Professional Comment

Planning for the Future – Inventory Management and Distribution

by Neville Isaac, Chief Customer Officer, Beonprice

We are well aware that the tourism industry has been forced to stop its activity either by government mandate, or by the lack of demand. However we tend to get bogged down in the immediate future rather than think about what we’ll find when recovery begins.

What actions can we take now to prepare for when the situation improves?

While the markets have largely stopped, take time to review how you classify your rooms and configure your product, and go on sale with an optimized inventory mamangement plan.

Review your room types and attributes.

Since the last time you set up the distribution of room types, some things may have changed in your property.

Review the results of past sales and the production provided by each room type, as well as guest reviews, and think if you could make changes to improve results.

In the same way, you should review the attributes you can use that can be added through price supplements. In recent times we have seen how the tendency of the user is to customize his own product, adding certain features that he is willing to pay for a little more: sea view, double bed, bathtub, etc …

Reconfigure your product.

With this new revision of room types and attributes, you can already consider a global reconfiguration of your product before putting it back on sale:

Meal plans. What meal plans do you want to work with? What are the ones that have given you better results in the past? Find ways to innovate in this area.

Cancellation policies and restrictions. Consider your booking conditions and keep in mind the current market situation: people need to regain confidence and seek flexibility. Temporarily remove strict restrictions and prepayments. You must reassure your customers.

Added value. Find a way to add value for your guest, beyond offering a bed and a shower. Think in terms of experience: How does staying at your hotel change the life of a guest? Can you personalise their stay? This approach will also allow you to keep a certain level of rates and avoid the dreaded price drop.

Review your rate structure.

You should consider the role of room type, occupancy, attributes, meal plan, cancellation policy and retrictions when restructuring your rate plans. We advise you to take time to see if your rate plans and rate codes are correctly configured and in the most efficient way.

• Remove or deactivate all those rate codes that have not produced anything or almost nothing in the last year.
• Decide if you need new rate plans, but try to keep a simplified and efficient structure.
• Review the basic plans and indexed rates and make the changes you think are appropriate to optimize results. Try to keep a clear difference of prices and conditions between one rate and another.
• If you work in a hotel group, try to make a standard of the basic structure to simplify operations and facilitate distribution.
• Is your rate structure understandable to the customer or does it hinder the purchase process? Does it build trust?

Revenue Management never stops!

It is important to not let your guard down in these moments of low activity, but on the contrary, take advantage of this pause to focus on your strategies. Going back to basics may seem simple, but it can give us the opportunity to discover areas for improvement and better prepare ourselves for what is to come. The objective should be to go on sale with a very well configured and stronger product for a good competitive positioning in the market.