Revenue for the future V: Reviewing protocols and roles
by Julia Rey - 25 May, 2020
In recent weeks we have seen how destinations are progressing in the process of returning to normal after the great lockdown.
A few days ago, the UNWTO proposed three scenarios that indicated an expectation of an annual decline of between 60 and 80% in the arrival of international travellers, compared to the 2019 figures. However, given that travelling is more and more allowed in different countries, it is important to be prepared for any of the scenarios, each property according to their opening prospects.
If you have read our previous articles in this series, you may have already spent a few weeks reviewing your segmentation, inventory and pricing. Is everything ready? Have you paid attention to your procedures and protocols? What are you doing with your communication to keep in touch with your customers? We add in this edition a series of recommendations on other tasks that you should not forget in your Revenue Management strategy, to be prepared for the future and make anyone who is thinking about travelling find your property and decide to book.
Build trust through your sales channels
When travel has recovered, one of the main conditioning factors for reservations will be the feeling of security that the client perceives about the service that he acquires. Review your cleaning and service protocols and communicate your specific actions, policies and offers in your sales channels..
Audit your website and your profiles in distribution channels and make sure that you show relevant content, both in the descriptions, and in the pictures, the prices and the new procedures that can be decisive for the customer to choose your property for their next trip. Efficiently use your social media to stay connected with your guests while the hotel is closed and focus on fostering customer loyalty and trust, offering added value and inspiring messages that maintain the desire to travel. Get ahead of your followers’ interests by posting up-to-date information of interest, news about travel restrictions and anything else that may affect those who are thinking of travelling to your destination.
Prioritize flexible policies
Although traditionally in Revenue Management we have often taken advantage of restrictive cancellation policies and reservations with specific conditions (non-refundable, minimum stay, etc …), at these times when demand can be very unstable, it is preferable to bet on flexibility, to reduce uncertainty and fear as much as possible. This will positively impact the company’s reputation and increase customer loyalty and life cycle.
This does not mean that you stop using rates like the non-refundable offer. Probably, in some destinations, there is still a demand segment that prefers restrictive conditions in exchange for a discount on the price of accommodation. Simply, make sure that your flexible offer is also visible in all your sales channels, so as not to restrict a demand that is already going to be scarcer than in previous periods.
Use your time wisely and train your teams
If this lockdown has stood out for something, it is for the amount of available training that has emerged. A large part of society has gone several months without leaving home and training is a widespread commitment to occupy the day to day while our jobs have been frozen.
Do not miss this opportunity and be sure to offer your teams quality training. Do a needs assessment and get going.
It is time to improve and dedicate resources to what we “never have time for.” Surely you have reviewed your cleaning protocols, the internal processes of check-in and check-out, you will review the customer journey to give solutions to how to maintain security at the different touchpoints, etc… It is crucial to dedicate the necessary efforts so that your team knows all the procedures well and can carry them out efficiently. The excellence of customer service will be a cornerstone to provide experiences that enhance guest loyalty.
In Revenue Management, information management is essential for decision-making, and the frontdesk and reservations team plays a very important role in data collection. Are all the details clear to correctly enter the data in the management systems?
Foster the culture of Revenue Management through the trainingand awareness of all teams. The RM culture must be built on the leadership and participation of the entire team: general management, sales, reservations, F&B, marketing, e-commerce, … all members of each hotel department must understand and recognize the importance of Revenue Management. In addition, a review of the roles and responsibilities of each person in different departments can help redistribute tasks and functions more efficiently.
Explore the possibilities of technology
We all have computer tools for managing daily operations within the hotel. Have you ever wondered if you use an optimal combination of tools? Are the different softwares you use well integrated to share information and have valuable data? Do all departments have the same information in a common data source?
Even if it involves some investment at the moment, now is when you have the time to explore the available options and calculate the benefits you can obtain, both at the level of customer experience (mobile check-in and check-out, contactless and keyless opening doors, etc …) as in the back office (PMS, Channel Manager, RMS, Direct Booking, etc …) Evaluate the technology you are using, find out if you are using its full potential and, if you cannot improve processes with current tools, test other systems.
The reopening of hotels is approaching, but if we look at forecasts, we will still experience times with moderate or low activity. Let’s take advantage of this time for those tasks that we are always postponing, when the priorities of the daily grind do not allow us to pay attention to them. This is a good time to review our work systems well and make the necessary changes to be prepared for the future.