Articles by "Rachel Grier"
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Written by Rachel Grier, Area Vice President, Asia Pacific

The Indonesian hotel industry continues to face its huge challenges as a result of COVID-related lockdowns and travel restrictions. The new reality of lower occupancy and negligible corporate and international demand for the foreseeable future will force hotel owners and managers to do more with less. To survive in these challenging operating conditions, the break down of departmental silos and thinking in radical new ways about guest value is required to achieve commercial success.

For many years the concept of collaboration has been discussed in the hotel industry. The benefits of a closer working relationship between sales, marketing, distribution and revenue management seemed clear for all, but was challenging to execute. Today, collaboration is no longer an aspiration, but a necessity given the scale of consolidation of roles and restructuring within many hotels. So how can your hotel align departments to drive commercial success?

Shifting from interdependence to collaboration

Often, hotel departments operate relatively independently from one another, with different priorities, technology platforms, profit margins, demand patterns and performance metrics. And yet decisions in one department can directly impact other departments. Such interdependence provides a key argument for cross-departmental collaboration, or given current forced consolidation of departments, new opportunities to work more effectively. When departments align under the shared goals of identifying, attracting and capturing the most profitable business, there are more synergies and fewer conflicts. When data and market intelligence are shared across departments, the staff has a clearer idea of which strategic business opportunities to pursue and when to negotiate or decline.

The emergence of commercial leaders

Traditional stand-alone management roles like marketing, sales and revenue management are today being combined by many hoteliers into commercial management roles. Even for those hotel groups that decide to keep singular marketing and revenue management specialists, more is expected of those roles. For instance, no longer are hotel revenue managers responsible for a single property or a handful of properties within a hotel group. They are now responsible for a cluster of properties determined by location or brand and are expected to make strategic revenue decisions for up to a dozen, or more, hotels every day.

As hotel management roles are consolidated and responsibilities expanded, commercial leaders require a key automated and integrated technologies in order to drive greater operational efficiencies. For instance, a machine-learning revenue solution that implements tactical decisions and automatically distributes rates and inventory controls will free up commercial leaders from having to review and then execute pricing decisions for multiple properties each day. This will allow the new generation of leaders to focus on long-term commercial strategies, working seamlessly across yesterday’s siloed hotel departments.

Align data and thinking to drive profit optimisation

Effective hotel management relies on accurate, consistent data to identify promotional needs, plan campaigns and guide pricing and inventory decisions. Operations uses forecast data to anticipate business flows, manage resources and control costs. And management companies and owners use similar data to anticipate profits and guide planning, financial and investment decisions. To optimise revenue and profits in a disrupted market, the forecast and guest-spend insights compiled by by revenue managers should be accessible across all commercial areas of a hotel organisation.

From a marketing perspective, revenue management data can help identify those who have the greatest value to the hotel. Analysis should look beyond room spend to understand their total value through purchases of food andbeverage, plus ancillary items like spa, golf and retail. These insights can then be used to create targeted, personalised campaigns to entice them back, or attract more travellers like them and increase total spend and hotel performance.

Sales prospecting, proposals and contract negotiations from any segment should be oriented towards maximising total hotel revenue rather than simply filling guest rooms. Whether it’s group bookings, corporate agreements or wholesale contracts, the goal should be to better optimise all spaces throughout the hotel, including meeting rooms, and ancillary revenues. It is essential for sales teams to work with revenue managers to consider the costs of displacement and identify opportunities to boost revenues from non-room areas by understanding total guest value and growth potential in the future.

As with other departments, food & beverage can also benefit from access to revenue management data and strategies normally applied to rooms. This includes demand pricing, menu engineering and precise forecasting to identify promotional needs and find opportunities to reduce labor expenses, cost of goods sold, and spoilage. Hotels may additionally leverage room demand by bundling breakfast, drinks and other food & beverage items into creative and dynamic packages.

While the meetings & events sector has been significantly restricted by the pandemic, now is the time for revenue managers to work closely with meetings & events staff to implement forecasting methodology, demand-based pricing as well as release off-dates, minimum spend and length-of-stay requirements in preparation for when demand returns. With better forecasting and reporting, managers will know when to turn away business and hold out for more lucrative opportunities and when to be flexible.

New ways of working

Given the challenging market conditions hoteliers across Indonesia face today, forward-looking hotel leaders are moving towards the consolidation of traditional stand-alone departments and roles. As part of this realignment and the shift towards holistic commercial teams, key staff members across sales, marketing, distribution and revenue management will have to find new, effective ways of working together, collaborating for the future strategic success of their hotel.

For more information on how your hotel can benefit from commercial collaboration, 
please visit:

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Concerns relating to the spread of the COVID-19

By Rachel Grier, Area Vice President, Asia Pacific

Concerns relating to the spread of the COVID-19 and large-scale travel restrictions put in place are having a direct impact on hoteliers across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. While the full picture of reduced demand for hotel rooms across the region is only beginning to be understood, STR Global has indicated that “Singapore, Bangkok and Bali, all popular markets for outbound Chinese travelers, have seen the decline continue in occupancy from their normal respective levels.” In particular, the tourist destination of Phuket is forecasting challenging operating conditions with hotels’ on the books occupancies for March in the 40-50% range, versus last year where 70-80% was on the books for the same period.

Markets that source a large portion of their guests from mainland China, and other affected regions like Korea, are being most affected by the current travel restrictions. However, as no one can accurately predict the extent to which the virus will spread, hoteliers across the wider APAC region are understandably concerned. So, what should hoteliers consider when seeking to address the business challenges posed by the emergence of COVID-19?

Firstly, hoteliers must avoid making ‘gut-instinct’ or emotional decisions in the face of current market uncertainty. Rather they should focus on rational, analytical and data-based strategic approaches to pricing. For example, when faced with a high volume of cancellations or low demand from countries affected by COVID-19 hotels might be tempted to offer short-term discounts and to start relying on more expensive distribution channels to try and attract bookings from other markets. While this might seem like a good strategy for the short term, it is a very long road to recovery from these decisions.

A key lesson learnt from previous instances of market uncertainty—such as the global financial crisis—is that although price cuts may deliver a brief spike in volume in the short run for a hotel, they can also result in long-term pain for any hotel that pursues this strategy. Hotels that instigate aggressive downward price action in the face of market uncertainty tend to face challenges when demand picks up. These properties experience resistance to any price increases from customers who have a lower reference point value for a hotel’s rooms and services. Additionally, if competing properties also reduce prices as a reaction to your own discounting efforts, these rival properties may not follow your attempted price increase in the future, making it difficult for you to return your prices to previous levels for some time to come.

Hoteliers should not panic when faced with market uncertainty resulting from lower demand due to COVID-19. Slowdowns happen in all regions and business (nearly) always comes back. Do not implement anything you might regret later—such as giving too much business to costly third-party booking channels. Rather, take a long-term view of what is best for your business.

It is not only tourist destinations popular with Chinese travelers and hotel room revenues that are being impacted by COVID-19. The viability of major conferences and events are also being affected due to travel restrictions. Already the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens has been postponed from April to October over COVID-19 fears, and many corporate conferences with potentially lucrative event-space reservations may be similarly at risk of disruption.

Any hotelier who currently is, or may in the future, be impacted by lower demand due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions needs to have a plan, even if it will not be fully implemented. As hoteliers deal with increased demand uncertainty, it is critical they map out and stress test best-to-worst case scenarios and the activities to counter each. Activities should be multi-functional and cover varying “what-if” scenarios. For example, what if corporate demand drops by 10 percent? What if group bookings fail to materialise? What if weekend demand declines by 25 percent? Hoteliers need to explore how their marketing teams could redeploy and reassign planned campaign funds to generate and secure alternative business and new markets.

Revenue managers are instrumental in finding alternative revenue sources and helping create new ones in times of uncertainty. If weekday demand declines significantly due to lower destination visitation numbers as a result of lower traveler numbers from China, revenue managers should work with their sales and distribution teams to explore alternative revenues to make up some of the lost demand (e.g., locally sourced business, meetings & events, etc.). How much revenue can a hotel protect by locking in contracts for longer periods of time? Hoteliers should also look at if their post booking pre/at arrival upsell activities are optimised and always take a long-term view with any decision-making.

The best way to prepare for future uncertainty is by being certain about your own business strategies under any condition. Hotels looking to implement new promotions should look to simulate what-if analysis and run A/B testing on potential pricing scenarios, so they aren’t blindly launching new campaigns at critical times for their business.

Hoteliers must continue to execute a revenue management strategy focused on not just the next few months, but the next several years. The overall trend for the hotel industry is and will remain positive, tied to predicted sustained growth for business and leisure travel at a global scale. The bottom line for hotels operating across the APAC region is that this is no time to panic, but it is time to plan.

For more information, please visit:

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Hotelier Indonesia

Strong Hotel Revenue Growth Predicted for Asia-Pacific in 2018 Cautiously optimistic hoteliers indicate reliance on OTAs and emergence of Airbnb are concerns

Kuala Lumpur – A survey of 100 leading hospitality industry professionals from across Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific region has predicted a positive outlook for the regional hotel sector in 2018, with 61 percent of respondents forecasting 10 percent or more revenue growth in the year to come.

The ‘APAC Hotel Market Trends’ research was organised by IDeaS Revenue Solutions, the leading provider of revenue management software and advisory services, and drew key insights from hotel owners, general managers, revenue managers and sales directors from Indonesia and the wider APAC region.

According to research findings, the healthy outlook for the regional hotel sector would largely be driven by increased room sales (53 percent). However, hoteliers also expect sustained growth in revenues from food and beverage sales (24 percent) and meeting and event spaces (20 percent) in 2018, highlighting the growing diversity and focus across multiple hotel revenue streams.

“The outlook for the regional hotel sector is positive, with many property groups confident about their growth prospects in 2018. The key challenge is finding balance in the distribution ecosystem and creating a level playing field of customer choice. Also, fair rewards must be agreed upon for the efforts provided by the varying forms of distribution in reaching audiences hoteliers can’t. 

With the rapid innovation from online travel agencies (OTAs), metasearch and operators like Airbnb, there is no time to be complacent,” said Bryan Bailey, vice president revenue & distribution for Minor Hotels.

“To succeed in today’s hospitality sector, hoteliers need the right online presence, advanced operating systems like revenue management and the right people in place to optimise their total ecosystem and performance.”

While revenue growth is expected from the regional hotel sector, many hoteliers continue to have a strong reliance on OTAs to drive business, with 84 percent of respondents indicating that OTAs made up 30 percent or more of their bookings. Close to a quarter of all respondents even indicated that OTAs made up 50 percent or more of their total bookings.

“OTAs can charge between 15 and 25 percent commission for every booking they secure. These third-party costs influence the amount of revenue hotels are able to secure from each guest – ultimately impacting a property’s bottom line,” said Rachel Grier, managing director Asia Pacific for IDeaS. “The most cost-effective online booking channel for a hotel remains its own website. 

To secure these valuable direct bookings, hoteliers need to focus on improving their online targeting, pricing and web presence to not only attract visitors, but convert them into paying guests.”

To address the regional imbalance in bookings from OTAs, it is no surprise that all hoteliers surveyed indicated they would grow their direct bookings over the coming year. While 79 percent of respondents indicated they are looking to grow their own direct bookings from 10 to 20 percent, 20 percent of hoteliers predicted they would grow their direct bookings by 30 percent or more.

In addition to challenges presented by OTA bookings in the region, 81 percent of respondents said they believed sharing accommodation sites like Airbnb are a threat to the regional hotel sector, with 18 percent believing Airbnb and its rivals are a ‘significant’ threat.

“Sharing economy rivals like Airbnb are undoubtedly digitally savvy and should continue to be taken seriously. To compete effectively with these online platforms, hoteliers need to identify what makes their property unique and offer customised guest experiences. They should not look to simply reduce their rates to counter new competition, but instead, focus on emphasising value to their guests to drive those direct bookings,” added Rachel Grier.

IDeaS is committed to helping hotel organisations throughout the Asia-Pacific region reach their optimal revenue and profit levels in 2018 through advanced systems and by focusing on education that supports the development of a strong revenue management culture.

About IDeaS 

With more than 1.6 million rooms priced daily on its advanced systems, IDeaS Revenue Solutions leads the industry with the latest revenue management software solutions and advisory services. Powered by SAS® and with nearly three decades of experience, IDeaS proudly supports more than 10,000 clients in 124 countries and is relentless about providing hoteliers with insightful ways to manage the data behind hotel pricing.

IDeaS empowers clients to build and maintain revenue management cultures – from single entities to world-renowned estates – by focusing on a simple promise: Driving Better Revenue.

IDeaS has the knowledge, expertise and maturity to build upon proven revenue management principles with next-generation analytics for more user-friendly, insightful and profitable revenue opportunities – not just for rooms, but across the entire hotel enterprise. For more information, visit

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Hotelier Indonesia Interview with Rachel Grier , Asia-Pacific managing director, IDeaS Revenue Solutions

Questions Answered by: Rachel Grier

What are the key revenue management challenges currently impacting on Indonesian hoteliers?

Revenue management is a process that is driven by a combination of people, processes and technology. Although there have been rapid advancements with the technology in recent years, the practice is still not universally adopted by hoteliers in Indonesia. This is often because property owners need to be convinced of value of these new systems.

A key challenge for revenue managers themselves is that they need to move their focus and expertise away from traditional guest room revenue management to holistic revenue strategy optimisation. Today’s revenue managers need to be technologically skilled, analytical and data driven – but more importantly, they need to be effective communicators. Revenue managers need to communicate across various departments and often to act as mobilizers to gain agreement on key pricing strategies and foster an organisation-wide revenue management culture.
Can you please outline a recent innovation launched by IDeaS?

IDeaS acquired Smart Space Solutions in March of 2017. Smart Space is a cloud-based, visual strategy management solution that will help Indonesian hoteliers analyse the business trends and performance of meeting and event spaces within their properties.

IDeaS is helping bridge the gap between revenue management, sales, marketing and meetings and events teams for the benefit of the Indonesian market.

Global spending on meetings and events continues to rise, and the need for hotel and event managers to understand the impact of group and event business is critical. Smart Space by IDeaS creates a firm connection between revenue managers and event sales managers by providing visibility into meetings and events demand in a powerful cloud-based tool.

It seamlessly integrates sales and catering data to strategically manage meetings and events venues, allowing hoteliers to collaborate and create a demand-based pricing strategy.

Can you please outline how hotels can better grow revenues through function spaces today?

To better maximise revenue opportunities from meetings and events spaces, many hoteliers have begun to fold revenue management strategies into sales and catering processes. Today, with advances such as Smart Space by IDeaS, hotels can analyse and dissect their business trends and meeting space performance. These systems visually consolidate data from other sales tools to help hotel teams strategically manage property functions and collaborate on ideal pricing strategies.

Any increased focus on applying revenue management principles to meetings and events also requires hoteliers to take a well-rounded look at their sales and catering revenues, as decisions they make for their function spaces can have a major impact on the bottom line. To ensure that a hotel is optimising revenues from their function spaces, hoteliers must establish and review KPIs for these spaces.

It is essential to collect meaningful data, forecast with confidence, and as a result, identify the most valuable business. After all, any demand-based pricing strategy is rooted in clean and relevant data. Easy access to the right data, along with interactive visualisations, provides powerful insights into meetings and events performance, and influences strategic business decisions.

To achieve optimal levels of revenue from meetings and events, hoteliers also need to incentivise their sales team on achieving quality of business, rather than quantity. Having the right forecasting, data and metrics in place may not result in optimal business without the sales team delivering the right piece of business with greatest profit impact to the hotel.

Sales teams therefore need to be incentivised appropriately on the right measurements, to channel their focus on quality of business, rather than one-dimensional metrics such as sale volume or space occupancy.

How can Asian hoteliers improve their revenues in the future?

Hotel guests have more buying power than ever before. Online channels and social media continue to proliferate and offer consumers more transparency and insight. Guests no longer rely on directly knowing someone who stayed at a hotel to form an impression of the property and whether to book or not.

They have powerful social media platforms where they can communicate instantaneously to wide groups of potential customers about their experiences – good, bad or indifferent. This has significant implications for any hotel’s online reputation, and can directly impact the hotel’s approach to revenue management, pricing decisions and ability to attract the right guest for the right price.

Hotels need to consider revenue strategy solutions that incorporate a property’s reputation in addition to rate in relation to their competitive set and seek out revenue management systems that incorporate reputation scores into their actual pricing algorithms.

This is called reputation pricing, and it offers hotels a powerful method of utilising online reputation data to capitalise on additional revenue opportunity. It enables hotels to utilise the benefits of peer-to-peer social technologies to influence the intent to purchase at the point of decision making.

Revenue management systems that incorporate reputation pricing help hoteliers visualise their market position in relation to both rate and reputation.

The correlation between a hotel’s rate and reputation over time helps identify commercial areas of opportunity for a hotel to improve on in addition to pricing opportunities.

What are IDeaS future plans for Indonesia?

Indonesia is a key market for IDeaS. We are committed to helping local hoteliers grow their revenues across their entire property, in a complete manner. Using advanced forecasting and innovative pricing capabilities will allow hotels to capture more market share, outperform competitors and drive their business and revenues forward.

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Why big data presents big opportunities for Indonesian Hoteliers

Written by: Rachel Grier, Area Managing Director Asia Pacific for IDeaS

The Indonesian hotel sector has long recognised that good pricing decisions start with good information. Today hotels from Bali to Jakarta and beyond are beginning to turn to big data and analytics to gain insights into the vast amounts of guest data they have at hand, and utilising these insights to develop strategies that attract and retain valuable guests, ultimately driving better revenues and profit.

Not all data is good dataThe data sources that support hotel pricing decisions commonly include stay history, inventory history, future reservations, future inventory, competitor pricing and future rate information. However, whilst it was once assumed that more data leads to more informed decision-making, the focus is now on ensuring the right data is collected in the first place.

But what type of data is considered quality data for a hotel? In many cases, much of the “big data” that will help a hotel make more informed pricing decisions is demand associated data; that is, data that is used in the creation and curation of accurate demand forecasts.

Optimising decision making with advanced analytics

It goes without saying that in the age of big data, advanced analytics and real time visualisation of clean data critical. Any Indonesian hotelier working without the support of an analytical revenue management system will find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and complexity of the data. 

Forward-looking predictive analytics, embedded in today's advanced revenue management systems, help hoteliers uncover emerging trends and identify opportunities to capture more revenue.

Advanced hotel revenue management analytics use data mining, machine learning and a variable deployment of complex predictive algorithm sets to calculate optimal pricing and inventory decisions for hotels. 

Analytics assist hoteliers to move beyond their normal revenue management processes into harnessing their data and forecasting capabilities to explore, predict and optimise total revenue performance. 

Best in class revenue management system analytics enable hoteliers to uncover granular patterns and trends at a micro-level. By determining why specific results are emerging, and if a hotel can expect them to continue, hoteliers can optimise their revenue opportunities.

What guests say about you online matters

As the hotel industry and revenue management has changed over the years, so has the relationship between a hotel and its guests. Thirty years ago the guest relationship with a hotel was direct, personal and on a one-to-one basis. 

Today, according to Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

This change in the control of brand value is a critical to hoteliers across the region. Reputation management companies enable the capture, measurement and management of consumer sentiment and these can be utilised by revenue management systems to assess value perception in relation to both you and your competitor brands at any given time.

In this context, social media and reputation information becomes essential as it forms a basis of value perception in regards to price sensitivity and thus demand as a subsequent function of price. 

Revenue managers incorporate value perception data points, competitor set reputation and value weighting when developing pricing strategies and executing marketing campaigns, since value perception directly impacts a hotel’s ability to capture guests.

Increasing profit and loyalty from guest intelligence

Today's digital environment has created more competition for a hotel’s consumer business than ever before. This competition is no longer just about competing with the big global brands; hotels are now competing with third-party distributors and disruptors from the sharing economy, such as Airbnb. Hotels do, however, have one distinct advantage: they can engage with guests, collect data about them and provide a customised experience that third-party distribution partners cannot.

To create a holistic view of a hotel's guests, and to offer opportunities for personalising a guest's stay, predictive modelling must also be applied to the consumer demographic and behavioural data that is gathered from all hotel interactions. 

This approach allows hotels to improve their segmentation and group similarly behaved customers together so they can more effectively target messaging and stay experiences to them.

With predictive modelling, a hotel can also better calculate a guest's likely lifetime value, understand how to nurture and grow the value of their most valuable guests, and determine where to source more of those high lifetime value guests in the future. 

It can help predict the next-best-offer for each guest to maximise their likelihood of responding, or even encourage them to purchase additional products or services during the purchase or stay process.

Without today's predictive modelling, marketing efforts are based on generic business rules that face limitations in influencing behaviour.

Big data drives the business

Data is central to nearly every operational decision a hotel makes today. Those savvy hoteliers that embrace the benefits that quality data and advanced analytics can bring to their property will be able to better attract the right guest, at the right time, for the right price, via the right channel and position themselves for success in a competitive market.

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Hotelier Indonesia

For over 25 years, HICAP has been the annual gathering place for Asia-Pacific's hotel investment community, attracting the most influential owners, developers, lenders, executives, and professional advisors from around the globe. Nearly 90 industry leaders are already confirmed to speak at this year's program:

  • Ashwani Bajaj, Managing Director, Amburaya Hotels & Resorts
  • Ante Baric, Director of Development, Dusit International
  • Bill Barnett, Managing Director, C9 Hotelworks Co., LTD.
  • Peter Benudiz, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Zhao Bingdong, Head of Real Estate, Junson Capital
  • David A. Blumenfeld, Partner, Paul Hastings
  • Gareth Boytt, Managing Director, GENESISERT
  • Robert C. Broadfoot, Managing Director, Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd.
  • James E. Burba, Co-Founder, BHN
  • Stephen Chen, Managing Director, Infinity Global Real Estate Advisors
  • Derek Cheung, CEO, New Century Asset Management
  • Suchad Chiranussati, Founder and Managing Director, SC Capital Partners Group
  • Peng Sum Choe, CEO, Frasers Hospitality Ptd
  • Kevin Colket, Managing Director, Acquisitions, Starwood Capital Group
  • Jennifer Cronin, President, Wharf Hotels
  • Mieke De Schepper, Vice President - Asia Pacific, Expedia Lodging Partner Services
  • Paul K. Dean, Principal, Dean & Associates Ltd.
  • Ricco M. deBlank, CEO-SHKP Hotels, Sun Hung Kai Properties
  • Regina DiBenedetto, Director, Aareal Bank Group Singapore
  • Graeme Dickson, Partner, Baker McKenzie
  • James Doolan, Regional VP, Hotel Development, Marriott International
  • Turochas Faud, CEO, Founder, Spacemob
  • Andreas Flaig, Executive Vice President, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
  • Paul Gabie, Chief Executive Officer, Proof & Company Spirits
  • Matthew Gebbie, Director, Horwath HTL
  • Rachel Grier, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, IDeaS
  • Aron Hari Harilela, Chairman & CEO, Harilela Hotels Limited
  • Robert V.R. Hecker, Managing Director - Pacific Asia, Horwath HTL
  • Mark Steven Hehir, Chief Executive Officer, The Small Maldives Island Co
  • Lara Hernandez, Chief Commercial Officer AMEA, IHG
  • Scott Hetherington, CEO, Asia, Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL
  • Akina Ho, EVP Global Hospitality, Tink Labs
  • Paul Hsu, Executive Director, Elite Concepts
  • Fran Hughes, Director, International Tourism Partnership
  • Phil Kasselis, Managing Director, Pro-Invest Hotels Group
  • David Keen, CEO, QUO
  • Grant Kelley, Chief Executive Officer, City Developments Limited
  • Anchalika Kijkanakorn, Managing Director, Akaryn Hotel Group Co, Ltd
  • Klaus Kohlmayr, Chief Operating Officer, TSA Solutions
  • Tasos Kousloglou, EVP, Asset Management, JLL
  • Lindsay O. Lesser, VP Development Pacific, AccorHotels
  • Eric J. Levy, Managing Director, TSI
  • David Ling, Head of Strategic Development, CDL Hospitality Trusts
  • Andrew MacGeoch, Industry Advisor
  • Paul Macpherson, Executive Vice President, Global Business & Real Estate Development, Kerzner International
  • Margaret McMahon, Senior Vice President, WATG/Wimberly Interiors
  • Roy Melick, Partner, Baker McKenzie
  • Peter T. Meyer, Chief Executive Officer, Lodgis Hospitality
  • Gert Noordzy, Managing Director, Northside Consulting
  • Jesper Palmqvist, Area Director Asia Pacific, STR
  • Eric Ricaurte, Founder & CEO, Greenview
  • Barry Robinson, President & Managing Director, Wyndham Vacation Resorts
  • Steven F. Root, Director, The Contracts Group Ltd
  • Tony Ryan, Managing Director, Global M&A, JLL
  • Peter R. Ryder, Chief Executive Officer, Indochina Capital
  • Rohit Sachdev, Managing Director, Soho Hospitality
  • Louis Gérard Saliot, CEO, Euro Asia Management Group
  • Gisle Sarheim, VP Development APAC, Hilton Grand Vacations Co
  • Sam Sheldon, Consultant, Horwath HTL
  • Morris Sim, Chief Marketing Officer, Next Story Goup
  • Vikram Singh, VP Revenue Optimization, Rainmaker Group
  • Jan Smits, Chief Executive Officer, AMEA, IHG
  • Martin Soler, Managing Partner, Martin Soler & Associates
  • Frank Sorgiovanni, Head of Research Asia Pacific, JLL
  • Robert Stiles, Managing Director & Principal, RobertDouglas
  • Linda H. Stiles, Managing Director, Stiles Capital Events LLC
  • James Stuart, Managing Partner, The Brand Company
  • Rajit Sukumaran, Chief Development Officer, AMEA, IHG
  • Shafi Syed, Chief Development Officer, Jumeirah Group
  • Yuval Tal, Partner, Proskauer
  • Juay Hiang Tan, CEO, Ascendas Hospitality Fund Management Pte Ltd.
  • Faustine Tan, Director SEA, Softinn
  • Larry M.K. Tchou, Senior Advisor - Greater China, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
  • Ratwadee (Pum) Termsuknirundorn, Investment Banking Group 1 (Real Estate), CIMP Thai Bank PCL.
  • Oliver Tittmann, Founder and Managing Partner, XCUBE
  • David Turnbull, Founder and COO, SnapShot
  • David Udell, Asia Group President, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
  • Peter van de Bunt, Chairman, Tin Hotels International
  • Kaushik Vardharajan, Vice President-Development, Hilton
  • Christophe Vielle, CEO & Co-Founder, GCP Hospitality
  • Hubert Viriot, CEO, YOTEL
  • Richard A. Weissmann, Partner, KSL Capital Partners, LLC
  • Robert Williams, Partner, Withersworldwide
  • Shunsuke Yamamoto, Managing Director, Fortress Investment Group
  • Fei Ye, Vice President, Strategic Investment & Capital Markets, China Lodging Group Ltd.
  • Siew Hoon Yeoh, Founder & Editor, WIT
  • Maria Zarraluqui, Development Managing Director, Meliá Hotels International
  • Shawn Zhang, General Manager, HNA Hotel Group

Early Registration Fee is Available Until 21 July 2017
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Hotelier Indonesia

How Small Thinking Can Limit an Independent Hotel

Written by: Rachel Grier, Asia-Pacific managing director, IDeaS Revenue Solutions

Revenue management systems are used by leading hotel brands around the world. However, it can be argued that smaller and independent properties in Indonesia need the technology even more than larger hotels given that limited room volumes mean every pricing decision counts. With the right investment in processes, technology and staff, it’s possible for small scale independent hoteliers to not just survive, but thrive in today’s competitive hotel environment.

It goes without saying that independent hoteliers in Indonesia and across the APAC region often find themselves in challenging situations: they often don’t have the resources to compete with the large global hotel chains in terms of marketing budgets and investment in third party booking channels, or have the well-recognised brand name that goes hand-in- hand with these activities.

Smaller,independent hotels frequently have fewer resources compared to larger chain hotels, and often do not have a dedicated revenue manager. This means that the revenue strategy is left up to the general manager, director of sales and marketing, reservations manager, or even the accountant– all of whom already have very busy schedules filled with other responsibilities. This lack of a dedicated resource and isolated operating systems mean that rooms are often either overpriced or under- priced, which ultimately turns guests away or secures guests at a lower-then- ideal booking rate for the hotel.

Every room counts in smaller scale independent hotels, which means that pricing rooms incorrectly has a much more noticeable impact on the property’s overall revenue performance. If there is a pricing error at a larger hotel, it’s easier to “bury” the rate mistake or absorb any short-term revenue loss due to a greater volume of rooms and bookings.
Similar to larger hotels, small, independent properties are constantly generating data – such as that used in developing demand forecasts. 

Hotel data comes from a multitude of sources, changes rapidly, and is critical to making proper pricing decisions. A good forecast as part of an ongoing revenue management program can assist room rate decision making, staff allocation, property maintenance and a range of critical hotel operations. Using data and analytics from an accurate forecast is the best way to determine marketing and pricing strategies for the future.

Data should be detailed and be both historical and forward-looking. Historically, the data should include (at least) the number of occupied rooms, coupled with revenue by market segment per day. Also, hoteliers need to ensure they include the number of rooms and revenue on the books by day (and by market segment) for at least the next 90 days. If data is collected every day it will allow the hotel to establish simple booking pace forecasts by segment and day of week, from which they will be able to compare it to historical data. If done consistently, this will allow hoteliers to quickly make any changes when demand picks up and tweak their strategies and decisions accordingly.

One of the biggest challenges with manual revenue management practices is the inability to collect quality data in a timely manner, while being able to use it before it is obsolete. Put simply, without automation, it is difficult to compile and analyse all this continuous information accurately and effectively. Global hotel brands equip their properties with revenue management technology for this reason.

Automated revenue systems and technologies allow revenue managers to move beyond data collection to focus on revenue strategy, leveraging every opportunity in good times or working with the sales and marketing teams to stimulate demand and lock in business for any softening in market conditions. Hotels with a revenue management system simply have better aggregation of data, leading to better insights and more granular forecasts earlier on, which ultimately delivers better performance.

Importantly, a revenue management system can also help independent Indonesian hoteliers balance the right business mix and address length of stay issues. Many independent hotels fall into the trap of focusing on peak nights and often accept lower-rated business when it isn’t needed, which simply trades down revenue. With fewer rooms in smaller scale independent hotels, managing booking pace and capturing optimal reservations by accepting the most valuable demand across arrival dates and lengths of stay is critical to maximising revenues.

So, as an independent hotelier, how do you compete with “the big boys”? How can you gain access to the same set of tools and insights so that you can provide the maximum return to your asset owner in good or challenging times? It’s simple: get a revenue management system and even the playing field. Time is today’s most valuable currency, and if you are paying a talented revenue manager to compile data into endless spreadsheets and siloed reports, frankly you are wasting your money.

Revenue management systems are best viewed as an investment in an essential business technology platform or tool for your business, rather than a “nice to have” expense. The insights, efficiencies and operational benefits are significant, driving measurable performance as well as profitability.

Hotels of all types typically experience 3 to 8 percent uplift in RevPAR when they move to an automated revenue management system, and in IDeaS’ experience, investment in a revenue management system generally pays back within a four month window, delivering both tangible and intangible benefits to the independent hotelier.

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What Can You Expect & How It Will Benefit Your Hotel

By Rachel Grier, Asia-Pacific managing director, IDeaS Revenue Solutions

The sleek silhouette of a vehicle effortlessly manoeuvres through a winding mountain pass. It accelerates into the distance – leaving a spray of mist from the dewy road. In the background, there’san advertising voiceover talking through the car’s key features and encouraging you to test drive it today. It’s tempting, but will the car live up to its hype? Will it counter the myths you’ve already heard from others?

Many Indonesian hoteliers wonder the same thing about investing in some of the technology systems they know about. Will a PMS operate as effectively as an industry article said it would? Do you really need to be in the cloud? Will revenue management actually pay for itself and how can the system actually help generate profits?
To better understand a key operational technology such as revenue management, it is the perfect opportunity for Indonesian hoteliers to take virtual test drive and put some of the myths to the test:

Myth:We don’t have any issues manually setting our rates, so we don’t need a revenue management system.

Many hoteliers operate with a heavy reliance on online travel agents (OTAs) and tactical “flash” sales.With constantly changing booking patterns, it’s nearly impossible to manually identify trends from hotel’s booking history. This makes it difficult for hotels to recognise changes in demand and react in time to make higher profits. In such a high-speed environment, manually collecting, evaluating and calculating data via Excel spreadsheets is not only a tedious process, but it’s also time consuming and highly susceptible to errors.

It’s simply not possible to compile all of the data points required to provide meaningful forecasts and pricing decisions across a manageable time frame. By the time the data is aggregated and analysed,any identified opportunity will have likely passed.

This is where revenue management software and automation can make a huge difference. Through algorithms, calculations and machine learning, revenue management systems automatically assess hotel performance on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Revenue managers can use highly visual dashboards and reports to quickly compare rooms sold and revenue against data at the market segment and total hotel level for the next year.

The system provides regular, updated reports; some systems extracting data up to four times a day. This gives revenue managers and hoteliers a clear vision of their data, bringing more accuracy and consistency—versus gut instinct—to the forecasting and reporting process. The increased business intelligence and accurate granular forecasting makes it easier for revenue managers to determine correct pricing, optimise demand and increase revenue across their property or portfolio.

Myth: I need a dedicated on site revenue manager to use a revenue management system.

The rise of the mobile consumer isn’t the only trend impacting a hotel’s operations today. Hotel staff are also becoming more mobile. Revenue managers can be responsible for multiple properties across multiple time zones – including those who regularly travel for work and are away from their office environment for extended periods. There is a critical need to access their pricing systems at any time of the day and from any environment.Where past hoteliers and revenue managers needed to make pricing decisions at their desks in the beginning of the day, it is now possible to make decisions on the go through mobile applications.

Revenue management apps help enhance productivity for hotel personnel by providing critical demand forecasts and rate analysis including historical behaviors, seasonal patterns and recent trends that can all be acted upon.Based in the cloud, with online syncing to any mobile device, mobile revenue management apps ensure that hotel personnel responsible for pricing decisions are never offline. Mobile access to key metrics and rates also presents an opportunity to capitalize on time-sensitive opportunities, as well as involve a wider management team in accessing KPIs. Revenue management mobile apps mean that revenue managers are empowered to make informed pricing decisions anytime, anywhere.

Myth: A revenue management system is too expensive and only used by large global hotel chains.

It’s important for any hotelier to operate prudently and not spend beyond their means. As revenue management solutions have been widely adopted by larger hotel chains and properties for success, this can sometimes lead smaller or independent operators to maintain a misconception around the real cost of the technology and the ROI they can expect. Many leading revenue management providers work with budget and midscale hotels in both city and resort locations all over the world.

Additionally, there are also entry level technology platforms for hotels looking to start their revenue management journey, such as pricing system technology that focuses setting and distributing the right rates to the right guest at the right time.

Myth: My hotel is still under construction; I can’t consider revenue management until I have been operating for at least one year.

Many new hotels struggle to reach their optimal revenue potential due to poor pre-opening preparation and a lack of clarity around in-depth pricing strategies to address varying and often fluctuating market demand and conditions. It is no longer enough to build a great property, ensure the rooms are nicely decorated and have staff in place to service potential guests. An integral component to the pre-opening process should be considering the optimization of room type configuration, as well as the implementation and integration of revenue management technologies with the hotel’s IT infrastructure and platforms from the very start.

There are many areas of revenue management that must be considered throughout the pre-opening phase of a hotel – ranging from establishing market segment revenue and sales strategies, undertaking comprehensive competitor evaluation, pricing research, pricing processing and forward planning of market demand cycles. It is also important that properties follow a structured, standardized approach to pre-opening to ensure consistent and effective results from day one.

To ensure that hotel revenues are maximized, hotels under development should conduct a strategic hotel analysis that includes a study of the micro market and overall economic factors that could affect the hotel’s performance. They should also finalize a competitor analysis, including competitor value and benefits positioning.

Hotel pricing structures should be based on market conditions, hotel positioning and should include established channel strategies according to product positioning and market environment in order to cement “product positioning” (i.e. hotel descriptions, room type descriptions, etc.) through all channels.

Over the years, a vast amount has been discussed in the hotel industry regarding revenue management. To help increase awareness and foster better understanding of the benefits a revenue management system can bring to your property, there is only one way to determine if this leading technology is the right fit for your hotel. So go ahead, take it out for a test drive and see for yourself.