Forecasting requires strong historical base

Despite an emergence in recent years of new ways to collect, track and segment forward-bookings information, the best modeling still begins with a strong foundation of historical data, hotel revenue managers say.

Historical data, when managed and interpreted correctly, is extremely important, acoording to Alexander Lee, group director of revenue management and distribution for Jumeirah Group. “We make use of historical data to build up our booking pace reporting, which is a component in developing our unconstrained demand forecast.”

Vantage Hospitality Group takes a similar approach, according to Jesse Ostrum, VP of revenue management: “Back in the old days, all of 10 years ago, everything was just historically based. You took what happened last year, you adjusted for the holidays, and that’s what you had forecasted for the upcoming year.”

But now Vantage is using information on future reservations, pace and pickup to tweak historical occupancy and average-daily-rate projections. The availability of forward-looking data is quite new to the discipline, said Brenda Gordon, corporate director of revenue management at Omni Hotels. “It’s something that really wasn’t available to use in the past,” she said.

“We’ve always had our internal demand observation that we would apply … but now this is a new territory where we’re not only able to see what demand looks like at our hotel but also what demand looks like for a specific number of competitors,” Gordon said of comparative analysis data provided by companies such as TravelClick, among others.

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