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Wake up the Commercial Manager with the right alerts

14 September 2021
Alerts are an easy method to help the commercial team to focus on getting the right things done. However, each hotel needs to individually set rules with impact thresholds for each type of alert as hotels are unique due to size, location, target group, and other variables.

The commercial manager in a hotel is now probably the busiest person when short-term and long-term decisions will make or break the hotel. For example, top management expects a total revenue budget for 2022 and ongoing commercial activities to fill the hotel right now. If the commercial manager is alone, this situation is overwhelming. However, if the hotel has a commercial team, the burden is shared even if all team members work equally hard to capture revenue during the recovery and set the plans for next year.

Focus on creating profit

The only way to cope with this massive workload is to create processes that will help the commercial team to focus on the activities that will produce the best results. One way to stay focused is to set alerts. The purpose of this is to remind or help the team to get the right things done. One general example is to set reminders on your tasks or meetings. Setting reminders is helpful for anyone, and the commercial teams in hotels should use this function wherever they can.

However, commercial teams in hotels need hotel-specific alerts to eliminate manual work and become more focused. The critical type of alert in hotels is a pick-up alert to track progress easily. Before looking into the structure of a pick-up alert, a starting point is to look at the definition of the term alert. The word originates from the French/Italian l'erte, which means "on the watch" or "lookout/tower." The word is an adjective, noun, and verb. When you are alert, you are awake and ready. When you issue an alert, you give a warning, alerting people to, or notifying them of, a concern. There are many definitions. Words such as warning, danger, and urgent are the most common when defining the term, but some definitions also include modern words like message and sound on the phone. Unfortunately, many digital services, such as Facebook and the endless number of apps, use alerts to increase usage by FOMO (fear of missing out). As a result, people drown in alerts on their smartphones. 

Essential to define "Alerts"

To avoid the misuse of alerts in hotels, defining the term alert is essential. The primary reason is not to flood the team with too many alerts. Another is to understand better how to use alerts productively. Therefore, based on input from many online dictionaries, here is a definition for hotels.

"An urgent notice of risk or opportunity to prepare for action."

Let's examine the wording in detail.

If something is urgent, it requires immediate attention or action. When you get an urgent notice, you must drop what you're doing to deal with it. How many things can be acute if you need to drop what you are doing? Something urgent must mean that the problem that needs fixing would create a substantial negative impact or a significant lost opportunity if not corrected.

The next word, notice, neutralizes the word urgent somewhat. It is only a notice instead of a stronger word such as warning.

Risk is a source of danger - a possibility of incurring loss or misfortune. But, on the other hand, an opportunity is a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances. Finally, to prepare means to make oneself ready or to make other people ready for something. That something is taking some action

The conclusion of what the words mean defining "Alert" is that there cannot be too many alerts because too many are not urgent enough. Furthermore, there has to be a certain level of risk or opportunity that makes the notice critical. Without much potential impact, the alert is useless and only a disturbance. Finally, there is no need to alert if the team cannot take any action.

Pick-up alerts

Pick-up is the flow of incoming reservations. Hotels need to get notified if the pick-up is stronger or weaker than expected to take action to capture an opportunity or get back on track to minimize risk.

An early warning is an alert if the total pick-up is significantly stronger or weaker than a baseline. Another idea is to analyze pick-up for segments, feeder markets, distribution channels, rates, campaigns, and other variables.

Hotels differ by destination, location, type, target group, size, and many other variables. Therefore alerts are unique for each hotel. However, remember that each alert should lead to some action to minimize significant risk or seize a considerable opportunity. Therefore, balance the number of daily alerts so there is time to take action. Alerts the does not lead to any activity are a waste of time and just a distraction.