Going additional with a direct reserving technique

Intro/Outro – 00:00:02: Welcome to The Resort Second podcast, introduced by Revinate, the podcast the place we discuss to leaders within the hospitality trade. When you’re on the lookout for traits, views, and tales from leaders in journey and hospitality, you’re in the correct place.

Karen – 00:00:22: Hiya, and welcome to The Resort Second podcast. I’m your host, Karen Stephens, the Chief Advertising Officer of Revinate. And in the present day, we now have the pleasure of internet hosting Kathleen Cullen, who’s the Government Vice President at PTG Consulting. With over 25 years of expertise within the hospitality trade, Kathleen brings precious insights into maximizing profitability and enhancing visitor expertise throughout numerous resort segments. Kathleen’s contributions to hospitality have been well known, incomes her one of many prestigious awards at HSMAI, Prime 25 Extraordinary Minds in Gross sales, Advertising, and Income Optimization. In actual fact, Kathleen has additionally written a ebook, which is titled Evolving Dynamics from Income Administration to Income Technique, which can be accessible by means of HSMAI. Welcome to the podcast, Kathleen.

Kathleen – 00:01:08: Thanks a lot, Karen.

Karen – 00:01:10: I’m actually completely happy to have you ever right here. We’ve recognized one another for a very long time.

Kathleen – 00:01:13: Sure, we met in Boston, I feel.

Karen – 00:01:15: That’s proper, sure, at a Most popular Resort Group convention. They’ve their annual convention yearly.

Kathleen – 00:01:20: Sure.

Karen – 00:01:20: In order that’s truly a superb place to start out. So that you’re the EVP at PTG Consulting. So you’ll be able to inform us how that’s related to Most popular Resort Group.

Kathleen – 00:01:28: Yeah, nice query. So through the years, the corporate has advanced from pure resort manufacturers providing gentle model providers — gross sales, advertising and marketing, income — to resorts on the lookout for some platform in these areas. And about 5 and a half years in the past, the Ueberroth’s, who’re the homeowners of now, known as Most popular Journey Group, they advanced the corporate from pure resort manufacturers to resort manufacturers plus consulting manufacturers. And we now have PTG Consulting plus Past Inexperienced Journey, which is our sustainability consulting firm. And I run each PTG Consulting and Past Inexperienced Journey.

Karen – 00:02:09: Oh, nice.

Kathleen – 00:02:10: And so every part that PTG does helps impartial resorts. So we work with Most popular Resorts, Historic Resorts, Past Inexperienced Resorts. However we additionally work with non-affiliated resorts. So we can assist any resort it doesn’t matter what their affiliation is.

Karen – 00:02:28: Oh, nicely, that’s nice to know. So clearly, Most popular Resort Group has a lovely portfolio.

Kathleen – 00:02:32: Sure. Very fortunate to work with among the finest within the trade.

Karen – 00:02:36: Nevertheless it’s so good to know that should you’re an impartial resort on the market and you want to some consulting providers, that’s accessible to you.

Kathleen – 00:02:43: Yeah. And we provide income administration providers, gross sales, PR, and we’re fully impartial to Most popular Resorts. So anyone can come to us for these providers.

Karen – 00:02:56: So that you’re in a position to leverage quite a lot of know-how platforms and do no matter that resort wants.

Kathleen – 00:03:01: No matter that resort makes use of.

Karen – 00:03:02: Okay. Very cool. So are you able to inform us a bit bit about your journey up to now in your profession? So I discussed you’ve been in hospitality for some time. So the place did you get your begin?

Kathleen – 00:03:10: I began on the entrance desk of a Sheraton after I was in school. And I truly ought to again up. I grew up being obsessive about resorts. I used to be very fortunate early on in my life the place my household took us touring world wide very often, and we went to stunning locations. And as a younger woman – teenage — I beloved sitting within the foyer and simply watching the operations — what was occurring. Cherished the individuals watching, however I additionally beloved how the resort interacted with their clients. So, I had an attraction to it approach earlier than I even knew actually what that meant. However my first actual job was working on the entrance desk at a Sheraton.

Karen – 00:03:56: Wow. Okay. So, you began on the Sheraton — younger lady, and then you definately got here up by means of the ranks. So, the place did you progress from there? How did you get, clearly, EVP in the present day, however what was type of the trajectory from the entrance desk?

Kathleen – 00:04:08: Properly, I spent a few years in operations, and I all the time wish to share that as a result of it means I’ve a extremely good understanding of the again of the home, how the resort actually works, and what hoteliers want as a way to optimize their enterprise — run their enterprise. After which I used to be fortunate sufficient to be mentored by a pair individuals on this factor that was known as yield administration. Again on the time, no person actually knew what it meant, however I had some wonderful mentors that actually skilled me. That led me into the world of income administration that I simply fell in love with. And it encompassed every part from reservations staff, entrance desk staff, the know-how that we used, and the way we use that know-how, all the best way to what charges ought to be set, stock administration, working with the gross sales division for his or her alternatives, and optimizing all of these totally different areas. And ultimately I went to Two Roads Hospitality.

Karen – 00:05:09: Oh, yeah?

Kathleen – 00:05:09: And I used to be in control of income and distribution, in addition to concerned in a whole lot of new resort openings and transitions for Two Roads. And I did that for about six years.

Karen – 00:05:20: Okay.

Kathleen – 00:05:20: Yeah. After which about 5 and a half years in the past, I joined Most popular Journey Group to start out up the hospitality portion of PTG Consulting.

Karen – 00:05:28: Of the consulting. Yeah, and I like that you simply type of gave the context of your background there, as a result of I do assume it’s so vital. Each resort has totally different wants, and it’s a must to perceive how all of these items work collectively.

Kathleen – 00:05:39: Sure.

Karen – 00:05:40: So are you able to give me an concept of a day within the life should you’re employed in by this impartial to return in and deal with an issue? I do know we’re sitting right here at NAVIGATE in Miami. You and I are going to do a panel later. And a part of that panel we’re speaking about — if somebody can simply cut back their prices by a pair proportion factors, what’s the low-hanging fruit while you go right into a resort, if there’s any, to assist them optimize and actually get on monitor?

Kathleen – 00:06:03: Yeah. That’s a extremely good query. So low-hanging fruit is among the first issues that I all the time speak about is looking at what you do have in the present day, and the way you’re utilizing your know-how to course of data forwards and backwards, and how one can use it to trace your data. In order that’s one. That’s, to me, low-hanging fruit. As a result of many individuals use know-how in a approach that isn’t well-suited for his or her wants. So it’s understanding how one can use that know-how and optimize it. Then there’s additionally how you’re employed collectively as a staff. So is the income skilled working nicely with the gross sales staff, and the advertising and marketing staff, and the entrance desk staff? In order that collaboration to actually give attention to full industrial technique. And lots of resorts nonetheless go after quantity versus optimum alternative. And so that’s actually the place you will get into it. It’s a bit bit extra advanced, requires much more dialogue, much more analysis. However looking at not simply quantity, the place you will get your highest quantity, however what’s your most worthwhile alternative?

Karen – 00:07:17: Wow. Okay. So that’s actually the core of business technique, which I feel is so cool, and simply because it’s only a totally different approach of it. So not every bit of enterprise is a chunk of enterprise that you simply essentially need.

Kathleen – 00:07:29: Proper.

Karen – 00:07:30: Understanding your combine.

Kathleen – 00:07:31: Proper.

Karen – 00:07:31: After which making an attempt to determine the way you shift. So when a resort says, “Kathleen, we’d like extra direct bookings, what will we do?” As a result of that’s going that can assist you with a few of that value. So what’s type of you’re like, “Hey, that is how we begin desirous about direct bookings?”

Kathleen – 00:07:46: Yeah. So direct bookings are vital. Many occasions we’re investing within the OTAs, for instance, or third-party bookings, and we’re doing advertising and marketing by means of them. Why not make investments these advertising and marketing {dollars}, those self same {dollars} that you simply’re at present giving to 3rd events, and shift these — that funding into your individual web site, into your individual direct reserving technique, into your individual communication with the client database that you simply do have? There’re many various choices from digital advertising and marketing the place you have to be investing your cash, be certain that your search engine optimisation is optimized, your PPC is lined up together with your methods and campaigns that you simply need to drive. A number of this stuff don’t require big quantities of funds. And should you simply shift a few of these {dollars} from what you’re investing in different areas over into your direct reserving methods, that may go lots additional.

Karen – 00:08:40: Properly, and I feel it’s nice when individuals can rent a advisor. Like should you’re on the market and also you assume, “Okay, we’re a small staff. We don’t actually know the way to do that.” I feel there are organizations like PTG that may are available and say, “Hey, as a result of should you’re doing lots, your combine is heavy in OTAs.”

Kathleen – 00:08:54: Yeah.

Karen – 00:08:54: That’s a whole lot of comm-ish.

Kathleen – 00:08:56: So much.

Karen – 00:08:56: That’s some huge cash sitting in that bucket.

Kathleen – 00:08:58: Yeah.

Karen – 00:08:59: And I feel generally hoteliers must assume, “If I reinvest in know-how or a consulting dedication and get the instrument set –

Kathleen – 00:09:05: Sure.

Karen – 00:09:06: …to grasp, take into consideration as a advertising and marketing finances and shift it –

Kathleen – 00:09:10: Proper.

Karen – 00:09:10: …then the payoff goes to return.”

Kathleen – 00:09:12: Completely. And lots of occasions individuals assume simply investing it within the third celebration is a simple win. Sure, it’s a simple win, however you’re not even seeing the quantity that you simply’re spending in that fee that you simply simply talked about in your P&L.

Karen – 00:09:27: Proper.

Kathleen – 00:09:27: For instance. They’re maintaining that cash. You’re not truly paying that out.

Karen – 00:09:31: Proper.

Kathleen – 00:09:32: …with sure fashions.

Karen – 00:09:33: Yeah.

Kathleen – 00:09:33: So it’s prices that you simply’re not seeing on the P&L.

Karen – 00:09:36: It’s hiding. It’s hiding in between markup and margin. We speak about that lots. So should you’re writing a giant fats fee verify, unexpectedly your controller is like, “We all know who that’s!”

Kathleen – 00:09:46: Proper.

Karen – 00:09:46: But when it’s hiding, then you recognize what you see that’s within the price, not within the markup.

Kathleen – 00:09:50: Precisely. Precisely. And you may truly be doing very nicely in your star report, which is consultant of high line, however should you’re not your backside line, the profitability, the NOI, then that’s a giant alternative for a lot of resorts to actually begin specializing in that.

Karen – 00:10:09: Yeah. I like that. I like that shift. And I like that we’re speaking about that in the present day, right here. And should you’re not — you’re listening to this podcast, and we’re within the room. The place can individuals go to search out? I do know that there’s a whole lot of assets which are beginning to come collectively on the market. We talked about HSMAI. We simply needed to discuss to Jennifer Hill, who’s on one other podcast.

Kathleen – 00:10:26: Nice.

Karen – 00:10:26: Who’s put collectively a whole lot of documentation.

Kathleen – 00:10:27: Yeah.

Karen – 00:10:28: So what’s your suggestion for any individual who could be listening to get educated on this technique?

Kathleen – 00:10:33: Properly, I feel one of many leaders on this space is Kalibri Labs. They’ve finished an exceptional job in synthesizing the info for a lot of resort manufacturers. And they also have a whole lot of information the place they’re trying on the backside line profitability. And so they have a whole lot of expertise in serving to to start out that dialog. What you have to be doing internally? HSMAI is one other nice useful resource. They’ve a full publication just lately launched the place it’s a full industrial technique evaluation, I feel is what it’s, which you could truly go in and assess your individual resort to see the place you’re that could possibly be fascinating.

Karen – 00:11:12: I adore it. The very first thing you bought to do is determine the place you’re.

Kathleen – 00:11:15: Yeah.

Karen – 00:11:15: After which you’ll be able to determine the place you’re going.

Kathleen – 00:11:16: Proper. Yeah. Yeah. After which seek the advice of with PTG Consulting that can assist you get there.

Karen – 00:11:22: Assist you get there. That’s proper. So a quote that I learn of yours that I like is, “Hospitality is about creating and delivering distinctive experiences.”

Kathleen – 00:11:29: Yeah.

Karen – 00:11:30: You’re like, sure, I did say that. Superior.

Kathleen – 00:11:32: Someplace.

Karen – 00:11:33: Someplace. So are you able to discuss a bit bit about how a data-driven tradition, proper? We take into consideration visitor expertise, which is the contact with the visitors. It’s why you bought into hospitality since you adore it. You’re keen on the visitor expertise. However how does making a data-driven tradition improve that and make it even higher?

Kathleen – 00:11:50: Sure, you’ll be able to take a look at all the info that you really want, however should you’re not creating the correct tradition, and also you’re not looking on the buyer suggestions and understanding what the client needs and what they’re telling you, then all that information is just not actually going to matter since you’re going to lose that buyer. Lately, that buyer expertise and buyer communication is so vital. And there’s many applied sciences on the market that assist assist that fixed communication. Whether or not it’s pre-arrival all the best way to after they’re on website.

Karen – 00:12:22: Okay, so it’s gathering the info, after which it’s ensuring as a staff you understand how to go after it and operationalize it. And is that one thing you do as a part of your consulting as nicely? Get the entire staff collectively? As a result of I think about, nicely, you inform me, however I’d assume that each resort presents its personal set of issues that could possibly be optimized.

Kathleen – 00:12:39: Yeah, oh yeah. Each single consumer, each resort, each tradition is totally different. So it’s actually understanding what’s working and what isn’t working for that exact resort.

Karen – 00:12:50: For that resort. Okay, cool. All proper, so I’ve one final query for you as a result of that is one other factor that comes up lots. And we talked a bit bit about STAR stories and comp units. And when you consider a comp set on a STAR report, you’re desirous about resorts which are native to you which are related in STAR ranking, and so forth. However actually, I feel what we’re seeing extra as we get an increasing number of digital on the market, the place are resorts actually competing? Like, you recognize, if it’s summertime and also you’re a resort, is there any your comp set in your neighborhood or how do you have to be desirous about that?

Kathleen – 00:13:18: Yeah, that’s a extremely good query. And it’s undoubtedly a course that we have to begin shifting in and have extra of those conversations as a result of such as you talked about, there’re the normal comp set measurements the place we now have our major comp set, some individuals have secondary, some individuals have tertiary, some individuals have aspirational, and people are all nice. However what I all the time advocate to resorts is check out what your alternative is and create a comp set from there. So for instance, and this can be a simplified instance, however who do you compete in opposition to on your group alternatives? Who do you compete in opposition to for your enterprise journey alternatives? Who do you compete in opposition to on your leisure or luxurious, tremendous high-end luxurious leisure? And people ought to be the rivals that you simply’re looking at for every phase of that enterprise and seeing what you will get from every of these.

Karen – 00:14:14: And they won’t be in your market.

Kathleen – 00:14:16: Most certainly they’re not. A few of them could be, however many may not be.

Karen – 00:14:20: When you’re on the lookout for a seashore vacation spot, you don’t know. I’m going to Miami. You don’t know the place that client is coming in. So I feel that we’ve seen a whole lot of visitors that come on the podcast — we speak about how vital experiences are, ensuring that your web site actually displays the native space, all of the issues that may be finished. So it’s approach past that. So yeah, that’s a superb factor. Clearly, we do a whole lot of leisure. We take into consideration the leisure phase lots at Revinate. However I hadn’t considered that for group, and company, and any piece of enterprise.

Kathleen – 00:14:50: Each single phase – tour operators. There’s so many various segments which you could really slim down. After which I’d even take it a step additional and just be sure you perceive the place these alternatives are — who these rivals are per phase. Mirror that in your communication out to the shoppers, together with your web site. But in addition don’t neglect about your reservation gross sales division as a result of they’re vital in understanding how one can discuss with a enterprise traveler versus a gaggle traveler versus luxurious leisure traveler. These are fully totally different types of communication.

Karen – 00:15:27: And so they’re going to need totally different facilities in your property. So it’s worthwhile to know the way to try this. Okay, so a few closing questions for you. So this can be a enjoyable one. So we’re in April. We’re already partially by means of the 12 months. Any key classes? I imply, yearly is totally different popping out of COVID. And it’s shifting quick.

Kathleen – 00:15:44: Yeah.

Karen – 00:15:44: So have you ever had any massive classes which have come to this point out of this 12 months that you can imagine or something that’s come on this summer time? Like, what are your predictions of what 2024 goes to appear to be as we transfer by means of the 12 months?

Kathleen – 00:15:56: Properly, I feel, I don’t know if this can be a new concept, however I feel resorts are nonetheless grappling with the ADRs that they had been getting for a few years in comparison with the ADRs that they’re getting now. And issues have undoubtedly stabilized. So it’s determining methods to just be sure you can maintain price with out shedding all of that enterprise to resorts which have lowered their price. So I feel a giant one is knowing your price technique. After which, once more, simply determining what’s the alternative on your specific resort, on condition that new idea, I’ll name it, that you simply’re going to go after.

Karen – 00:16:37: Proper. The brand new piece of enterprise. So we noticed revenge journey massive time in 2022. Felt like in 2023, lots of people went internationally. In order that was like, “I’m going to go away the nation.” And are you seeing a return again to extra home journey within the summertime, or is it too quickly to name? What do you assume?

Kathleen – 00:16:55: I feel for me, that’s too quickly to name. I haven’t actually touched on that simply but.

Karen – 00:17:00: Okay. Yeah. So we’ll keep tuned on that one. Okay. After which one last query for you. What do you do to maintain in control on the trade? Are there any information retailers or thought leaders or, you recognize, the place do you discover your assets while you’re on the market to just be sure you’re staying knowledgeable only for our listeners who need to get extra educated in our trade?

Kathleen – 00:17:17: At the start, it’s studying on-line publications, but additionally coming to conferences like NAVIGATE. These are invaluable due to the networking, the concepts change, the audio system sharing data. So to me, that’s invaluable.

Karen – 00:17:32: That’s proper. All proper. Properly, I’m glad you’re right here. That’s an important place to finish it. So thanks, Kathleen. I actually admire it.

Kathleen – 00:17:37: Yeah. Thanks.

Karen – 00:17:37: And it’s been nice to see you. So my visitor has been Kathleen Cullen, who’s the Government Vice President of PTG Consulting. Thanks a lot.

Kathleen – 00:17:43: Thanks, Karen.

Intro/Outro – 00:17:44: Thanks for listening to The Resort Second podcast. Make sure that to subscribe wherever you hearken to podcasts. And should you’re watching on YouTube, please just like the video and subscribe for extra content material. For extra data, head to hotelmomentpodcast.com. The Resort Second podcast is introduced by Revinate.