I am sure successful forecasting feels like looking into a crystal ball and making a prediction. One of the biggest challenge sales professional’s face is “Forecasting”.
In hotels, it’s normally the revenue team which does this bit but it’s quite common for the revenue team to flip the ball to the sales leaders. Most of the time, the sales leaders do get stumped in this aspect.
So to make things easier, here are certain things to consider for successful sales forecasting:
Historical based sales forecasting:
This sales forecasting method takes a top to bottom view. It involves getting data of last 12- 24 months and then using this data determine your next 3-6 month’s forecast.
This is the most commonly used technique which simply looks at your hotel’s past performance to determine how the hotel will do going forward?
This method ignores how many opportunities and how much room revenue is actually in your sales funnel? God forbid, if you have a massive cancellation, this method will definitely not give you results. So in totality, this method is useful for getting a good understanding of the hotel trends.
Funnel based sales forecasting
This method takes a backwards approach, starting with all the opportunities you currently have in your open sales funnel. This method goes through each opportunity in your funnel and keeps in mind its ability to convert.
This helps in accuracy of the forecasting even if your team does not have consistency every month in terms of how many leads are being generated and kept in the funnel?
As this relies on a lot of data and inputs from your sales team members, the output is solely determined on the input given.
Wrong input given by your sales team members can actually lead to the entire forecast, going wrong.
Competition based sales forecasting
This method takes into account the occupancy level of competition hotels using various sources like hoteligence 360, sales team inputs etc.
If the competition hotel is on a higher occupancy on certain dates, then based on various aspects like location, day of the week etc. there will be forecasting done for your hotel, for those dates.
This method does not take into account the large groups that lead to sudden spike in competition hotels occupancy. Sometimes this may lead to an overconfident forecasting often leading to under performance of the hotel when compared to the forecasted numbers.
There is no one exact way of forecasting. The best way is to use all of the above methods where required, which will definitely help you be more accurate than your peers and yes! The competition.