Hotelier's Voice – Thibault Catala, The Revenue Management Tech Stack
In this episode we speak with Thibault Catala of Catala Consulting, a revenue manager by trade with a background at IHG and Four Seasons, he talks us through his approach to developing the revenue management strategy starting with the tech stack.
We talk about his choice of systems, and what he did at The Eccleston Square Hotel London , London. “Tech is one of the key elements in the hotel structure and if it’s done correctly they can improve productivity, gain stronger revenue and develop market share,” says Thibault.
Approaching new tech purchases
Thibault first begins with an audit and review of the existing tech stack to ensure they are fully optimised. There are three key pillars for the hotel, according to Thibault. Property Management System (PMS) which he uses Apaelo and Mews, Revenue Management System (RMS) for which he uses Atomize, Pace, Duetto, or IDEAs, and channel manager.
We discuss how they come to procurement decisions; “No one solution fits all, it all depends on needs and requirements. It depends on the hotel type, they don’t have same budget, requirements and needs, however it’s a main shift for hotels to leave legacy, and chance to try different approaches with cloud-based systems.”
For Thibault technology needs to become more personalised to the hotel, and review specific metrics as part of the decision-making. While also ensuring to speak to the team to understand challenges and core systems associated to the hotel, taking a more scientific method in decision making, with the need to remove emotion from the equation to find the right product.
Thibault explains how they start with an idea of what is needed, and how the audit brings some surprises to explore different avenues. For Catala Consulting Open API is a main criterion needed today. “We have 6 criteria; easy to use, good fit for client, integration and Open APis, strong customer support, and innovative vision for the product. Nowadays, everyone is looking to automate as much as they can, and protecting their cashflow, all investments need a clear ROI.”
Thibault believes that you can’t fully automate revenue management “it needs a revenue manager to ensure the hotel has both a tactical and a strategic approach” and when working with emerging technologies, ‘it’s important to be aligned to the direction of the company because of the speed of change in the business and product.”
To achieve success in changing systems, Thibault explains why it’s important to source the right partners and platforms, “some just sell the dream…everyone in the team needs to be involved and embrace this change. Especially when switching the PMS for example, with staff working with the legacy system for 20+ years, they need support, and training. They need to also understand the benefits of changing platform, be realistic that change is not easy and there Is natural resistance, but always review how well it’s embedded.”
Why Open APIs – the need to connect their whole system together, allows them to personalise as much as they can their tech stack. The legacy system meant you were stuck with one system, now systems can be tailored with different applications.
Ecclestone Square Hotel
Thibault helped The Eccleston Square Hotel London , London change its tech stack to automate the tactics as much as possible. He explains the benefits seen to the property including an increase of 12 – 15% YoY in the first year, using Mews and Atomise.
Future of new tech
Thibault explains how he’s looking at the disruption of a direct booking API and how he expects to see automation across all systems. We discuss the role of marketplaces to achieve greater hotel tech personalisation. Check out the podcast now, and the rest in the series.
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