- Manual revenue management woes
- A competitive Tinseltown market
- Strong ADR growth
- A more confident pricing strategy
The landmark Sunset Tower Hotel is a true living vestige of Hollywood’s golden age. Established in 1929 on the Sunset Strip, the 15-story, 81-guest-room tower is considered one of the finest examples of original art deco architecture. In its early years as an upscale apartment hotel, it was residence to many of Hollywood’s most famous—and infamous—celebrities.
Despite its glamorous, storied past, the building went through a period of decline in the late 1970s and was nearly torn down before being named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It has since undergone multiple renovations, evolving as a renowned luxury destination, and today, the Sunset Tower Hotel is known as the awards party capital and the place to see and be seen in Hollywood.
Out with the old…
With the height of the film industry awards season falling between January and March, Q1 tends to be the Sunset Tower’s busiest, while demand goes down in Q2 and Q3. The summer of 2017 was especially rough for business. A competitive West Hollywood hotel set—with swanky new builds popping up ad infinitum—saw Sunset Tower losing market share in both rate and occupancy. It had also been over a decade since the property had undergone any renovations, and Sunset Tower’s visionary owner Jeff Klein knew it was time for an upgrade, both aesthetically and operationally.
Klein brought on Troy Pade as general manager to bring revenues back on track before, during, and after renovations and to implement a sustainable process for profit growth. Pade was quick to identify Sunset Tower’s manual revenue management environment as a major pain point.
“Without a revenue management system, pricing was an entirely manual process, taking up hours and hours just to change rates across all our channels,” said Pade. “We were living in a 1990s environment, and I decided it was time to welcome the hotel to the 21st century with the automation and competitive edge an RMS delivers.”
Due to the property’s singular design and subsequent renovations to convert apartment units into a variety of guest accommodations, Sunset Tower offers a multitude of unique room types. This range of offerings is great for the guest experience, but not so fun when it comes to rate optimization and revenue management. By implementing an RMS, Pade knew this process could be simplified while also gaining the benefits of a more proactive, demand-based forecasting tool.
…in with IDeaS
Pade had used IDeaS RMS at a previous hotel. He’d also worked with another RMS provider earlier in his career, but upon seeing the advanced features and functionality of IDeaS G3 RMS, he knew he had found the best possible solution.
Sunset Tower’s revenue manager, Kelley Gattis, had only ever worked in a manual environment, but after seeing IDeaS G3 RMS in action, she was also quickly on board for the new levels of precision and decision empowerment the solution could bring to her work life.
IDeaS worked closely with Pade and Gattis to ensure a smooth and orderly implementation process, including onsite visits, weekly training sessions, and integration support with the hotel’s existing CRS, TravelClick, and PMS, Opera.
“I was provided all the information necessary, and the team coached and guided us through the decision-making processes with market segments and room configurations,” said Gattis. “Of all the systems I work with in my job, IDeaS G3 RMS has consistently required the least amount of troubleshooting.”
Pade shared Gattis’s enthusiasm for G3’s ease of use and the difference IDeaS quickly made at Sunset Tower. “I like to know where we sit 30, 60, 90 days out,” said Pade. “With IDeaS, it’s easy to budget and forecast, and the system does a great job letting us know where to strategize and focus extra attention ahead of time.”
A bolder, smarter way to revenue
A year into their IDeaS implementation, and having successfully completed some gorgeous, first-rate renovations, Sunset Tower has reclaimed its rightful spot as a market leader and buzzworthy Hollywood hotspot.
“IDeaS G3 RMS has given us the confidence to be bold and ask for rates we previously had been afraid to publish,” said Pade. “The rates IDeaS pushed out during this past awards season were almost double what we would have previously issued.”
With increased rates and occupancy, especially on shoulder nights, Sunset Tower quickly saw strong ADR growth with IDeaS. G3 also helped Gattis to better understand the hotel’s complex demand by room class and to overbook strategically by room type.
“I used to waste a lot of time on data entry, with limited data to work with. I now live in the G3 world with a one-stop-shop, clear view of demand,” said Gattis. “Having an automated RMS has really helped me strategize more. Instead of spending all my time in a manual environment, I can now quickly see the bigger picture and spend more time contributing to things like marketing efforts and optimizing our online presence. It’s enabled me to be far more productive and proactive.”