In today’s world of innovative technology, it’s interesting to think about the automated outputs of our industry’s revenue management systems. In fact, a recent conversation around a colleague’s experience with international airport security keeps replaying in my mind:
Security: “What are you here for? “
Colleague: “Work meetings. “
Security: “Who do you work for? “
Colleague: “IDeaS. “
Security: “What does IDeaS stand for? “
Colleague: “Integrated Decisions and Systems, Inc.”
While the full company name isn’t used often, it is a gentle reminder of IDeaS’ position on the topic of decisions versus recommendations. Many revenue management systems provide recommendations that require a manual validation and/or deployment while IDeaS’ advanced revenue management solutions produce automated decisions. IDeaS felt so strongly about producing and automating decisions for its clients that it named the company around emphasizing this approach 27 years ago. I don’t recall much of anything being automated in the hospitality industry during the late 80s, but IDeaS had the foresight to know this would be an integral component of leading technology to hotels worldwide.
Unlike decisions, which are system controls that are continually optimized and automatically deployed to integrated selling systems, recommendations have to be manually implemented into integrated selling systems. This means users are still responsible for reviewing, approving and uploading every recommendation the revenue management system produces. This not only impacts the amount of time and resources spent validating and uploading decisions, but also forces users to be less nimble – having less time to course correct when there are sudden shifts in the market.
All hotels face the challenges of forecasting occupancy, setting associated pricing strategies, determining overbooking levels, distributing pricing across various channels and reporting on the results. However, hotels should not have to sacrifice time that should be spent on strategy that is spent instead on reviewing and implementing their system recommendations.
Underneath the surface and behind its sleek user interface, IDeaS’ cloud-based solutions continually produce powerful decisions that enable hotels to achieve optimal revenue performance through automatically deployed controls that manage pricing, rate availability and overbooking. These decisions are based on a sophisticated analytical understanding of how a hotel’s business behaves.
Automated decisions, however, don’t mean that users “set it and forget it.” Users still directly interact with the inputs to the system. A user needs to raise rates because they know something the system doesn’t – for example, a concert for this weekend was just announced or the home sports team just made it to the playoffs starting next week and demand has exceptionally increased. The goal is to ensure the solution uses the best information available so it can produce the best mix of automated decisions that drive profitable business performance. These time-sensitive controls are distributed to all your booking channels in a timely and routine manner. Furthermore, the system automatically learns from the impacts of these decisions in the market, enabling it to continually adapt, improve and produce highly accurate forecasts.
In fact, Scott Pusillo of Viceroy Hotel Group recently shared the following results:
“In previous years, our hotels manually managed New Year’s Eve with high rate overrides and advanced purchase requirements. This year, at one of our properties, we allowed IDeaS Revenue Management System to manage the day – which resulted in significant shoulder occupancy increase and an extraordinarily positive impact on the period market share. We had to question the accuracy of the STR report, as we had such extraordinary market share relative to the previous year.”
We hear this type of feedback a lot because our decision-based methodology not only drives higher revenue, but it empowers users to manage by exception. Basic tactical activities are automated, while users are made aware when there are significant changes or conditions they can focus their expertise on. This approach prioritizes critical actions and monitoring to allow users to focus more time on strategic activities.
Users can easily review and monitor all changes the system makes – with their attention being on the changes that may require action or situations with the most revenue impact (rather than sifting through all the routine changes.) IDeaS’ decision-based solutions intuitively guide users to the tasks they should perform, rather than requiring them to rely heavily on reviewing all system changes via multiple reports or from a long list of alerts that recommendation-based technology requires.
IDeaS’ solutions also support exception-based reporting, which can be customized for various job roles – summary overviews for owners, executives and general managers; and deeper dives for revenue managers and data analysts. Informative dashboards are also available to various hotel team members, allowing users to gain actionable insights and set strategies pertinent to their business needs.
When you’re weighing the decision of automating your revenue management strategy, think carefully about the benefits you’re anticipating the technology to bring your hotel and its team. For hotels looking to focus less resources on reviewing and approving decisions and more on developing and executing revenue strategy, there’s only one technology provider with the solution right in its name.