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CASE STUDY: Loews Hotels & Co Realizes Highest Catering Revenues in Company History

Brand partners with IDeaS to create a meetings and events optimization engine that delivers automated forecasts and helps revenue managers strategize better.
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Loews Hotels is an American luxury hospitality company that owns or operates 26 hotels in major city centers and resort destinations across the United States and Canada. Approximately 20 percent of revenue comes from meetings and events, and reporting on its function space metrics was becoming cumbersome due to the volume of data processing.

As an industry innovator, Loews Hotels & Co knew they would need to find a better way to evaluate group business, including the value and revenue of the guest rooms, meeting space, and ancillary revenues, which are crucial to optimizing meeting space and increasing profitability.

Automating Function Space Reporting

Before implementing IDeaS’ Function Space Revenue Management (FSRM), the manual reports revenue managers had to create to analyze function space metrics were becoming unmanageable. As an existing G3 RMS client, the Loews Hotel team collaborated with IDeaS, providing feedback regarding their function space data analysis and optimization challenges.

This and other user feedback resulted in a meetings and events optimization engine with dashboard-driven reporting that delivers automated forecasts, equipping sales teams with a tool for evaluating inquiries and providing revenue managers more time to analyze metrics and deploy strategic efforts that maximize revenue. The Function Space Dashboard and its function space utilization visuals were critical in these efforts. Analyzing meeting space usage by room in time of day, day of the week, and seasonality helps optimize usage by adjusting the flow of meetings/breakouts, editing free-sell availability, and room-to-space ratio guides.

“Automating our existing Function Space reporting in dashboard form has helped simplify updating the data and metrics, allowing our team to review the reports regularly and efficiently. This is one area that I am thrilled about. When this was developed, it became the RMS functionality we most value at Loews,” said Yira Segarra, senior director of group and event revenue optimization at Loews Hotels & Co.

Function Space efficiency metrics allow visibility into the revenues generated from the use of the meeting space. This creates the ability to strategize pricing in event revenue streams by room, time of day, or season and maximizes the revenues with each use.

Equally as relevant to the organization are the Function Space group evaluations. Evaluating group business to include the value and revenues of the guest rooms, meeting space, and ancillary revenues provides a more comprehensive assessment of the business. In turn, the profitability scores allow sales teams to understand a program's actual value and move confidently and efficiently when making business decisions.

Education and Strategy are Key Factors in a Successful Implementation

According to Segarra, education before implementation is the most critical aspect of a rollout. Ensuring sales, revenue, and catering and conference services teams are educated on the system, metrics, and the program's value is essential to organizational alignment and buy-in, as is measuring the results.  

Developing an encompassing strategy and appointing at least one champion/subject matter expert will help in educating those team members that may be impacted. Finally, developing a way to measure critical KPIs is essential and, of course, celebrating successes.

Optimizing meeting space is proven to lead to increased revenues but requires the right people, processes, and technology. The system facilitates the process, but a champion/subject matter expert is essential for integrating it into current practices.

“The perspective of meeting space has evolved. It is not just an amenity to book group business but a viable and lucrative revenue stream. Implementing a system that can help manage and optimize the space and revenues is crucial to a hotel’s future financial success,” said Segarra.

2022 Delivers Highest Catering Revenues in Loews Hotels Company History

Adding FSRM resulted in a more comprehensive and automated process for measuring function space-related metrics. Today, over 500,000 sq. ft. of Loew's meeting space is optimized by IDeaS Function Space Revenue Management. This, along with developing focused free sell dates and becoming more efficient at qualifying and responding to leads, has contributed to the brand’s general strategy of increasing catering revenues. The result is the realization of the highest catering revenues in Loews’ company history in 2022, coming in at 26.5 percent over 2019.

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