Every so often your property may get itself into a situation where you have too many promotions on the go. Some may not work, others are duplicated and a select few are actually needed. Tamie Matthews from RevenYou shares tips on how to do a stock take of rate plans and offers.
I recommend stripping back all your offers once a year and deciding on a new plan for the coming year.
Where To Start?
- Compile a list of rate plans: for example, Room Only, Bed and Breakfast, Stay and Save, Advance Purchase.
- Compile a list of special offers, seasonal offers, last-minute deals, members rates. Where are they loaded and what percentage discount or add on are they? How much do you pay in commission?
- Gather your data. Look at what’s working and what isn’t. You will want to find a report in your property management system (PMS) or channel manager that tells you the following for each rate plan.
- Total revenue per rate plan per month or preferably by day of week
- Average lead time
- Average length of stay
- Average booking value
- Add on spend
- Net booking value – rate less commission
- Any information you can find around the day of week/month/year occupancy, ADR, RevPar, forecast, budget, Net RevPar, etc.
- Analyse your data for the following:
- What is working for me? What isn’t? Why?
- When does it work for me? Month or day of the week?
- Who is booking this rate and when?
- Is it profitable?
- How could I amend it to be more profitable? Decrease the discount or increase the length of stay.
- Does it overlap with something else? Are the OTAs stacking offers?
- After commission (Net RevPar) what am I left with?
- Operationally, is this offer easy to manage or difficult?
- What could I offer instead?
- What are my regular guests asking me for? Am I meeting their needs?
- Speak to your local market managers. What insights can they give on what is or isn’t working in the local area for you and your competitors? They may not be able to give exact numbers but they can tell you generalizations.
- Shop around, have a look at what other hotels of a similar style and size to your property are offering. This doesn’t need to be limited to your geographical comp set, you may wish to look outside your area for inspiration.
- Create your rate plans. These are not your special offers as they will be available throughout the year excluding a special event. A good rule of thumb is the following:
- Room only rate: flexible terms and conditions, most generous cancellation policy, pay on arrival.
- Bed & Breakfast rate: flexible terms and conditions, most generous cancellation policy, pay on arrival. This rate will be a fixed add on to your room only rate. Ignore if you do not have a restaurant.
- Advance Purchase rate: Pay at the time of booking, non-refundable. Set your AP to close at either your average lead time or a few days prior to this. You don’t want everyone to have access to this rate
- Stay x nights, Save y%: Pay at the time of booking, non-refundable. The number of nights will be greater than your average length of stay and the % discount will be slightly greater than your Advance Purchase rate as you are asking people to stay longer hence cutting your cleaning costs.
- Once you have your basic rate plan structure, now decide on whether you wish to close any for special events or peak season. For example, you may wish to close the B&B rate on weekends as the restaurant is closed or you may wish to close the stay and save over a particularly high demand event as you can fill at non-discounted rates.
- Now look back at your data and identify your off-peak days or season. What sort of special offers and incentives would you like to offer to grow your business on these days or over these months?
- What did you offer last year, did it work? Not work? Work too well? What can you amend to make it better or is it time to ditch and start again?
- Percentage discounts – easy to manage and attract price-driven guests.
- Members rewards – upgrades, value adds, discounts early booker offers.
- Value adds – breakfast, upgrades, early check-in, hampers, dinner, vouchers, spa treatments
- Gym – use of onsite or neighbourhood gym.
- Food & Beverage – credit to spend inhouse or vouchers for local restaurants with a chargeback.
- Attraction tickets – will a local attraction offer you a discount that you can then onsell to guests if packaged in with other items?
- Secret deals – require a promo code and only available to closed user groups.
- Spa / Golf Packages.
- Special occasions: honeymoons, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays.
- Limited or no housekeeping – discount on stay for less services.
When creating an offer, remember not to bombard your guests with too much at once. For example, if you wish to offer a Food & Beverage credit for use in your restaurant during off-peak season, you may wish to hide the B&B rate plan so the guests aren’t confused by too much choice.
- Consider when and where you wish to go to market with your offer and how you are going to present it to prospective buyers. Do you need special photography? Will you cross-market it on social media, booking engine and website or keep it solely for direct bookings to cut your cost of commission?
- How do you want to load it on your booking engine? If you load it as a room type it will stand out but your channel manager may only let you load it as a rate plan. Play around and see what makes it stand out. Pop up boxes on your website can help as well.
- Do you want to load said offers on the OTAs? Bear in mind that will be, on average, 15% commission. You may wish to keep the offers for direct as a reward for coming over to your website. Alternatively, you may wish to load them as it in off-peak and you need all the help you can get.
- How will you monitor each offer and what will you consider a successful offer? Set your offers live and set yourself a reminder to check monthly.
Special offers are just that, special. Do not set them up and forget about them. You want to try new ideas and play around with different concepts over the course of a year. What works in winter may not work in summer. Have fun and be adventurous. A successful offer may not be 100 room nights, sometimes we use offers as aspirational marketing when we want customers to see what else we can offer and then we are happy for them to book our room only rate that is a percentage discount.
Tamie Matthews is a director at RevenYou that has extensive experience in reviewing and implementing rate plans and special offers. You can reach them via their website.