Historic Hotel Aligns Intimate Market Knowledge with IDeaS Analytics for Better Revenue Across Guest Segments

Located in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the team at La Fonda on the Plaza™ knows a thing or two about the history of hospitality. Their hotel location can be traced back 400 years when Spaniards established an inn on the same corner the hotel sits today. Ever since, the spirit of welcoming guests with a unique experience has remained a constant for this one-of-a-kind property.

Today, Santa Fe is a vibrant tourist community with a high concentration of boutique and independent hotels in the downtown area – making competition for leisure and business guests a top priority for all hoteliers in the area. But La Fonda has two secret weapons. The first is a revenue manager who has been the face of La Fonda’s front desk for more than 30 years. Becky Ortiz embodies the warm, welcoming spirit of La Fonda and has come to know her guests, their children and sometimes their grandchildren, too. It’s because of La Fonda’s unique bond with guests that the hotel’s return guest rate is a staggering 45 percent. Coupled with recent improvements and renovations, the hotel has become a top independent destination in its market. In addition to an award-winning art collection, La Fonda received the New Mexico Top HAT Premier Award for Hotel of the Year and was named No. 7 in Top Hotels in the American Southwest by Conde Nast Traveler in 2016.

Igniting a Revenue Management Culture

The second secret weapon for La Fonda is a long-standing partnership with IDeaS Revenue Solutions – especially as the hotel market in this quaint city becomes more competitive. Having used IDeaS in her revenue management role for more than three years, Ortiz says IDeaS instills confidence among the La Fonda team – resulting in an entire culture that embraces automated revenue management.

“IDeaS gives us the data and confidence that we need to know to achieve our business goals,” said Ortiz.

This is important as the hotel leverages IDeaS’ analytics to understand individual guest segments with a relatively small inventory. Of the hotel’s 180 rooms, nearly 60 percent are traditional. Oritz typically focuses on filling the traditional rooms with group segments, and then driving the transient rate to fill the remaining inventory of upgraded rooms.

Supporting a Team Effort

Ortiz and a team that includes sales, food and beverage, general management and front office meet daily to analyze historical data and booked business. They make dynamic shifts in pricing and revenue strategy for the best outcome, utilizing IDeaS’ leading predictive analytics engine for better decision making.

Even the sales team will use IDeaS as a tool to evaluate group-business pricing scenarios. In a unique and almost counterintuitive turn, La Fonda may turn down certain group requests if it would displace better revenue from another segment like transient guests.

Combining Ortiz’s intimate knowledge of the market and her guest segments with IDeaS analytics has transformed La Fonda’s overall revenue strategy. Ortiz will set a floor rate for standard rooms and adjust it along the way for the best revenue. And the combination of an expert revenue manager with a leading analytics tool is working. La Fonda has increased its average daily rate more than 8 percent year-over-year and achieved its best-ever RevPAR index – 150 percent on its competitive set.

“The communication and decision-making process that we go through is facilitated by IDeaS, and it’s just one of the greatest you’ll see anywhere,” added Pulsifer. “We think it’s the best system available for independent hotels.”