A day in the life of Rooms Online revenue manager, Alicia Scarf

By June 27, 2019 No Comments

Talk us through a usual day for you with Rooms Online?  Completing all of my client’s price checks is a big one! Then also responding to emails and phone calls of any questions, topics or changes from clients as well. Dealings with online travel agents (OTA’s) and systems support on behalf of my accommodation clients is generally somewhere in the mix everyday as well.

What do you most enjoy about your job?  The thing I enjoy most about my job is seeing the results that properties can achieve by us focusing on their revenue. Most of all I enjoy how we make our clients feel, especially when they realise they have more time to focus on other parts of their business.

I love the relationships I have with most of my clients, and I genuinely enjoy speaking to them on the phone and hearing about what they now have time for since working with our team!

What are common mistakes you see with revenue management (or lack thereof)?

There are two ends of the spectrum here!

  1. Not focusing on your rates at all and having a set ‘year-round’ rate that doesn’t fluctuate depending on demand at all. Or sometimes – only having two rates (high season & low season).
  2. Focusing on the rate too much – so you don’t really know which ones are working. You need to give it time to see if your rates stick, and what people are happy to book. It depends on the size of your property, but for majority of our clients, you don’t want to be changing rates twice a day. There is something to be said for over-analysing it all. Some weeks will be slower than others, it doesn’t mean you are doing anything particularly wrong.

It’s important not to worry too much about one or two bookings that you think the rate looks too cheap on, it’s about your overall revenue at the end of the day. Sometimes rates need to be a bit lower to get the first few bookings in.

Your stance on online travel agents (OTA’s)?  If you can’t beat them, join them. I understand the frustrations around paying commissions, and the hiccups that can happen when dealing with online travel agents (OTA’s), but they are how people book now. Accommodation providers can now reach such a wide audience and the possibilities to reach potential bookers now are huge, this is down to OTA’s. Having no up-front costs, actually makes it a really affordable way to reach people.

What key tips would you give to anyone wanting to leverage online channels?

  1. Making sure all of your listings are looking as good as they can be with good quality photos – bookers want to see what they are paying for with no surprises.
  2. Don’t be afraid to jump on the campaigns that they offer. These will give you really great exposure and better ranking so that you are more visible to bookers. Just make sure you always mimic the same promotion throughout all of your channels so you are still offering rate parity 😊
  3. Whatever they sell you on, always ask yourself: ‘How much control do I have on this?’ Anything you sign up to with the OTA’s, you want to make sure you have full control over it yourself. You want to be able to login and change dates, room types etc as many times as you like, without relying on them to make changes for you.

Can you explain how dynamic pricing works for smaller properties such as a holiday house or say 5 room property?

Dynamic pricing is all about supply and demand. So even for smaller properties, if we see demand picking up over a particular month, then we would look to increase remaining dates for that month. Or sometimes we set rate for the demand that we expect to come in.

For example;

For a small property or holiday house that is located near the beach, we would expect there to be more demand on weekends, so we would load weekends at a higher rate than mid-week straight away, instead of waiting for bookings to come in.

What do you think is the most important thing for anyone joining Rooms Online to keep in mind?  We have your bests interests at heart, and we are genuinely in this to help you! Client’s see the best results when they work with us in partnership – don’t forget that you know your property better than us, but we know revenue.