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 look back at what this Booking Suite 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 handy summary of the market and had the added benefit of not costing anything.
However, it was not ideal. Focusing on the median of a set of direct competitors’ prices 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. We will start with our recommendation: an upgrade to a complete solution. Then we will also look at the ‘free’ alternative and the paid version.
Free rate-shopper tool:
At the same time, you can also try the other alternatives. The simplest substitute would be Rev+ by Expedia. It describes itself as a revenue management tool that provides 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 should 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 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 don’t want to tie yourself to Expedia, you could choose a paid option…
Paid rate-shopper tool:
There are a number of rate-shopping tools 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 if 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.
To continue what you are doing already, a free service like Rev+ from Expedia or a paid rate-shopper like OTAInsights can do this for you.
But you could also get a free trial of an economical but more complete solution like GenieIntelligence and see if that works for you.
Why not take the opportunity from the closure of Booking.com’s RateIntelligence to upgrade your pricing to be ahead of your competitors?
Would you like to sign up for a free trial of our RoomPriceGenie RMS? We would be thrilled to hear from you!