Customer Spotlight: Westin Yokohama
“In terms of efficiency it has reduced the hours and hours of work needed to input and prepare a report. Now it’s just a click of a button.”
About Westin Yokohama
Situated within Japan’s Yokohama’s Minato Mirai 21 CBD, Westin Yokohama is a new-generation lifestyle hotel that embodies Westin's total wellness concept. The hotel draws its design inspiration from the rich legacy of Yokohama City and Kanagawa Prefecture, with a cohesive organic design aesthetic that flows seamlessly throughout the hotel and into its 373 guest rooms. Inspired by the colorful history of Yokohama Port, the hotel’s five distinctive restaurants and bars serve an array of seasonal and international cuisines, utilizing ingredients sourced from Yokohama and the neighboring region. This “locally grown and consumed” approach exemplifies the hotel’s commitment to sustainability and building close connections to the city and surrounding community. Within the same premises is The Apartment Bay YOKOHAMA, an upscale long-stay serviced apartment. 201 rooms, between the 6th and 12th floors of the building, are operated by leading real estate company, Ken Corporation Group. Reservations for the serviced apartments commenced on March 15th, for stays of 30 days or more. We recently caught up with Ding Sie Sie, Senior Revenue Manager at Westin Yokohama, and a longtime customer of Lighthouse, who has been using Rate Insight to ensure she and her team are pricing accurately using the most actionable, accurate and up-to-date data available.
In the past, a robust data update was never available to us in real time so we would always have to wait overnight for the financial report to be sent to us. When I was working in the Singapore market, which is very dynamic, the rates we were looking at were for the current day and the following few days. But, by the time they would come back to us, a few days later, the data would not be relevant anymore. In that sense, Rate Insight's capability to provide real-time shopping has significantly improved productivity.
We are able to make better decisions with updated data by just having to click one button and then waiting a moment for the system to refresh so we have the latest data. There’s a lot of times when we need something urgently because we need to make pricing decisions in a dynamic market. This is especially critical when we have just changed our rates, and we need to see immediately how we look against our competitors. In terms of efficiency it has reduced the hours and hours of work needed to input and prepare a report. Now it’s just a click of a button.
"We use Rate Insight to check how the competition is pricing, how they have changed their pricing, and to see the pricing trends of our competitors, are they increasing over time, or was there a drop?"
Clear interface for the entire commercial team
The whole Rate Insight user interface is very clear-cut, nice and neat. You can have it in data form, graph form, or calendar form according to your preferences. If you are a GM, you have a lot of other departments to oversee so we need to be able to explain things as simply as possible. My direct supervisors can easily login to access the information and reports they need, so they can query the pricing decisions made by the commercial teams. The sales and marketing team will also go in and will check the pricing of the competition, especially if they are trying to make an offer or negotiate a price. They know how to login and check the rates themselves and then we will all be able to discuss the information to make sure our pricing is good. Because it's so easy to understand the dashboard, you don’t need a long user manual to learn how to use the system, and colleagues across the various disciplines can use it effectively.
Data-driven decisions during dark times
During the pandemic, I used Rate Insight more often because I really needed to see what our competition was doing with their prices. The moment there was a new wave, you could see how people started panicking and altered their price. Personally, we use it to monitor our competition to see how their prices fluctuate. During the pandemic, we noticed that once their prices went down they didn't rise again during that wave as their occupancy never picked up enough to warrant increasing their prices. It showed us that if another wave happens, then dropping the price to the rock bottom is not the solution. It also told us that consumers need confidence to travel so it’s not always about being the lowest price product in the market, it’s about pricing right and building consumer confidence for your product. The consumer needs to be confident that it's a good product, and that covid procedures are in place to prevent the spread of the infections, and it helps to build confidence with the customer.
"Rate Insight’s capability to provide real time shopping has significantly improved productivity. We are able to make better decisions with updated data by just having to click one button and then waiting a moment for the system to refresh so we have the latest data."
Customer support and updates that matter
It’s simple and it’s not too expensive to justify its cost. The setup time is also very fast. If we come across a discrepancy there is a message button there, and there is always someone there to answer. If they can’t give you an answer there and then they will always follow up and get back to you. So at the back of your mind you might know that they need to get back to you on something but you don’t have to be proactive and follow up yourself. This is an aspect of working with Lighthouse that I really like. I also love the recent upgrades that showed the same-time-last-week data. Previously, we would have to keep a copy of every schedule report and then dig through our emails to answer questions about how we priced last year, or how our competition was pricing. When I saw the same-time upgrade, I was very happy as I can see how the competition was pricing, and how their pricing has evolved. It just makes our lives a whole lot easier.
Gaining market share
We use Rate Insight to check how the competition is pricing, how they have changed their pricing, and to see the pricing trends of our competitors, are they increasing over time, or was there a drop? From there we can tell a lot of stories about their decisions. It helps us to grow market share. At my previous property, for example, our RGI was about 140, which, during this pandemic, was one of the best results that we could possibly ask for.
"During the pandemic, I used Rate Insight more vigorously than before because I really needed to see what our competition was doing with their prices."
A word to your peers
Profiling the tech company you use is very important. It’s important to see how agile the company reacts to different situations, how innovative they are, and whether their innovations also make sense. Having used Lighthouse products at five properties, with all their upgrades and how they design the user interface, I can understand that the designer’s intention is to make things as simple as possible for me.