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Who Needs a Weekly Revenue Meeting Anyway?

As hoteliers we are all time short and there are meetings for the sake of meetings, so do we need yet another one?

Well in my opinion the most important meeting you should have every week should focus on revenue, after all that is what makes your world tick, so how do you home-in on the important facts and leave all the ‘noise’ behind? How do you get the most out of it? And most importantly, how do you attain measurable actions each week.

My first rule is to keep it short and sharp and take that ‘big data’ (an overused term at the moment in my view) and make it ‘significant data’.

The ideal scenario is of course to have revenue system that can highlight those Key Performance Indicators for you – all in one place – and without the need for your team to run a dozen different reports from your PMS.  But if that isn’t the case then what should you really be focusing on. Here are my top 10 tips:

Top Ten Revenue Indicators

  1. Review last week – and by that I mean: review rooms sold / revenue / occupancy then mark this against your budget for that week and the percentage and actual value you were up or down. Do the same against your forecast and also your performance last year.  Then compute both sets of figures against a MAPE indicator (Mean Average Percentage of Error) so you can see how far you were out. Your revenue system should do this for you but if not, please just let us know and we can help
  2. Now look at the coming week – again take your 3 main KPI’s being rooms sold / revenue / occupancy and mark these against your budget, forecast and for good measure, add how you are performing against the same week last year.  As these dates will be in the future, you will have an expected pick-up (for all 3 KPI’s). Note what you need to achieve to hit both budget and forecast.
  3. Note where you started the week off so for example 780 rooms sold / 78% occupancy / £64,000 revenue – BOB. Then when you come to next weeks meeting you can review how the week started and then ended, so you can see pick-up in real terms
  4. Now do the same thing for the following month – some hotels prefer to do rolling 4 weeks and some prefer to review calendar months. Whichever you choose make your 3 KPI’s rooms sold / occupancy and revenue.  Review where you are, what your budget is and what you need to achieve it –  what your forecast is and what you need to achieve it and what you did for the same period last year
  5. The layer beneath – this is of course either booking source or segment or in an ideal world – both. Personally I prefer to track market segment monthly rather than weekly but I do feel that it is important to track which segments your bookings are coming from and also their booking source.  And by source I mean, channel e.g. direct, agent, brand website or OTA.  Of course the goal of this is to establish which are performing and which bookings are the most profitable and therefore have the lowest cost of sale. Again if you don’t have a revenue system, then start tracking on an excel spreadsheet. Set up your segments by month and do the same for your channels.  Record the room nights and revenue that ‘stayed’ during a particular month (rather than booked) so that this can be marked against your actual revenue taken at hotel level that month.  That way you can evaluate how much impact each channel and segment is having on your business. It might well surprise you!
  6. Another important figure I recommend you track is Business on the Books – for each channel at the start of each month and how they actually performed by the end of that same month.  Honestly, that can be a real eye opener. What you are trying to establish here is how a channel picked-up within the month or more importantly what cancellations you  had within the month.  I have some hotels that start the month with over £20,000 worth of business on the books from booking.com then they actually finish the month with i.e. they take a hit of £20k worth of cancellations ‘in the month, for the month’.  Imagine the impact that makes on a 60 bedroom city centre hotel…  They are either moving their rates too soon because of demand they think they are going to have and potentially displacing business to competitors, or they are closing channels for sale that they really should leave open.  This ‘cancelled’ revenue is a must to track to help you  evaluate potential un-constrained demand and even for your own sanity, I would recommend measuring.
  7. Of course you should be checking competitor rates – for the coming week and if your revenue system isn’t doing that for you, then you need to be manually tracking.  The beauty of a system tracking for you is that all that lovely data is stored so at any point in time, you can see both your rate tracking and your competitor rate tracking to help you evaluate what impact your or your competitors rate changes have made to your business
  8. Your social media score – and by that I mean not only what TripAdvisor is saying about you but also booking.com.  Booking.com’s rise in the review sector is well documented and what your customers are saying about you will (whether you choose to believe it or not) impact rates and your strategy as you move forward.  So track and measure
  9. Your own brand site – I would recommend reporting the activity for the past week and by that I mean visitors and conversion.  Your booking engine provider should provide you with automated weekly reports and it is worth tracking a)visitors b) availability online c) conversion percentages d) key dates of interest – that is, dates with high demand for queries.  This should trigger some sort of rate decision or even at the very least, highlight availability issues
  10. On and Offline marketing activity – often overlooked but if you have a surge in PPC spend or perhaps an Ad going on Facebook or even the local newspaper then you should track to measure the impact.

Now that you have all of this information and I would suggest it comes in bite-size chunks, then what actions do you take?  What do you do if you are behind?  What strategies or actions do you need to take? Perhaps that is a subject for next weeks article…