Customer Spotlight: The Zetter Group
“Lighthouse’s platform saves us massive amounts of time and its wealth of live data has made us adopt a more proactive pricing strategy.”
About The Zetter Group
The Zetter Group is known for its award-winning and slightly unusual boutique properties in downtown London. All three hotels boast unique and daring designs and amenities in memory of their eccentric former residents. This focus on character and a strong brand narrative has earned Zetter the reputation of having reinvented the boutique hotel concept.
We recently sat down with Arnold Linares, Group Revenue and Distribution Manager at Zetter Group, to discover which role the Rate and Market Insight tools play for him and his team. He revealed how these two business intelligence (BI) solutions save valuable time, provide a bigger picture of the market and allow the group to optimize pricing and distribution even in challenging times.
Reducing manual work on several fronts
The automation of previously manual data collection is one of the top benefits of Rate Insight and Market Insight. With a click of the refresh button, we can see the latest rate evolutions in the market and the most recent forward-looking demand information for the upcoming months. The continuous access to live data simplifies monitoring the highly dynamic London market and saves us massive amounts of time.
This has allowed me to give more attention to other key elements such as distribution management. Now, I have more resources to evaluate production from various partners and test ways to optimize online sales. Real-time insights make it easy to implement, evaluate and update approaches such as restricting availability on low-yielding channels.
Rate and Market Insight also speed up forecasting, previously one of revenue management’s most tedious tasks. The solutions’ live market and demand data allow me to predict performance accurately without having to spend hours collecting and collating information.
"Thanks to the forward-looking demand data in Market Insight, we’ve been able to shift from reactive pricing to a much more proactive approach."
Shifting the focus from price monitoring to seeing the bigger picture
Revenue management used to be about a lot of manual tasks such as collecting data and updating rates. But with the emergence of advanced BI solutions and revenue management systems (RMS), we’ve begun looking at pricing as part of a bigger picture.
In the past, we compared our rates with the Comp Set to ensure the prices aligned. However, I realized that this was costing us revenue opportunities. Today, we’re more interested in understanding what the competition’s rates say about their current strategy or business situation and how our properties compare. This shows us where our competitive advantage lies. The team then looks at how we can better leverage it, reach our clientele and increase our market share. Having our sight set on this bigger goal has helped us strategically use data insights to maximize profitability.
Refined commercial strategies and pricing decisions
In the past, we’d react to a rise in pick-up or the fact that the Comp Set had changed their rates. Thanks to the forward-looking demand data in Market Insight, we’ve been able to shift from this reactive approach to a much more proactive one.
Now MICE in London are finally starting up again and some of the blockbuster events have been rescheduled for later this year. Especially in this situation our access to flight search and GDS data has given us a massive leg up. We can see for many months in advance who is searching and what room types, length of stay, etc, they’re checking.
This allows us to be much more strategic about pricing decisions, restrictions and promotions. As a result, we can get ahead on those upcoming high-demand dates, target the most promising markets and push for the rates we want. Now, filling up on low-value bookings and yielding only at the very end is a thing of the past.
"Thanks to Lighthouse’s platform, filling up on low-value bookings and yielding only at the very end is a thing of the past."
Improved planning and forecasting across departments
Market Insight allows us to better understand how demand is shaping up well before bookings start coming in. Being able to see search pressure and flight searches reveals travel intent and gives us clues about upcoming peak dates. We can compare this data with other aspects such as increased inquiries in the reservations or events department. If this exposes a new demand trend, we can get in front of it and prepare for this wave of bookings.
This goes beyond optimizing our room rates. Our sales and events teams will consider this when quoting groups. The housekeeping and F&B departments will keep it in mind for planning their operation to ensure appropriate staffing levels or create relevant promotions. And since everyone can get this information directly from Lighthouse, they can take the initiative and be ready in time for demand to convert into reservations. That is how Market Insight has helped us boost revenue as well as profitability across all departments.
Leveraging forward-looking demand data to thrive during challenging times
Using future-facing demand data also proved extremely beneficial for us during the uncertain times of 2020 and 2021. I never wanted to engage in a price war with my Comp Set, and Market Insight’s data supported this decision. As soon as loosening restrictions were on the horizon, we could see demand slowly return several months down the road.
This did two things. First, it gave us confidence that business would return. The demand insights proved that. Second, it encouraged us to keep our rates at the usual level instead of entering panic mode and racing other properties to the bottom. It wasn’t easy to stand our ground, but it paid off immensely.
For one thing, as restrictions loosened, we began receiving a steady flow of high-value reservations instead of filling up on low-value bookings. We also maintained our reputation among our many regular guests. I’m sure we would have confused and alienated many of them with drastic rate drops and subsequent increases for an essentially unchanged product. All this allowed us to get through the slowest months and make the most of every wave of recovery.
"Market Insight’s future-facing demand data has helped us boost revenue as well as profitability across all departments."
A word to your peers
Technology and our industry are changing rapidly. You need a broad understanding of what’s going on around you to succeed in this dynamic environment. Trying innovative tech tools and testing new strategies are crucial steps to realizing your own as well as your hotel’s full potential.
I strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of the free trials tech vendors offer, so you can find the best fit for your property. For example, if you’re not using Lighthouse’s solutions yet, try them. You’ll be impressed by the world of data you get access to at the click of a button. Use it to chart a new path and leave the pandemic-era struggles behind.