THE YOGA OF REVENUE OPTIMIZATION & MARKETING COLLABORATION by Suzanne Swafford, CRME
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root word yuj, and the most understood meaning of yoga is “union.” To unite implies a foundation of not only a shared philosophy, but the creation of common goals and objectives known as collaboration. This involves a great deal of research to make informed decisions about our communities. Similarly, in hospitality, collaboration among departments ensures a harmonious operation with effective decision-making skills. However, if departments are out of sync it can also create a loss of yoga “union” that was so carefully crafted as the hotels’ foundation. THE PUSH AND PULL OF MARKETING AND REVENUE OPTIMIZATION Regarding revenue maximization, revenue optimization leaders often find marketing strategies are set at the beginning of the year and deployed without thought, right on schedule. There can be “set it and forget it” mentality. Along those same lines, revenue leaders sometimes find that we are significantly behind compared to what we had forecasted for short term bookings and scramble to deploy a short-term initiative. This, in turn, forces the hand of panic pricing and thus deep discounts. Each of these actions result in continuous collaboration ruptures. HOW HOTEL REVENUE TEAMS CAN OPTIMIZE COLLABORATION We have taken a hard look at strategy disconnect which forced us to refine our common direction in our new world. This also means a bold new way of holding creative results-oriented strategy meetings. It is time to talk about how our marketing team, can truly help us drive revenues, with guidance from Revenue Management and a deep knowledge of the hotel’s booking and trends. KEY ITEMS TO HELP GUIDE MARKETING:
BE CREATIVE. Challenge the status quo. Ask questions and do not rely on the old ways of doing things. Hiring an outside Consultant, who does not have an investment in “sticking to the plan.”
BE FLEXIBLE. Be willing to move the budget dollars around as you need. Budget monthly marketing spend with NO specific program in mind. Let strategy discussions drive where the funds need to go.
BE COLLABORATIVE. The Marketing Director (or outside company) needs to be in constant communication with the Director of Revenue Management and be just as knowledgeable about trends.
PLAN AHEAD. Wait not for the future bookings to be an issue. Market for the longer term, even if your competitors are not. This will put you in a great place with business on the books when the true booking window arrives, and discounting will not be necessary. Ensure you share all revenue data and documentation with your Marketing Partners. In depth tools such as Demand360 are valuable insight to a marketing mind.
BE BOLD. Not only with the pricing strategy but the marketing strategy. Look at your ADR from the same time last year for dates 120-365 days in the future. What is the growth you would like to achieve? Start there with the rate and worry less about what your competitors are selling. Communicate the segment and channels that provide long term success to your Marketing Partners, so that they may direct efforts with laser accuracy.
Let us unite our marketing strategies to work with our revenue needs and not in spite of them. The Yoga of Collaboration is key to this “union,” and RevPAR success! ~Namaste