IDeaS’ Kate Keisling speaks with iVvy’s Amy Forss about their strategic partnership for advanced venue revenue optimization.
As two global hospitality technology providers with a shared love for revenue management, innovation, and atypical letter capitalization, it was only a matter of time before IDeaS and iVvy joined forces.
The need for hotel and event managers to understand the impact of group business is critical to profitability and efficiency. Through the strategic integration between iVvy’s end-to-end groups and events management technology and IDeaS SmartSpace meetings & events revenue strategy solution, hotels and groups using this technology integration will gain unparalleled visibility into group-business demand, business performance, and competitive positioning trends.
As senior product manager for IDeaS SmartSpace, I recently had the opportunity to talk with iVvy’s Amy Forss, senior vice president of sales, America, about our companies’ technology partnership and groundbreaking integration.
Kate Keisling: Can you tell us about the partnership between iVvy and IDeaS and the capabilities this integration brings to venues?
Amy Forss: Through the partnership with IDeaS, clients can bridge gaps between their sales & catering and revenue management teams. We always talk about how important the strategy between these two teams is in this industry, but the two operations, and the technology they utilize, have never fully connected together.
We have seen great results from giving our clients access to the information IDeaS provides based on demand and pricing strategies directly to the sales team through the integration. This way, they have a full picture of how a group fits into their strategy during their sales process and are able to get proposals and contracts over to their customers in a timelier manner.
In the current market, it’s essential for a venue to have a competitive edge whether they are part of a hotel chain or an independent operator. How does the partnership between iVvy and IDeaS help a venue with this?
Our partnership allows for both a hotel chain or independent property to serve up optimal group rates quickly to their customers. This leadership will ensure the rates being quoted are the most optimal for the property/organization and provide complete insight into the best meeting space utilization. Teams will be able to forecast and budget in a much more effective manner from the two-system collaboration.
If there is one action you would suggest venues take toward building better data practices for strategic decision-making, what would you suggest?
Make sure you are collecting all the data. You can do this by leveraging systems that allow for your teams to process leads quickly, so even the ones they know they are going to turn down or that quickly cancel out will be logged in their systems. This will allow for more strategic decision-making on things like how much business did you turn away, how many customers turned you away and possibly filter down the “why’’ business is denied. When you have this full data, it will be much easier for systems like IDeaS to provide better optimal group rates because they will have a full picture of the demand for your venue.
Revenue optimization in the venue space is still relatively young. For a venue just starting on their revenue optimization journey, what is one bit of advice you would offer?
It’s important to look at year-over-year data from the past couple of years and evaluate patterns, but also to look at what other opportunities you have or could have had over these dates. How much demand do you have for this date range? This is the case for both determining the group rate and the space you will use.
It’s also a good idea to look at your competition and determine if there is compression in the market. Just as with transient business, many times these groups are looking at similar properties in your market, and sometimes in other markets as well, before narrowing their decision. The more you are able to provide the group with the most optimal quote in a quick manner, the more likely you are to increase the opportunity to win the business.
What do you see next in the venue management innovation space?
A while ago, we never thought we would put our transient rates online for our consumers to book instantly—but we did it! This same opportunity is available for the sales & catering business, too. It hasn’t happened quite yet because we want to hand-hold this business and there are so many items that play into the rate we quote them or the space we give them.
With the collaboration of IDeaS SmartSpace and iVvy Sales and Catering System, with some very simple rules to control it, we are able to sell our small meeting space, short-term bookings and small group blocks online after pre-qualifying the customer through a series of questions. The small meetings market represents millions of dollars and the amount of time to process one of these leads in legacy systems takes just as long as the large piece of business we want to focus on.
Our teams are now able to have some of that business become self-serve through the proper online booking experience, gaining higher conversion, better staff efficiency and more revenue in this part of the meetings & events market. Without the need for order taking, our sales teams will be more effective at prospecting and building relationships with their customers.
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