a yogini's approach to a distribution audit
Updated: May 15, 2021
by: suzanne swafford, CRME
Oh, what excitement a new trend inspires!
In yoga, the trends range on Yoga HiiT fusion, Broga, Arial Yoga. “Competitive yoga” is even a new phrase gaining surprising traction. WHAT? Yoga is inherently personal and decidedly non-competitive, as a moving meditation practice.
In hotels, our tendency is to find the new trend, be ahead of the curve, and search widely for that new package gimmick. All of this for the sake of booking one more room or scooping the competition. Just look at brand partnerships with cleaning companies over the past few months in response to COVID-19, or the race to provide guest rooms as private offices for those weary of staying home.
Yet, like Goat Yoga, we see these trends adopted by all, then losing steam quickly.
BACK TO BASICS: WHAT PRODUCES RESULTS FOR YOUR HOTEL?
We are often quick to forget the tried-and-true things that produce results.
A Distribution Audit can be likened to the simplicity of a Downward Facing Dog, for example. One of the most widely known poses, yet it is also one of the most productive ways of facilitating use of your entire body. The same applies to a distribution audit, that is often viewed as a tedious and mundane process. However, revisiting basics and digging into the details of how your inventory is set up and displayed among the various channels and the connectivity back to your Central Reservations System (CRS) can unlock revenue potential you did not even know was missing!
PERFORMING A HOTEL DISTRIBUTION AUDIT
List all your distribution pathways and compare each to your Central Reservations System.
Then run a report from your Central Reservations System, and other Connected Systems to include:
Pricing and Seasons
Property Management System
OTA’s and their various system connections, ie DHISCO, etc.
GDS Systems, including both Generic Rates and Business Transient Specific Rates
Compare each system’s data for consistency
Review interface channel mapping and connectivity in all systems
Test each channel in a live environment by shopping. Ensure that the following information is seamless throughout all channels:
Rate and Room Type visibility
PUT THE DISTRIBUTION AUDIT TO WORK
CORRECT ERRORS & INCONSISTENCIES
Just like the human body, connections among our various systems are inherently complex. There are many different systems that connect into our CRS in a variety of different fashions. Technology is very susceptible to human input error, and an occasional failure of a connection. For example, how often do you lose someone on a call, or does a web meeting freeze? Taking the time to compare system to system will identify and resolve an unknown failure. Ensuring that each connection is properly functioning is vital for continued revenue capture.
SCHEDULE BI-ANNUAL AUDITS
To truly maximize distribution, these audits must be done regularly on a schedule and spot checked in between. An audit should be completed at a minimum of twice per year, as well as ongoing spot checks by your revenue management consultant at least once a month. In my yoga practice, the way I revitalize my insight is to work with visiting teachers and attend workshops, providing me with a fresh eye and way to view my practice. With hotel and resort teams as lean as they are right now, engaging an outside resource dedicated to facilitating these timely endeavors, is a good way to ensure the day-to-day revenue driving focus does not falter and that the resources required to execute the audit are minimized.
As the audits progress, you will notice that system setup data is ever changing. Rate plans come and go, as do trends. System clean ups will always be necessary to stay ahead.
Remember, whether on your mat, or looking at three different monitors of data, take a step back from the trends, re-ground yourself into the basics occasionally to achieve truly magnificent results!
This article was originally published by HotelsMag on March 30, 2021.