When it comes to hotel room pricing, revenue managers want to sell the right room at the right price and at the right time. For larger hotel chains and resorts, sophisticated revenue management software (RMS) helps revenue managers set room rates. Smaller, independent hotels could also benefit from RMS; unfortunately, most software is too costly to implement and includes many unnecessary features.
For his doctoral thesis, Aishajiang Aizezikali (Op. & Mgmt. Sci.) developed an RMS application that offers smaller hotels data-driven pricing solutions that are cost effective and easy to use. “Most research on hotel revenue management systems focuses on larger hotel franchise chains. Little attention is given to smaller hotel properties that don’t have the money for expensive revenue management software,” he says.
DEVELOPING A MORE PRACTICAL TOOL FOR SMALL HOTELS
Aizezikali connected with managers at a 90-room hotel/resort in Washington to develop a Microsoft Excel application that analyzed the resort’s customer data from the previous year and current booking pattern to determine the optimal room pricing. He used the application to generate a room rate report and compared the revenue performance of the resort with data on the resort’s previous revenue per available room.
Aizezikali said the process was challenging at times, partly because he designed the application from scratch, writing more than 3,800 lines of code and studying books on using Excel for business modeling and coding.
“Results showed average revenue per available room had increased almost 10 percent compared to the same time period in the previous year,” he says.
The resort’s management team was impressed by the application’s functions and agreed to implement it for a four-month trial period. Aizezikali plans to patent and commercialize the application to make it more widely available.