Choosing the right hotel revenue management system is crucial for hotels to maximize profits and optimize room rates. With so many options available in the market, it can be difficult to select the system that best fits your hotel's unique needs and business goals. In this article, we will discuss the key factors to consider when evaluating RMS platforms and help you make an informed decision.
The first crucial step in choosing a revenue management system is to carefully evaluate your hotel's unique requirements. This involves assessing key aspects such as the property's size, type, distribution channels used, budgetary constraints and overall business goals. Consider the scale of your hotel - is it an independent boutique property with 50 rooms or a large chain hotel with 500 keys? The size will impact the features needed. Similarly, analyze your hotel's category - is it a luxury resort, budget business hotel or a mid-scale family inn? Different segments have varying demands.
It's also important to understand how guests book at your property. Do most reservations come from online travel agencies, direct bookings or group contracts? Look for a system integrating seamlessly with your predominant channels. Your budget ceiling must also be determined - study pricing models and ensure costs fit within your means. Lastly, evaluating goals provides clarity on what you aim to achieve. Do you want to boost average daily rates, increase occupancy levels or acquire more corporate clients? Matching your objectives with a platform's capabilities ensures the best fit.
One of the most important steps in selecting a revenue management system is to evaluate the core functionality and key features offered. These will determine how well the platform meets your hotel's unique needs and helps achieve business goals. Some of the critical features to assess include dynamic pricing, channel connectivity, group rates, forecasting tools, and analytics.
Dynamic pricing is a key differentiator; allowing rates to adjust automatically based on real-time demand signals. This helps maximize revenue by ensuring optimal prices are set across all channels. Seamless integration with major online travel agencies and global distribution systems is also important to maintain smooth bookings. Flexible group and corporate booking policies configured within the system can help boost this important segment.
Advanced forecasting tools that leverage machine learning and market data are useful to accurately predict future demand trends. This helps estimate revenues under various scenarios. Rate fences help maintain rate integrity by preventing unexpected discounts within certain periods. Comprehensive reporting on key performance indicators like average daily rate and revenue per available room gives valuable insights into business performance.
Beyond the core functionality of a Revenue Management System, hotels must thoroughly evaluate other critical factors to ensure they choose a reliable and suitable long-term partner. Vendor reputation and reliability are very important to assess. Hotels can check how long vendors have been operating in the industry, read independent reviews from existing clients, and evaluate satisfaction levels. Switching systems is a complex process, so it's important to partner with a stable and experienced provider.
The implementation and training support offered during onboarding is another key aspect. Changing to a new RMS involves training staff and configuring the system accordingly. Hotels need hands-on assistance from the vendor to make this transition smoothly. Ongoing support is also vital as hotels may require software updates, 24/7 technical help, and ongoing training as needs evolve. Pricing models must be affordable in the long run based on the property size and budget. Mobility is increasingly important for revenue managers to access systems remotely.
Once you have shortlisted a few potential RMS options, it is important to evaluate them hands-on before making a decision. Requesting demo access and free trials from the shortlisted vendors allows you to do this. In the first part of the evaluation, you can attend live demo sessions conducted by the vendor teams. This gives you a glimpse of how the actual software works. Pay attention to how intuitive and user-friendly the interface is during the demo. See if the workflows seem aligned with your hotel's processes.
Once the free trial access is provided, you can start exploring the key features yourself. Spend time testing out dynamic pricing simulations, forecasting models, and different reporting functionalities using sample test data. This will help assess how robust these modules are. In the second part of hands-on use, you should try to speak with existing clients of each vendor. Getting first-hand experience with other users will provide valuable feedback. Ask them about their experience post-implementation as well as ongoing support.
During the free trial period, closely monitor your experience. Take note of any glitches, slow loading issues or bugs encountered. The stability and smooth functioning of the software is important. Also, pay attention to the vendor response times and quality of support provided during the trial. This will give an idea of what to expect in the future.
After evaluating your requirements, shortlisting suitable systems and trialling top options, you must carefully check a few more factors before selecting your revenue management system. Firstly, examine the legal contract terms proposed by each vendor carefully. Look at pricing structures such as monthly fees, payment schedules and termination clauses. See if negotiations are possible if some terms need adjusting.
Secondly, inquire about the expected timelines to implement the new system. Changing platforms requires transition planning and resources. Make sure the timelines quoted align with your needs. It's also important to understand the post-implementation support on offer. Evaluate training support for staff, as well as plans for ongoing upgrades, maintenance and technical assistance. Going with a vendor with robust long-term support will ensure smooth operations.
Thirdly, consider customization capabilities. Even the best-fit system now may require tweaks later as your business evolves. Choose one that allows configuration changes as needed over time. Finally, find out about future product roadmaps from each shortlisted vendor. Understand their vision for continuous improvements. Opt for one with a commitment to ongoing innovation to stay ahead of the curve.
Making an effort upfront to diligently research and test multiple options will ensure you choose the right long-term RMS partner to maximize profits for your hotel. With the right Hotel revenue management system, revenue management can become easier and more impactful for your business.