Mr. Chopra

Revenue Management

OPTIMA. RateGain's Newest Offering for Hotel Revenue Managers

By Bhanu Chopra, CEO, RateGain

"Being competitive online is no longer just about pricing. You have to be a leader in every aspect of the ecosystem"
Bhanu Chopra, Founder & CEO, RateGain

The hospitality industry lies at the center of the global marketplace. That's reason enough for hoteliers to consider the insinuations of the entire 'global picture' within which they operate. Adopting tangible trends and new technologies will help them to proactively and effectively respond to various evolving challenges, which revolve around customer and market expectations, competitive dynamics, data use, integration and risk management. Such an inter-linked global marketplace will eventually shape the hospitality industry of the future.

RateGain was quick to analyze the market needs and developed OPTIMA as a service to scan rates across hundreds of OTA and meta sites, including local and regional channels, in a click. It not only addresses the pain points of a hotelier, but also provides real-time rate intelligence from the right sources.

In a recent conversation, Benedict Cummins, Publisher of HotelExecutive, and Bhanu Chopra, CEO and founder of RateGain, discussed the benefits Optima can provide hotels.

Benedict: Congratulations on the launch of your new RateShopper, OPTIMA. How is it different from your last RateShopper, PriceGain?

Bhanu: With shifting needs, changing purchase behavior of millennials, new challenges and the disruptors in the market, the hospitality industry has become very dynamic. Sensing the winds of change, our product team worked and researched around the year to understand the market needs and the changing environment. We quickly realized that most of the data will not meet the value and complexity of demand, if the information is not optimized. Also, the fact that all the tools that are in the market right now, do not holistically address all of the pain points of a hotelier, led us to brainstorm further. Identifying the same, we worked and launched Optima, which is not just a Rate Intelligence tool but an online competitive tool that processes the right information, from the right sources and provides comprehensive analytics within a stipulated time period. These were the prime points which we addressed through Optima.

Benedict: How important it is for hotels to use an advanced Rate Intelligence tool?

Bhanu: Perishability and limited inventory can influence any hotel's business, thereby making room prices a major KPI for revenue managers who want to adopt technology in order to run numerous calculations and consider multiple factors for scientific pricing and recommendations. Moreover, considering the level of competition in today's market, it is a challenge to develop an effective rate strategy for any hotel. Along with the data on the identified comp set, a pro price intelligence tool should also be able to provide you with the 'Actual Comp-set' from the eyes of the booker. This is where a smart hotel rate intelligence solution is required to stand out.

Benedict: What made you rebrand your price intelligence suite from PriceGain to Optima? How have been the initial feedback from your clients?

Bhanu: After years of being in the hospitality and travel technology business, I have realized that things change and as a growing product company, we have to keep evolving as well. PriceGain was a modest rate shopping tool, and it was doing well in the market. Today, the features of this suite have expanded beyond its original scope. Hence, we realized that it is time to rebrand and relaunch the product with a fresh appeal. We have received an overwhelming response from our users. The customers are very happy with the new and intuitive user-interface. They particularly find the Airbnb data, OTA rank data & market supply data very useful.

Benedict: What does Optima do from the comprehensive data point perspective?

Bhanu: Subscribers can generate custom excel sheets from the interface on-demand or as per set interval rules. This is also one of the main USPs of OPTIMA. The custom excel sheet provides users with holistic data and insights on Rates Overview for desired dates and LOS, Rates Spread for multiple channels, Rate Threshold breach info, Detailed party violation report market trends, and OTA rank data.

Benedict: Please throw some light on the global price intelligence market in general.

Bhanu: As mentioned earlier, price intelligence tools are commoditized products and have undergone a swift evolution within a very small time span. From being a price shopper only a few years back, PriceGain became a comprehensive market intelligence suite. Today, we proudly claim that OPTIMA is a smart and intuitive online competitiveness tool that provides rates from 500+ channels, scans to check your parity compliances, tracks OTA rank and also keeps a tab on the overall market, which eventually contributes into RevPAR improvement and leadership.

Benedict: Can you highlight the core offerings of your product for our readers?

Bhanu: To be precise, Optima provides Rate Shopping, Rate Parity, OTA Rank and Market Supply Data. It is an advanced tracking system that covers the entire spectrum of online competitiveness for any given hotel. Factors such as parity, competitor prices, product comparison and analysis, OTA rank and market segmentation come into play in the tool. In the perfect world, a rate shopping tool should be able to analyze comprehensive real time data points, keep an eye on compliance, should have a market dipstick, should quickly respond to market changes, study and compare multiple matrices, smartly deal with disruptors and finally, know it's competitor's product in-depth. This is where we step in, as our tool does all this and much more.

So I would say that Optima is a one-of-a-kind rate shopping tool which is flexible, real time, relevant and simple to use. It can deliver insights on your indirect and direct competitor sets. It has an easy-to-use actionable dashboard, which makes the exercise stress-free for anybody as a user or subscriber. One can leverage the exhaustive reporting capability to stay abreast of market dynamics as well as substantiate their hotel's positioning smartly. The tool can scan rates across hundreds of OTA and meta sites, including local and regional channels, in a click! This helps hoteliers to identify and bridge certain problem areas - especially parity gaps. The comparison of ranks or standing against competition yields on various OTAs, is also a very useful data point.

In all, Optima gives you the power to check how your rank is fluctuating across major OTAs & meta-searches at a granular level, which is check-in date wise! I am sure there is hardly any other tool in the market, which is currently doing the same with such precision and intricacy.

Benedict: What about the room-to-room comparison feature?

Bhanu: The tool helps a user to see the complete list of features and amenities that make each room type unique. It correctly maps rooms and rates for an apple-to-apple comparison in terms of room/rate combination. Besides, keywords like Wi-Fi or Airport Transfer are mapped with respect to similar rates, for a better analysis. Keyword based mapping of room and rate types in another USP of our product.

Benedict: How do you ensure that the data you are analyzing is fresh?

Bhanu: As we all know, in the hospitality industry today, freshness of data is extremely critical for a hotel to come up with accurate pricing decisions. Whenever pricing decisions are made, they refer to a report which needs to properly mention when exactly the rate was shopped and inform the Revenue Manager about the age of this data. Optima has filters which unerringly do this and also ensures that no error is made owing to ambiguity of data age.

Benedict: Are there any other features that you would like to highlight?

Bhanu: Optima also has comprehensive real time data points, keeps an eye on compliance, quickly responds to market changes, analyzes multiple metrics, deals with disruptors like AirBnB data, as I already mentioned before and in the end, helps you know all about your competition, better than ever before.

For instance, it has the ability to check how a rank fluctuates across major OTAs & meta-search engines at a granular level. It also gives you an overview on desired dates and LOS alongside rates spread for multiple channels, rate threshold breach information, tracks vacation rentals and helps you to generate detailed parity violation reports. The keyword based mapping is another added advantage that can be leveraged to get more actionable insights.

So a subscriber can track competitor and market rate movement, ensure alignment of rates across channels, proactively respond to supply fluctuations and also monitor changes in channel ranking in real time. We understand that agility is the key to success and with us you can achieve the same. I would like to reiterate that with Optima, you can leverage a winning edge by analyzing multiple matrices, unlike any other tool in the market.

I would like to reiterate that Optima gives you 100% real time data - through the on-time data delivery feature, that aggregates over a continuous 30-day period. It renders 95% data sufficiency, ensures 98% data accuracy and not to forget, delivers 99% data reliability - through application up-time which is actually over 30 days, in our online competitiveness and robust rate shopping tool.

Bhanu Chopra, CEO of RateGain is responsible for establishing the vision that guides the development of RateGain’s solution offerings and delivery methodology. Mr. Chopra is a seasoned start-up entrepreneur in IT consulting. Prior to RateGain, he co-founded Riv Consulting. He began his career at Deloitte Consulting where he worked on large ERP implementations for Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Chopra earned a double Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Finance from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is one of the founding member of iSpirit a policy think-tank for Indian Software Product companies. RateGain has become a leader in hospitality and travel technology solutions for revenue management, decision support, rate intelligence, seamless electronic distribution and brand engagement. Mr. Chopra can be contacted at bchopra@rategain.com Extended Bio...

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