Hotels Can Stay Competitive with This RateIntelligence Alternative

October 15, 2020

Hotels Can Stay Competitive with This RateIntelligence Alternative

Hoteliers need to choose a new rate shopper solution due to the discontinuation of Booking.com's free rate manager.

"Insufficient facts always invite danger." What does a quote by Star Trek's Mr. Spock have to do with replacing Booking's RateIntelligence? Read on to find out.

In this article, we discuss how the tool helped fellow hoteliers but had some limitations. We also compare it to our pricing optimization solution with a focus on key differences. Independent hotels and B&Bs (Bed and Breakfast) can gauge the benefits as they consider an alternative tool.

RateIntelligence is shutting down on 30 November 2020 because the OTA (Online Travel Agency) is directing its efforts on the "core business line."

What is next for hoteliers?

Starting your research and deciding on new tech can take time and requires trust to make the change. When investing in data and analytics, the tool's benefits and your expectations should be clear to you. Consider a rate shopper that delivers valuable features, personal support, and a good user experience.

Despite the discontinuation of RateIntelligence, there is a fair amount of discussion on the Partner Community message board about it. The general consensus? The tool was fine for making last-minute pricing changes but less helpful in assisting forward-looking strategies.

How did RateIntelligence work?

Independent hotels used the rate manager to compare competitor rates on Booking.com to their own over the next 365 days. With this information, they could price inventory on the platform in a competitive manner. The main draw? Access to the data was free. Hotel managers could cut down on manual rates research and get a basic introduction to analytics-based yield management.

Turning limitation into an opportunity

Not every tool can stand the test of changing time. As the market and demand shift, travelers' booking behavior patterns do too. Their options to find you or your competitors are endless, as is their inclination toward short-term stays at a competitive price.

Caveat: Single-Channel Distribution & Information

Hoteliers using RateIntelligence could determine only their Booking.com channel distribution. This information gap was akin to tunnel vision, a tendency to focus on a single objective. Such a strategic misstep for independent hotels in competitive locations could leave money on the table. They would not know if parity on other channels was an issue.

Solution: Parity Check up to 22 Channels

Imagine a three-star hotel with 25-45 rooms facing at least six immediate competitors. Given the challenging times, it looks to maximize room profitability. Room rates have to be consistent across all channels, including OTAs, meta sites, and—if connected—GDS (Global Distribution System).

An upgrade to a paid rate shopper like Market Intelligence from HQ revenue is recommendable in this instance. Using this substitute means the hotelier can find pricing anomalies across many channels. They can compare up to six out of 22 channels (depending on the version) and swap them out whenever needed.

In a nutshell: What is Market Intelligence?

Hoteliers use the analytics tool from any web browser to gain a market overview and make the right pricing decisions when it matters most.

Monitoring and improving their position in a competitive landscape is possible with high-quality information on the market, competition, and operations. The tool also classifies demand, price development, LOS, occupancy, ratings, weather forecasts, events, and holidays.

While two options are available, we will concentrate on the Essential version for the comparison below. The reason being, it is more viable for independent hotels in the immediate scenario.

How do both solutions compare?

1. Selecting competitors

Logged into RateIntelligence, hoteliers would choose Booking.com customers as competitors (max. 10) and match room types for each one-by-one. They could change the comp-set twice a month.

With HQ revenue Market Intelligence, hotel managers can select up to six competitors at a time and adjust the competitor set as often as needed to suit shifting strategies. Also, matching multiple room types is possible with unique naming and drag-and-drop.

2. Shopping rates

The tool showed the median price of a comp set and only the lowest available rate (LAR).

Market Intelligence shows a clear comparison to each competitor's rate and the median. It's possible to see LAR or focus on either BAR (Best Available Rate) or APR (Advanced Purchase Rate).

3. Price filtering

From a drop-down menu, it was possible to filter by one individual room type at a time.

Hoteliers should replace Booking's RateIntelligence  because now they can shop rates with expansive price filters like this:

  • Room types - in any possible combination
  • Length of Stay - rates shopped via dynamic LOS
  • Room occupancy up to six guests
  • Weekend or weekday filter presets
  • Customer loyalty programs from Booking or Expedia
  • Meal plans included

4. Using operational data

Lacking integration with a hotel's Property Management System (PMS) prevented the tool from showing hoteliers up-to-date occupancy numbers to gauge whether pricing changes made sense.

Market Intelligence puts the occupancy data front and center. When upcoming arrival dates show low or high occupancy, having operational data will inform the pricing strategy that hoteliers set for themselves. Even more so next to accurate competitor rates on multiple online channels. The tool can integrate with over 50 PMS providers.

Now that you have an overview of both solutions' main differences, there is much more you can do with Market Intelligence.

Unleash your can-do with HQ revenue

The Essential version is €49 per month. Staying competitive means taking advantage of key features like these:

  • Price Development: 30 days of activity for any arrival date
  • Price Rating Matrix: Market positioning versus the comp set
  • Dashboard: Ratings, weather, events, and occupancy changes
  • Daily rate shops: The next 60 days, including email reports
  • Monthly rate shops: The next 365 days, including email reports

For the price, hoteliers also get fast in-app chat support, a Help Center with written documentation, and personalized training.

HQ revenue offers a Professional version for larger hotels and chains, including revenue management departments that need additional yielding capabilities, such as real-time rate shopping, up to three comp sets with 18 competitors, and demand analytics in macro markets.

In summary: Opportunity awaits

Losing access to a valuable resource is a tough spot to be in, but the return can be large when investing a little in a new one.

Hotels that relied on RateIntelligence will want to consider a tool that adds significant features to prepare for changing times. A solution that allows them to make pricing decisions with confidence, taking into account all relevant market information across the web.

Staying competitive only works with a sound strategy and when consulting reliable data.

Find out more and get your personalized demo of Market Intelligence, in which you will join our expert for an in-depth walk-through of the software.

Limited sign-up special for hoteliers:
Secure your extended 30-day trial when you register for a demo by 31 October 2020.