- Build a Foundation for Leverage
- Understand your PMS data connectivity – Control, Position and Leverage your Data
- Leverage your data using best technologies and tools
If you’ve read parts one and two of this series you understand the importance of leverage, and how to best position your data to achieve the most leverage for your business. This installment will cover some of the most popular tools you can use to make the most of that leverage. These tools can be viewed in one of two (or both) broad categories – productivity and revenue generating. While there are many tools available, we will explore the most popular and most effective at the time of this writing. These are: Inquiry Responders, Smartphone Apps, your Website and a bonus tool for Yielding Rates.
Inquiry Responders – Inquiry responders are both a productivity tool as well as a revenue source. Responders receive incoming form/email requests from sources like VRBO, Flipkey, Homeaway.com or your website etc… The inquiry is for a specific unit with specific dates. The responder is able to access your unit and availability data and automatically respond with a price quote and a book now button. If the unit is not available, the automated response can include alternate units with prices and the ability to book them as well. This is a very powerful tool that uses extreme leverage to deliver the following advantages:
- Eliminate the need to manually respond to dozens or hundreds of inquiries
- Your guest receives a response in seconds versus hours or, in many cases, days
- Call to action – “book now”
There are many other benefits to using responders but the most important is the dramatic increase in online revenue that you will achieve using this tool.
Click Here for more information on Inquiry Responders
Smartphone Apps – Smartphone Apps fall under the productivity category. That is not to say that they cannot also generate some revenue using advertising, coupons and other techniques but that is not their core purpose. Smartphone Apps access your PMS data to provide guests with useful and timely information about their unit and vacation. That data is also supplemented with complimentary information and recommendations. Smartphone Apps deliver the following benefits to PM’s and Guests.
- Provide guests with specific unit information, directions, access and notes
- Provide guests with local recommendations and directions. Including restaurants, grocery, liquor, activities, events, or other tourist activities.
- Reduce costs of printing promotional material or tourist information
- Better interaction/communication with guests via support features and push notification
Click Here to learn more about Smartphone Apps
Your website – as discussed in previous installments of this series, your website is your lowest cost distribution channel. It is also the most powerful leverage tool that you have from both a productivity AND revenue standpoint. While we take many of these benefits for granted, it is important to review them occasionally.
- Provide extensive information about your company and local area attractions
- Generate leads and phone calls
- Book units
- Provide Invaluable statistical data
Click Here to request a proposal for a website
Google Analytics (GA) – The last bullet above warrants further discussion. Statistical tracking nowadays almost always means GA. Every website should have GA installed andwhile most do, it is probably the most under-utilized tool in the PM”s tech toolkit. GA is not technically leveraging your PMS data directly but it does indirectly and by extension. The ability to know which units are viewed, booked and how much revenue they generate is very much related to your PMS data. Guests that visit your website from a directory, subscription site and Channel Partner website are also an extension of your PMS Data. All this information should be studied and acted upon in a well-rounded data leverage plan.
Click Here for more information about how GA relates to your overall website marketing strategy
Yield Management – The basic tenant of Yield Management is rooted in Economics 101 – Supply and Demand. All PM’s have inventory in wonderful places where people want to go. Sometimes, more people want to go there and sometimes less. This demand means that the product is constantly changing. If you factor in, competition, “time-decay”, acts-of-nature etc.… Yielding rates becomes extremely complicated and well beyond the scope of what a seasonal rate chart can address. Yield Management software and crunch all this data for you and constantly adjust your rates so that you are achieving the highest possible profit margin for both your business and your owners.
Click Here for more information about Yield Management of your rates
If you are using the techniques in this series, you should be taking advantage of all of the tools in this installment. These tools are easy to deploy, inexpensive and will save you time, open new revenue streams, or both! Now that you have a better understanding for leverage, your PMS connectivity and the best tools, you can use the following link to our Technology Audit Calculator. This will give you an idea of how your technology costs stack up.
Gueststream will be attending the Annual VRMA Conference in Phoenix AZ this week. This is an excellent opportunity to stop by our booth and say hello. We look forward meeting you and helping you with your website technology needs. See you there!
Joe Pawlak is the founder of Gueststream, Inc. He has worked in the technology sector of the hospitality/lodging industry since 1999. Joe has built a team of top specialists who offer industry leading website; design, development, marketing and software products. Joe has a degree in Commercial Recreation and Tourism from the College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and lives in Denver, CO.