Like most of the global working population, I’m writing to you from my home office today outside London. I’ve stayed connected with colleagues and clients alike via virtual meetings and email while enjoying the slow reopening of our beloved industry and looking ahead to the further cessation of pandemic restrictions.
But “normal” times are still a ways off, and it goes without saying—especially when you’ve been told “no one’s going to read this all if you ramble on and on”—the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the hospitality industry more than most sectors. According to PWC’s UK hotels forecast, hotel occupancy rates in 2021 are expected to be around 55% across the UK, and it could be four more years before we see a return to pre-COVID levels.
However, optimism is in the responsibly ventilated air. As STR’s Thomas Emanuel noted in his recent “Green Shoots as Hotels Reopen” update, “UK occupancy nationwide reached a dizzying 69%—a datapoint that a few short weeks ago would’ve seemed impossible.”
But as an Englishman, it’s not just the fact that the Linton Travel Tavern in Nether Wallop were close to fully booked for the first time in nearly two years; it’s that (whisper it softly) England’s football team appeared in their first major tournament final since 1966.
Fortunately, since the EURO 2020 competition ended, my anxiety and tension has been distracted by the chants from hoteliers: “With reopening, how can we better forecast and budget and rebound stronger than before?” (to the tune of “Football’s Coming Home” in my head, obviously).
Often before the commercial and financial priorities, operational and personnel challenges have been those tackled first. Clearly health and safety provisions and communication planning have been critical.
But a key theme has emerged amongst the supporting cast of hospitality that IDeaS is a part of (a season-ticket holder in the away end since 1989 actually). And it’s that automation will be vital to hospitality’s recovery.
Emerging innovations in the hotel revenue management tech space are now focusing not just on AI and machine-learning to advance demand management, pricing and inventory strategy, but they have had to adapt and address the need for tools and solutions fit for the post-pandemic landscape.
Food and beverage (F&B) and other income streams are ripe with revenue potential but have been held back by the lack of forecasting technology. In fact, for many full-service hotels, non-rooms business makes up over half of their total revenue, making it just as important as guest room sales. So, why should the rooms revenue department get all the cool tools?
That’s where IDeaS RevPlan comes in. A unique product in hospitality technology, filling the automation gap with extensive intelligence to prepare the total revenue forecast. RevPlan’s power is the “one-stop-shop” concept—broad horizontal functionality, expanding automated, scientific forecasting to multiple functions beyond rooms:
- Rooms – Create and maintain multiple versions of the operations forecast or budget to plan and strategize for multiple scenarios
- F&B – Eliminate dependencies on spreadsheets and time-consuming manual work to build an accurate forecast or budget for sales & catering and by F&B outlet
- Finance – Assemble precise revenue forecasts and budgets for the entire business in accordance with fiscal policy
- Operations – Confidently plan and make staffing and purchasing decisions for the entire business using an accurate and precise forecast
- C-Suite – Instill an organizational discipline around forecasting and budgeting while gaining a holistic view of all revenue streams
- Owners – Increase profits with smarter planning and more agile forecasts
As we reopen the doors of hospitality once more, operational efficiency is more important than ever, with tight margins and the measured rebuild of our bottom line. Total revenue forecasting has been talked about long enough as a dream by the industry, much like those of the England football team. It’s time that automated technology turn that dream into a reality and bring it home (to Rome, or wherever else your hotels are located)!