By: Mike Provost
Every industry has its terminology and seemingly obscure acronyms, and in that respect the Hospitality Industry is no different. ADR, REVPAR, Sleeps, Skips, Walk-in, IATA, and “Heads-in-beds” are just a few. From FIT’s to SMERF’s, we pepper our meetings and daily conversations with industry-insider terms like an engineer or a fighter pilot.
But how often do we pause to consider what these terms mean? Where do they come from, and more importantly, are they truly relevant today? To be sure, many of them are tried and true concepts handed down to us by those who have walked this path before. However, not all hand-me-downs are created equal. Like with the leisure suits and bell-bottom jeans passed down to you from your Cousin Joe, we may not find all of our past concepts desirable for the present. They may have been great ideas at the time (ok, work with me on this one), but they may not be relevant today.
Take “Walk-in” for example. Many Property Management Systems offer this as a metric, and some even as a separate option in Reservations or Check-in. But, does it mean anything anymore? With the proliferation of self-booking options out there, when a guest stops at a hotel because of location (or seeing the marquee out front), is there a difference to us if they sit in the parking lot and make a reservation on their Smartphone first, vs. just walking into the lobby without a reservation? There could very well be a rate difference, but is there a true marketing difference? For some business models, perhaps, but for majority of others, is this a useful metric? Maybe a better measurement has become (or has perhaps returned to), “Same day bookings”. With the technology available to today’s guests, it’s entirely possible that the concept of “when” one books is becoming less important than “how”, or even “through what device”.
At MICROS-Fidelio, these are some of the questions that we’re asking when looking at the next generation of reservation management systems. In our design meetings for OPERA 9, we often start with a standard, established concept like “Walk-in” reservations, turn it completely upside down, and shake it around to see what falls out of it. We’re always asking “is this still relevant?” and “is there a better way to do this?” Through client surveys, focus groups, and conversations with our global advisory network, we’re looking to take the best concepts from the past, and improve upon them with the latest ideas and technology.
So while the oldies can truly be the goodies, sometimes an updated look and fresh ideas bring the best results. So the next time good ol’ Cousin Joe checks in, we might just have a better way to track his business. Now, if you can just get him to let go of that “Members Only” jacket…