5 Ways to Increase your Hotel’s Revenue Per Room

By: Aleksandr Smechov

Revenue Per Available Room, or RevPar for short, is a crucial metric for any hotel. It’s a simple formula...

RevPar = total rooms revenue / total rooms available

… but the number you get is a good indicator of how well you are utilizing the value of your rooms. Let’s add to this another very important term: RevPor, which is money spent per occupied room. This is necessary when tracking how much people are spending on amenities - are they raiding their minibar and indulging in room service? RevPor is a useful indicator, especially in Vietnam where there are many niche hotels who need to watch their numbers closer than most mass market hotels.

Photo by: Intercontinental Asiana Saigon

If you’re paying close attention to your hotel’s booking patterns, RevPar and RevPor can determine what move you should make next to maximize revenue with your rooms. There is no concrete RevPar or RevPor that you can really aim for year round - the bigger the better of course, but this really depends on room demand during the season and other external factors.

Citypassguide.com consulted several industry professionals to finalize a list of five great methods to maximize both RevPar and RevPor. Get the most from your rooms this season:

1. Ramp up room benefits

Executive Lounge – Photo by: Hilton Hanoi Opera

Perception is reality, and if people perceive that a room is worth more than what you’re charging then it becomes an easier buying choice. This can done by adding exclusive benefits to certain rooms. For example, get the Executive Standard and get access to a private lounge with free refreshments and free flow drinks during fixed hours; free late checkouts; complimentary in-room breakfast; discounts on services like the spa or at certain F&B venues; or anything else that you can offer. While none of these are large investments, the person perceives these benefits as special treatment and values the room more than something similar but without the benefits. Ramping up room benefits is an excellent way to increase your RevPar.

2. Jacuzzi bonus

Jacuzzi – Photo by: Six Senses Con Dao

How many movies and shows have you seen where the characters enter a hotel room they can’t afford and get excited over the jacuzzi in the bathroom? No matter how overhyped, jacuzzis are what people think of when they imagine a luxury suite, a special treat they can only afford during special occasions. A jacuzzi room can be a lot more appealing to travellers than a “shower” room. Especially during colder or rainy months. This simple addition can change a regular room to a room with a taste of luxury.

3. Give them options - but limit their choices

Room with Welcom Fruit – Photo by: Eastin Grand Hotel

People like options, but they also like being told what to get. Using other items mentioned on this list (jacuzzi rooms and rooms with added benefits, for example) you can create more room options for guests. The next step would be to direct these rooms at certain demographics - if the Standard Room is now the Executive Standard, and couples have been flooding into the Standard Room this season, paint the Executive Standard as a honeymooner favorite, or something similar. This way, you get the added benefit of giving more budget options for travellers while promoting your “enhanced” rooms.

4. Stop sucking up to OTAs

Yes, there are plenty of travelers that head over to Agoda or TripAvisor or Booking.com without even looking at a hotel’s website. This can lead fearful managers to abuse their reliance on OTAs and neglect the fact that in the long-run, a balance between OTAs and direct bookings via website and phone is more profitable. This is because people on OTAs are looking for the cheapest option - meaning they are less likely to get room service, buy a bottle of wine, or even dine in the hotel. Many rooms on Agoda don’t even include breakfast - guests will be going to town to eat, not opting to laundry their clothes in the hotel, and avoiding the minibar like the plague. This is a big hit to RevPor.

5. Play with the length of stay

Photo by: Hotel Equatorial

If people are staying for a minimum of five to seven days in your hotel, give ‘em extra. Not only are they more likely to increase your RevPor by getting in-room dining and scouring your F&B outlets and spa facilities, but you will decrease maintenance costs as linens and disposable toiletries will have to be changed less. In-room breakfast, turndown amenities, better bathroom soaps and shampoos, gift baskets, welcome fruits and chocolates - these small investments make longer stays more attractive. And longer stays guarantee filled rooms, reduce costs and up both RevPar and RevPor. What’s not to like?


The Best Pool in Ho Chi Minh City?

By: Aleksandr Smechov

Hotel Equatorial’s Pool is one of the Best in the Ho Chi Minh City.

What many consider the best pool in Ho Chi Minh City is not by an ocean-side resort, on the roof of an affluent condo building, or even in an indoor gymnasium. It’s on the fourth floor of the 5-star Equatorial Hotel.

Twenty-five meters of minimal-chlorine, salt-filtered ocean-blue water stretch across the mid-roof of the hotel. Potted flora line the pool, soaking in the Saigon sun. A poolside bar awaits those who want a drink with their tan, and a delectable food menu offers guests a luxurious outdoor dining experience.

Below, the bustling streets of Vietnam fill with chaotic traffic. The Equatorial pool is a slice of paradise amidst the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle four stories down.

Two sides of the pool are flanked by floors 3 to 11 of Hotel Equatorial. The other two are open to the trees and colorful buildings that surround District 5. It’s almost surreal how close this slice of tranquility is to the urban rawness of the Ho Chi Minh City streets.

In the mornings you can spot early risers lapping the pool, with families enjoying a swim by midday and stressed-out businessmen vegetating chin-deep by nightfall. The Equatorial pool draws a diverse crowd.

What’s the magic ingredient that makes this the best pool in HCMC?

“My friends love the pool,” says Jessie, the Guest Services Officer at the Equatorial. Guests occasionally express how much they prefer the pool to any other in the city. Jessie says some believe it to be “by far” the best pool in Ho Chi Minh.

It could be that the pool looks like it was taken straight out of a music video, with its planted trees, poolside bar, clean, blue water and its location in the middle of a bustling metropolis.

Well, that’s because it was. In 2011 pop sensation Minh Hằng filmed her “Beautiful Girl” music video by the pool. You can see the clip below:

The typical scene at the Equatorial’s pool may be a little less sensational and colorful, and a bit more quiet and peaceful, as lounge music plays softly by the bar and swimmers immerse themselves in the clean, cool water, or sit sipping drinks.

The pool actually uses a salt-based filtration system, which reduces irritation and makes for a more pleasant swim. The guests sometimes have a hard time getting out of the water.

It’s not difficult to see why guests prefer the Equatorial pool over any other in Ho Chi Minh City. Its proximity to the overwhelming cityscape, its slice-of-heaven location and its features all make it the perfect getaway that’s meters away from all the action.

Hotel guests also have access to poolside events, including parties, French nights and other exciting gatherings.

The Equatorial has even come up with non-guest service packages, where those not staying at the hotel can purchase a membership to Equatorial’s Equinox spa and fitness center starting at yearly fees of VND24 million++ per person and VND51.5 million++ for families of four with two children. This includes access to the gym, sauna, Jacuzzi and pool, as well as member discounts for most hotel services.

If a non-guest is content with just the pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, prices are VND19 million++ per year for adults and VND16 million++ for children under 18. A daily fee of VND300,000++ for adults and VND200,000++ for children also gives non-guests full access to the pool.


5 Things to Do With Your Partner at Sanouva Hotel

By: Phuong Tran

We’ve all had type of days while traveling with significant others when you can’t quite get the gumption to leave your cozy bed and explore the greater world outside. Some of our readers recently had one of those days while staying at Sanouva Hotel, located right in the heart of Saigon and have packed a list of things to do for a light-up couple schedule in one of the busiest cities in Asia.

1) Food Street Food, Lots of them, Yummy!

Perfectly located right in the heart of the busiest area of the city, Sanouva Hotel is just a few steps away from heaven of street food venues. Day time or evening, Ben Thanh market is where you can always discover new dish everyday.

2) A Short Stroll Shopping

Ly Tu Trong Street is famous for its variety of fashion stores. And do not miss the best shopping mall of the city: Vincom Center on the same street.

3) Museums Everywhere.

Just a few minutes walking from the hotel and you can visit a number of the best museums in the city, including Ho Chi Minh museum, History museum and War Remnants Museum. It is also worth your time to visit Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera House, Independent Palace and take the chance to watch a show of water puppet at Rong Vang Water Puppet Theatre.

4) A Different Nightlife

Though Ho Chi Minh City is still not a city for round-the-clock entertainment – most places close soon after midnight. But if you are seeking for a bit fun before relaxing for the next busy day, check out Lush and Apolycapse, two of the most crowded nightclubs in town.

5) Pamper yourself at the hotel

Too tired from all the above activities? Take a rest at this lovely hotel and enjoy local/international cuisine at your door with Sanouva restaurant.


5 Things the Best Boutique Hotels in the World Have in Common

By: Aleksandr Smechov

Ever wanted to stay in an extravagant palace literally fit for a king? What about running into a 100-year old tribal woman while exploring sand dunes outside a world-class luxury accommodation in the middle of nowhere? Perhaps enjoy some wild elephant gazing while you lounge in your private jacuzzi amidst an African national park?

Some of the best boutique hotels in the world aim to embark guests on unforgettable experiences, unreplicatable anywhere else. There is, however, a common thread among the cream of the crop in the boutique hotel world.

Pondoro Game Lodge

There are five essential values common in all of this year’s winners of the World Boutique Hotel Awards.


The hotel seamlessly integrates with its environment

This is so vital that it always seems understated. Rather than drone on about the importance of creating a space that compliments an excellent environment and vice versa, here are some great examples:

Set in the Thar Desert, Suryagarh is built with Jaisalmer sandstone, situated in the middle of nowhere, with stretching dunes and arid land creating a strangely beautiful backdrop. 

Suryagarh

Embodying Paris’s inimitable combination of class, history, architecture, cuisine and art, the Grand Hotel is located in the middle of the city’s biggest attractions, including the Louvre and Opera house. With a story stretching back to the 18th century, it’s no surprise that this hotel naturally takes in the culture and feeling of the historic city surrounding it.

Grand Hotel Du Palais Royal


The service is beyond expectation

This not only means taking guest from the airport and back, or even anticipating needs. The best boutique hotels in the world have staff that are interesting personalities in themselves, making them just as memorable as the hotel itself.

For example, Pondoro Game Lodge in Africa has Robbie, the owner of the resort and your personal ranger, guiding you around the African bush in his jeep. One of the staff in Suryagarh is an expert on the theory of relativity. The owners at Awarta Nusa Dua Luxury Villas & Spa in Bali tend to their garden themselves, including four bonsai trees over a hundred years old, and two merged frangipani trees, meant to symbolize unity.

Owners, managers and service staff at the best boutique hotels in the world are your friends and family. They genuinely care about their property and are glad to relay this appreciation to their guests - they feel like they’re at home, and make you feel the same way.

Pondoro Game Lodge


The hotel is beautiful, inside and out

This seems obvious, and, well… it is. Words don’t help as much as pictures do in this situation. The hotel must be beautiful, architecturally unique, reflective of the environment and the culture, and spotless. Here are some of our favorite examples:

Saffire reflects the natural environment it is built in: The Hazards mountains’ pink granite, the white beaches and sapphire waters, and the grey-green native bush land.

Saffire

The Royal Mansour in Morocco was commissioned by King Hassan the 6th for his most honored guests. The palatial riads all reflect a kingly aesthetic - in fact, over 1,500 artisans were employed to work on the facility.

The Royal Mansour

Venetian luxury is intertwined with a relaxed atmosphere at Ca Maria Adele in Italy, where guests are meant to forget what century they are in.

Ca Maria Adele


The focus is on creating new, unique experiences

A genuinely unforgettable experience goes beyond a comfortable stay and great F&B outlets. The best hotels in the world aim to have their guests fully experiencing the environment in and around the facility.

Besides a rounded experience that includes likeable staff, great food and drinks, a beautiful environment in and out of the hotel, and so on, the key element in creating a unique experience for guests is a series of small touches and moments that make the experience unforgettable.

Some examples include:

Swimming in your private infinity spa pool while watching the sky redden and the sun set across the horizon at Spicers Peak Lodge in Australia.

Spicers Peak Lodge

Reading your favorite novel with a glass of excellent wine by the magnificent grand piano at The Library Hotel in the United States.

The Library Hotel


F&B is on par with the best restaurants in the country

For many, the food and drinks at a hotel make or break the experience. Those who can afford the luxury are more often than not serious foodies with an appreciation for fine cuisine. It’s no surprise that the best hotels in the world also have some of the best dining outlets available in the region, and even the country.

The Royal Mansour in Morocco employs three-Michelin-star chef Yannick Alléno for both of their restaurants. Chefs at the Pondoro Game Lodge in South Africa serve local cuts of ostrich and buffalo steak in generous portions. Awarta Nusa Dua in Bali has some of the best Chinese food in the country.

Awarta Nusa Dua


Wrapping it all up

All these five points are intimately wrapped up and interconnected with one another. Take one out, and you very likely have no chance at achieving a World’s Best title. And while there’s definitely something to be said about the boutique hotels mentioned, this doesn’t stop operators of smaller hotels, or even corporate entities, from learning from this year’s winners and employing the very same elements to make the best experience possible for their guests.


Tet Celebration at New World Saigon Hotel

By: City Pass Guide

Vietnam’s biggest holiday is approaching, marking the arrival of spring and the new lunar year. At this time, the entire country goes into a fervor, visiting family members, eating traditional meals, drinking, giving gifts and practicing ancient traditions. Special Tet foods are cooked, lucky money is given out, and the past year’s troubles are forgotten in hopes of a better and brighter new year.

Taking hold of the spring spirit at the center of Saigon, New World Saigon Hotel joins the festivities, celebrating with stunning decorations and special menus for guests.

Mai Vang and the Kitchen Gods

In a Southern Vietnamese home, an apricot flower tree (Mai Vàng) helps ward off evil spirits in the South, and a pink peach flower tree wards off bad luck in the North (Đào). The bright flowers blossom only once a year around January and early February. The tree marks a new, prosperous beginning, while also being a beautiful set piece. One central element on display in New World Saigon Hotel’s lobby this Tet is the apricot flower tree.

Colors are very important elements in Vietnamese culture. Red (including the pink peach flowers) and Gold (the yellow apricot flowers) are lucky colors in Asian culture. The trees ward off evil spirits during the absence of the Kitchen Gods (Táo Quân) who leave the family to visit the palace of the Jade Emperor, where they will report back what the humans have been up to in the past year. They travel on the backs of giant carp to heaven and back, making the fish another important symbol.

The Spirit of Spring

Bursting with flowers, beautiful decorations, tradition - Tet is in a word, vibrant. To showcase this vibrancy to New World Saigon Hotel’s guests, Citypassguide.com has for the third time collaborated with the hallmark hotel to produce a stunning representation capturing the modernity and tradition of Tet in Vietnam.

Guests will be arriving at New World Saigon Hotel during Tet to find a mosaic of lively, colorful paintings and photographs displayed over wall-to-ceiling windows, as well as areas of Parkview Restaurant. The result is a showcase of what Tet is now and what it was in the past, using gorgeous imagery and the colors of Tet to surround guests in the Vietnamese Lunar New Year spirit.

Old Acquaintances

Citypassguide.com and New World Saigon Hotel have collaborated together twice in the past, installing beautiful displays to mark special times of the year. For New World Saigon Hotel’s 20th anniversary in 2015, Citypassguide.com collected its most stunning portraits, landscape photography and paintings of Vietnam and its people, as well as art from contributing artists.

Last Christmas, Citypassguide.com took its role a step further, conceptualizing a tree composed entirely of conical hats (nón lá). The nón lá is the unofficial symbol of Vietnam, used to shade the hardworking men and women who toil in the rice fields and farms of the countryside. A hardworking face, a sweet smile and a gentle glimmer in the eyes - the spirit of the people was captured with carefully selected professional black and white photography and allegorical set pieces.

Parkview’s windows were covered in transparent images of Vietnamese scenery and life, creating an immersive and cultural experience for guests entering the lobby and restaurant.

Tet Festivities at New World Saigon Hotel

Celebrate Tet at New World Saigon Hotel this year.The hotel will be serving lunches and dinners in line with the traditions of the lunar new year. See their featured promotions below:

From 7 to 11 February 2016, Parkview is serving up fabulous lunch and dinner buffets that boast the best of traditional Vietnamese Tet dishes as well as seafood specialties to satiate the biggest appetites. Lunch buffet is priced at VND680,000 per person and dinner buffet priced at VND980,000 per person.

Meanwhile Dynasty kicks off the first day of Tet (8 February) with a lion dance and an exquisite Tet Brunch Buffet priced at VND1,088,000 per person, including house wine, beer, soft drinks, and tea, (Club Epicure priced at VND888,000 per person). Tet Dim Sum Buffet is priced at VND450,000 per person from 9 to 21 February; and the Tet Holiday Reunion set menu is priced from VND6,800,000 for a table of 10 people including a bottle of house wine, available from 1 to 21 February.

Nian Gao, or New Year Cake, has a history of at least a thousand years. In Chinese, the pronunciation of word “Nian Gao” means “year high” and implies prosperity year after year – making Nian Gao a popular gift item during the New Year period.

Nian Gao at Saigon Bakery:
– Daily, 1 to 22 February 2016, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
– Medium box: VND 288,000*
– Large box: VND 588,000*

*Prices exclude 6% service charge and 10% VAT.


Retaining Customers For Hotels & Restaurants in 2016

By: Zoe Osborne

In today’s intensely consumer-based market it is becoming increasingly difficult to create and retain loyal customers, particularly in Vietnam’s rapidly developing commercial center, Ho Chi Minh City. Products are so easily and widely available, standards are so competitive and access to them is so transparent that consumers can, and do, have their pick of the market. Businesses don’t choose their market now - the market chooses its businesses, and customers are increasingly moving away from brand loyalty, prone towards buying from whoever has the best price, for the best product, at the right time. So how can you keep them coming back to you? Is it a lost cause?

 

Why Are Customers Less Loyal?

The question of “why” customer loyalty is decreasing all comes down to instant gratification and the huge range of information available to people through the modern technological age. The internet alone has opened a massive online network for buying and selling, and generates the expectation for ease, instant results, rapid product and service development, and top standards. Add society’s progression into mobile-based hotel and restaurant bookings, information collection and web design into the mix, and you can multiply that by 10. There are so many reasons for why customer retention is becoming harder and harder, but let’s break it down into five:

 

1. The market is transparent

Consumers have access to more data via their mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc. than ever before, as well as the ability to compare prices, benefits and offers on the go via the numerous online sites or apps that exist to make their buying easier. This makes competition fiercer than ever as businesses cannot hide; every detail is accessible and comparable. Someone could be sitting in the lobby of your classy 4 star hotel, comparing the price of your executive suite to that of the hotel next door while negotiating with your clerk over your complimentary breakfast. You could lose them in an instant, simply because they found out that next door offers late-night checkout.

Source: www.moneycrashers.com

 

2. Everything must be easy and instant

With so much information at our fingertips, society is becoming increasingly accustomed to instant gratification. The less effort needed for someone to engage with your content, the more likely they are to do so. Similarly, the less complex your hotel or restaurant booking system is, the more bookings you will receive. The less difficult it is to find your store the more likely you are to get visitors - particularly for hotels and restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City’s packed streets. And the quicker your service the higher your reputation. If your customer is given an offer by your competitor that saves them time and effort, then you are likely waving goodbye to them.

 

3. You’ve got to be “indie”

Chinos and knitted jumpers aside, advocating and caring for individuality in your market is key to the success of your customer service. With the huge variety of choice that the internet gives its consumers comes the need for corporations to think of their market as a group of individuals with unique profiles, buying behaviours, interests and lead potential, rather than a set of people that fit a target profile. Businesses like hotels and restaurants are increasingly interested in using consumer tracking software to find out more about what their individual customers want, in tailoring email campaigns specifically to customer interactions and in focusing their social media tactics on select segments of their target market. The idea is to anticipate what your customer wants, and to be there when they want it.

Source: www.blog.vendhq.com

 

4. New new new

People love the word “upgrade” (especially if it has “free” in front of it). Society is becoming driven to consume, often for the sake of consumption, with people always hankering after the latest this or the next model of that. Your customer wants an experience or a product that they’ve never seen before. I was with Windows about five years ago, and stubbornly loyal to the operating system. But when the Apple Macbook Pro came out, as shiny and weirdly round as it was, I ditched my PC in a second. Apple was new, stylish, impressively efficient, and I moved. This applies to other sectors too, particularly hospitality. In Vietnam, hotels compete with each other for customers with their rooms rates, benefits, the style of their space, etc. Often it comes down to how well you utilise the full potential of your business, both in terms of customer satisfaction and in terms of profit. You can read more about how to maximise your RevPar while maintaining the kind of standards that keep customers coming back for more here.

 

5. You’ve got more competition than ever

As you’ll have understood by now, to retain customers in today’s market you have to be a fierce competitor - there are just too many options for your potential customer. For example, there are so many 4 star and 5 star hotels across Vietnam, that companies need to continuously bring something special to the table to maintain interest in their potential customers. You have to be the best one. Industry standards and rate of growth are ever higher, and to maintain a voice among your competitors you have to stand out.

 

Is There a Solution?

The best solution to this decline in customer loyalty is to let them go! Ok, I don’t mean totally abandon all leads - just stop spending your energy on trying to use old strategies to retain customers that interact with businesses in such a new way, and instead focus on catering to their buying behaviours.

 

– Get online + Google’s new OTA

Since your potential customers will be comparing your competitors via the vast mass of information that is the internet, you’d better be on the web and with a great reputation. Social media marketing and online listings have never been more important. Getting great reviews is a really big deal, especially for restaurants and hotels in Ho Chi Minh City that often rely on online reputation. Prices aside, if your business has a good rep for service and quality and the kind of credibility that can only come from past sales and happy reviews, people will be far more likely to choose you. For those in the hospitality sector, Google’s new OTA platform “Google Destinations” is promising to be the next big thing for a company’s online presence with the potential to totally out-run Tripadvisor or Expedia - you can read more about that here.

 

– Keep it simple + capturing user attention

When businesses set up their website, they have to think about a range of factors - from how it relates to their brand identity to the loading speed of each little section. But perhaps the most, and, sadly, often one of the most overlooked or misunderstood factors, is usability. Simplicity. How easy is it to get from A to B on your site? Studies show that simple fonts and print help people to reason more clearly. Another study by researchers from Yale in partnership with Stanford University and the University of Michigan proved that people are more likely to spend money in response to simple descriptions and prompts. Finally, Google discovered that simple websites with low visual complexity, plenty of white space and high prototypicality were much more appealing to their viewers than complicated ones. And if you think about it, Google itself is the perfect example. This sheet of website statistics is a great tool for understanding how your users interact with your site, and how to capture their attention.

Minimise the steps your viewers have to take to get make a choice or get through a process, such as finding your “about” section or booking a room. And remember the age-old saying that a picture speaks a thousand words. According to one study, about 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

 

– Studying (... or spying on) customer behavior

Like in the famous 1954 film by Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window, this is your chance to be a voyeur, to spy on your customers. There are a number of ways to collect data on the individuals in your market and keep tabs on their activities, and this information will be invaluable in your marketing strategy. Remember that connecting with today’s market requires you to focus on the individual, not just put everyone under the general target profile, especially if your target market is very dense like in HCMC. There are a number of content management systems that offer consumer tracking software to personalise your interactions with every viewer and potential or existing client that comes to your site, such as Salescloud or Hubspot. In fact, Hubspot has a number of articles on the art of spying on your client base. Other tips include keeping a record of who engages with your email or social media campaigns and what they engage with, who shares or follows your content, and using good old Google analytics to understand who comes to your site, when and why.

 

– Surfing consumer trends

So you have a lot of competitors and they just keep getting better. What to do? Compete. Use your competition as a force to push your own business to greater heights. Analyse what they do and how they get there, and implement it - only better. Identify your own channel of growth, based on your company’s vision and mission. Put in your own steps to keep evolving and renewing your services and products, perhaps at an even faster rate than them! Do be mindful of quality, though. Hubspot wrote a great piece on how to stay on top of consumer trends - how to be reactive, proactive and survive in this dog eat dog market. Have a read.

 

– Watch your loading times

Your content should have a definite voice and your products must embody your company’s image. This kind of unity starts from inside the company itself. According to Adobe, “given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.” But be mindful of the loading time that your creativity might take - Adobe also found that “39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load”. If you are working in an area that has poor wifi, like the majority of the hotels, restaurants and other businesses in Vietnam, bear this in mind too - slower wifi means even slower loading time.
So to conclude, customer retention is not dead. It is not redundant, but it has definitely changed and in this fast paced world that we find ourselves in today, it is likely to change again. Soon. At the end of the day it’s all about keeping pace.

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