Thwaites Aligns Rooms and Meetings & Events Strategy to Grow Revenue Across the Hotel
Smart Space by IDeaS Provides the Insights to Optimize Bookings
Boutique hotels and inns are a cornerstone of most villages in northwest England. Combining the rugged beauty of the countryside with historic properties, guests have an opportunity for truly unique experiences in this region. Thwaites is known for providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere within its six hotels, as well as its brewpubs, inns and lodges. Once the backbone of Thwaites’ brewery delivery system, a team of Thwaites’ Shire horses still traverse the cobblestone streets between properties as a nod to the company’s 200-year heritage.
This idyllic setting is a draw for visitors of all sorts, including groups in need of meeting and event spaces. In addition to an average of 100 guest rooms at each of its hotels, Thwaites boasts modern function spaces for meeting- and event-related group business. But like most hotels, Thwaites had been challenged to strategically manage its function space through the ebbs and flows of conference business demand. The revenue management staff wanted to align function-space and guest-room revenue strategies, yet they lacked the same level of insight into function-space demand that they had with guest rooms.
“We collected function space data on a spreadsheet but never really used it to make decisions because it required so much maintenance,” said Katharine Hurved, Group Revenue Manager at Thwaites. “The team spent more time entering the data than actually doing anything with it.”
With an executive directive to achieve positive rate growth in conference group (and room) business, Thwaites sought to find a tool that had key revenue management characteristics that could support a broader function space strategy for the business. Hurved and team identified Smart Space by IDeaS as the ideal tool to meet its needs.
“Conference group business was becoming one of the most yieldable pieces of our business, and we were excited to implement software that would finally give us the insights we needed and reduce our manual upkeep of the spreadsheet,” added Hurved.
Identifying New Opportunities to Increase Revenue
Smart Space received unanimous support from Thwaites’ leadership and provided value to the business almost immediately.
“Smart Space helped us look at our rate and pricing structure in a very different way, and it challenged us to maximize pricing opportunities on our conference business,” said Hurved. “This was our first attempt toward yielding our conference business, and it worked.”
After implementing Smart Space at its properties, Thwaites was able to better evaluate pricing and inventory for event inquiries—and they were able to maximise the impact of meetings and events across the organization, including rooms business. The organisation has reported up to a 25 percent uplift on guest rooms, by leveraging Smart Space to align meetings and events and rooms strategy.
In some hotels they have seen a far more effective use of space by leveraging the demand data to improve booking selection.
Hurved’s team also appreciated the simple and straightforward dashboard display in Smart Space. By making the data easier to consume and analyse, the team quickly discovered opportunities to increase revenue, and it was more efficient to share information across revenue management and group business teams.
Seeing the Big Picture
In addition to helping reveal the business value of function space at Thwaites, Smart Space also helped develop a revenue management culture among the staff. Prior to implementing Smart Space, guest rooms and function space were treated as two entirely separate entities. A key goal of the implementation was to change that mindset.
“We wanted to get to a place where we’re looking at one revenue strategy across the portfolio,” said Hurved. “Smart Space by IDeaS has enabled us to focus on more than just guest rooms, and our teams are constantly sharing valuable data with one another. We’ve been very pleased. It allows us to see the big picture.”