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Article by Jason Q. Freed

HT-Next: Owners 'Push Back' on Some Tech Requirements

Duetto 23 April 2019
How are those decisions made? And how is success measured?In most cases, it turns out, the answer depends on what the hotel is looking to get out of the new technology. The desired impacts are often different for each hotel and each installation. However, across the board, it seems imperative that all the stakeholders involved in a hotel--ownership, operations, brand, tech supplier--should have an open dialogue and rely on healthy communication to outline the challenges, potential solutions and desired results.Communication was the prevailing theme at last week's HT-Next conference in New Orleans, where panels of IT executives from brands, owners and management companies laid out their tech strategies.At Brookfield Properties, a massive real estate organization with portfolios across multi-family, retail and hospitality, decisions ultimately are made on return on investment. Is the technology going to drive return guests, boost revenue and increase the value of the property?"It requires a balance when we take over a hotel as to what technology we are going to put in," said Nelson Garrido, Senior VP of IT at Brookfield Properties. "We're either doing a complete renovation or changing flags and we want to put in what makes the most sense for that hotel and what's going to have the best return."What is it going to do for this investment?" he continued. "We have a rate of return that we have to achieve for our investors who invest in our funds. We really drill down and we've fought back on some."On the brand side, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts has experienced its fair share of push back in recent years."When I got to Four Seasons we were very behind in technology--we really had none," said Marco Trecroce, Senior VP & CIO. "We spent a lot of money and now owners are starting to push back, but there's so much to do. It's getting a lot harder to get there. Getting through to ownership is really challenging."Jason Shane, VP of IT at Hersha Hospitality, said pushing back on certain technologies is an important part of the process for ownership to protect their investments."We'll take risks with technology if it's behind the scenes and the guest won't see it," he said. "Where we push back is on something we don't believe is going to work. In the end, you're going to fail on some projects, so be sure to have a failure plan."Hersha has seen recent successes and failures. The company partnered with a vendor for digital sales agreements and that partnership has pushed their business forward. On the flipside, "chip and pin" credit-card processing is not going so smoothly, he said.HEI Hotels & Resorts both owns and manages a portfolio of upscale hotels, but it's when they're brought on as independent, third-party manager that conversations are most difficult."The owner can try to do it themselves and the management company is stuck there dealing with aftermath," said Mike Dickersbach, Director Capital IT Services at HEI. "Today, when we see something we know isn't going to work, we have to call it out. If ownership decides to move forward with it, they do."Back on the brand side, IHG is focusing on new technologies to improve the guest experience through first improving the employee experience. The company is rolling out Concerto, a cloud-based tech platform that for now includes a "Guest Reservation System" and a price-optimization tool. Although it's a back-of-house product, it was built with guest satisfaction in mind because "if we can make the employees' lives easier, they'll pass that on to the guest," said Noni Gonzalez, VP of Commercial Applications."We looked at what we can abstract from a PMS, CRS, any of your back-office systems and keep these systems away from the guest and the employee as much as possible," Gonzales said. "You can abstract the three to four things that are needed to check a guest in or give them a room. Once you do that, you can give the power to the guest to choose their room and choose their non-room inventory and get them to a point where the experience is unified from beginning to end and across any channel."She said IHG's ultimate end goal is to maximize profit for their owners."Millennials are a very different type of person and they're going to demand a digital experience. Over time, it will become a requirement for hotels versus right now it's trying to sell the owners on the value. We need to be able to prove that if you build it, they will come."Richard Tudgay, CTO of Highgate Hotels, said technology purchases aren't as simple as proving an ROI."We always have to answer 'why' - including total cost and what it's going to drive. Is it going to drive guest satisfaction? Those are the things to take into account when you're having those conversations."The final call lies with the owner, Brookfield's Garrido said."We do write the check so we like to think we have the last word," he said.
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World-Class Mohegan Sun Partners with Duetto to Drive Innovation

Duetto 3 April 2019
Uncasville, Connecticut -- The Mohegan Sun gaming and entertainment destination in Connecticut and Mohegan Sun Pocono in northeastern Pennsylvania have implemented two of Duetto's cloud-based applications - GameChanger for pricing and ScoreBoard for reporting - as well as Duetto's newest product - the Duetto Rate Engine (DRE) - to drive more profitable revenue at the casino hotels.With GameChanger, Duetto's flagship revenue management application, Mohegan Sun has better visibility into total customer value and the ability to shape reinvestment and marketing decisions to attract the most profitable guests. With ScoreBoard, the revenue team has the ability to create intelligent reports and deliver actionable insights to key stakeholders in real time.The Duetto Rate Engine (DRE) will integrate with Mohegan Sun's booking engine and power Mohegan Sun's Momentum rewards program.Jesse Sturges, Director of Strategic Marketing at Mohegan Sun, says his team was looking to partner with a forward-thinking technology company that would help them better forecast future demand and make data-driven pricing decisions."We were looking for a revenue system that provided more flexibility and innovation," Sturges said. "The gaming market is evolving every single day and we wanted a partner that could help us stay ahead of the curve."Patrick Bosworth, CEO and co-founder at Duetto, added: "Our team prides itself on understanding the intricacies of tribal-owned casino resorts, and we're proud to partner with one of the largest, most well-respected tribal operations in the United States. We're looking forward to helping the Mohegan Sun team continue to grow by getting the right players in the door and not leaving any money on the table."Mohegan Sun was developed in 1996 by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. Today it features three casinos, two hotel towers with a total of 1,563 rooms, two world-class spas, a 130,000 square-foot retail shopping experience, more than 275,000 square feet of meeting space and a 10,000-seat arena.Mohegan Sun acquired the Pocono Downs racetrack in 2005 and began a major expansion. It began operation in November 2006 as the first slots casino in the state of Pennsylvania. Mohegan Sun Pocono features more than 2,000 slot machines, live table games and a harness race track, and recently announced a plan to offer sports betting at an on-site lounge as well as by way of a mobile platform.ABOUT MOHEGAN SUNOwned by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, Mohegan Sun is one of the largest, most spectacular entertainment, gaming, dining and shopping destinations in the United States. Situated on 185 acres along the Thames River in scenic southeastern Connecticut, Mohegan Sun is home to three unique casinos, 1,600 deluxe hotel rooms, 2 world-class spas, a golf course, over 90 shops, restaurants and bars as well as three award-winning entertainment venues including a 10,000-seat Arena. Mohegan Sun is within easy access of New York, Boston, Hartford and Providence and located 15 minutes from the museums, antique shops and waterfront of Mystic Country. More information is available by calling 1.888.226.7711 or visiting mohegansun.com.
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Why the Cloud is the Safest Space for your Hotel Data

Duetto 2 April 2019
As hoteliers shift more and more toward becoming data scientists, the amount of data needed - and available - is growing at exponential rates. It's critical that this data is stored somewhere easily accessible in real time for operators and technology systems, while at the same time kept safe and secure.A cloud environment gives businesses the ability to scale rapidly without worrying about data security, allowing them to instead focus on what differentiates their business. But not all cloud environments are built the same. Amazon Web Services is a leader in the space, providing a highly reliable and scalable platform that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world.As Head of Worldwide Business Development for AWS's Hospitality division, David Peller helps hospitality businesses build and run applications efficiently and effectively. Based in Singapore, Peller moved to AWS after leading strategic partnerships in the Asia Pacific region for Booking.com, where he oversaw distribution and third-party partnerships.Duetto recently caught up with David to discuss the advantages of building and operating in the cloud, particularly on AWS's platform.Q: How should hoteliers determine whether to build or buy their tech solutions?Peller: Hospitality customers, and hoteliers in particular, are driven by both enhancing the guest experience and driving efficiency through their operations. Against that backdrop, and ever-changing expectations from guests, hoteliers face significant competition for their investment dollars.Based on the specific strategy for any individual hotelier, it might make sense to build or customize a solution specific for that business. Amazon Web Services, for example, provides building blocks enabling customers of any size to innovate rapidly - to build and run applications efficiently and effectively. Alternatively, there are many successful AWS partners and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that build and manage hospitality-specific solutions on AWS.Q: How does the cloud speed up the technology integrations process?Peller: Integrations - technical plumbing for the hospitality industry - can involve lots of different parties, physical and virtual connections, supporting multiple interfaces, data streams and more. Cloud services can accelerate these efforts in many ways through the rapid provision of services, which can scale automatically based on demand, automation and leveraging all of the associated security capabilities.Q: What are some industries that are ahead of hospitality in cloud tech adoption?Peller: You might be surprised just how many hospitality companies are very far ahead in their cloud adoption journey - customers such as Choice Hotels, G6 Hospitality, and global ISVs such as Duetto are early adopters of cloud tech adoption. In terms of who is really ahead, it is less about a company's industry and more about the type of business. AWS supports a large number of digital native businesses - those that built their business from the ground up leveraging all of the advantages of cloud. These companies include Airbnb, Deliveroo and OYO Rooms, for example.Q: What do some of these industries have that hospitality is missing?Peller: There is no doubt that cloud has become the new normal. The stage of cloud adoption today has less to do with the industry or business sector and more to do with leadership, engagement and the starting point for the individual enterprise. For an existing business with a legacy technology footprint, there is certainly some effort involved in migrating from on-premise to cloud, though that effort is typically well worth it. With a clear sense of purpose, effective leadership and change management, we have seen hospitality companies rapidly adopt and lead cloud best practices.Q: What does the next generation of hospitality technology look like? Peller: Hospitality systems have traditionally been monolithic applications operating on-premise. The applications can be difficult to maintain, as business requirements evolve and institutional knowledge and skills dissipate. Managing on-premise infrastructure typically increases operating and management costs, needs to be sized for the peak utilization and creates issues around backup, recovery and product development. Builders of hospitality technologies today are taking full advantage of the cloud to design applications with smaller footprints, using micro-services to decouple dependencies and provide much more flexibility and agility to iteratively develop best-in-class solutions. Leveraging newtech enables customers to direct technical resources to where they can have most impact, and benefit from the breadth of services, agility, scalability, security and global reach.Q: What are some technologies that have the potential to disrupt the hospitality space?Peller: Disruption comes in all shapes and sizes - from new entrants into a market, changing habits of guests and emerging technologies. I would say though that the greatest disruption from any hospitality provider would be the failure of any of its mission-critical applications - such as a central reservation system, property management system or point of sale system. As customers adopt cloud to build greater reliability, availability, scalability and security into their services, this risk certainly diminishes.Q: How are hoteliers today managing all their available data and making it actionable?Peller: Progressive hoteliers have been AWS's Hospitality Data Platform - a data lake built on AWS. The platform enables customers to efficiently and effectively ingest, store, manage consumer data from across the enterprise, to drive actionable insights and outcomes. It is true that in some businesses, data remains stuck in silos, whether constrained by internal gatekeepers or traditional technology systems. Those hoteliers that can get a single view of their guests, with actionable insights, are much more likely to surprise and delight guests - and build long-term loyalty.Q: How is AWS helping the hospitality industry avoid all-too-common data breaches?Peller: Amazon and AWS are vigilant about our customers' privacy and have implemented sophisticated technical and physical measures to prevent unauthorized access. We have a world-class team of security experts monitoring our systems 24/7 to protect customer content. It's also important to point out that customers can choose to encrypt their content as part of a standard security process for highly sensitive content. AWS provides tools customers can use to encrypt their data at rest or in motion, or customers can choose from a number of supported 3rd party security solutions.
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RCD Hotels Taps Duetto To Drive All-Inclusive Technology Innovation

Duetto 27 March 2019
Cancun, Mexico -- All-inclusive resorts require a unique revenue strategy, and RCD Hotels is partnering with Duetto to have better forecasting insights and drive more revenue at their two newest properties - Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos and Nobu Hotel Los Cabos.RCD Hotels will initially install Duetto at five total properties, including the iconic Eden Roc Hotel Miami Beach and Nobu Hotel Miami Beach. They will implement Duetto's GameChanger application to simplify their pricing process, ScoreBoard to simplify their reporting process and BlockBuster to simplify their group business contracts.RCD Hotels tapped Duetto as innovators in the all-inclusive space, noting the deep understanding and expertise the technology provider has in the Caribbean and Mexican resort markets.Lourdes Ancona Valdes, Corporate Director of Revenue Management at RCD Hotels, says her team was looking to partner with a forward-thinking technology company that would team with them to develop strategies and product features specific to the all-inclusive market."We want to work with a company that is thinking outside of the box and investing in its all-inclusive product offerings," she said. "Duetto is ahead of the game in this regard and we expect that together we can push the envelope even further."Two specific features will strengthen RCD Hotels' all-inclusive revenue strategy: the ability to yield per-person rates and the ability to forecast demand up to five years into the future. While traditional urban hotels have shorter booking windows, all-inclusive properties are often booked further than a year in advance and therefore need better visibility into demand beyond 365 days.Patrick Bosworth, CEO and co-founder at Duetto, added: "Our team prides itself on understanding the intricacies of all-inclusive resorts, and we're proud to partner with one of the most forward-thinking resort owner-operators out there. We're looking forward to helping RCD Hotels hone its all-inclusive revenue strategy by taking the right bookings at the right time for the right price."RCD Hotels opened the first all-inclusive Hard Rock property, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, and continues to grow its investment throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.The 639-room Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos marks Hard Rock's fourth Mexican destination and will cater to the diverse needs of modern travelers, offering both family-friendly and adult-only sections.The 200-room Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, the first Nobu Hotel in Mexico, will represent a new and differentiated luxury product in the market. The signature Nobu Restaurant and Bar will be located on the beachfront of the Pacific Ocean delivering the famed Nobu experience framed with a remarkable view.ABOUT RCD HOTELSRCD Hotels is the brand that brought the first all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels and Hard Rock golf courses to life. RCD Hotels is expanding its portfolio with properties under the European plan concept and the all-inclusive concept. The company acts as marketing and sales leaders for Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as for the iconic Eden Roc and Nobu, both in Miami Beach. Future projects include Nobu Hotel Los Cabos and Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos, both scheduled to open in 2019. RCD Hotels has established success in luxury hotels, creating a standard of excellence that will become even stronger as the portfolio grows.ABOUT DUETTODuetto provides a suite of cloud applications to address hospitality's complexity in distribution and technology, providing solutions that increase organizational efficiency, revenue and profitability. The unique combination of hospitality experience and technology leadership drives Duetto to look for new and innovative solutions to the industry's greatest challenges. Duetto delivers software-as-a-service to hotels and casinos that leverage dynamic data sources and actionable insights into pricing and demand across the enterprise. More than 3,000 hotel and casino properties in more than 60 countries have partnered to use Duetto's applications, which include GameChanger for pricing, ScoreBoard for intelligent reporting and BlockBuster for contracted-business optimization.For more information, visit http://duettocloud.com.
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Duetto Reaches 150,000 Rooms Milestone in Europe

Duetto 4 March 2019
Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, continues to grow its presence in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), welcoming 10 new hotel companies in 2018.The San Francisco based hospitality tech firm now services more than 50 hotel companies across EMEA, representing more than 870 properties and nearly 150,000 hotel rooms.In 2018, Duetto welcomed some of Europe's leading hotel brands to the family, including the eponymous Sacher Hotels in Austria.Founded in 1876, Hotel Sacher Wien is Vienna's only family-run luxury hotel with 150 rooms and suites. The 110-room Hotel Sacher Salzburg is the city's only purpose-built luxury grand hotel. It is located on the shore of the Salzach River with beautiful views to Salzburg's old town. Both five-star hotels welcome their guests to a unique blend of charming tradition, excellent service and highest comfort."Since 1832 the name Sacher has combined exclusivity, outstanding quality and Austrian charm. Today, innovation is at the heart of everything we do. Through our new partnership with Duetto we will be able to better maximise on opportunities and progress our strategy," said Matthias Winkler, CEO.The H-Hotels Group added its portfolio of about 60 properties in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) to Duetto in mid 2018, with plans to add further properties as it expands into other European destinations.Family-owned H-Hotels Group operates over 10,000 rooms across its own brands: Hyperion, H4 Hotels, H2 Hotels, H+ Hotels, H.omes and H.ostels, making it one of the largest hotel operators in the region.In November, Duetto announced its partnership with luxury hotel group Firmdale Hotels. Firmdale Hotels is privately owned by husband and wife Tim and Kit Kemp and comprises eight award-winning luxury properties in central London and two in New York, including Ham Yard Hotel in London and The Whitby Hotel in New York."Our partnership with Duetto will help us future proof our business with scalable multi-tenant cloud technology and speed up innovation. Using the GameChanger and ScoreBoard applications we will gain visibility into all transactional data in order to identify and maximise on revenue opportunities," said Phil Ford, Group Revenue Manager, Firmdale Hotels. Other brands to join the Duetto family in 2018 include Dedica Anthology, The Flag, Inntel, CityMax, English Lakes, Hotel Des Indes, and Mytha Hotels. These hotel companies join a long line-up of European brands now using Duetto's Revenue Strategy solutions, including NH Hotel Group, Melia Hotels International, Palladium Hotel Group, easyHotel, citizenM and more.Globally, Duetto now helps more than 2,500 hotel and casino properties in more than 60 counties optimise their rooms, groups and casino revenue.
Article by Sarah McCay Tams

Putting The Customer At The Centre

Duetto 18 February 2019
This week's Opportunity 2019 conference provided plenty of food for thought for the UK's revenue management community, as industry professionals, hoteliers, students and solutions providers came together to discuss 'Revenue Management and the Connected Customer.'Nancy Rademaker, partner at Nexxworks, kicked off proceedings with an inspiring keynote that had many audience members nodding in agreement as she talked about the clash of the 'old normal' and the 'new normal'.In her presentation, Rademaker talked about digital becoming the new norm, and how all businesses - not just hospitality - need to put extreme customer centricity at the top of their agenda."Will you be selling the same product on the same channels in 2030?" she asked the audience, answering "No way!"."It's not a digital strategy that's needed, but a strategy for the new world. You can't just digitise your processes. That is not a new strategy. You must unlearn a lot of what you have learned," she added.Talking about the customer experience, Rademaker pointed out that the customer journey is not a line. "It does not go from A to B," she said. "You must create as many touch points as you can. Reverse the pyramid. Start from the desired customer experience and work back to solutions and concepts."In a panel discussion on whether the rise of the open hotel tech platform is key to the delivery of a connected customer experience, tech firms came together to discuss their role in delivering that customer-centric strategy.Richard Valtr, founder at Mews Systems, in possibly the most memorable moment of the conference, explained how PMS systems need to be API-centric: "It's not about putting lipstick on a pig, it's about genetically modifying the pig so that it has luscious lips"."We're looking at our industry as just one thing... we must be brave and look at how our technology can enable a huge amount of guest experiences outside of the hotel, outside of simply check in," he added.Closing the event, Patrick Bosworth, co-founder and CEO of Duetto, took the conversation of delivering guest value to the next level. Loyalty had been a hot topic of the day, and Bosworth was concise in his opinion: "If you have a loyalty programme that doesn't reward the majority of your guests, it's broken."Patrick closed the event with some top tips on boosting profitability and insight on the topic of personalised pricing.
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Las Vegas's Downtown Grand Casino Chooses Duetto to Drive Revenue

Duetto 5 February 2019
Las Vegas -- The Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino has implemented two of Duetto's cloud-based applications - GameChanger for pricing and ScoreBoard for reporting - and partnered with Duetto for Strategic Consulting services to drive more profitable revenue at the iconic property.With GameChanger, Duetto's flagship revenue management application, The Downtown Grand has better visibility into total customer value and the ability to shape reinvestment and marketing decisions to attract the most profitable guests. With ScoreBoard, the revenue team has the ability to create intelligent reports and deliver actionable insights to key stakeholders in real time.Partnering with Duetto for Strategic Consulting affords the casino access to decades of casino revenue management experience for hands-on rate management.Ben Chan, Director of Revenue at The Downtown Grand, says his team was shopping for a revenue system that would help them make more strategic marketing decisions and optimize revenue for each booking."As much as we want improved financial performance through more dynamic revenue management practices, we were also looking for a strategic growth partner," Chan said. "Having recently commenced construction on an additional 495-room hotel tower, The Downtown Grand is focused on ensuring we remain the centerpiece of a revitalized downtown Las Vegas district."Patrick Bosworth, CEO and co-founder at Duetto, added: "The Downtown Grand is one of downtown Las Vegas' most iconic properties, and we're proud to modernize the team's revenue management technology and strategies. We're looking forward to quickly implementing the product into their daily practices and integrating player worth data so that we can help get the right players in the door and make more profitable pricing decisions."The Downtown Grand is a boutique hotel and casino with 629 newly remodeled hotel rooms and 9 bars and restaurants. In January, owners began construction on an additional 495-room hotel tower.About Downtown Grand Hotel & CasinoDowntown Grand Hotel & Casino is a unique hospitality and entertainment destination right in the heart of revitalized downtown Las Vegas. Located on 3rd Street between Ogden and Stewart, Downtown Grand encompasses an entire urban block of hotel, casino and dining amenities. The property currently features two 18-story and 25-story towers totaling 629 guestrooms and suites, and a third tower is under construction. Downtown Grand's casino offerings include 25,000 square feet of gaming space with nearly 500 of the hottest slot machines, table games and a fully featured sports book powered by William Hill. Restaurants, bars and entertainment options include Freedom Beat, Furnace Bar, Art Bar, Sidebar and the award-winning Las Vegas steakhouse Triple George Grill. Partnering venues include the famous Hogs & Heifers saloon and Pizza Rock, renowned as one of the best pizza restaurants in the city. Downtown Grand features Citrus Grand Pool Deck, a rooftop pool experience with more than 35,000 square feet of entertainment and special event space, an infinity pool, restaurant and bar, semi-private cabanas, a fire pit and a grass seating area.
Article by Jason Freed

2019: The Year Hotels Get a Grip on Acquisition Costs

Duetto 1 February 2019
Examining the challenges and opportunities facing hoteliers in 2019, it might be easy to say, "New year, same old story." In attempts to drive revenue and increase profitability, hoteliers--like they have for seemingly the past decade--continue to focus on less costly ways to acquire guests.On one hand, OTAs continue to grow share, release new features to better connect with your guest and, in general, innovate faster than the large hotel brands. This is a problem because part of the allure of a hotel brand is the giant distribution system that comes with it, supposedly bringing guests at a much lower cost. Therefore, upcoming negotiations between Marriott and Expedia are expected to be tense and the results could have a wide-ranging impact on industrywide commissions.On the other hand, most independent hotels today better understand the relationship and the value that third-party distribution channels bring and are finding ways to only use them in need periods and to target specific markets. "Optimizing one's distribution mix is probably a lot more productive than fighting OTAs," says hospitality marketing consultant Martin Soler.When it's all said and done, we expect hoteliers in 2019 to have better insights into the cost of each of their distribution channels and the relevant information to make educated decisions on how to acquire guests.OTAs Facing New CompetitionThe days of fearing that Expedia and Booking.com will dominate distribution and bankrupt your business are over. After gobbling up most of the other third-party distribution sites and building what appeared to be a duopoly, Expedia and Booking suddenly find themselves facing new competition in Google, Airbnb and eventually Amazon. For hoteliers, this new competition is good and drives down costs.For example, according to a Skift report, in 2008 Expedia and Booking Holdings were capturing $19 of travel sales for every $1 they spent in marketing. Today, each dollar spent on marketing earns them closer to $16 in bookings, a 15% decline in efficiency.While Expedia enters 2019 calling itself, "The World's Travel Platform," Skift is quick to point out that in 2018 Expedia had only 12% of overall travel market share in the U.S. and Canada, its biggest market. Don't forget about global sites like Booking.com, Ctrip, TripAdvisor, and--perhaps most importantly--Google.Book Direct Campaigns WorkingEarlier this year, Soler opined that the "Direct vs OTA" debate had lost a lot of steam. Hotels weren't ignoring their efforts to drive business direct, he said, but better understood the complexity of competing with OTAs.Then out came a report by Kalibri Labs saying "Book Direct" campaigns launched by many of the big brands last year have in fact been successful in "either stabilizing or strengthening the growth rate of bookings via proprietary hotel company websites."Kalibri has been examining hotels' efforts to drive direct business through their loyalty programs, which often offer a 10% discount or similar to entice travelers to join their loyalty programs and book directly with the brand or the hotel. "Bookings growth for online travel agencies during this period either held steady or decelerated, signaling a shift for the hotel industry," Kalibri said.Undoubtedly the results of this report, coupled with the internal findings from brands who initiated Book Direct campaigns, will provide a momentum boost to hotels looking to take back share through personalization and loyalty membership bookings.'Book on Google' Could be a Game ChangerIn 2018, Google made significant strides toward improving its hotel booking offerings. Not only is Google's hotel search and map functionality better, but a Book on Google feature was introduced allowing travelers to reserve a room without leaving the search engine. Allowing guests to book hotels in Google's environment helps hoteliers reach guests on the channels they prefer.Along with many independents, Choice Hotels was one of the early Book on Google adopters, and leadership recently told Hotels Magazine that early results are extremely positive."It's still early given how (Google) rolled it out and in how consumers are adopting it, but we continue to be very pleased in terms of the revenue, the percentage of our clicks coming through as well as the higher-than-average conversion rate we're seeing through the channel," said Choice Hotels' Chief Commercial Officer Robert McDowell.Resolving Rate Parity IssuesOne growing point of contention between hotels and OTAs is rate parity, or the idea that publicly available room rates should be the same across all channels. Many consumers have become aware of rate parity and understand that they're not going to find a substantial deal by searching dozens of different websites. This hurts OTAs because if deals are less likely to be found, travelers may as well book direct and reap the benefits that come with doing so.However, one OTA in particular has resorted to a new tactic of scouring the Internet and listing any lower rates that can be found, even if the inventory was not sold directly to them. Booking.Basic, a feature of Booking.com currently in operation in Asia and Europe, is often undercutting hotel rates by finding inventory that has been sold to wholesalers at a rate that is not meant for public consumption. The rates it offers are nonrefundable and made via a third party that is only revealed to guests after they have paid to book a room, according to Phocuswire.Out of parity rates hurt hoteliers in that they drive business away from the hotel, and as Triptease notes in this report, non-parity rates also have a domino effect in that they increase costs spent with meta channels like Google and Kayak.In the end, we think all the fighting hoteliers and hotel brands have done to remain relevant in the new world of online booking is paying off. Hoteliers continue to learn more and more about their guests and how to connect with them directly. Hotel demand and occupancy are both strong, meaning hoteliers have to rely less on filling their hotels through the costliest channels.Hoteliers in 2019 should continue to shift their concentration away from battling the OTAs to instead using the troves of data they have about their guests to make more profitable pricing and distribution decisions.
Article by Jason Q. Freed

Cross-Department Collaboration is Key to Optimizing Group Business

Duetto 30 November 2018
Getting the right group business in your hotel at the right time for the right rate requires a holistic approach from your entire hotel operations team. In the current environment, inefficiencies in formulating group rates and quoting them to potential guests has hotels leaving a lot of money on the table.A 2018 report from Kalibri Labs put numbers to the group business opportunity for hotels in the United States. Of the estimated $300 billion consumers spent on groups and meetings last year, $140 billion of that revenue went to hotels. More than one-fifth of that total, or $30 billion, came from rooms revenue, with spending on food and beverage, transportation, and audio-visual making up the balance.Customer acquisition costs for groups and meetings business are on the rise, the Kalibri report found. Costs across many different intermediaries rose to $4 billion in 2017, Kalibri reported, and that total is projected to rise to between $8 billion and $10 billion by 2022.Standing in the way of these opportunities for hotels are vexing challenges, particularly a fundamental misalignment between a typical propertys different teams. Revenue managers are in charge of maximizing profitability for the property, driving ADR while still converting bookings. However, the sales managers who are in charge of securing group and negotiated business often are paid to maximize the number of contracts they can close and the room nights booked under group rates.Even though hotels like to think that each department is really working toward the same goal of making the hotel the most money, there are often different incentives.The following departments should be aligned on your group strategy:Sales: Accept groups at the right rates.Operations: Schedule labor and staff according to demand and committed bookings.Marketing: Drive demand in need periods when group business would help profitability.Revenue: Empower the sales team with data-driven forecasts and real-time group quotations.Another challenge to optimizing group business is that hotel departments often are relying on reports from a combination of different data sources. One team may be pulling numbers from the property management system, analyzing the data in a spreadsheet, then sending it over to a different team. The second team likely has been working with different numbers from the RMS or some other system. By the time people are actually looking at the same information to make a decision, the data is outdated.Modern Group Optimization StrategiesIn many cases, hotels will begin looking at their group business in November for the following year. Contracted business or groups on the books will be noted, and the hotels forecast, often prepared by the revenue manager, will be layered on top.From here, sales and marketing should work closely with the revenue manager to identify prospects. Look at group booking pace over the past three to five years and try to recognize trends as well as where there are gaps. Perhaps your strategy needs to evolve to remain competitive or gain back share. This is where marketing has the opportunity to contribute their plans to make up that business.Best practices to drive group business:The revenue team and director of sales should work together to form an action plan to determine optimal group mix of business.Update on a bi-weekly basis need periods with the sales team.Attend business review meetings with sales to guide them in pricing.Keep the group pricing relevant so that the sales team can convert business.Instead of waiting until November each year, the revenue manager should be creating a forecast at the end of every month, looking ahead to the next month and the next year.When RFPs come through the sales office generated by a meeting planner, a housing bureau, a wedding, etc. theyre typically loaded into some sort of sales software. Next, that piece of business would be brought up for a group business review. These meetings happen on a daily basis, at least, wherein sales, marketing and revenue teams analyze group leads to ensure theyre the right fit for the property.Today, hotel sales and revenue teams are using modern tools to turn those discussions into a live group quotation. Software analyzes demand patterns, takes into account current transient rates and other data, and recommends a rate at which each group makes sense.With new tools, hotels are able to focus more on response time, and operators understand that at the end of the day they must empower their sales and revenue folks with the right recommendations. Instead of just saying yes or no, hotel sales people today are more able to negotiate group business on the go.
Article by Jason Q. Freed

Best Quotes from Center Stage at Phocuswright

Duetto 16 November 2018
Of all the travel industry conferences, no one could argue that Phocuswright is among the best at getting today's brightest and most influential leaders on stage. The conference kicked off this week in Los Angeles, and if you're not there you can stream most of the sessions on the conference website. We're paying closest attention to what the hoteliers and hotel intermediaries have to say, of course. Here's a rundown of yesterday's highlights from the stage.Maud Bailly, Chief Digital Officer, AccorBailly is in the midst of leading Accor's digital transformation, focusing on streamlining and personalizing the entire guest experience, from booking through on-property and post-stay. She's got big ambitions and she's not afraid to move quickly, testing constantly and scrapping ideas quickly that aren't improving the guest experience. Her challenges are making everything simpler yet at the same time creating experiences that speak to travelers across the globe, when sometimes Western travelers prefer a different experience than Eastern travelers, for instance.Richard Holden, VP of product management, GoogleRichard Holden, VP of product management at Google, discussed the search giant's continued and strengthened mission of providing users with the knowledge and answers that will best help them make decisions. Pressed on whether those answers should come from Google, which has inserted many of its own products at the top of search results, Holden said the company is confident they are striking the right balance between providing organic information and results that deliver traffic to the company's biggest advertising partners. Holden discussed the evolution of Book on Google, a product that allows travelers to reserve airfare and hotel rooms without leaving Google's site, admitting the product name could be misleading and hinting its name may soon change.Jeff Ma, who joined Duetto in October, is best known for his role on the MIT blackjack team, where he and his colleagues used data-driven decisions to play blackjack more effectively and often beat the casinos at their own game. He talked about how data-driven decision are the best decisions, and that there are analytics out there can help entire industries be more successful. Hotels, he said, are just on the cusp of taking all the available data they have - which is now stored in the cloud and easily accessible - and analyzing it to make the most profitable pricing decisions.Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of Oyo RoomsEverything about Oyo is unique, particularly the facts that their founder and CEO is 24 years old and that their business model has evolved from an asset-light marketing and distribution company to a business that is providing capital and tools to renovate poor-performing assets. Agarwal described that evolution by saying his company went out offering distribution strategies to many struggling economy hotel owners, but when they saw the opportunity to help those owners improve their businesses (while generating some returns in the process), it became a no-brainer.Steve Hafner, CEO, KayakHafner is never one to beat around the bush or mince words, so his appearance on stage is always a crowd-pleaser. He tells it how it is, even if that means throwing his own company under the bus by pointing out their challenges and failures. Regarding Kayak, it's clear that Hafner is bullish on the metasearch space, suggesting there's no real advantage for a traveler to bypass metasearch sites and go directly to on OTA. That said, he also readily admitted that Google has the largest advantage in the meta space and could spell trouble for everyone else.RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESPredictive Analytics Ace Jeff Ma Joins Duetto6 Things You Might Not Know About Google TravelThe Blueprint for Taking Business Back from OTAs
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Predictive Analytics Ace Jeff Ma Joins Duetto

Duetto 12 November 2018
San Francisco, November 12, 2018 -- With the increasing importance of analytics to hoteliers today, Duetto has doubled down on its commitment to innovation by hiring Jeff Ma as Senior Vice President of Product and Analytics.Ma joins Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, after serving as Vice President of Data Science and Analytics at Twitter, where he led the central data science, machine learning and analytics teams. Prior, Ma gained notoriety as the leader of the MIT blackjack team and was the inspiration for the best-selling book "Bringing Down the House" and hit film "21."Ma served for two years as ESPN's first Predictive Analytics Expert and has founded several successful technology companies, including a sports media and analytics startup Citizen Sports, acquired by Yahoo, and a human capital analytics company called tenXer, which was acquired by Twitter in 2015."For my next chapter, I was looking for a business where analytics were at the foundation of the company's value proposition, and I couldn't have found a better fit with Duetto," Ma said. "The opportunity to apply the 'Moneyball' playbook to the hospitality vertical unlocks huge potential for hotels to excel in areas where they have previously struggled. By leveraging data and analytics, Duetto will revolutionize how hotels achieve greater profitability and personalization and market directly to consumers."Duetto's Revenue Strategy Platform brings together core technologies and data to make them accessible through multi-tenant cloud architecture. With integrations to more than 50 technology partners, the platform serves as a foundation for hotel companies to execute the holistic Revenue Strategy championed by Duetto since its launch more than six years ago. By unifying teams around a common source of dynamic data and a company-wide mission focused on profitability, an organization can become more efficient, drive more direct engagement with customers and capture more revenue."Jeff will bring our product team to the next level by matching the best in Silicon Valley with the best vision in hospitality," said Marco Benvenuti, Duetto Co-founder and Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer. "As the pace of change has accelerated and the threats of digital disruption have grown, so have our efforts to help this industry we're so passionate about. Analytics are at the core of what we do, and I'm excited to see Jeff build out a world-class team of data scientists and help shape the industry's only Revenue Strategy Platform."In February of this year, Duetto announced an $80 million Series D financing round led by Warburg Pincus, a leading global private-equity firm focused on growth investing. The company's flagship software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, GameChanger, brought machine learning, new consumer-centric data and the breakthrough innovation of Open Pricing to the industry, enabling hotel companies to independently price all distribution channels, customer segments, room types and stay dates in real time.
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HQ plus, Duetto Announce Technology Partnership

Duetto 1 November 2018
San Francisco, 1 November, 2018 -- Duetto, the hospitality industry's only Revenue Strategy Platform, has today announced its latest technology integration - with HQ plus.The new interface between Duetto's GameChanger and HQ plus enables joint customers to see the current room rate for a list of chosen competitors, as well as showing competitor averages. The interface pulls rates from a wide range of online distribution channels, including online travel agencies, as well as Brand.com sites from competitor hotels.The integration enables hoteliers using Duetto and the HQ revenue hotel market intelligence software to compare competitor rates to their own, up to 365 days in the future. This will assist hotel revenue managers on both short-term yielding and longer-term Revenue Strategy. The ability to accurately benchmark will enable hoteliers to adapt to market changes in real time."We are very proud of our collaboration with Duetto: Now our mutual customers are able to see in Duetto the rates of their comp set, taken directly from our system. It's a very important first step as we work towards offering our customers even more relevant market data to help them boost their Revenue Strategy," said Roland Hehn, CEO at HQ plus."Through this integration, Duetto customers can leverage channel-specific competitive pricing data from HQ plus direct through our Open Pricing solution, GameChanger. This enables hoteliers to optimise revenue at a marketplace level with greater emphasis on channel contribution and lead time," explained Marco Benvenuti, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for Duetto.While finalising their technology partnership, Duetto and HQ plus trialled their new integration with Ruby Hotels."We are happy about the integration of two very strong tools we use in our revenue management. The integration of both systems will help us to gain even deeper market insights," said Tobias Koehler, Group Director Marketing & Commerce at Ruby Hotels.ABOUT HQ PLUS HQ plus is the pioneer of Europe's hotel market intelligence revolution. Since its foundation in 2012, the company has successfully brought forward cutting-edge revenue management technologies. It is now Europe's market leader, serving about 2,000 customers with its innovative software, HQ revenue, and is enjoying a steady growth in foreign markets too.HQ revenue is a leading-edge platform in the revenue management technology landscape that provides accurate real-time data to hoteliers and revenue managers. The product is an effective decision-aiding tool and empowers hoteliers with a complete overview of the most important distribution channels. This allows for quick and efficient analyses and timely reactions to shifts in demand and occupancy, putting HQ revenue customers ahead of their game.Visit https://www.hqrevenue.com for more information.
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Revinate Announces Partnership with Duetto

Duetto 30 October 2018
San Francisco, Oct. 30, 2018 -- Revinate, the software as a service (SaaS) company that helps hotels transform guest data into revenue, today announced a partnership with Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform, to enhance the power of its guest marketing solution. Now, joint customers will be able to use Duetto's platform and its Open Pricing application GameChanger to dynamically price upsells and upgrades driven through Revinate Marketing. The real-time pricing solution will enable personalized offers to maximize conversion and revenue."Duetto shares our core belief that data can be used to optimize guest lifetime value, driving maximum profit for the hotel, all while delighting the guest," said Dan Hang, Revinate's Chief Product Officer. "Having Duetto's platform work with Revinate Marketing means that our customers will drive more revenue with real-time data and personalized offers.""We believe by partnering with other leading technology companies and keeping our platform open and agnostic we can drive more meaningful results for our customers and hotel companies around the world," said Marco Benvenuti, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer of San Francisco-based Duetto. "This is a great example of that and the partnership with Revinate brings brand new functionality and real personalization to an industry starved for it."Hotel Spero in San Francisco is one of the first hotels to use the joint solution in its pre-stay communications with guests. Tomo Kakegawa, Corporate Director of Revenue Management and Digital Marketing, says, "We can already see the difference that dynamic pricing and personalized communications can have on upgrade revenue. We're thrilled that these two software companies have come together to innovate and push the limits of technology to help the industry drive more revenue through data."About RevinateRevinate enables hoteliers to transform their guest data into revenue. With Revinate Marketing and Revinate Guest Feedback, hoteliers are empowered to make smarter decisions, resulting in increased direct revenue and guest engagement. The company is backed by leading Silicon Valley investors, including Benchmark Capital, Tenaya Capital, and Sozo Ventures. Headquartered in San Francisco with regional offices in Amsterdam and Singapore, Revinate counts tens of thousands of the world's leading hotels as customers.To learn more, please visit www.revinate.com.
Article by Jason Q. Freed

How Hotels are Putting Their Data into Action

Duetto 19 October 2018
Hoteliers are still in the infancy stages of using the troves of available data to better serve guests and value rooms properly, according to Balaji Krishnamurthy, Chief Strategy Officer with Sabre.Sabre, with nearly 40,000 hotels using some combination of its CRS, PMS or booking engine, offers an interesting perspective on how hotels can collect, analyze and make decisions on the guest and transaction data available today."It's a big opportunity, but there are big challenges," Krishnamurthy said on a recent Sabre webinar, Leveraging Data Insights to Drive Profitable Growth.He says that hospitality businesses had been solely focused on improving the guest experience until about 15 years ago, when electronic distribution and channel management forced hoteliers to start analyzing different types of demand data."Hospitality has been behind other travel sectors for about 10 years," Krishnamurthy said. "There is a lot of catch-up to do, but the opportunity is big in hospitality."What are today's challenges?Today, one of the biggest issues preventing hoteliers from making their data actionable is technology integration. Nearly all of the different systems in a hotel tech stack are generating some sort of data, and the challenge for hoteliers is bringing all that data into somewhere safe where they can analyze it and get a more holistic view of the guest.The data is not always clean, either. With hotels spreading their inventory across so many channels, the data that comes from each of those systems doesn't always look the same. And when hoteliers use legacy, on-premise systems to ingest and analyze that data, many issues can boil to the surface.Where should we be tomorrow?Krishnamurthy says a good data integration platform in a modern cloud environment can wrangle, clean and harmonize the data.This will pay immediate dividends, allowing hotels to see how each of their channels are performing beyond the surface-level metrics like RevPAR, ADR and occupancy.To start, hotel operators must find and hire the people with the right mind-set: curious people who are great problem solvers, he said, adding, "Talent is critical to extract value out of the ecosystem."Krishnamurthy said there are three concrete examples of applying data analytics to solve hotelier challenges:Distribution planning. Use available data and analytics to help determine where and how to spend your marketing budget. A good start is looking at where your customers came from last year.Revenue leakage detection. Because many of today's pricing tasks are manual, Krishnamurthy says, rates either stay static much of the time or are even lowered and never brought back up. Disconnects to important distribution channels often go undetected. Analytics and AI can help avoid that and close the gap on leakage.Demand forecasting. Many hotels still over-rely on historical data to power their forecast and pricing strategy. Advanced revenue systems can aggregate all of your data - including data from outside hospitality like flight information and guest buying behavior - to formulate a recommendation from all the information that's available."Hoteliers are now able to use AI and machine learning to gain greater insight from their data and start to drive dynamic personalization and next-gen retailing and merchandising," Krishnamurthy said. "Last year, airlines sold $80 billion in ancillaries, mostly fees and bag revenue. Think of what hospitality can do. There is a huge opportunity with what you can retail based on your customer's unique need, using the data you already have."RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESHow Your Own Data Resets the Hotel-OTA Relationship on Better TermsDuetto Concepts: Data Quality (Video)Hotel E-commerce Could Get a Boost from Data and Analytics

New Technology to Solve Industry Challenges | By Yasean Lee

Duetto 15 October 2018
At Duetto, we take full advantage of the fact that we're true multi-tenant cloud. We can release new updates and enhancements at any time, pushed to all of our customers at once, and with no downtime. It beats building new versions of software and having to ask users to upgrade all the time.But there's the small stuff, and then the big stuff. We release our gamechanging (no pun intended) enhancements -- our major new products and features -- quarterly, because they take more time to build and we take more time to be diligent.Today is the official date of our 2018 Fall Release. While the new features will only affect Duetto users, our Product team enjoys giving regular peeks behind the curtain to anyone that might be interested. We're working on solving real challenges and pain points to drive profitability for hotels and casinos, and often those solutions are aimed at broader industry-wide problems. So by sharing what we're developing for our customers, we hope to also create new relationships so that we can help all hotels and casinos run more profitable businesses.With that said, here's a glimpse into the highlights of Duetto's new tools and features, coming today.New Toggle Helps Hotels More Accurately Price by Room Type.Being able to forecast demand and dynamically yield each of your room types independently of each other is crucial. You know there are times when your suites are in higher demand, or when the majority of guests are asking for rooms with two queen beds, for example. But are you sure you're charging the right premium for these options? In some cases, are you giving away more rooms than you are upselling?A new enhancement called Room Type Pricing Flexibility now gives hoteliers the ability to toggle the order of operations in which rates are calculated, weighting either segment or room type differentials first or second depending on the hotel's unique demands.New Group Forecast Features Improve Displacement Analysis.Helping hotels and casinos with group revenue management has been a major focus for Duetto in 2018.To start, forecasting group business has traditionally been extremely painful for hotels. They often don't have the right visibility into the group sales funnel, such as an accurate picture of prospects, tentative groups and contracted groups on the books. So Duetto's new group forecast module splits your group business into these three buckets, then takes in your hotel's historical conversion rates to help determine a "wash" percentage.With this increased visibility into your total group pipeline, including the number of contracts that will most likely convert, hotels will now know how many groups to actually sign and what rates to offer. While currently in beta at the moment, you'll see this available across the board very soon.Additionally, for BlockBuster users managing groups that request high-demand days, sales directors now see "Alternate Stay Date Recommendations" and are able to quote in real-time alternative dates that meet said demand and may work better within the group's budget.Alternate stay dates help hotels minimize displacement because you can recommend to group organizers the optimal dates that meet a group's needs, and don't displace transient room revenue.Put Guest and Transaction Data into Action.Personalization is the future, and probably should have been here a long time ago. But hotels are often left wondering how to take the first step, because the void in which all your data is floating around is scary to tackle. So it's exciting to announce new features to help hotels not only manage the data that exists, but also start putting personalization into action.Today, Duetto released a feature called "Loyalty Rate Lookup" that allows your booking engine to obtain a loyalty member's ID and quickly find a personalized offer or tailored rate based on that individual's preferences and value to your hotel.In addition, we're partnering closely with Facebook to allow hotels to show dynamic, real-time prices in their Facebook ads. Until now, Facebook ads have been static, not based on real-time supply and demand or true user search behavior, meaning that users who clicked on an ad in their feed would often not find the rate or availability at the hotel's booking engine.Plenty of more features are coming to you today, so if you're a Duetto user, don't be alarmed at all the new revenue capabilities you have. If you're not a Duetto user but want to learn more, please contact us here.RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESNH Hotel Group's Change Management Plans Revolve Around Revenue StrategyHow Chumash Casino Resort Makes Room for More Efficient Strategies5 Tips For Running a Successful Revenue Strategy Meeting
Article by Joanna DeChellis

Taking Blockchain from Concept to Reality

Duetto 15 October 2018
That's exactly what innovator, strategist and Chief Operating Officer of citizenM, Michael Levie, hopes to uncover during the panel discussion he will moderate at RSF London on 5 November called, Hype or Hope: Is Blockchain going to change the industry, or much ado about nothing?"We, as an industry, are behind when it comes to new technology," says Levie, who will also offer the keynote presentation on the benefits to hotels of taking a Blue Ocean approach to business. "There's a certain degree of frustration with some feeling these advancements are not for everyone. But whether or not new technologies, like blockchain, are right for your hotel depends on how you upgrade your own architecture and make meaningful use of the opportunity."The biggest and most obvious blockchain benefits center around distribution and data. New platforms could lower costs of acquisition and give hotels greater control over the distribution process. But taking the technology from a pie-in-the-sky idea, as Levie puts it, to an actual tool remains the industry's biggest hurdle.Panelists - including David Brillembourg of Brillembourg Holdings; Charles Ehredt of Currency Alliance; Khalid Ladha of BlockX Labs; and Christian Lunden of Nordic Choice Hotels - will shed light on what they see as opportunities for blockchain in hotels. Levie will lead the discussion and ask each to offer tangible ideas and strategies for how to implement this young, ground-breaking technology based on their own experiences."There are plenty of opportunities for blockchain in hotels," says Levie. "But it all comes down to how realistic is it for this industry to take that quantum leap."The biggest obstacles from Levie's perspective are scale, affordability and purpose.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. And the best way to prepare is to listen to experts take a deep dive into its potential.RELATED HOTEL REVENUE STRATEGY ARTICLESBlockchain: Loyalty and the Next Generation of TravellerThe Definitive Guide to Hotel Blockchain TechnologyRevenue Strategy Report: How Blockchain Could Disrupt Hotel Distribution and Loyalty
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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas Forms Revenue Strategy Partnership with Duetto

Duetto 8 October 2018
Las Vegas - Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has agreed to implement the cloud-based applications GameChanger and ScoreBoard at its 1,504-room property as part of its new partnership with Duetto, hospitality's only Revenue Strategy Platform.With GameChanger, Duetto's flagship Open Pricing application, Hard Rock Las Vegas will be able to refine its pricing and digital-distribution strategies, including a more sophisticated method for room type pricing across its three different towers of guest rooms, suites and penthouses. ScoreBoard, the cloud solution for intelligent reporting, will better enable Hard Rock to build forecasts, budgets and other crucial reports and share them more easily across the organization for faster decision making.Chris McGahey, Vice President of Hotel Operations for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, said the property had the personnel to adopt a more dynamic strategy for hotel bookings, but its legacy technology limited both Hard Rock's efficiency and the effectiveness of the gaming industry's typical rate setting and reinvestment practices."We were ready to capitalize on opportunities for greater profitability that we recognized but did not have the ability to address," McGahey said. "We're confident that automating many of our tasks and working with data-driven rate recommendations will make us more dynamic and flexible to meet the property's unique needs. This partnership is part of a long-term transformation of our Revenue Strategy culture."Marco Benvenuti, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer for Duetto, added: "Hard Rock Hotel & Casino stands out as one of Las Vegas' most iconic properties, offering everything from world-class accommodations and gaming to an unmatched entertainment experience. The strategies that started it all for Duetto were tailor-made for an integrated resort like Hard Rock, and we can't wait to contribute to the success of this team."Hard Rock Hotel & Casino first opened in 1995 and added the Paradise Tower in 2009 and the HRH All-Suite Tower in 2010.About Hard Rock Hotel & CasinoHard Rock Hotel & Casino is Las Vegas' off-Strip playground, just minutes and less than three miles from McCarran International Airport. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers an energetic entertainment and gaming experience with the services and amenities associated with a boutique luxury resort hotel. The property is known for its innovative nightlife and music scene, where acts such as The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, Incubus, Foo Fighters, Carlos Santana, Motley Crue, Guns N' Roses and KISS have all performed.Features of the property include the newly remodeled 11-story Casino Tower, with 640 rooms and suites; 17-story Paradise Tower, with 490 rooms and suites; the 15-story HRH All-Suite Tower, with 359 suites, eight spa villas and seven penthouse suites, which has received the AA Four Diamond Award; 60,000 square feet of casino space, featuring high-limit gaming and Asian-gaming amenities; 110,000 square feet of flexible meeting and convention space, which was named a Smart Meetings 2016 Platinum Choice Award winner; more than $4 million in rare music memorabilia; Reliquary Spa; Kelly Cardenas Salon -- a Paul Mitchell Focus Salon; 4.8 acres of tropical-pool paradise, which was voted as the No. 1 "Best Hotel Pool" in the 2015 USA Today 10 Best readers' choice contest; the world-famous pool party Rehab Beach Club; live music and entertainment venues The Joint, Vinyl and Club Domina, the home of Magic Mike Live Las Vegas; restaurants Culinary Dropout, Nobu, Pink Taco, Mr. Lucky's Cafe, Goose Island Pub, Fu Fu Asian Kitchen, Oyster Bar, Pizza Forte, Dunkin' Donuts and MB Steak; a fitness center; trendsetting retailers John Varvatos, Affliction, Hart & Huntington Tattoo Co., Chill by Hudson, Hootenanny, Bezel, Day + Night and Shine.For room availability and additional information, call 800.HRD.ROCK (800.473.7625) or visit hardrockhotel.com. Follow Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram for the latest news and updates.
Article by Craig Weissman

Hospitality Technology's Moment of Truth: Who Will Transform the Booking Experience?

Duetto 28 September 2018
Can you name three great enterprise technology companies in hospitality? Or even one? The answer is likely "no," because most people have never been terribly impressed by the typical experience on a hotel's website.Where are the Salesforces, SAPs or Adobes of the hospitality world? What is hospitality technology missing that these kinds of platforms provide?It's not just that those firms have moved entire industries to the cloud -- though I admit that job is a heavy lift, especially for an industry like hospitality where there's a long legacy of in-house, on-premise systems. I think an essential technology company has to empower the best possible user experience for the end customer. Hospitality technology, on the other hand, has always been built to optimize transactions.There is a real opportunity for hotels and casinos to transform not just the booking experience, but the entire guest journey, and bring the best elements of modern e-commerce to an industry that already prioritizes taking care of people to earn their loyalty.An Industry in TransitionHospitality is hardly alone in this difficult transition from on-premise to the cloud.Take financial services. Customers largely prefer to do most of their shopping, banking and bill paying online. They don't even need to get cash from ATMs, much less interact with a human bank teller or balance a checkbook on paper. The whole sector has had to move online quickly to make it easier and faster for customers to manage accounts.Hotels and casinos seem to be falling further behind as an industry because they tried going it alone on the technology front for decades. It's very complicated to build one system, let alone the many you need, to handle pricing, distribution, payment security and the management of customer data. As a result, it's even harder to make shopping for a hotel room online easy (or enjoyable, for that matter).Even for properties trying to buy the right PMS, CRS or other systems instead of building their own, interoperability is a huge issue. There are so many of them. And integrations among all the disparate pieces in a hotel's tech stack are incredibly difficult, not to mention cost-prohibitive, to build.Rethinking Integrations and DataAt a typical hotel that's been muddling through changes in the hotel technology landscape for the past few years, some systems might be on-premise and some might be in the cloud on a software-as-a-service model. But new solutions simply get bolted on or ripped out, and it's rare for a technology stack to be built as a cohesive platform.All the data a hotel would need today is severely fragmented as well. Crucial information like reservations and folio spending reside in the PMS, CRS and a sales and catering system. Guest data is stored in a separate CRM system, and more is available from third-party analytics sources. Even more could be ingested into an RMS algorithm for better pricing and forecasting, like reputation scores from review sites and market data points like rates your competitors are publishing.Leaving Legacy Technology BehindWhen I left Salesforce to start Duetto with Patrick Bosworth and Marco Benvenuti, we focused on that core challenge of integrating hotel technology systems and data in the cloud. It was a huge undertaking, but we knew it would allow us to solve the fundamental pain point: Typical revenue management systems can't price dynamically enough to maximize a hotel's profitability.We're proud of the work that went into our first application, GameChanger, and its ability to analyze all the data available to hoteliers and leverage it in the Open Pricing philosophy Duetto pioneered. Starting with pricing and operations prepared us for the important work to come.With the foundation in place, we made a critical shift nearly two years ago to fulfill the potential of a fully cloud-based tech stack and focus on the hospitality consumer.We're focused on truly personalizing the hotel booking experience, in particular the booking path, as a potential guest is navigating a hotel's direct channels like the online booking engine. Through dozens of integrations and APIs, the Duetto Revenue Strategy Platform connects our customers to the best vendors in the industry and unifies all the data flowing from a property to its tech stack and back.The guest's experience on property is central to everything a hotel or casino brand stands for. The experience that person has at every touch point along the way, from the time she starts researching a destination to the point where she's browsing your booking engine and finally converts to a reservation, should be just as good and just as important.The process of securing travel accommodations should be equal to, if not better than, what consumers expect from companies like Amazon or Apple. Once you pull up a hotel's website or app, there should be a natural flow of options you're presented with: a personalized price, your preferred room type, and package options that reflect your past behavior and your value to the property. You should be recognized everywhere you go, from different properties or brands under the same hotel company umbrella or from a hotel's marketing partners.Properties benefit in this scenario by keeping a greater amount of profit from the guest's direct booking, rather than paying out a high commission to an OTA. That money can be reinvested into the amenities and on-property experience each hotel and casino is able to provide.The technology firm able to empower this customer-focused strategy in the hospitality industry is the one that will earn a place next to companies like Salesforce or Oracle. That's what motivates me, and the entire team at Duetto, every day.RELATED HOSPITALITY TECHNOLOGY ARTICLES5 Reasons Your Hotel's Conversion Rate is Low -- and How to Fix ItThe Business Imperative for Cloud Architecture in HospitalityHow Can Hotels Better Personalize the Shopping and Booking Experience? (Video)
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 brand.com, 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 Booking.com 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
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H-Hotels.com 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 destinations.H-Hotels.com 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 profitability.H-Hotels.com 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 H-Hotels.com 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, Duetto.H-Hotels.com has plans to expand in Spain, Italy and Hungary, with the company's first property in Budapest currently under construction.About H-Hotels.com 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 H-Hotels.com. 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: H-Hotel.com 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 H-Hotels.com/en.
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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: https://www.guestline.com/
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
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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 www.dorsett.com.
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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 http://www.rsflondon.com.RSF 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)

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