Saltwater Hotels & Resorts is a family owned specialist resort and serviced apartment manager based out of Melbourne, Australia. The group manages over thirty resorts, hotels and letting businesses across 6 states in Australia, including some of the finest luxury destination properties in the continent-sized country.
During the pandemic, they benefited from some strong domestic tourism as borders remained closed and travellers opted for more local destinations. Their occupancy in their destination properties shot up, including during the notoriously scorchingly hot off-season at their northern properties, where they were full the entire months of November to February.
We spoke with Revenue Manager Adele Chambers about how she has been using technology to get ahead and help run a hospitality company with over 440 employees spread out across vast distances.
Old school frustrations
“Beforehand we were doing our revenue management manually – we had some rudimentary pricing set up in our PMS but it didn’t always pick things up and it only ever pushed prices up and never down.
“Our ADR has gone up across the board, particularly on our luxury products. Even compared to 2019, before the pandemic, ADRs have shot up.”
Pace, now FLYR for Hospitality, came recommended from our friends at ALH Group who are using it across all their properties. The legacy RMS players like IDeaS and Duetto were never an option as the implementation pricing is crazily high and I remember IDeas from when I worked at Hyatt – it’s really clunky and not user friendly at all.
I really subscribe to the philosophy of not focusing on CompSets. For us, CompSets aren’t much use as our properties tend to be particularly unique and, in any case, we are so widespread in many areas that we often have a monopoly.
Also, our inventory mix is complex and we needed an RMS that could handle that. We’ve got everything from guest rooms to serviced apartments to villas with their own pools and, beforehand, we had them separated into these unwieldy groupings by room type or property and that never worked. With Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) you can group all the villas together, for example, which we just couldn’t do before.”
“The onboarding was super easy and fast. Everything is so self explanatory. We turned on one or two properties first and then the rest quickly followed. The two-way integration with RMS Cloud means that we could switch things on immediately and the roll out was smooth.”
“We’ve now got a total of 41 scheduled reports going out every week and, remember, that’s all automated! I couldn’t be happier. It is giving me a lot of time back and that also means I no longer need to hire anyone else to help with RM.”
“Our ADR has gone up across the board, particularly on our luxury products. Even compared to 2019, before the pandemic, ADRs have shot up. For example, at our property The Pearle in July and August the system was showing us a price of A$112 but now it’s up at A$297 on Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) forecasts. These are looking spot on whenever I reconcile the actual numbers. Some rates have gone up beyond what I would have expected but then the products sell! I’ve learnt to really trust the pricing algorithm. The fact is – our RevPar has jumped up heaps!
Generally, our booking window has shortened to thirty days but sometimes it goes as low as seven days. The good thing is that the automation is always working no matter the lead time and adapting prices accordingly so that I can focus on strategy and analysis instead.
But pricing is also getting done as far out as twelve months. Demand for Easter next year is already going up! And that’s something we would often overlook as if it wasn’t in the upcoming 90 days then, using the old fashioned way, we just would never have the time or resources to look at pricing anything that was that far out.”
“We’ve built several new reports. There are a couple that used to take me a whole day to prepare and now it takes just seconds.
For example, there’s a report that I build with pickup, ADR and revenue vs the actuals from the previous year that I can compare side-by-side with the upcoming twelve months. It’s a report that really allows me to look at the big picture. Before Pace (FLYR for Hospitality) it was four separate reports that I had to generate but now it’s just one.
Another one I love is the breakdown of the percentage of revenue from our different channels across the properties so we can see where it’s coming from. Oh and we can see direct bookings as a percentage of the total super easily now.
I have a bunch of reports that go out to all the GMs every Monday and that’s all automated. I’ve also given some of our GMs access themselves as it’s so easy to use and ridiculously user friendly. We’ve now got a total of 41 scheduled reports going out every week and, remember, that’s all automated! I couldn’t be happier. It is giving me a lot of time back and that also means I no longer need to hire anyone else to help with RM.”
Join our team
FLYR is a team of industry experts passionate about improving the practice of Revenue Management.View roles
Subscribe for all the latest industry insights and updates from FLYR.