These and other findings are found in “How Hotels Have Responded to Covid—One Year Later,” by Kimes and Roberts. In their worldwide survey of 391 hoteliers, they found that since demand was limited, hoteliers concentrated on trying to generate demand while maintaining rates. There was also an emphasis on providing value-added features rather than offering discounts.
While local business has never not been relevant in the hotel industry, the pandemic highlighted its strength and importance. Staycations have been very popular during the pandemic and many respondents plan on continuing them even once travel barriers are reduced or removed.
By necessity, the discipline of Revenue Management had “upped the game” of forecasting. In addition to the traditional approach to forecasting (projecting the past into the future), respondents were including “outward-looking” approaches such as non-hotel demand data and Google Analytics when developing their forecasts.
“One particularly interesting finding was related to the focus on developing revenue from multiple revenue streams,” said Kimes, who is professor emerita, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and visiting professor, National University of Singapore School of Business. “Hoteliers have been talking about total hotel revenue management (RM) for nearly 20 years, but not much actionable change had really happened pre-Covid. Based on our findings, total hotel RM finally seem to be happening.”
“An overwhelming theme that came through was one of resilience. Resilience takes the form of both adapting to new circumstances and powering through despite them,” added Roberts, who is a Lecturer at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. “Respondents were genuinely surprised at how resilient that both they and their colleagues had been.”
Sheryl E. Kimes, Ph.D., is professor emerita of operations management at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and a visiting professor of analytics and operations at the Business School at the National University of Singapore. She has been teaching, conducting research, and providing consulting services in revenue management for over 30 years.
Dave Roberts, MBA, is lecturer of hotel operations and distribution at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and the former SVP of Revenue Strategy & Solutions for Marriott International. Roberts has worked in revenue management for over 25 years and been teaching at Virginia Tech and Cornell for the past few years.