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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: At the End of the Year, We Reflect on the Best of the Year

    As we prepare to transition to the new HFTP Global board at the 2018 Annual Convention in October, I would like to take the time to reflect on my year serving as HFTP Global president.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • IT Spending in the Lodging Industry Three-year Analysis: 2015–2017

    By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Arlene Ramirez, CHE, CHAE; and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. PART II: An analysis of IT spending data in the lodging industry based on reporting in the new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems.


Middle East Hotels turn to The Rainmaker Group for Better Hospitality Analytics

The Rainmaker Group · 4 December 2018
The Rainmaker Group today announced the rapid expansion of use of the business intelligence tool, revintel, across properties in the Middle East, including the Grand Excelsior. The latest property to embrace revintel come in addition to the existing portfolio of Movenpick and Rosewood Hotels, along with the Five Dubai, the Palazzo Versace, and the Nobu Riyadh."We sought a tool that would save us time and provide easier access to a wider and more valid source of analytics across our organization," said Muhammad Atif Ali, Director of Revenue for the Palazzo Versace Dubai. "Rainmaker's revintel gives us access to exactly the data we need at our fingertips."revintel is a web-based application which combines data from disparate systems to generate actionable insights designed to accelerate revenue growth. The business intelligence tool provides properties, hotel management groups, owners and asset managers with detailed visibility into leading and lagging revenue-oriented data across their entire profile."revintel gives factual insights into business, which guides tactics needed in order to gain market share and increase RevPAR," said Abhishek Lakhotia, Director of Revenue for Five Palm Jumeriah Dubai. "revintel is very user friendly and easy to navigate.""Five Palm opened its doors on March 31, 2017. Year on year growth through September 18th of this year has been over 200% but, of course, being in our second year of business, this is the expected ramp up," Lahkotia said. "Growth in the months of October and November is approximately 20% on RevPAR where we can see the competitive set dropping, & revintel has definitely contributed to part of this growth." Rainmaker announced their expansion of its Middle East and Africa operations earlier this year by naming Hicham Diab as regional director of business development. "We are very excited about the Middle East embracing revintel and for the prospect of growth in the region," said Patrick Andres, SVP of Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and Africa. "I attribute a solid amount of this growth to the appointment of Hicham and through the expansion of our physical presence in the area, including our office in Dubai. We look forward to continued conversations with properties in the Middle East looking to add a powerful tool like revintel to their revenue management capabilities."* Rainmaker's groundbreaking revenue and profit optimization product suite includes:* guestrev, an intuitive and easy-to-use revenue management solution that analyzes total guest value across a hotel or casino property to forecast and price rooms;* grouprev, an innovative group pricing solution that streamlines the process of responding to group RFPs by analyzing historical data, future demand, and price sensitivity to recommend the best pricing for group business;* revcaster, a powerful rate shopping tool that gives hoteliers access to real-time actionable market data, so that rates can be set against the competitive landscape; and* revintel, an intuitive business intelligence solution that improves day-to-day revenue management by mining various data sets and providing deep insights at a granular level.

Key Tools to Include in Your Group Sales Toolkit

The Rainmaker Group ·27 November 2018
Group business is growing. According to American Express,1 group hotel rates increased globally 2.8 percent on average over 2017, with North America seeing the greatest increase, rising 3.5 percent. And we can expect those rates to continue their upward climb along with continued demand growth from groups.2 Unfortunately, many hotels are not capturing the full potential of this growth the average U.S. hotel occupancy rate hitting a 30-year high3 at 66.1 percent, while event space remained vacant a disproportionate amount of the time.Group businesses is a highly underutilized revenue source that should form an essential part of a hotel revenue mix. Groups provide leverage in pricing. And while leisure travelers may cancel on a whim, group business is sticky, operating in both peak and off-peak seasons. In addition, group customers spend more on ancillaries, have a higher propensity for repeat business, and often combine business trips with leisure vacations (bleisure).Today, 86 percent of event planners4 fall into the tech-savvy5 Millennial and Gen X categories, with the vast majority of them now sourcing venues digitally. And while ranks event coordinators fifth6 on the list of most stressful jobs in 2018, you can make their and your sales team members jobs easier with the right tools. Advances in technology are revolutionizing the meetings and events industry by automating and streamlining formerly manual processes. By adding critical pieces to your group sales toolkit, your hotel will g gain exposure to your highest valued prospects and have real-time access to accurate group demand forecasts, optimal room rate suggestions, and more, enabling your sales team to respond quicker and convert more booked business.Win at the Law of AttractionThe first step in gaining more group customers starts with awareness. As planners begin their preliminary searches for possible destinations, you want your property to be the first to enter their radar. To increase exposure, you need to be visible on every channel that planners are utilizing7 during this stage. So, in addition to optimizing your search engine results, you can employ a top-line planner sourcing platform, such as the Cvent Supplier Network, which instantly connects you with prospects while highlighting your hotels value and unique features. This simplifies the site selection process for the planner and brings you incremental business you would not have obtained otherwise.And once planners have nailed down their event destination, hotels still have a big opportunity to win the business because nearly half of all planners remain somewhat uncertain8 regarding specific venue. Implement software that allows you to target planners with customized and automated digital marketing campaigns that are more likely to convert.Manage Incoming RFPs Electronic requests for proposal (RFPs) have become the norm. And many group sales teams are overwhelmed with the volume of queries they receive, resulting in missed opportunities and delays in finding those diamonds amid all the rough. Approximately 70 percent of group business is awarded to first responders. Arm your sales team with integrated technology solutions that help prioritize leads and swiftly analyze group displacement, demand forecasts, and other market conditions to instantly suggest optimal pricing.Strong lead-scoring lets you evaluate leads by any number of factors, including profitability, availability, and propensity to spend, helping you determine in a matter of minutes versus hours, which leads are most worth pursuing. Group displacement analysis allows hotels to accurately calculate the true value of a group in comparison to other potential groups or transient business looking beyond room rates to examine total value, including food-and-beverage spend, meeting room rental, and all non-room revenue streams. Furthermore, with the right technology, hotels gain the ability to transform turndowns into bids by automatically recommending alternative dates if the primary dates arent available.Optimize & MaximizeOftentimes, hoteliers dont apply the same revenue management tactics for groups that they use for transient or leisure business. However, those who use Rainmakers group sales enablement solution, grouprev, can now quickly identify and convert the most valuable groups for their hotel while considering the propertys broader revenue strategy. Sophisticated algorithms allow you to maximize group room and non-room revenue by instantly optimizing group pricing with just a couple of clicks. The platform helps you maximize utilization of function space as well, and more effectively manage your propertys catering calendar.The convenience of the optimized pricing feature allows your sales teams to respond to RFPs and group leads more quickly and confidently as opposed to wasting hours or even days waiting for approvals and risking loss of the business. grouprev also helps you refine pattern management, allowing you to more effectively yield around transient business and better strategize around your optimal business mix. Hotels using grouprev see an average lift of 8.4 percent in group revenue, and an 11.5 percent average increase in converted group RFPs.Benchmark Yourself & Your Competition To achieve optimal success from your group business, you must fully understand your own performance. A solid solution measures your own key performance indicators (KPIs), patterns, and progress over time, while also providing insight into the whys behind the numbers. Rate your progress on metrics such as your bid, turndown, and conversion rates. Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, your response times, and RFP market share. And determine your ratio of RFPs won versus lost.Once you have a clear view of your own group business performance, you can move on to see how you stack up against your competitors. How much market share do you claim? How do your soft periods compare with your comp set? Study group booking trends among your local and broader market. And identify your true competitive set, which is not necessarily made up of hotels within your local market. Advanced analytics helps you identify those hotels receiving the highest proportion of leads that your hotel also receives, no matter where in the world theyre located. By benchmarking your performance and your competition, youre better positioned to make informed decisions concerning where you need to improve and where to best focus your resources.Forecasting for Success Another critical tool to deploy in this journey is one that automates the process of generating accurate group business demand forecasts. While forecasting transient demand is commonplace, forecasting for groups9 is a relatively new concept. But an invaluable one. An accurate prediction of your group demand allows you to convert more, facilitating decisions regarding which group or transient business to accept for any given period. Accurate forecasts help you maximize room rates and the usage of your property function space as well, while optimizing operation expenses such as food-and-beverage ordering and staffing.Its possible to lose a group lead at any point in the process from sourcing all the way through to the actual event. Incorporating digital tools and software solutions can make a crucial difference. Partner with providers that will help your hotel sales professionals attract and convert the most valuable group leads to you grow your bottom line. With the right systems in place, you can dig deep into the numbers, monitoring your analytics and performance over time in order to continuously improve, ultimately claiming larger and larger slices of the group business pie.

The Path to Total Revenue Management

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·20 November 2018
The concept of total hotel revenue management industry has been discussed for years, to the point where some in the revenue management discipline are asking why the topic is still being discussed. It came up earlier this year at a roundtable hosted by Sherri Kimes in Singapore, where a group of RMS professionals and hotel executives spoke to students about the current and future state of revenue management. Total revenue optimization is still the future of our discipline. Here is where we are on the path to achieving the long-heralded concept of total revenue management for hotels.

Do You Know What Your Distribution Channels Cost?

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog· 1 November 2018
Many hotels are not as focused as they should be on their channel costs. In fact, a report by the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) revealed that just 65 percent of chains and 48 percent of independents look closely at cost of distribution. A key factor in your property’s growth and profitability involves developing an effective channel mix strategy. Crucial to that strategy, is accurately determining the costs involved in acquiring and retaining guests.

A Key to Hotel Business Success: Tracking, Trends & Time

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·25 October 2018
A study of 170 travel and hospitality executives revealed an area where their organizations were lacking was effective use of data. It can be overwhelming to package all the metrics you collect into actionable insights that truly benefit your business. But with the right systems in place, your data can become a key pillar for identifying patterns and trends in your business - helping you not only recognize and expand upon positive directions, but providing the ability to course correct when necessary toward more lucrative opportunities.

7 Reasons Why You're Not Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Technology Systems

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·18 October 2018
The hotel industry is and always will be about providing good old-fashioned hospitality. With an ever-increasing volume of analytics to contend with, however, the need for shiny, new technology systems to improve business performance is also ever increasing. Fifty-two percent of hotels plan to increase their IT investments, and those investments are paying off. According to Starfleet research, hotels that upgrade their revenue management systems see a 7 to 10 percent average lift in RevPAR.

Hotel Budget Season: Design Your Most Profitable Channel Mix Strategy in 2019

The Rainmaker Group ·17 October 2018
Travel customers have an unprecedented number of options to shop and book hotels, with new competitors constantly jumping into the distribution channel pool. Determining what inventory to sell through which channels has become a critical component in operating a profitable hotel. The industry is seeing online travel agencies (OTAs) with market values higher than many hotel brands and commissions rising at twice the rate of revenue growth.1 Despite these intimidating numbers, intermediary distribution channels should not be looked upon with enmity, but rather as key players in your unique channel mix strategy - designed to bring you greater success and profitability in 2019.KNOW YOUR GUESTS & WHERE THEY SHOPBefore you can determine the optimal channel mix strategy for your hotel, you must identify your ideal business mix. Perform a thorough analysis of your current customer segments, including demographics, source markets, the purpose for visiting, length of stay, and of course, which channels they're using to shop for hotels. In particular, you want to understand the total guest value of each customer segment, moving beyond revenue per available room (RevPAR) or even net revenue per available room (NetRevPAR) - which accounts for acquisition costs. In addition, consider guest spend on ancillaries such as food & beverage, recreation, spa services, and merchandise. With this information at your fingertips, you can plan which higher-value customer segments you want to target in 2019, and through which channels you can best reach them.DO YOUR DATA & INSIGHTS MEASURE UP?With the current influx of big data, hotels are hit with a literal firehose of information to sort through. To create an intelligent channel mix strategy for 2019, you need more than just data - you need insights. The right technology and tools help you perform an accurate assessment of your performance in light of the overall business available in your market, allowing you to zero in on the actions necessary for achieving your channel optimization goal.Channel ProfitabilityAcquisition costs have risen to up to 25 percent of guest paid revenue,2 and include commissions, transaction fees, and loyalty program costs, as well as property-level or franchisor sales and marketing costs. It's important not only to evaluate each channel's top-line revenue but also track the costs necessary to secure the revenue. Additionally, evaluate your proprietary website ( just as you would a third-party partner. Finally, you need to clearly understand which channels your highest-value guests are booking through in order to adequately value the ROI of each channel.Attribution & Campaign TaggingIt's important to track visitor statistics, hotel website navigation paths, and sales transactions from your booking engine. However, a guest's purchase channel doesn't always correlate with their shopping channel.3 In China, for example, despite high shopping activity on websites, more hotel bookings occur through OTAs. More than 40 percent of travelers say they bounce back and forth4 between exploring the details for one destination and then zooming out to reconsider all their options again. To address the challenge of accurately attributing credit to the myriad actions that result in conversion, a newer tracking tool known as "campaign tagging" identifies website traffic by source as well as by the promotional campaign and distribution channel that triggered their visit.Ancillary SpendEach channel's ancillary revenue contribution must also be factored into the equation.5 On the surface, it may appear as if a specific hotel is gaining more business through a certain OTA versus direct. However, a deeper analysis may reveal that the customer is spending more than double in ancillary revenue and room rates than the OTA channel customer, while also maintaining longer lengths of stay and higher retention rates.Marketing ResultsEvaluate your marketing spend by channel6 to see if you're getting enough return on your investment. Some channels may bring in better results during specific weekdays or seasons. Analyze different combinations in order to allocate your marketing resources to the right channels at the right time.In-depth analysis of these factors, in light of your target business mix and KPIs will reveal your most profitable distribution channels in the truest sense. However, this is not a "one and done" scenario. Hotels must consistently monitor and reevaluate their channel strategy, determining ways to efficiently gain the optimal mix of traffic, and convert the traffic into the highest profitable transactions.OPTIMIZE YOUR CHANNEL MIX FOR REVENUES AND ROIIn the past, when it came to managing channel mix, hotels rarely looked beyond revenues and occasionally costs. By only considering these metrics, you may believe it's in your best interests to fill your rooms purely through direct channels. However, the goal is not to eliminate intermediary channels, it's about creating your most profitable mix. And most hotels need a blend of demand from multiple channels.7With so many channel options available, sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. Just because a particular channel is popular,8 or is working well for a market leader, doesn't mean it's ideal for you. It's about strategy. Use your own data and be realistic in terms of your specific market demand drivers, location, and costs.Set clear goals by channel, by day of week, and by season. Build your strategy, which may involve reducing or eliminating participation in some channels, while stimulating greater flow into others. The channel mix that brings you the greatest profitability is going to be unique to your hotel, involving an effective balance between direct, indirect, online, and offline channels.Direct OnlineYour proprietary website and Internet booking engine, outshines the results of OTA bookings9 in terms of guest loyalty, rates, frequency, and length of stay.Optimize it: With 40 percent of U.S. travel site visits coming from mobile,10 make certain your website is mobile-friendly. Take advantage of upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and build relationships to gain lucrative repeat business. Use market intelligence to create targeted promotional campaigns that are likely to convert.Direct OfflineVoice is a particularly effective offline channel, with average rates and length of stay trending higher than many other channels,11 and even scoring points with Millennials.12 Optimize it: Like its online sister, offline direct channels also provide opportunities to upsell and offer revenue-maximizing add-ons. Make things easy for guests by incorporating seamless click-to-call capability.OTAs & MetasearchIn 2017, Phocuswright reported that approximately 22 percent of hotel gross bookings occur through OTAs.13 And while the Billboard Effect may be dead,14 clearly, OTAs and metasearch sites remain an important part of your distribution channel toolkit. Their advertising budget affords them a much larger reach into emerging markets individual hotels can never hope to duplicate. This creates exposure to your brand you wouldn't be able to achieve on your own. Optimize it: Develop a strategy to capture email addresses for OTA guests at check-in. Acquiring the email addresses of those who booked through an OTA will give you the ability to market to those guests in the future. Hopefully, you will be able to convert those customers from an OTA loyal customer to a "your brand" loyal customerGDSThe Global Distribution System exposes your hotel to millions of travel agents around the world. It is estimated that greater than 55% of the business that books via the GDS is managed business. However, with annual worldwide hotel room revenue production estimated at $8.5 billion dollars, there is still a significant amount of business you can influence.15Optimize it: Work with your GDS connectivity provider to make sure your listing is optimized. Consider GDS advertising or even possibly placement programs.Wholesalers (Offline & Online)While this business tends to be more influential in gateway cities and destination markets, it can bring valuable guests to hotels. These guests will likely be from markets many hotels do not have the ability to reach on their own. Additionally, this segment tends to have a longer length of stay which benefits the hotel's bottom line.Optimize it: Make sure your profiles are consistent and accurate, filled with engaging descriptions and images designed to attract your target audience.Competition is fierce in this hybrid-channel marketplace. And as the distribution landscape evolves in complexity, hotels must take a comprehensive approach to developing their channel optimization strategy. One that's rooted in a solid foundation of analytics combined with accurate tracking of the right performance metrics. Your channel mix is crucial to your property's ability to grow and achieve financial success. Once you've developed your strategy, you must continuously monitor and refine it - always keeping the goal of maximizing your profit potential top of mind. Hotels that create an optimal channel mix strategy, and pair it with the power of top-line technology, will find themselves well along the path to long-term profitability.Kristi White will be hosting a webinar on the topic of "Are You Ready for 2019?" on 10/30 at 2 PM EST. Click here to register.

Why You Need to Take a Holistic Approach to Hotel Budgeting

The Rainmaker Group · 9 October 2018
To develop an accurate and functional budget for 2019, hoteliers must take a holistic approach to the process. This involves starting with a big-picture view that includes your top company initiatives, along with a drill-down into the data to identify significant, sustainable cost-reduction opportunities in conjunction with hotel-wide profit optimization strategies. This is all then compiled into a neat package that guides you in capturing the greatest market share and revenue possible throughout the coming year.The Big Picture: Successes, Challenges, & Future ObjectivesThe first step in drafting your budget for 2019 requires an evaluation of your 2018 performance - an in-depth analysis of historical data concerning your successes and challenges. What trends, guest segments, channels, or tactics produced the highest revenues and drove the largest number of conversions? Don't simply make potentially costly assumptions or transfer line items from year to year simply because you've always done it that way.Consider your financial priorities and business goals for 2019, and the primary obstacles you'll encounter that impact them. Then thoroughly examine each area of your business - group sales, food and beverage (F&B), marketing - and explore how they contribute to your company revenue targets. Dig deep into the numbers and determine what exactly is required to meet your revenue goals. Your marketing budget should account for techniques to reach every area of your guest funnel, from those in the top-of-funnel inspiration phase, through research and planning, to building repeat business and loyalty.Complete your big-picture view by combining data with insights derived from discussions with your front-line staff. Conversations between hotel management, sales, marketing, and guest-facing staff provide invaluable information concerning what guests are looking for, happy with, or complaining about.Proactive vs. Reactive"I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you're proactive, you focus on preparing. If you're reactive, you end up focusing on repairing." ~ John C. MaxwellWhen it comes to preparing your budget, it may be tempting to take the shortcut of simply using last year's budget and updating it. However, you'll likely end up with a flurry of short-term "tactical" fixes and fragmented marketing ideas designed to create isolated bursts of revenue. This is a reactive approach, with your budget based solely off what happened in the past and not at all representative of what your business truly needs to move forward.Your hotel budgeting plan should be a continuous, proactive process,1 not a reactive exercise. It should never be simply a Q4 event. Like a golfer who keeps score throughout the game, adjusting to improve performance after each hole, it's important for hotel management to proactively work on budgets year-round. To create the most accurate budget for the following year, evaluate business performance weekly and monthly. Regularly update rolling forecasts2 and measure your performance in relation to those forecasts.Long-term proactive budgets are driven from the top down. More strategic in nature, the proactive approach translates your company goals and objectives into action. It guides budget decisions in advance, and establishes how your hotel can expect to profit throughout the coming year. Further, proactive budget strategy includes accurate forecasting as an essential component.3 By utilizing a revenue management system (RMS) enhanced by the powerful analytics of a modern business intelligence platform, you can incorporate forecasting specifics such as occupancy, arrival and departure patterns, length of stay, and seasonality into your budget plan. These insights ensure you appropriately plan for labor costs and make the most of your hotel resources. You also zero in on which guest segments, ancillaries, and promotional campaigns produced the highest revenue. This places you in a much better position to allocate your resources in ways to help achieve your profit goals for 2019.Budget for Profit Not Just RevenueRevenue-generation strategy is a primary focus for hotel owners planning their 2019 budgets. It's important to remember, however, that revenue per available room (RevPAR) only tells part of the profitability story. For true budget-planning success, don't simply focus on increasing revenue, but profits.4 Is your hotel catering to the optimal mix of business to meet and exceed your financial expectations? Are you looking beyond room revenue to optimizing non-room revenue streams as well?Here again an RMS and forecasting functionality play a role allowing you to identify ways to target your highest-value guest segments in 2019. An accurate demand forecast includes unconstrained demand, stay patterns, and booking pace, which directly impact your bottom line. If your property is forecasted for a period of high occupancy due to high unconstrained demand, for example, then a revenue manager can plan to sell on low-cost/high-rate channels to maximize profits. Alternatively, forecasted low-occupancy periods could trigger an increase in promotional campaigns across all online channels - and customized promotions for off-line customers - in order to produce incremental demand. In addition, demand forecasts allow you to anticipate the additional revenue that will be generated from other departments that are proportional to room occupancy, such as F&B, spa, and other ancillary services.Take a Strategic Approach to Reducing CostsBudgeting for profit means analyzing your operational costs in relation to revenues, including purchases of perishable and non-perishable goods. As an illustration, during projected low occupancy, a hotel can plan to decrease food purchases for its buffet offerings, and reduce labor expenses by scheduling less staff in housekeeping and F&B services. In addition, you should accurately track acquisition costs5 - costs incurred to acquire reservations - for your individual property and the industry at large. By tracking both you obtain a more transparent indication of your customer acquisition efficiency, as well as the direction its trending.Many hotels will be deploying capital towards renovations in the coming year. Take a strategic approach to how you budget for your own hard and soft renovations. Projections of consistently high unconstrained demand may lead management to decide a major hotel expansion is called for. And in terms of soft renovations, a close examination of your guest segment trends and preferences will pay dividends in your budget planning success.First Forecast of the YearYour budget is truly your first forecast of the year, but no one sees into the future with 100 percent clarity. The twists and turns of this dynamic, competitive marketplace may make what seems crystal clear today, appear quite different tomorrow. A holistic budget strategy anticipates change. For optimal results invest in a flexible and robust technology solution6 that not only helps account for the multiple "what if" scenarios that will arise, but provides a distinct path toward creating operational efficiencies, improving performance, and increasing your profits - always guiding you in the direction of selling the right product, to the right customer, at the right time, at the right price, via the right channel.For more on the topic of taking a holistic approach to your 2019 plans, join Kristi White for a webinar assessing "Are You Ready for 2019?" on 10/30 at 2PM EST. Click here to register.SOURCES:1Braun, Robert, and Global Hospitality Group. "Hotel Lawyer: Tips on Negotiating Your Annual Hotel Budget." Hotel Law Blog, Global Hospitality Group, 12 Oct. 2017,, Elliott. "10 Ways to Manage Expenses in 2018." Hotel Management, 14 Feb. 2018,, Seved-Mahmoud, "Revenue Forecasting Models for Hotel Management." The Journal of Business Forecasting, Flushing, Vol. 26. Issue 3 (Fall 2007): 33-37., Cathy, et al. "Study Highlights Growth of Strategic Hotel Profit Management." Admissions Statistics | Undergraduate Program | Cornell SHA, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, 18 Apr. 2017,, Max, and Mariana Safer. "Whitepaper Available: The Smart Hotelier's Guide To 2018 Digital Marketing & Technology Budget Planning." Hotel Internet Marketing | HeBS Digital | Hotel Website Design, HeBS Digital, 15 Sept. 2017,, Lanita, and Lokman Mia. "Information Technology and the Performance Effect of Managers' Participation in Budgeting: Evidence from the Hotel Industry." International Journal of Hospitality Management, Academic Press, 25 July 2004,

Okada Manila Selects Rainmaker Solution Suite to Drive Guest Bookings, Outperform Competitors and Increase Profitability

The Rainmaker Group · 9 October 2018
The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), a leading provider of cloud-based hospitality revenue management software, today announced that Okada Manila has selected a comprehensive solution suite, including guestrev, grouprev, revcaster and revintel, to optimize hotel revenue and drive competitive advantage at the 993-room world-class luxury property. The agreement marks Rainmaker's expansion in the Asia-Pacific hospitality market.Okada Manila, the largest casino resort in the Philippines, is a popular destination for entertainment seeking, leisure and business travelers. The hotel's management team wanted an integrated cloud-based revenue management suite that would streamline operations, enhance revenue optimization processes, improve lead performance, and drive guest bookings. After a lengthy review process, they selected the Rainmaker solutions, citing factors such as features, functionality, and ease of implementation."The Rainmaker revenue management suite meets our requirement for a comprehensive cloud-based solution that's both powerful and easy to use," said Julius Santos, Director of Sales and Marketing at Okada Manila. "Revenue optimization technology is critical to success in today's hotel market, and Rainmaker's suite will help us improve pricing decisions, drive conversion rates, and maximize group business potential. The solutions are also easy for staff to understand and use, with a minimal learning curve. We are excited to implement the suite and start reaping the benefits of more efficient operations and increased profitability."Okada Manila has selected the following revenue management software solutions from Rainmaker:guestrev, an intuitive and easy-to-use revenue management application that analyzes total guest value across a hotel or casino property to forecast and price rooms;grouprev, an innovative group pricing solution that streamlines the process of responding to group RFPs by analyzing historical data, future demand, and price sensitivity to recommend the best pricing for group business;revcaster, a powerful rate shopping tool that gives hoteliers access to real-time actionable market data, so that rates can be set against the competitive landscape; andrevintel, an intuitive business intelligence solution that improves day-to-day revenue management by mining various data sets and providing deep insights at a granular level."Hotels, casinos and other hospitality venues that want to achieve a competitive advantage must employ state-of-the-art revenue management technology," said Mike Cowles, CEO of The Rainmaker Group. "Our portfolio of revenue optimization and analytic solutions will help Okada Manila distill the most complex data from numerous sources and turn it into actionable insights, resulting in increased guest bookings and profitability. We are thrilled to deliver our comprehensive revenue management suite to this world-class property and to expand our footprint in the Asia-Pacific hospitality market."Located in the heart of Manila's Entertainment City gaming strip, Okada Manila is the largest casino resort in the Philippines and the newest gaming and entertainment destination in Asia. The $2.4 billion development includes 993 luxury guest rooms and suites, more than 20 dining options, a collection of exclusive retail shops, a 90,000-square-foot indoor beach club, and a 284,000-square-foot casino. The centerpiece of the property is a large multicolor dancing fountain spanning more than 400,000 square feet and costing more than $30 million. Okada Manila is the flagship development of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of Japan's Universal Entertainment Corporation.

Hotel Budget Season: Getting Team Buy-in and Setting Expectations

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·27 September 2018
Are you ready for a more productive and profitable 2019? Budget season is an important and challenging time for your hotel business. As you begin preparing your hotel budget for next year, there is one non-data-related component vital for your business success. And that is getting team buy-in on your shiny new budget plan.

Hotel Budget Season: How Revenue Management Technology Optimizes Your Budget Strategy (Part 3 of 4)

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·20 September 2018
Hotel budgets are impacted by myriad factors like seasonality, economic conditions, events, and competition. Even unanticipated occurrences such as extreme weather conditions have the ability to dramatically skew your budgeted figures. A science-based revenue management system (RMS) goes beyond just revenue management and can guide you in profit optimization. It enables you to optimize your budget strategy in ways that drive not just top-line revenues but ultimately higher overall profits.

The Rainmaker Group Now Integrates with Central Reservation System, Windsurfer CRS, to Provide a More Streamlined Interface for Customers

The Rainmaker Group ·20 September 2018
The Rainmaker Group announces a full integration between Rainmaker's premier revenue management system, guestrev, and SHR, Sceptre Hospitality Resources, a pioneer of advanced hotel distribution technologies and developer of Windsurfer CRS.This integration allows guestrev to send pricing recommendations directly to Windsurfer CRS, giving properties the ability to access strategic information as they make pricing decisions. Hotel properties that utilize both guestrev and Windsurfer will be able to see Daily Rates, overbooking (at the property level or room type level), and Open/Close to Stay-Through within the CRS, instead of waiting for their PMS to relay the same data."We are excited to partner with SHR on a streamlined technology integration between Windsurfer CRS and Rainmaker's guestrev profit optimization solution. This real-time integration will provide SHR and Rainmaker customers with increased profitability through dynamic pricing capabilities," said Mike Cowles, CEO of Rainmaker. "We understand the importance of working with best in class companies to provide quality experiences for our customers and we are proud to have Windsurfer CRS as a new integration partner."Nicole Adair, Corporate Director of Revenue Management for SHR agrees. "At SHR, we recognize the importance of a data-driven revenue management strategy and are looking forward to bringing the power of our Windsurfer CRS distribution platform to Rainmaker RMS clients," she said. "This integration will allow our mutual clients to more seamlessly deploy their revenue strategy across distribution channels, and significantly reduce their manual processes."About RainmakerRainmaker is the hotel revenue management and profit optimization cloud. The company partners with hotels, resorts, and casinos to help them outperform their revenue and profit objectives. Rainmaker's cloud-based solutions for transient and group pricing optimization, demand forecasting, business intelligence and market analysis are designed to help hoteliers streamline operations and revenue optimization processes, improve lead performance and drive guest bookings. Recognized as one of the top privately held companies in the United States, Rainmaker has been named to Inc. 5000's 'Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies' for the last seven years and to the Atlanta Business Chronicle's list of '100 Fastest Growing Companies in Atlanta.' Rainmaker serves hospitality customers throughout the world from its corporate headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga. and from offices in Las Vegas, Singapore, and Dubai. To learn more about Rainmaker and its suite of hotel revenue management and profit optimization solutions, visit SHRHeadquartered in Houston, Texas, with offices in Europe and Asia-Pacific, SHR is a leading provider of advanced tools and services that help hotels execute their best distribution strategy while delighting guests and optimizing profitability. The technical maturity of SHR--having built not one but two Central Reservations Systems (CRS)--is second to none. In addition to serving thousands of properties around the globe with Windsurfer CRS and Booking Engine, the company also provides Revenue Management for Hire to brands, chains, and management companies. SHR brings hoteliers nimble technology, intelligently supported by tested industry experts--keeping hotels competitive. For more information, please visit SHR is the trade name for Sceptre Hospitality Resources, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company.

Beyond RevPAR: Understanding Total Group Revenue for Hotels

The Rainmaker Group ·11 September 2018
Once upon a time, group business was essentially a filler for the guest rooms that transient business didn't occupy. In today's world of all-time occupancy highs,1 group business tells a different tale. When hotel owners examine their full profit picture, many now understand that group business and the revenue it generates is a major player in their overall revenue management (RM) strategy. However, groups are a challenge to revenue manage, as they're made up of many moving parts. To be successful in the group arena, hotels need to have the appropriate tools and strategies in place, as well as a thorough understanding of group value. And that often begins with analyzing the right metrics.RevPAR Matters, But... When looking to increase your share of group business, revenue per available room, or RevPAR, is a critical performance metric that often takes center stage when it comes to developing your group business RM strategy. That's because the RevPAR index is the most popular metric for driving major capital expenditures and RM decisions.Case in point, the 2015 Hotel Sales Incentive Practice Research survey by the HSMAI Foundation2 recorded the compensation structure of hotel RM teams and revealed that 52 percent of revenue managers and 36 percent of sales leaders use RevPAR or room revenue as their primary performance metric. But there are drawbacks to relying solely on guestroom bookings or RevPAR when it comes to evaluating group business profitability. There are other revenue streams that generate significant income and contribute real value to any piece of group business.Total Group Revenue Management Holds the KeyIn order to determine true profitability with regard to groups, RM is shifting away from a focus on RevPAR3 and top-line rooms revenue toward a bottom-line orientation and strategic profit management. This more precise view of group value is known as Total Group Revenue Management and it moves beyond RevPAR to take multiple other factors into account.All Revenue StreamsTotal Group Revenue Management expands beyond rooms to comprise all revenue sources associated with group business. It works within the concept of time-perishable inventory to optimize profits across all a hotel's available function space and products. To accurately evaluate group opportunities, in addition to accounting for room rates and group blocks, hotels must incorporate other key revenue streams, such as food-and-beverage packages, receptions, meeting room rentals, and audio/visual equipment rentals. These ancillary sources can yield tremendous profit, and are key considerations when deciding whether to book group business. Other factors to consider include group history, stay pattern, booking method, room type preferences, and the true cost of displacement.Displacement AnalysisTraditional displacement analysis examines the forecasted transient business that will be lost if a hotel accepts a proposed group booking. Accurately determining whether to accept a group's business requires performing a complete displacement optimization analysis that compares the total value of the business that would be displaced if the group business is accepted to the total value of the group. This model incorporates elements that are important to the decision, including non-room revenue like catering, function space, and additional spend while deducting any costs involved. Understanding displacement allows hotels to more accurately calculate a break-even rate or total profit hurdle for a proposed group.At first blush, it may seem that the right decision is to accept higher-rate-paying transient business over a lower-rate-paying group. But there may be times when it's in your best interests to accept the group business, even though it may appear on the surface to cost revenue.4 While your hotel may forego thousands of dollars in rooms revenue due to displacement, based on a complete analysis, apparent losses transform into profits when additional variables such as catering minimums and function space rental are factored into the equation. Revenue metrics are crucial to success, but when rooms-centric revenue is the only metric considered, it can lead to counterproductive decisions concerning group business.To truly maximize the value of group business, hotels can use displacement analysis in conjunction with optimized pricing that considers willingness-to-pay. The first drawback of traditional displacement alone is that it only assesses a breakeven point, which, while helping to ensure the group is not a losing proposition, will fail to capture any additional upside stemming from what a group may be willing to spend on room rate. The second drawback is that traditional displacement only looks at potential groups displacing transient and not the possibility of the group displacing other groups. Leveraging a group forecast together with displacement analysis would allow hoteliers to understand the relative profit or value of groups compared to other groups, and allow the property to accept the most valuable business.Forecasting DemandOne of the most challenging components of Total Group Revenue Management is forecasting group demand, particularly at the level of detailed granularity necessary for driving solid RM decisions. The focus on non-room revenue sources has changed the way many hotels develop and use their demand forecasts.5 Technological advancements now allow revenue managers to drill deep to create more nuanced pictures of future demand and more effectively yield around transient business. The right technology also reveals smarter pricing opportunities and lets you strategize the optimal business mix for your hotel.It's Really About ProfitsRevenue management is really about profits. And for far too long, revenue managers have maintained a rooms-centric focus for group business, striving to optimize RevPAR instead of looking at total group spend. RevPAR index growth or decline is not always the best gauge of overall profitability. Total Group Revenue Management presents a more precise picture of group profitability, incorporating all hotel revenue sources and considering distribution costs and operating expenses. By applying the principles of Total Group Revenue Management, you will more fully comprehend your hotel's DNA, empowering you to take your profit maximization strategy to the next level and setting your property up for success for years to come.For more on the topic of group business, specifically on including forecasting for groups in your revenue management strategy, read my recent blog on the topic, "Are You Forecasting Transient Business Without Forecasting Group."

The Rainmaker Group Appoints Hospitality Veteran as New Head of Sales

The Rainmaker Group ·28 August 2018
The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), a leader in revenue management solutions for the hospitality and gaming industry, is proud to announce the appointment of Matt Curry as their new Head of Sales.Curry joined Rainmaker in 2016 to lead sales and business development for the multifamily housing division. Upon divesting that side of the business to RealPage in late 2017, he transitioned to Rainmaker's hospitality business to lead product strategy and development, integrations, and customer support."Matt's background paired with his proven leadership and commitment to Rainmaker makes this move as easy as it is exciting," said Mike Cowles, CEO of Rainmaker. "This is a great move for Rainmaker as we look to continue to build on our recent sales and revenue growth momentum."Prior to joining the Rainmaker team, Curry was responsible for sales and commercial operations at SignUp4, an Atlanta based technology startup in the meetings, events, and travel space. There he helped fuel sales and revenue growth until ultimately the company was acquired by Cvent, the global leader in event management software and group business sourcing technology for hotels. At Cvent, Matt oversaw all acquisition and integration efforts while transitioning SignUp4's hundreds of customers and employees into the Cvent family."It's such a great time to be at Rainmaker and I couldn't be more excited to shift my focus back to growing revenue for the business while helping our customers drive higher profits," said Curry. "I'm proud to be a Rainmaker and look forward to our bright future."Based out of the Alpharetta headquarters, Curry will be responsible for leading the company's hospitality sales organization and for making its industry leading revenue management and profit optimization solutions accessible to more hotels, casinos, and resorts worldwide.For more information, please visit

The Fundamental Problem with Hotel Group Revenue Management

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·16 August 2018
“The meetings and events industry is thriving,” says Issa Jouaneh, senior VP and GM of American Express Meetings & Events. Companies are recognizing that meetings engender growth within their organizations. And this growth mindset is creating more opportunities for hotels when it comes to nabbing bigger slices of the “group business” pie. But along with these greater opportunities, we’re seeing greater competition as well.

Understanding Future Demand

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·15 August 2018
Recently, we released five revenue management hacks. These hacks are designed to be simple things you can put into place whether you are using automated tools or working in a manual environment. This post examines how understanding future demand can help you better manage operational forecasts.

All-Inclusive Hotels: Looking Beyond RevPAR

The Rainmaker Group ·13 August 2018
When people think of all-inclusive resorts, they may conjure up images tied to bland buffet food, endless banana daiquiris, and conga lines of partying singles dancing around the poolside - all for one budget-conscious package price. Today's all-inclusives still tempt travelers with comprehensive packages that include meals, lodging, and entertainment options. But the all-inclusive business model has evolved significantly from its 1950s origins.1Today, gourmet meals are often made from sustainable, locally sourced ingredients, and served along with handcrafted cocktails made from top-shelf spirits. Spacious guestrooms are decorated with high-end furnishings. And sophisticated entertainment options are designed to appeal to a new demographic of multigenerational families, and couples seeking luxury vacations, adventure, romance, or health and wellness.Across the board, the all-inclusive model is gaining strength,2 with guests showing increasing willingness to pay over and above their initial package purchase for authentic experiences, one-of-a-kind activities, and excursions that enhance their vacation. This has led to unprecedented opportunities for all-inclusive hotel owners to capture incremental and ancillary revenues. And this paradigm shift brings with it a necessary shift in revenue management strategy.The narrow view of focusing on rooms and package revenue is no longer relevant in the marketplace. To maximize revenues and increase profits, all-inclusive hotels must move beyond the traditional metric of revenue per available room (RevPAR), to incorporate total profit per guest.What's Wrong with RevPAR for Maximizing ProfitThe RevPAR formula (Rooms Revenue/Rooms Available) represents revenue generated per available room, whether that room is occupied or not. Because of RevPAR's industry popularity, it can be useful when it comes to benchmarking against your aggregated competitive set's performance. But for optimizing hotel profits, RevPAR misses the mark in a number of ways.For one thing, RevPAR doesn't take costs into account. Commissions may vary based on channel. There are different distribution costs depending on how the reservation is booked - for example, a guest who books using a travel agent typically costs the hotel more than a guest who books direct. In addition, higher guest expectations are driving a more competitive market, with all-inclusives now providing an increasing number of ancillaries for purchase beyond initial packages. RevPAR doesn't consider any non-package income a guest generates from add-on amenities such as spa services, dining upgrades, golf, or access to private beaches.For example, in another two-guest scenario, imagine that both guests' package rates and acquisition costs are identical. Guest A stayed once and made no significant ancillary purchases. Guest B, however, stayed three times in one year, and spent extra on spa services, private beachside dinners, and golf lessons. The additional spending will not show up in any RevPAR metric despite the boost it would provide to the hotel's bottom-line.Moreover, based on Guest B's behavior, it's likely he will become a repeat guest, increasing his lifetime value and reducing his costs, which can be amortized over the total number of stays. Guest B's profit potential over time is superior to that of Guest A, and while Guest B's two additional hotel stays will eventually show up in RevPAR in the form of increased occupancy, RevPAR fails to tell the whole story. Having more Guest Bs and fewer Guest As will benefit the property's profitability in the long run and we need to identify the right metrics that are more closely tied to that bottom-line impact.Modern all-inclusive resorts now have huge revenue opportunities beyond package revenues, and metrics such as RevPAR are not sufficient for measuring profitability going forward.3 They must be used in conjunction with other key metrics, such as GOPPAR and Total Profit per Room.The Rise & Rewards of GOPPAR and Total Profit per Room for All-Inclusives Other key metrics that reflect non-rooms profit and overall profit can simultaneously incorporate occupancy, rooms and package revenue, guest spending habits, acquisition, distribution, and retention costs, and shopping behavior at all resort profit centers into the revenue management equation.One metric growing in popularity is gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR).4 GOPPAR is defined as total gross operating profit (GOP) per available room per day, where GOP is equal to total revenue less the total departmental and operating expenses. GOPPAR takes RevPAR a step further, utilizing total room revenue and subtracting total operating expenses, including variable costs.Without this information, crucial pieces are missing when trying to optimize revenues and determine overall profitability. Another benefit that arises out of measuring GOPPAR is that the same principles of strategic revenue management that apply to RevPAR can be applied to all revenue-generating outlets. This allows you to move beyond optimizing package rates to optimizing revenue from all ancillary products and services guests use while on your property.Once you ensure that you are yielding your available inventory based on total profit, it becomes time to evaluate the mix of business that is staying in the rooms by understanding your market segments and how they differ. Total Profit per Room backs out occupancy from the equation, allowing you to generate metrics at a guest, room, or segment level. Total Profit per Room can be defined as rooms plus ancillary revenues generated by guests in occupied rooms, less the associated variable costs, divided by the number of occupied rooms.Asking "for this segment, what is my total revenue or profit per guest, or room?" becomes valuable as your revenue management efforts aim at forecasting the available demand for future dates and help you identify the most profitable business mix in constrained situations. Even in unconstrained situations where you are not filling every hotel room, it can help inform your marketing efforts and achieve the best ROI on marketing dollars aimed at generating additional occupancy. Getting at this total guest value is something you cannot do using a per available room metric, since you can't determine which rooms are available for which segment. Once you understand the value of each guest segment, your ability to shift towards higher value guests is maximized.For today's all-inclusive guest, it's all about customized experiences. Examining revenue on a per-guest basis provides a vehicle to a better understanding of guest behavior and preferences, which can have a profound effect on future income streams.5 With the all-inclusive model, the less time a guest spends on property, the higher the profit potential. By analyzing guest spend behaviors, all-inclusive hotel owners can determine which guests will enjoy different off-property experiential activities and excursions. You will be able to capitalize on the amount of time a guest spends outside the resort gates, creating better guest experiences while simultaneously improving your bottom line.And finally, guest-centric data captured from measuring total profit per room allows hoteliers to overcome the age-old dilemma between a focus on managing long-term customer relationships and focusing on the immediate gains associated with revenue management. From knowledge gained through analysis of Total Profit per Room, you'll improve customer relationships, which will in turn create a significant and positive impact on business performance.6A growing number of hotels across the globe are adopting the all-inclusive model,7 and competition in the industry is fierce. Savvy hoteliers understand that optimizing profits is no longer just about pricing rooms and packages right. With science-based revenue management and business intelligence solutions in place, you gain the ability to capture and analyze both package and non-package revenues, which will have a powerful effect on revenue streams. While RevPAR has its merits, shifting your revenue management strategy from a per-room focus to a per-guest focus allows you to attain new heights in guest satisfaction, and elevate your business in terms of growth, revenue, and profits.Attending the Hotel Data Conference in Nashville? Don't miss my session focused on non-traditional revenue management on Friday August 17 from 12-12:25 PM. Rainmaker is also sponsoring the Networking Reception on Thursday 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM. If you would like to connect or set up a meeting at the event, let me know.

Why Group Business is so Valuable for Hotels

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog· 9 August 2018
While transient business often generates the most discussion among hotel owners, group business plays a vital role in your hotel’s success. Meetings generated 300 million room nights in 2016, and nearly $50 billion in spending on guest rooms. Those room nights were equivalent to 25 percent of the total room nights at U.S. hotels as estimated by STR Inc.

Rethink Last Room Availability with Multi-Channel Strategy

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog· 7 August 2018
Recently, we released five revenue management hacks. In the coming weeks, we will take a deeper dive into each of these. These hacks are designed to be simple things you can put into place whether you are using automated tools or working in a manual environment. This post delves into the topic of multi-channel strategy and how it might be impacting your profitability.

Revenue Management for All-Inclusive Hotels: It's Both a Marathon and a Sprint

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·26 July 2018
Modern all-inclusive resorts are transitioning from revenue management (RM) strategies based solely around optimizing package rates, to more comprehensive approaches that take ancillary revenue sources into account. And all-inclusive hotel owners increasingly recognize that harnessing the power of a robust RM technology solution is what they need to maximize revenue and achieve business success on both short- and long-term bases.

Best Metrics for Revenue Managers at All-Inclusives to Focus On

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·19 July 2018
While there is much debate among the business community as to whether renowned author and management consultant Peter Drucker ever said these famous words, there is little dispute regarding the truth behind them. In the all-inclusive model of decades past, measuring upsells and ancillary purchases were not typically a concern when it came to revenue management strategy.

The Secret Sauce to Profitability for All-Inclusives: Understanding Total Guest Value

The Rainmaker Group ·17 July 2018
The evolution of all-inclusive resorts reads a lot like the fairytale of Cinderella. From humble beginnings catering to a dollar-stretcher crowd - with mediocre buffet food, mid-level accommodations, and events centered around boisterous pool activities - to today's transformation into a bright, rising star in the hotel industry. From 2011 to 2014, demand for all-inclusives rose from 8 to 14 percent,1 and now they are one of the fastest growing segments in vacation lodging. Hundreds of all-inclusive resorts now span the globe, moving beyond beachside havens to include ski resorts, wellness retreats, and exotic cultural destinations. Fueled by improving economic conditions and shifting guest expectations, all-inclusives now offer posh accommodations, diverse cuisine, and an ever-expanding array of amenities and services for guests of all ages and preferences.Look Beyond Traditional KPIsWhile occupancy and package revenues have traditionally been key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor when seeking to boost profits at all-inclusive resorts, it's much more beneficial for hoteliers to focus on increasing their ratio of customers with higher Total Guest Values. Total Guest Value comprises the revenue a customer brings in from all resort profit centers, less all costs associated with that customer, including package and acquisition costs. With these insights at their fingertips, hotel revenue managers can more effectively target a resort's most valuable guests, as well as accurately forecast demand, optimize revenue, and drive higher profit margins across all customer segments.When considering Total Guest Value, it's important to understand that the type of traveler vacationing at all-inclusive resorts has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. No longer made up of budget-conscious vacationers and party-seeking singles, the new all-inclusive clientele skews toward multigenerational families, adventure seekers, health-and-wellness aficionados, luxury vacationers, and Millennials - who are making all-inclusives one of their top choices for destination weddings and honeymoons.2In the past, a primary disadvantage of all-inclusive resorts was the inability to upsell guests to generate additional revenue. All-inclusive vacationers were happy to lounge poolside and enjoy the standard one-size-fits-all menu of activities found at nearly every resort. Today's customer expectations have changed dramatically. All-inclusive resorts now offer a staggering array of ancillaries and luxury services to guests who are more willing to splurge on activities and experiences beyond their initial vacation package purchase. While traditional packages might include hotel, airfare, transportation, food, and beverage as fully covered, many all-inclusives are now adding upsell options such as entertainment, kids-zones or adults-only spaces, local excursions, and upscale restaurants. As a result, overall Total Guest Values are on the rise, and they're bringing all-inclusive resort profits right along with them. Targeted On-Property Upsells Boost Total Guest ValueIn order to improve profitability, it's important to capture data and analyze on-property guest shopping behavior at a granular level. Because guests typically pay for their packages several months before traveling, by the time they're on site, they feel comfortable indulging in ancillary purchases that will make their vacation more special. They're more likely to spend extra money on a nice bottle of wine, private dinner, personalized services, or even the work of local artisans on display, knowing they won't experience sticker shock at the end of their stay.All-inclusives gain incremental revenue by offering air and land transfers, and higher value/higher margin packages, such as wedding packages. Length of stay is another metric to consider, because in general, the longer a guest stays the higher their Total Guest Value. Guests who stay longer may be more likely to leave the resort. And with the all-inclusive model, every missed meal, or drink that's not consumed, ends up positively impacting a hotel's bottom line.One of the most notable changes between the old all-inclusive model and the modern one is the improvement in dining and drink offerings.3 Bland buffets have been replaced with high-end restaurants that partner with Michelin-star chefs. Today's resorts offer authentic, locally sourced cuisine, and premium spirits in handcrafted cocktails. "Foodie" guests can be tempted to pay additional for dining upgrades and special programs like chef-led trips to local markets, fishing with local fishermen, or learning the finer points of tequila making during a tequila tasting.Personalized amenities and bespoke experiences appeal to travelers across multiple segments. Luxury-seeking guests will savor state-of-the-art spa treatments and personal butler service. The growing resort-within-a-resort concept4 has gained a solid foothold in the all-inclusive luxury category. Guests are willing to pay for more deluxe accommodations with special views and on-demand shuttle service, as well as exclusive access to private restaurants, lounges, and unique areas of the property.Off-Property Experiences Meet Customer Desires Back in the day, travelers were fine with staying put within the resort gates for a week. Now travelers want more from their vacations, wishing to explore their surroundings through uniquely local, experiential activities.5 These excursions are rarely included in the original package fare.Sophisticated all-inclusive hotel operators are revamping activity offerings. Resorts can either create their own excursions or partner with off-property tour companies to bring in incremental revenue streams by providing culturally immersive excursions and outdoor adventure activities such as ziplining, scuba diving, and hiking.In addition, a growing desire for deeper meaning from travel experiences has led to surging demand for volunteer tourism, or "voluntourism."6 According to a Conde Nast Traveler "Readers' Poll," 47 percent of respondents said they are interested in volunteer vacations and 98 percent of those who had volunteered were satisfied with their experience. All-inclusives that develop traveler philanthropy programs experience a win-win-win. They not only help their local communities and increase guest satisfaction, but earn repeat visits as well. Many voluntourism guests return each year, visiting local communities to witness the difference they're making.The all-inclusive approach has shown that it consistently delivers strong ROI, with sector growth expected to increase between 5 and 7 percent per year.7 And when it comes to factoring Total Guest Value into the revenue optimization process, the impact on profits is clear. Today's all-inclusive guests are more than willing to make spontaneous travel purchase decisions for customized regional experiences and top-tier ancillaries.Revenue Management and Marketing should closely partner to capitalize on these opportunities to bring in high-value guests. They can work together to segment their business by looking at factors such as point of origin, booking channel, lead time, room type, and any other indicator that helps identify their most valuable guests. Revenue management should forecast future demand from high-value segments and identify ways to ensure that these guests have access to inventory at any given time.All-inclusive hotels can leverage their high-value demand by aligning amenities and services with guest preferences and spending habits to provide authentic traveler experiences that strengthen relationships with customers, inspire greater loyalty, and help to maximize bottom-line revenue.SOURCES:1Levine, Irene S. "All-Inclusive Resorts Are Back -- But Can Boomers Really Save?" Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 20 Mar. 2014, 2Covey, Claudette. "All-Inclusives: The Millennial Appeal." TravelPulse, 5 Nov. 2015,"Global Hospitality Insights: Top Thoughts for 2014." EY, EY Global Hospitality & Leisure and EY Global Real Estate, 2014,$FILE/EY-Global-hospitality-insights-2014.pdf. 4Friedland, Lois. "All-Inclusive Resorts Cater to Guests Seeking 5-Star Service." Global Traveler, 15 Apr. 2013, 5"Free Skift Report: The Rise of Experiential Travel." Skift, Skift, 16 Jan. 2017, 6"The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends and Statistics." Center for Responsible Travel, 2013, 7Myers, Nagle, and Johanna Jainchill. "The All-Inclusive Evolution." Travel Weekly, 7 Oct. 2015,

Shifting From High-Volume Bookings to High-Profit Bookings for All-Inclusives

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·12 July 2018
When it comes to measuring all-inclusive hotel performance, it’s common to look at the occupancy rate alongside other key performance indicators (KPIs), such as revenue per available room (RevPAR), as part of an effective revenue management strategy.

The Rising Popularity of All-Inclusive Resorts

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog· 5 July 2018
For decades after their introduction in the 1950s, all-inclusive resorts grew in popularity among budget-conscious vacationers seeking hassle-free getaways. While their popularity dropped during the 2008 recession, customer demand for all-inclusive vacations is booming again, and they have become a clear hospitality vertical. Robert Cole, Phocuswright's senior research analyst for Lodging and Leisure Travel, estimates overall annual sector growth to be between 5 and 7 percent.

How Business Intelligence Connects Revenue Management and the Hotel Ecosystem

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·28 June 2018
The data and analytics capabilities of a hotel business intelligence (BI) tool provide foundational support for today’s cutting-edge revenue management solutions. Working together, they have a powerful synergistic effect – significantly improving guest experiences and hotel revenue performance.

Knowledge is the Key to Hotel Business Intelligence (Facts are Great but Insights Hold the Value)

The Rainmaker Hospitality and Gaming Blog·21 June 2018
A hotel’s competitive edge is shaped by business intelligence (BI). Forrester reports that although 74 percent of businesses want to be “data driven,” only 29 percent are actually successful at transforming analytics into action. All that data that your hotel collects is only valuable if you can translate it into actionable insights that lead to better decisions and drive business growth. To create real value from BI, hotels must focus on specific strategies that close the loop between data collection and knowledge.


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