Preserving your inventory – a perishable commodity

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By Tim McLaughlin 

Inventory is like the seat on the plane – a perishable commodity. If it goes up empty, there is no recovering that revenue!  Making informed decisions using available data will maximize your opportunity to drive revenue and owner satisfaction.

Management must balance costs, wear and tear, housekeeping labor, the competitive set and make decisions on rate. Your OTAs and Exchange companies can both help you with this data.  OTAs can give you the competitive set and rates while your exchange company can then include owner use trends, exchange use trends, and analytics-owner use trends compared to who’s renting for how long and how much!  All this data is typically available in your property management system.

Here are some tips and affordable ideas:

Use free resources available – Organizations such as TBMA, exchange companies such as RCI, management companies, wholesalers, visitors bureaus and your vendors all have programs available at little or no cost to assist your resort on a variety of fronts.  Reach out to your account representative to discuss options and opportunities.  Free webinars, lists of suppliers for COVID-19 social distancing ideas, cleaning tips, local, state and federal assistance availability, legal advice and much more are available; don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Exchange – Deposit inventory with your exchange company for lead generation, owner satisfaction, and rental distribution.  Many owners lost weeks’ worth of usage-the exchange companies can help with getting owners back on vacation! In addition to inventory exchange, there are various types of accommodations certificates, bonus points and discount club products to help in most situations.

Rental – contact your account rep from Expedia, Booking.com, Priceline, RCI, and Interval to ask what promotions are available, what the competitive set is doing. Exchange companies do a great job in the “shoulder and non-peak” seasons with their global audience — tap into their resources for additional rental distribution.

Referrals – Your best guest is a repeat guest, dig out those registration cards, set up a database on mailing services such as Constant Contact (with permissions of course), and remind them you are open and clean!

Digital/Social – Now is the best time to increase your digital assets and use of digital platforms to drive higher inventory use by both owners and renters.  Update the pool deck recently?  Take pictures and share them!  Many resorts have done work that should be shared!  Again, contact your exchange company and OTAs to help.

Barter – There are many things you can “trade” rooms to obtain-light bulbs, furnace filters, services, supplies, advertising, video shoots and much more.  There are barter networks in your area and nationally; manage the use of barter carefully and be aware of financial implications – contact your accountant representative to discuss.

In closing, inventory is your life blood, but also a sought after product; don’t undervalue or “give it away;” instead use educated decisions with support from available data and free consulting from all those sources listed above to help you recover and thrive!

Contact: Tim McLaughlin, Director of Business Development, RCI, 4901 Vineland Road, Suite 250, Orlando FL 32811, O: 407-226-8432, E: Tim.McLaughlin@rci.com