We have covered solutions such as Channel Manager, Revenue Management Systems, Online Booking Engines and others which have become absolutely necessary for hotel management. It is also important to have a person in charge of Revenue Management to make the necessary rate changes in order to improve the business’ income.
“A good Rate Shopper will help you react quickly to market or competitor rate changes enabling you to make quick decisions which will in return improve your hotel’s income.”
In this sense, one of the most time- consuming tasks for the Revenue Manager is to monitor competitor’s rates and this is exactly where a Rate Shopper comes in handy. A good Rate Shopper will help you react quickly to market or competitor rate changes enabling you to make quick decisions which will in return improve your hotel’s income. There are many alternative to Rate Shoppers, but there are some characteristics which will prove fundamental when choosing the most appropriate one for your business:
a. Real time data
Some Rate Shoppers only provide periodical reports. In today’s dynamic market – and provided you have channel managers that allows you to modify rates in a matter of seconds – it’s key for this tool to provide real time data for the revenue manager to make more efficient decisions. This will enable you to lead rate changes and not just follow market trends.
b. Quality data
It is also important for the Rate Shopper to offer high quality data preferably from different online sale channels or at least from the most important online players. Low quality data will be no good since it will influence your revenue manager’s decisions. Your Rate Shopper should be able to compare rates form sites such as Booking, Expedia, Orbitz in the same way Metasearch such as Trivago, TripAdvisor or Google Hotel Ads do and it would also be a positive if they provided hotel’s Booking Engines rates as well. It is also important to get different room type data. Some Rate Shoppers make an automatic comparison of different room types since a wider use of channel managers allow OTA’s to capture and distribute this additional information.
c. Wide date selection
Some Rate Shoppers restrict date selection only to dates close to the report; it is best to choose a flexible Rate Shopper that allows you to choose future dates to have a more accurate report of rates offered by your competitors.
d. Excellent Technical Support
This aspect applies to any technological tool acquired for your hotel. Choosing a provider that offers technical support in your own language, during extensive working hours and with a quick response rates is always the best option. Check the reviews and comments made by clients before hiring a Rate Shopper. Save yourself some future headaches and be confident of your choice.
“Start with a basic Rate Shopper to begin which will provide you with enough information to make good rate change decisions and you may evolve to a more sophisticated tool over time.”
There are many other functions to a Rate Shopper, for example: rate details, parity monitor, calendar of events, flexible competitive sets, integration to revenue management systems, rate evolution reports among others; but your choice will always depend on your budget and having qualified staff for their use. Start with a basic Rate Shopper to begin which will provide you with enough information to make good rate change decisions and you may evolve to a more sophisticated tool over time.
There are many options in the market which provide different modules on their extranets; such is the case of technology solutions company CM Reservas that within their Channel Manager system they include a rate shopper modules and a revenue management module free of charge. This is a good options for hoteliers who want to hire various tools dealing with a single provider.
Technological solutions for hotel management allow you to make key decisions that will enable hotel’s income to increase. Do not hesitate when hiring these services since you will soon see how they end up self-funding themselves by providing you with good information to make good business decisions increasing income in the mid-term.
Carry out a simple market research before hiring a tool such as a Rate Shopper taking into account all the characteristics covered in this article. Find what best suits your budget and your hotel.