The industry calls it inventory. But for you, it’s your livelihood. So, selling all those hotel rooms as many nights of the year is an absolute must.

Yet, figuring out the right mix of business for your specific hotels’ needs is a challenging puzzle. Simply figuring out what rooms to allocate to different potential revenue source is a complex conundrum.

In our last blog, we discussed what’s the true acquisition cost you are paying to get each head in every one of those beds. Or is it feet in sheets? Be sure to read that one here.

Today, we’re going to delve into how to help optimize your channel management inventory. Here’s three must follow rules you need to know to help develop and effective strategy that will keep your hotel filled with plenty of people.

Know where your business is coming from 

We know you believe you know where your business is coming from, but do you actually know? Too many times, owners and sales people have a staunch belief they truly understand their business mix. Yet, don’t truly understand which customers are coming from what channels.

When people check in to the hotel, front desk staff should ask where the customer heard of the hotel, what city the live in, and what was the deciding factor in picking your hotel. It’s not only a great conversation starter that will endear you to customers, but will help clarify the process guests through before selecting your room product. Perhaps the hotel was recommended by a friend who stayed before, or a relative in the neighborhood. Maybe you’re drawing a lot of families whose kids are playing in a sports league. Equally important, you may find a pattern where many guests are coming from a specific town or state. That will help you focus your sales and marketing efforts more efficiently.

Know your windows

No, we’re not talking about what your customers are looking through in the guestroom. We mean how far in advance are people booking your hotel. In markets, such as NYC, Washington DC, and San Francisco, residents search for local hotels more than anyplace else. The short local getaway will continue to trend.

That means you must reevaluate how many rooms you make available on every channel. If you put too many rooms on the OTA sites, for example, you could be setting yourself up to lose money. But be warned, without fully understanding your booking windows, it’s possible the opposite is true.

Fortunately, SkyTouch’s hotel property management system (PMS) provides clever two-way channel management via XML connections with Online Travel Agencies (OTA), the Global Distribution System (GDS) and features a customizable (branded) Internet Booking Engine (IBE) designed to help to increase your reach.

Never sell out

While some may disagree with this theory, our experience from talking to hoteliers has taught us this axiom: If you are sold out ahead of time, then you simply haven’t been charging enough for your rooms. Ideally, you should only sell that last room when someone walks in the door at 11:59pm.

The cloud based PMS from SkyTouch helps you solve this issue with its rate management system empowering you to utilize a Best Available Rate (BAR) pricing strategy while easily moving all rates between BAR levels with just a few clicks.

Follow these simple rules and you may better understand where to invest your marketing dollars that can help better yield higher paying customers.