Boutique hotels have many advantages in competitive markets. Their unique histories and the promise of a more intimate guest experience can be a huge draw for travelers. However, meeting the revenue management standards set by larger properties and big chains can place a heavy burden on these compact operations, especially in places where tourism is on the rise.
The 72-room Burrard Hotel in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, began as the Burrard Motor Inn in 1956. Following a midscale rebrand and modern redesign in 2011 that retained its hip, retro character, the Burrard has no problem setting itself apart. With Vancouver’s booming tourism industry, the Burrard’s small management team wanted to take advantage of every revenue opportunity, but they faced significant challenges identifying and understanding their competitors and optimizing their pricing to improve bookings and profitability.
Automated Technology Enables Enhanced Strategy
In the mission to define his hotel’s competitive set, Darren Simpson, General Manager at the Burrard, discovered that Vancouver visitors were focused less on hotel brand and amenities and more on cost.
“We don’t believe we have any direct competitors in terms of what we can offer as a guest experience, but if guests are comparing solely on price point, then we need to use that to our advantage,” Simpson said.
Once Simpson understood how potential guests compared properties, he saw the need for a revenue management technology partner that could help automate pricing decisions based on a complex array of industry and hotel data. When his search brought him to IDeaS, Simpson knew he had found the right solution partner for his hotel.
Upon implementing IDeaS’ G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) in 2017, improved results were immediately realized. Based on accurate, real-time insights, Simpson was enabled to price the Burrard’s mix of room types with greater speed and certainty than ever before.
“We’ve been able to push boundaries on our rate ceiling with positive results because we are constantly raising the threshold,” Simpson said.
He appreciates IDeaS’ forecasting and analytics capabilities, but the real reason he chose G3 RMS was for its automated pricing features. Without having to manually crunch numbers, Simpson gained a wealth of free time he now uses to make more complex revenue management strategy decisions.
“Our competitors are still doing what I did before implementing G3, spending a couple of hours a day manually changing rates and reviewing rate shops,” Simpson said. “Without needing to do that, I can focus more time on other aspects of the business that drive revenue.”
Burrard Receives Continuous Support from IDeaS
Simpson and his Burrard team were also drawn to IDeaS because of the company’s dedication to training and consultation. Beyond the implementation stage, IDeaS offers continuous support in the form of recurring check-ins and learning modules to ensure the Burrard team maximizes the potential of their G3 RMS technology.
“I admire the amount of time and resources IDeaS puts into their learning program. I haven’t seen anything like it,” Simpson said. “They cared enough to send someone to my property to help us fully understand the product. IDeaS truly believes in my hotel, and their technology and product are now ingrained in the Burrard team.”
The Burrard has enjoyed continued growth with RevPAR that has outpaced the competitive set and market average. Most recently in 2018, the hotel grew their RevPAR by 15 percent versus the market at 11 percent.
After seeing positive results time and again, Simpson asserts that the most effective way to use G3 RMS is to just trust in the machine and let the system learn.
“IDeaS has an insane ability to quickly respond to changes in a dynamic market. There’s no one human that can physically do what this product can do—there’s so much that goes into the algorithm,” Simpson said. “Revenue managers should simply believe in the tool, have faith in it, and they will achieve results that exceed their expectations.”
G3 RMS has given the hotel added confidence to continue to grow its business, and the Burrard is now exploring another rebrand at their property to include a higher-level room-class offering.