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BITAC Sales & Marketing Revenue Management Summit: Optimizing TrevPAR

By Gavin Fraser | February 14, 2024

Paul Rantilla, the Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer of Hospitality at Plusgrade, recently orchestrated a captivating panel discussion at the BITAC Sales & Marketing Revenue Management Summit at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. The panel brought together some of the brightest minds in the hospitality industry. The event featured esteemed hotel executives Stephanie Atkisson, Lovell Casiero, John Elster, and Patrick Espinoza, each renowned for their innovative contributions to the field.

Paul highlighted how in 2023 direct bookings went up by 50% and became a third of all bookings in Hospitality. He mentioned a lot of efforts have been made by people in the room to go direct. At the same time, OTA bookings went down from 39% to 33%.

Paul asked Stephanie Atkisson, VP of Sales, Marketing & Revenue at Raines Hospitality, a little bit more about Raines and what they are doing in this area.

“We have really focused on SEO and driving people directly to our historic lifestyle brand website to really convert that. We have seen an uptick of almost 30% traction on our website just by organic SEO,” Stephanie stated.

Paul then pivoted to Lovell Casiero, SVP of Commercial Strategies at PM Hotel Group, to get her perspective.

“We went all in with a third party to take care of our digital marketing. We outsourced everything. Over the last 2 years, we have slowly taken that scope of work back in house. We spend probably the largest amount of our money on digital (marketing) making sure we are getting people direct to our website,” Lovell added.

The third of the four panelists, John Elster, Chief Revenue Officer at Soul Community Planet Hotels, had this to say regarding OTA’s and building the customer relationship, “We try and own that OTA relationship the minute they (the customer) walk in the door. And we start that by mentally making sure that we are trying to provide marketing to one. And ask that guest when they check in, ‘what can we do to make your stay better.”

John went on to boast a few recent stats from his organization he had seen, “We are really proud to say at SCP Hotels, we now have a 70% direct booking off the OTA’s. We were at 45% just 3 years ago. So this tenacity of owning that guest and that experience, using the OTA’s to get them in the door. And, never accept that they’ll be allowed to book again on the OTA.”

Speaking of the diversity of the organizations of those on the panel, Paul pivoted to Patrick Espinoza, Executive Director of Sales at Caesars Entertainment, to speak to direct bookings from his perspective.

“It’s really interesting to see how our business model has changed over the years in terms of our revenue streams and what contributes to the overall success of our company. When I started with Caesars, the greater share of our business was the gaming share. It was the greatest mix at the end of the day.” Patrick went on to state, “Today our business metrics have changed considerably and it’s less than 45%. And it comes to our gaming revenue. Because we have excelled through personalization and meeting the needs of our overall guests. We have excelled in other upsell streams such as our clubs, our bars, our retail.”

Paul wrapped up the panel by opening the floor to the audience for questions.

The panel’s diverse perspectives provided valuable insights into optimizing TrevPAR and navigating the evolving landscape of hospitality revenue management.


Gavin Fraser

Gavin Fraser is an Editor at Hotel Interactive, a leading provider of online resources and information for the hospitality industry serving as a hub for industry news, trends, and insights. Gavin covers the hospitality sector for hotelinteractive.com, distributes its e-newsletter, and moderates panel discussions for the company’s BITAC events.

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