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Is an RMS still useful at this time of crisis?

by Emilio Galán Martín

The RMS will become a key component in the recovery of the hospitality industry as a result of the situation created by COVID-19. Due to its design and its continuous evolution we are convinced that our tool is the one that will best assist Revenue Managers right now in order to take optimal decisions to maximize the RevPAR of each hotel.

The advent of RMS (Revenue Management Systems) technology has proved to be the definitive step towards the paradigm of data-driven companies within the hotel sector. Whereas in the past decision making was based on incomplete data and intuition, now, thanks to advances in technologies around Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, an RMS ensures that decisions are taken according to a scientific-analytic methodology.

Currently, the amount of information gathered in the hotel sector is greater than ever and also more complex. For this reason, Revenue Managers who only use their PMS and a Rate Shopper are having serious difficulties in managing and analyzing this data without the support of other more advanced technologies. For this reason, the RMS of Beonprice has become the best friend of the Revenue Manager, enhancing their analytical skills, increasing their productivity and empowering them to take better decisions. In our opinion, it is no longer possible to be a top-level Revenue Manager without an RMS: it would be like a professional cyclist trying to win the Tour de France on a leisure bike.

The new circumstances imposed on us by COVID-19 have caused a drastic change in the demand behaviour for hotels. This “new normal” obliges the sector, now more than ever, to take decisions based on data as rapidly and efficiently as possible. The good news is that even in this “new normal” data still exists and we can extract a great deal of value from it.

In some respects, Artificial Intelligence systems are not prepared to adequately respond to circumstances for which they have not been trained. Some people are using this affirmation to generalize that this means RMS systems are no longer useful at this time. Nonetheless, there are differences between the algorithms used by each RMS according to their ability to adapt to new circumstances and to learn. Good algorithms are those which are capable of detecting an anomalous situation and as a consequence redirecting their behaviour. Meanwhile, those systems which only take into account historical information have become obsolete.

In Beonprice we use Artificial Intelligence technology called Machine Learning, capable of detecting changes in demand behaviour and automatically establishing corrections in the trends. In this case, historical data data has become less relevant due to COVID-19, although it can still be used as a support. In order to accurately calculate price elasticity, sales probability, forecasts and pricing recommendations, we now give more impact primarily to the  HQI (Hotel Quality Index), pick-up trends and movements of the competitors.

These calculations can be further improved by allowing the Revenue Manager to review the configuration of their  competitors, inventory, price limits, rate sheets, events, business rules, alerts, etc… in the Beonprice platform. These are tasks that we recommend to be performed regularly. Nonetheless, as an innovation in our constantly evolving platform, from now on we will allow the hotelier to proactively exert an influence: on the one hand in the estimation of demand for the destination via the configuration of a new type of one-off event, and on the other hand in the forecast calculation with the possibility of  over-riding the predictions.

In Beonprice, our goal is to continue optimizing the profitability of our clients, and as such, we have already put in motion an R&D initiative to improve the algorithm of the demand estimation at destination level. In light of the fact that demand is currently so anomalous, we are including information which will allow us to foresee trends, such as  flight data, online searches for travel and accomodation, pick-up in destinations and benchmarking data, amongst other things.

Independently of the new reality caused by COVID-19 our mission is, and will always be, to add the maximum possible value to the hotel sector, enabling it to be more and more competitive through the automation and personalization of the selling processes of a hotel. To achieve this, we will continue to help create a new generation of analytical, efficient Revenue Managers who leverage the advantages offered by Beonprice in order to focus on tasks which are more strategic and of greater impact for their organization.

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