What if there were two Grand Finals happening this weekend: rates are high but the city is not full and it is Wednesday…. What should you do? Hold or drop?
First, ask yourself a few questions then do a little research:
- What is my financial goal over said event? Am I aiming for a revenue target or am I aiming for an occupancy target? If I want 100% occupancy, will my staff and hotel be able to cope? Would 95% be a more achievable target and having a buffer will allow me to ensure my guests receive great customer service and the pay off in reviews will be worth the gap. Murphy’s Law states that if you are 100% and the city is full, you will have a maintenance issue and be scrambling to get it fixed or facing the reality of booking out.
- Where do my rates sit in my competitor set? Check online and have a look at what others are selling at for different lengths of stay and repeat at regular intervals throughout the day and week. Are you the cheapest or most expensive and does that tie in with your product and placing within the competitor set? Check your key booking sites for both 1 and multiple nights’ stay to ensure you are selling and there hasn’t been any planning adhered that needs removing.
- Monitor what rates your guests are booking and for what length of stay. Are guests booking your multi night stay package hence your housekeeping costs will be minimized or are they booking for one night and your front office/housekeeping costs will be high. Which rate would you prefer they booked and why then refer to question 1 and 2. Do you want the shoulder nights or to max out on the 1 key date? What is your goal? What are guests likely to be looking for?
- What is the past performance for this event in this city? What do your previous year’s data tell you? Is this an event which historically fills but closer to the date or does the data tell you that you are tracking behind and should be full by now? Look at your pace reports and your previous years tracking to determine whether this is a typical pattern or something to be concerned about?
- Same day bookings: what is the likelihood of this? Customers are increasingly trying to hold out to the last minute in the hope that hotels will drop their rates and they can pick up a bargain. Loyalty is no longer a key driver, rate and bargains determine customer behaviour.
- What discounted and loyalty rates have you closed that could be opened? You may prefer to open closed user group rates to gain some traction over and above discounting your public rates.
Once you have reviewed all of the above, make your decision. Then repeat the analyses after lunch and before you depart for the day and again tomorrow morning and after lunch and before you go home. This is an event and your decision making process will change as booking patterns change and the event gets closer.
Keep a record of what you decided and when you made changes as these notes will help you make better decisions next year.
Managing an event and managing it well is an art form, the revenue you make over an event is what will carry you through the quiet months and ultimately be the difference between achieving budget and getting that lovely wee bonus at the end of the year.