The importance of pickup and pace in hotel revenue management
What was the pickup yesterday? It’s a key business question that you, as a revenue manager, are likely to ask each morning as you start your day.
Booking pace and pickup are crucial starting points that revenue professionals in the hospitality industry monitor to ensure they are selling the right room, to the right guest, at the right time, and at the right price.
Setting the right price might be the cornerstone of revenue management, but how you arrive at that decision requires some context.
What are pickup and pace in revenue management?
Pickup refers to the number of rooms that have been booked for a specific date range, from a specified date.
To use an example: ‘For this upcoming Friday, we've booked 23 room nights over the past 7 days’. In this scenario, Friday is the date range we are analyzing, 7 days previous is our 'from date', and 23 room nights is the pickup.
It measures the number of new bookings, cancellations, changes to reservations, and adjustments in group bookings.
Booking pace, on the other hand, refers to the rate at which these bookings materialize for each respective date. The booking pace provides good insight into the likely demand, occupancy, and revenue generated for a particular period.
Both pickup and pace provide valuable insights into the booking behavior of your clientele, and, when compared to a similar period in time, you can determine if your occupancy rate is on track or falling behind.
With this information, you can then begin to measure your performance and start shaping your selling strategies to maximize your room revenue for specific future dates or periods.
Why are pickup and pace important metrics in hotel revenue management?
By monitoring your pickup and pace, you can also spot trends and patterns to help you anticipate when your hotel is likely to be fully booked, and whether your revenue will be in line with your forecasts.
When you review pickup data daily, it empowers you to make strategic pricing decisions and adjustments to your distribution channels, promotions, and restrictions.
While it may help you to identify any gaps in your current strategy, it’s also very useful for other departments. An overview can dictate the staffing complement your operations team will need to have in place for the selected period, but will also be useful for your FB team, procurement, and housekeeping.
Within the commercial team, sales will be able to monitor booking performance against previous years and spot underperforming partnerships, with marketing helping to stimulate demand.
Without checking the pickup report for future dates you run the risk of selling rooms below their optimal price and losing out on bookings and the resultant revenue to your competitors. But, getting the most out of pickup and pace requires a deeper level of detail.
Breaking down pace and pickup data for deeper insights
Segmentation is a way of dividing potential guests into groups based on a set of common characteristics and behaviors. These categories might include factors such as whether they are part of a group or transient, and whether their purpose of travel is for business or leisure.
By analyzing this information and breaking it down into segments, you can uncover essential insights into your business’ performance which you can then use to adjust your business tactics.
You can easily determine whether a particular segment is performing well or where the sudden spike in cancelations is coming from, for example. You can see what kind of impact it may be having on your net pace and initiate mitigatory measures.
Here is an example image of analyzing pickup by market segment. Notice that the “pickup from date” is from 7 days ago, and shows how much of each market segment is on the books, and then what the segment pickup is for each day.
Taking action at your hotel with pickup and pace data
Segmenting by LOS or channel would provide valuable insights into the booking patterns of different lengths of stay, and guest origins. This in turn helps you to target the right customer profile with the right offer, but it could also trigger a PPC promotion to an underperforming source market with an appropriate special offer or price incentive.
Room type segmentation allows revenue managers to assess the performance of different room categories and make adjustments accordingly. On analysis, you might discover that a specific rate is performing better than others, or that a specific room type is slower than in previous years.
Seasonality, events, or even the day of the week are other factors that might contribute to your booking pace. It helps to have a thorough understanding of these patterns and how you have historically performed by day of the week, for example, so you can implement appropriate selling strategies to maximize room revenues for a specific DOA.
By comparing the booking pace of current reservations with historical averages on the same week last year, same day last year, or same time last year, managers can determine if bookings are on track or falling behind.
Comparing pickup to market benchmarks also provide insights into how your property is performing relative to its competitors.
Taken together, these additional layers of analysis provide a comprehensive narrative of what's happening within your property, providing the context in which you can optimize your revenue strategy.
It may be the case that your property sees stronger weekend business than a weekday. By analyzing your pace data by day of the week, for example, you can determine whether your pricing strategy for the slower days is eating into the gains you are making with a strong weekend performance, and thus impacting your overall profitability.
In the same vein, while your overall booking pace may show that your occupancy is tracking similarly to a previous moment in time, drilling into the pace analysis by room type performance could also uncover differences.
It would be easy to assume that if you are tracking ahead on previous years for a particular stay date you have some wiggle room to raise your Best Available Rate (BAR) for all room types.
However, by breaking down your room type performance, you may find that the mix is different and your lower category rooms are outperforming previous years and your higher category rooms are trailing behind. Increasing your lowest rate might throttle pickup for that date while adjusting your strategy for your higher category rooms could stimulate pickup in that category.
Unique events also play a crucial role in driving demand and pickup and monitoring trends around these through a pace chart can uncover shifts in patterns that may help you better manage your rate tactics. This is especially so in the post-pandemic era when booking lead times have shifted.
By understanding these factors, you can tailor your pricing and distribution strategy to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate any potential weaknesses.
Understanding pickup and pace with a BI solution
Using your pickup and pace data effectively starts with having it ready and available right when you need it. Tools, such as Business Intelligence and Benchmark Insight, enable you to make data-driven decisions by tracking pickup performance, comparing it to historical data, and drilling down into different segments.
This means you can easily view all relevant information in one place, identify segments impacting pace, and instantly spot opportunities for further and deeper analysis.
With a simple click of a button, you can also instantly identify areas of over or underperformance, and track these trends over time to target specific segments and improve your overall revenue.
Pickup and pace metrics are crucial to the success of hotel revenue management. They provide invaluable insights into your property’s performance and help you to better understand when to enact revenue-generating tactics, such as the optimal time to apply a discount or promotion.
At the heart of analyzing pickup and pace data is a business intelligence solution that seamlessly brings this data to the surface via clearly visualized, actionable insights.
At Lighthouse, our suite of business intelligence solutions provides you with the capability to effortlessly break down data into different segments. This empowers you to effectively spot trends and identify new opportunities that have a positive impact on your bottom line.