Replacing Booking.com’s RateIntelligence: alternative solutions for independent hotels 

As you may already know, RateIntelligence, the free rate-shopping tool by Booking.com’s BookingSuite, will unfortunately be discontinued on 30 November 2020. 

In this article, we take a look back at what this tool did and how it provided value for hoteliers worldwide.  Then we look at how you can use this opportunity to bring your pricing processes to the next level. 

What was  RateIntelligence?
RateIntelligence was used by many small hotels to get an idea of where their prices were in relation to those of their competitors. The basic version was free of charge. It showed the median price of your competitors for a specific room type and also the cheapest available room. It also provided an undefined demand forecast. It sent a daily notification email about where your prices were in relation to your competitors. This package provided a very useful summary of the market and had the added benefit of not costing anything.

However, it was not ideal. By focusing on the median of a set of direct competitors’ prices, it really did not give a full impression of the market as a whole. If your competitors were not changing their prices with demand, nor would you. 

This encourages a reactive policy where only after the majority of competitors have moved prices (and shifted the median) will you finally know about it and then maybe do something.

Furthermore, because it did not take your internal data into account, it could not make a recommendation on whether your prices were reasonable in the given circumstances.

With the closure of RateIntelligence, now might be a good time to evaluate what the best options are for your hotel. We would classify 3 main possibilities. The ‘free’ alternative, the paid version, or a more complete solution.

 

Free rate-shopper tool: 

The simplest substitute would be Rev+ by Expedia. It describes itself as a revenue management tool designed to provide hotel partners with smart, actionable data and insights. It is a good source of data, giving you up to 19 competitors, and is very popular. It also contains analysis tools that can aid decision making for revenue managers.

No integration is required so you can just log in and look at prices. 

However, because it is not connected to your PMS, it doesn’t know your current overall occupancy. Therefore it can’t make price recommendations without this information, so you will need to make these decisions yourself. It also can’t update your PMS prices, meaning you will have to input any price decisions manually.

Rev+ is also free but comes with obligations to Expedia. We would suggest exploring the product and then deciding how cumbersome these obligations are. 

Also as a free tool, the support will not be as complete as when you pay. You won’t be able to get advice on whether the setup is right for you.

If you like the market intelligence but not want to tie yourself to Expedia you could choose a paid option…

 

Paid rate-shopper tool: 

There are a number of rate-shopping tools out there, that will find your competitor data and display it in the way you want. One example, popular for its reliability, is OTAInsight

Here you can display the data in calendar format and choose sources and rate types to display. It connects to your PMS to show your price relative and your occupancy and gives you the tools you need to make pricing decisions. Many revenue managers use rate-shoppers to check their rates are in line with the competition. 

With a paid rate shopping tool, you will be able to ask your customer service manager for support and advice. Also, you won’t have any obligation to give inventory to a particular online travel agent. 

You can use a tool like OTAInsight to help guide pricing. However, it is impossible for the human brain to do the number of calculations required to get perfect pricing, even with all this information. The rate-shopper could display the lowest price or the median price, but can’t take all prices in to give a market overview. The rate shopper can show you your occupancy but doesn’t do the calculation that tells you what you should be charging to optimize revenue. You will need to do this yourself.

For a little bit more money you can get a complete solution… 

 

Full price-optimization solution:

Tools like RoomPriceGenie give you the market insights that these free rate-shoppers provide. You get the customer support and independence from OTAs of a paid rate-shopper. But, with a full price-optimization solution, you also get all the calculations done for you and automatic updates of your property management system. This saves you a lot of work and gives more optimal pricing, whilst retaining full control.

Price-optimization tools use both external and internal data to get pricing right. If other hotels are charging more but you are not selling your rooms you need to be cheaper. But if you are selling quickly you can raise prices above theirs. It updates several times a day to keep pricing up-to-date.

You may think that rate-shoppers are less complex and easier to use, but there are so many intuitive and innovative revenue management solutions currently available on the market that are suitable for anyone from a London tech-savvy hotelier to 70-year-old family-hotelier somewhere on the Swiss Alps. And if you need support, you can always count on a friendly team to advise you.

 

In summary, we would argue that replacing RateIntelligence with something even more intelligent will bring you the best of all possible worlds. Specifically, it can give you:

 

  • Increase in revenue
  • More time to concentrate on other issues
  • Bewährte Lösung 
  • Prices updated a several times a day with new market data and reservations 
  • Full transparency and full control of your pricing
  • Amazing support and professional team always available 
 

Why not take the opportunity from the closure of Booking.com’s RateIntelligence to upgrade your pricing to be ahead of all of your competitors?

 

Want to find out more? Book a demo and unlock our special offer! We would be thrilled to hear from you!

 

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