolving needs of executive travellers with continuous innovation and intuitive service, creating a second home for guests where staff feel like family and residents feel like community.Frasers Hospitality marks its 20th anniversary this year with a host of activities across properties and online platforms to thank guests, employees and partners for their loyal support. Join the celebrations at

Request Information

Thank you for your request, we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Please enter your contact details below and we will get back to you with the requested information as soon as possible.
An error occured, please check your input and try again.



Thank you for subscribing. Your email address has been added to our mailing list.
To subscribe to the HITEC Bytes Newsletter please enter your email address below.
An error occured, please check your input and try again.