NH Hotel Group moved its entire portfolio onto Duetto in 2016 as part of its digital transformation plan. The first property went live on the system in June 2016. Today, nearly 350 properties across six brands run revenue through Duetto. These brands are Anantara, Avani, NH Hotels, NH Collection, Tivoli and nhow.
These properties use Duetto GameChanger for pricing optimization and Duetto ScoreBoard for intelligent reporting, forecasting and budgeting.
Here, Fernando Vives, Chief Commercial Officer, NH Hotel Group, talks about digital transformation, how his revenue team is structured and the benefits of using a revenue management system (RMS)
How many NH Hotel Group properties are operating on the revenue management system?
The entire NH Hotel Group portfolio operates on the revenue management system. We made this strategic decision as part of the digital transformation plan initiated in 2014 and completed in 2017. Being asset-heavy (75% of the properties are owned or leased) made it easier. Duetto is at the core of our tech stack, we refer to it as the “NH GameChanger.” No one would think to operate a hotel without a PMS, well the same applies to the revenue management system. We wouldn’t run a hotel without it.
Tell us more about this digital transformation plan…
We are focused on revenue optimization and innovation is part of NH Hotels’ DNA. In 2014, we decided to change the entire tech stack (PMS, CRS, ERP, etc.). We made the initial RFPs for the RMS the same year and chose Duetto, which we rolled out in 2016. It was a long process since we changed absolutely everything: pricing guidelines, rate codes, segmentation, and much more. To ensure the success of the shift and the digital adoption, we also trained the NH Hotel Group team. Not just revenue managers but reservations, sales, front office teams, and general managers. We ran pricing seminars for over 3,000 staff members and created the NH Revenue Management Academy.
What is the Revenue department organization chart then?
We have a team at the HQ level in charge of the strategy, the tools, the framework, etc. Then we have regional teams. At the property level, we have two hotel tiers: the low revenue management-need hotels (no F&B outlets, no MICE facilities, a simple room inventory), and the high revenue management-need hotels that are more complex, have a higher ADR and a higher total revenue per guest opportunity. The first tier is in the hands of delocalized cluster revenue managers who have an average of three to four properties to manage. There are trained staff members at a property level with access to the revenue management system for last-minute changes if needed. For the higher tier, we have dedicated revenue managers. Today, revenue managers are essential in the NH Hotel Group organization. Every piece of business is analyzed and evaluated. There are no fights with sales, the process is natural.
What is the outcome of the process?
We have a strong revenue culture. We optimize total revenue per guest, not just room revenue. We also look at F&B, MICE, etc. The tech stack (and the revenue management system in particular) is at the core of our operation. A true support. There are so many data points and information to process that it is impossible to consider it all. Technology with AI and
machine learning, based on data points is a real support to the revenue team. When a revenue manager applies eight changes, the revenue management system has given over 100 pricing recommendations. At NH Hotel Group, we do bionic revenue management: a symbiosis between the human (the expert) and the machine (the support with some level of automation). As part of the set-up, we created some pricing rules which sometimes overrule the system, so we adjust recommendations sometimes with rates distributed directly through the CRS to all channels, and the revenue management system is great support. During the pandemic, we accelerated the automation plan and went further in the process. In fact, since 2016/17, we have optimized the entire rate structure since we have dynamic pricing optimized with open pricing for all segments, which includes corporate, group, and employee rates. The task of the revenue managers is therefore to optimize rate codes based on the lead time, for instance.
What is the profile of the revenue talents NH Hotel Group recruits?
A good revenue manager is of course tech-savvy and has forecasting and pricing skills. But this is not enough. They must be analytical, and commercially driven (we need to optimize the lifetime value of the customer) but also have great communication skills to work with marketing, sales, operations, etc. We need assertive, organized, curious, and passionate people. We have revenue managers from varied backgrounds: engineers, economists, and hoteliers of course. That being said, we have a very limited turnover in revenue management: we noticed that our tech stack and revenue culture help us to attract and retain talents.
Learn more about adopting RMS Technology in our Hospitality Executive’s Guide To RMS Technology. Download today. https://www.duettocloud.com/special-reports/guide-to-rms-technology