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Episode art #69 with Caryl Helsel, Founder and CEO of Dragonfly Strategists
Episode art #69 with Caryl Helsel, Founder and CEO of Dragonfly Strategists
The Hotel Moment podcast — episode 69

What does it take to create a winning revenue strategy?

In this week’s episode of the Hotel Moment podcast, Karen Stephens, Revinate CRO, and Caryl Helsel, Founder and CEO of Dragonfly Strategists, explain how closely monitoring the guest journey helps achieve revenue goals. Helsel also shares how technology connects these ideas and discusses ways to apply technology to every aspect of hotel operations. From distribution to commercial, Helsel discusses why all teams should be aligned when rolling out a new revenue strategy.

Tune in to discover the components of a successful revenue strategy that can be implemented and integrated across departments.

Red, yellow, and blue lines to indicate soundwaves.
Headshot of Karen Stephens

Meet your host

Karen Stephens is Revinate’s Chief Marketing Officer and runs the sales, marketing, and customer success teams. She has more than 20 years of experience in the industry alone.

On the Hotel Moment podcast, Karen speaks with leaders to draw out their experiences and insights. She is also a Francophile and Prof K — a coach, a mentor, a guide to the people who work with her.

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Hotel Moment episode #69 Quote graphic- Revenue is collaborative.

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Transcript

Intro – 00:00:02: Welcome to the Hotel Moment Podcast, presented by Revinate, the podcast where we talk to leaders in the hospitality industry. If you’re looking for trends, perspectives, and stories from leaders in travel and hospitality, you’re in the right place.

Karen – 00:00:20: Hello and welcome everyone to the Hotel Moment Podcast. I am your host, Karen Stephens, the Chief Revenue Officer of Revinate. And today I am delighted to be joined by Caryl Helsel, who is the founder and CEO of Dragonfly Strategists. Welcome, Caryl.

Caryl – 00:00:35: Thank you, Karen. I’m excited to be here.

Karen – 00:00:38: Well, I am very excited that you are here. So for those of you who don’t know Caryl already, Caryl has been operating in the hospitality space for nearly three decades now, working for companies including Journal Hotels and ARAMARK Parks and Destinations. And then seven years ago, she started her own company, Dragonfly Strategists. So Dragonfly Strategists is a Revinate partner, and it’s been awesome to see how Dragonfly has helped our mutual customers achieve success over the years. And then lastly, I want to give this shout out, Caryl was also named the inaugural recipient of the Fearless Women’s Award by the travel industry executive women’s network, recognizing her “significant dedication to advancing progressive change in the industry”. So Caryl, fabulous to have you here.

Caryl – 00:01:26: Well, I’m super excited to be here. And of course, as you know, we’re big fans of Revinate and working with your team and with our mutual client to see much success. I think we just had a release this week of a case study about our success on reservation sales. So super excited to get the feedback on that. And the client has been thrilled. So thank you for your partnership.

Karen – 00:01:50: Oh, thank you, Caryl. And who is the client that we did the success story on? I know we do a lot of them.

Caryl – 00:01:55: Yeah. So it’s KSL Capital, Islamorada, Davidson. And we were able to generate a million dollars in revenue in six weeks for them in a call center that we opened together with Revinate and their numbers prior had been much less than that, we’ll put it that way. So they brought it in-house. We went on reservation sales. We trained with the Revinate folks with their whole team in Florida and the Keys and it has been a huge success and that’s releasing this week.

Karen – 00:02:26: That’s so great. Thanks for calling that out. So if anybody wants to read that, we go to revinate.com and Caryl is referring to reservation sales, which is a product that we bought a company a couple of years ago called NavVis, which has been in the industry for 30 plus years. Awesome call center technology. But it’s really the partnership of having experts like yourself partner with our team and with the hotel that I think makes this a real winning strategy because sometimes hotels don’t have all of the tools in-house, the expertise to get going and it’s really just helping them. So it’s been a tremendous partnership. I know you worked with NavVis for years and then you also worked with us separately at Revinate on our marketing program and now that is all coming together for both of us. So that’s been awesome.

Caryl – 00:03:10: Exactly. It’s exciting.

Karen – 00:03:12: Great. So today we’re going to be talking about what it takes to create that winning revenue strategy using all of your expertise. But first I wanted to hit a couple of questions we ask all of our guests. So my first question for you is when did you first start working in the industry and do you remember your first day on the job?

Caryl – 00:03:31: Well, it goes over three decades actually. So I started back in the 80s when I was in college. And my first job was a Holiday Inn that they’ve since torn down in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is where I went to college. And what I loved about that was in the 80s, my general manager was a woman, which was very inspirational back then because there were very few women that held general manager roles. And so I learned so much from Deb on that job. And then six months later, I went over to The Read House, which was my first independent boutique hotel, which had been renovated. It’s a historic building, still there in Chattanooga. Beautiful, beautiful hotel. And that’s when I fell in love with more independent boutique, historic and or lifestyle type hotels, which has been the path of my career.

Karen – 00:04:25: Cool. That’s great. So the next question for you, what is the most uplifting moment so far in your career?

Caryl – 00:04:33: I’m going to say three things for my three decades. Okay, so number one, when Dragonfly passed its first $1 million mark, it was huge for me because most women-owned businesses don’t ever get there. So it was a goal of mine, and now we’re far beyond that, but it was a goal of mine as a woman-owned business to get to that mark and to show other women it can be done and we can succeed. But there are a couple of other things that have been super important. Obviously, surviving COVID as a small business was a huge moment, and to be able to rebuild the company after that with the team that we had, core team that was so committed, and so for that, I’m forever thankful. And then the last thing is that I sit on the Digital and Innovation Council for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and I was invited to be on that in 2017. It has been the absolute most rewarding position I’ve ever held in my life, I think. And my mom was a huge supporter of St. Jude. Virginia Suleman, who was the CTO at Hilton at the time, invited me to join, and I’m still involved, and I will be involved in that till they don’t want me anymore, which I hope is never.

Karen – 00:05:44: Well, I love that. That’s one of my favorite charities. So St. Jude is a children’s hospital, and I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, the charity provides the means so that families don’t have to worry about the cost of care or the cost of housing while they have a child in care for cancer and other terrible diseases. Is that?

Caryl – 00:06:03: Exactly, Karen. They have taken the childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% in the United States, and now they are expanding to 300 locations worldwide to try to do that in the rest of the world. And they cover all the expenses. Now, if you have insurance, insurance pays part of it, but the families never pay a dime. They have a teaching staff there in Memphis for the kids that are at the hospital so they don’t lose school time. They have accommodations. They have just unbelievable support for the families. And the research that is done there is free to doctors all across the world in a cloud that Microsoft provided. And so they can just download those protocols all across the world as doctors and oncologists. So it truly is a phenomenal place and they truly are saving which is so critical. And their goal is to not have a child die in the dawn of their life, which is a huge goal in the world. And it is our cause at Dragonfly. A portion of our revenues goes to St. Jude and it’s truly the best nonprofit in the world in my opinion.

Karen – 00:07:10: I love it. That’s great. I donate to them every year at Christmas. I do a big one. So that is super uplifting. I think that might be my favorite answer to that question ever. Okay. So then what is the most striking experience for you so far personally in terms of food or a holiday or a stay somewhere? And I know you have a lot of beautiful customers, so this will be a good one.

Caryl – 00:07:33: Well, you know, I have to go back to my Mandarin Oriental days because the first time I arrived at the Oriental in Bangkok was phenomenal. And it is an experience like none other. Have you been there to the Oriental in Bangkok?

Karen – 00:07:47: I have not.

Caryl – 00:07:49: This was before the internet and they greeted me with my name at the airport. And I’m like, how in the world did you know that? Well, my assistant had faxed a picture of me to them so that they would recognize me upon arrival. And then it was just that way throughout my entire stay. It was unbelievable. And then last year for my 30th wedding anniversary, we stayed at this little tiny place in Uvita, Costa Rica called Golden Pineapple. If you have a chance, go there. Like you have your own private pool. The bathroom is actually a shower outside. There are all these private high-end unbelievable rooms and the service was exquisite. And I just said, I want to go to Costa Rica and I don’t want to do all the adventure stuff. I just need to rest and relax. My husband changed the password to my email. So I couldn’t check my email. And my team only had to call me one time while I was there. And so that was an equally phenomenal experience. So I would say the Oriental in Bangkok and Golden Pineapple in Uvita, Costa Rica.

Karen – 00:08:50: All right, I’ll have to check that one out. That sounds fabulous. And good job for your husband changing your password. That’s a 30 year move. I love it.

Caryl – 00:08:57: It was awesome. It was the best thing ever.

Karen – 00:09:00: So great. Okay, so fourth question. Have you met any celebrities while you were working in the trenches when you were at the hotel?

Caryl – 00:09:07: Just a few. I mean, my office was next door to Hollywood Roosevelt. So there you go. We did, I think that those couple of years, I was at like 80, there were 80 premieres. I mean, there were stars everywhere, obviously, but some of the most memorable, when I was first starting out, REO Speedwagon stayed at The Read House in Chattanooga, and they were so nice and they didn’t destroy the top floor and they invited me up to their party and they were great. I met Dr. McDreamy at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City, and I couldn’t say anything. He was just more handsome in person than he was on TV.

Karen – 00:09:46: What was that show again?

Caryl – 00:09:47: Grey’s Anatomy, right?

Karen – 00:09:48: Grey’s Anatomy.

Caryl – 00:09:50: I think it’s still on without him. And then when I worked in Indianapolis, I got to meet several Indy race car drivers, including Michael Andretti, Taro Plumrock from Finland. And then at the Hollywood Roosevelt, the person who came most often was Angelina Jolie. And she would just come into the restaurant, close the private dining doors in Read. And she said she was coming to get away from her kids.

Karen – 00:10:13: She has a lot of kids to be fair. So, okay. All right. Now this last question, who are the women at work you have been most inspired by?

Caryl – 00:10:22: So Dale Spadak was one of my first managers back on the tech company side. So I was working for AMR Information Services on a technology project. And her approach to management was, I want to teach you everything I know because the greatest compliment to me is when you get promoted over me. And so she was like just an open book. You could ask her anything. There was no defensiveness. She was never threatened by success. She was never threatened by questions. She was never threatened if you even challenged her on a decision, it was all about being sure that she was leading and developing her team and that we were acting with integrity. So she is an amazing, beautiful person. She’s not in the industry any longer, but she had been at Marriott for many years and then came over to AMR. So Del Spadek. And then Flo Lugli, who you may know, Karen.

Karen – 00:11:17: I know Flo.

Caryl – 00:11:19: Flo has been a mentor to me from the day I went to my first head of the meeting back in the nineties, and she has always made time for me no matter what, no matter how busy she is, no matter where she was flying in the world, no matter the stress of leading at Wyndham or at other tech companies, Wizzcom, others that she led. She has always had time for me and always made time for me. She is a huge part of why Dragonfly exists. I sat across from her in Phoenix and said, “Hey, I’d like to partner with you at your company at Navesink”. And she said, “why would you do that? You should start your own company”. And I’m like, “well, I’ve done that before, and now I don’t know if I want to do it again”. She goes, “no, no, no, Caryl, you should start your own company”. And so she talked me through a plan and was a huge inspiration behind Dragonfly. And we partner with her company a lot on a lot of different projects that we do together, but she has truly been an example of a woman that is not intimidated. Even if she’s the only woman in the room, which she has been many, many times. And her story is phenomenal. I encourage every woman out there to talk to Flo and find out about her story and how she got to where she is. But she is truly an inspiration. I could go on and on. I mean, Genevieve Lobos, Rita Patel and Hilda Delgado who own hotels, which I think is amazing to be a woman hotel owner. Ruta Sahasrabudhe, who is on our advisory board at Dragonfly, who’s a brilliant marketer. I mean, there’s Thela the Clam Thomas, who also was on the head of the board with me and has guided me. She sits on the council at St. Jude with me. All these women, I mean, Alise Deeb, who’s our chief revenue officer at Dragonfly. She is such a strong person. She has a lot of medical issues that people don’t even realize are going on because she just powers through it and she always has an upbeat attitude and is just an amazing leader. So there’s so many. You inspire me, Karen.

Karen – 00:13:20: Thanks Caryl, but we could do a whole podcast just on these ladies, but seriously, flow is a powerhouse. Thank you for reminding me. I think I met Flo probably when I worked to travel to Austin, she was at Wyndham and wow, so impressive and just a wonderful leader. So we might have to go first. You’ll be on the podcast. Let’s see.

Caryl – 00:13:40: I know she will, but she does leave on her cruise somewhere on October 5th. So she’ll be out for like three weeks, yeah.

Karen – 00:13:47: Oh, good for her right now. Okay. So let’s get to it. Now, first of all, I want to spend two seconds because I feel like my little intro to you did not give you justice because I talked about two companies. I know it’s a lot of different, but just kind of the highlights of the hospitality companies you used to work for. And then let’s get into Dragonfly Strategists and kind of your golden mission there.

Caryl – 00:14:08: Absolutely. So I started my career out at the property level, as I said, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I majored in communications, was going to go into radio and TV. The hotel offered me more money when I graduated, so I stayed on as a reservation manager. It was my first position out of college. I then moved over to corporate about seven years later. I worked on the Confirm project, which was to replace Marsha at Marriott and Hiltron at Hilton and Budget and Marriott still has Marsha, so that failed. But I learned a lot being on the rates and inventory requirements team from a tech standpoint, tech stack standpoint, central reservations, rates and inventory, all of those aspects. And then from there, I went back and forth from hotels to tech. And so I was at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. I was at Anasazi, which became Resolutions. I was at TravelClick, which is now a dance. I was part of, as I said, the AMR information services when we were developing a new central reservation platform. So I had woven back and forth in my last couple of positions at hotel companies, at Heritage Hotels in New Mexico and at Journal Hotels, which are in the Hollywood Roosevelt. I was over all of commercial and IT. So when I started Dragonfly, I started it with the intent of having commercial and IT. And almost two years ago now we added an operations practice. So we’re a full service firm now that covers all of commercial, IT and operations. And so we are trusted advisors. We don’t really like the word consultant because it seems like you’re outside telling someone what to do. Whereas when you’re a trusted advisor, you’re at the table and you’re rolling your sleeves up and actually helping to get the work done. And so we pride ourselves on being trusted advisors to our clients. The company has a couple of different aspects to it. So we have outsourced revenue and distribution. And so that’s a subscription model service that we have. And then the other side is peer advisory. So tech projects, operations projects, sales, marketing, all types of things on the project side of things. And our clients are primarily independent and boutique hotels on the outsourced revenue side. On the advisory side, we work with a lot of technology companies. We work with big brands. We work with small to medium-sized hotel companies and independent lifestyle hotels.

Karen – 00:16:32: Wow. So that is a big breath of work to get done. But I think it was really cool. Thank you for stepping back and kind of talking about your experience across the different hotel companies and the tech. I think that’s really unique, you know, to be able to see it from all sides. And it’s good to know that you’re out there for hoteliers. You need this kind of expertise. Here it is. I hear you speak a lot about guest mapping. So can you explain what guest mapping is and why it’s important?

Caryl – 00:17:00: Absolutely. So we think this is critical to technology. So technology serves as the foundation for people in the various disciplines in the hotel world to do an excellent job. And so technology is the facilitator. Technology is the foundation. But you have to know what the end game is. What are you looking for? What guest experience do you want to deliver? What member experience do you want to deliver if you have a membership club? What employee experience do you want to deliver? So when we approach technology, we walk through that guest journey, not online, not an e-commerce guest journey, a guest journey from the time you book the hotel to when you check out and get your survey email, right, and get remarketed to. And so we look at that journey from booking through to check in, arrival, then check in, and then your stay for three days. And what do you experience at the restaurant? What do you experience at the spa? What did you experience with golf? And then any guest communication while on site, and then your departure, and then how do you re-engage with that guest? And so we map that, and then we map the technology to it that can facilitate all of that, right? And then we went out to RFP. So when we’re doing this, we don’t just come in and say, “here’s your RFP, it’s a standard set of questions, here we go, let’s go”. No, we want to know, owner, operator, what do you want the guest experience to be? What do you want the member experience to be? What do you want the employee experience to be? And then you select technology that can deliver that.

Karen – 00:18:31: That supports that, yeah.

Caryl – 00:18:33: We spend a lot of time doing that.

Karen – 00:18:35: Yeah, I love the idea of thinking about, from a guest perspective, because they don’t care, nor should they, what is going on behind the scenes to make that experience wonderful. I think about your story about the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, like, it feels like magic, you know? It turns out there was a lot going on in the Vax machines and getting your assistant, but somehow they figured out because it is absolutely so, it can be mind blowing for a guest, surprise and delight, whatever spectrum. But at the baseline, you want to have a wonderful experience and have your expectations met, but.

Caryl – 00:19:06: Yeah, the Oriental was Revinate before there was technology, right? So this whole room of file cabinets with pictures of their guests in it, with their names on it, so they could recognize them when they returned and recognize them at the airport. So they did all this manual work to make it happen. Now Revinate can automate all that, right? But I mean, it was magic. And it was mysterious back then, because you’re like, how did they do that?

Karen – 00:19:27: You’re like, what?

Caryl – 00:19:29: It wasn’t creepy, it was just mysterious and magical and delightful. But, you know, getting back to that guest experience, we had a hotel owner one time who we got engaged after the fact, wish we had been engaged up front with them. They installed a property management system. And when they got about a month from opening, they realized that it couldn’t support kiosks. And that was in their strategy that they wanted kiosks. And so she had to pull it out and put a new system in because it couldn’t support kiosks. Some of our clients, luxury clients, I’ll never have a kiosk in my lobby. And others are like, “no, I want to make it easy for the desk and I don’t want to hire a bunch of desk staff and all that”. So you have to know, you have to understand what is my strategy and make sure those questions are asked of the tech partner upfront.

Karen – 00:20:14: Otherwise it can be very expensive time and money.

Caryl – 00:20:18: Exactly.

Karen – 00:20:19: Okay. So let’s talk a little bit about revenue strategy. So for you, what do you think makes a powerful revenue strategy and what do you think hoteliers miss or get wrong in their approach?

Caryl – 00:20:30: First of all, everybody owns revenue. When you’re talking about revenue strategy, it’s really a commercial strategy, right? Even operations own revenue. It has to be collaborative, and I think oftentimes there’s not enough voices at the table to collaborate and make a successful revenue strategy. I think one of the first things is you need a team of people to come up with a strategy. It has to be a strategy that can be changed. It can’t be something you put in a book and sit on the shelves. It really has to be dynamic as markets change, as conditions change, as forecasts change. You have to be nimble and be able to change your strategy. I believe secondly, you’ve got to test and learn. When you put out, you don’t throw spaghetti on the wall, right? And say, “I’m going to try a hundred things and see which one works”. You actually have a decision around, we’re going to try these three strategies. We’re going to measure them in the next two weeks to four weeks. If one is working great and the others aren’t, let’s get rid of the others. Let’s focus on the one that works. If nothing’s working, let’s do something new. Let’s try something different. I think being sure that you measure it, because the only way you test and the only way you get the learning is that you’re measuring the success of the initiative, right? There’s got to be a lot of tests and learning to collaborate, test and learn, dynamic. We’ve got to realize that most of our markets are not static. They’re very dynamic and we have to figure out how we address that, how we have speed to market when everything is so dynamic around us. That’s why in revenue management, for example, we love having a revenue management system because that system can be optimized four times a day or even more frequently. A human can’t do that, right? So I think that part of your commercial strategy needs to be around tech as well. What technology is supporting it? Because with the dynamic nature of our markets, humans can’t keep up. And then finally, I think you do need to really have a tight relationship on the commercial side. So you’ve got to have digital. You need to have traditional marketing. You need to have sales. You need to have revenue. You need to have distribution. We see in our clients, we see a lot of mistakes made in the distribution arena because people don’t know how the systems work anymore. Distribution has become to me a lost art and it’s really sad because that was a huge part of my career in the distribution world. And it’s part technology, it’s part marketing, it’s part content, and it’s a lot of integration. And so if you don’t understand that as a hotel company, you’re not going to be successful in commercials if you can’t distribute your product effectively. So those are the things that I believe are key.

Karen – 00:23:22: That is a really good point. I want to hit on that a little bit as distribution as a lost art, because I do think it’s an interesting challenge, those of us, including myself, that have been around for three decades, like my background is on in distribution as well, and you know, you learn early how all the systems connect. There are a lot of them, very old legacy systems.The data in there is not great, but you still have to understand how the knee bone is connected to, you know, on down the line, and then you have new entrants, so you have the younger generation coming in that is used to everything just working. I found just work, so everything is super intuitive, you know, and I know at Revinate, we do the best that we can with our UI to make things intuitive, but can you talk a little bit about how you see, you know, you mentioned it was a lost art, how do we bridge the gap? Because it’s almost like you need to have critical thinking skills to be able to understand how the old stuff maps to the new stuff.

Caryl – 00:24:17: Yeah, and it’s tough. I mean, what’s happened is you used to have distribution departments, right? Even small to medium-sized hotel companies, independent hotels would send off their rates somewhere to be loaded. And then as things got more automated, then revenue management started doing it, but they didn’t really have training. So they learned as they went how to maintain systems. And there are a lot of gaps in the knowledge there. That’s why we at Dragonfly, we separate it. So we have our revenue team, and then we have our distribution team. And our distribution team knows 45 different systems, and they’re learning a new system every week, right? Because we don’t have a brand. We have 60 hotels that we’re maintaining that all use different systems. And so we can’t expect our revenue team to understand. They don’t even have time to load rates. I mean, they’ve got to be focused on strategy. And so I think we’ve got to get back to providing resources for revenue teams to understand and learn more about distribution. And it can’t be that you have to take a 40-hour online course to learn how to use a system. They don’t have that kind of time. And so one of our initiatives for the future is I used to be an operated women-led company. And then this guy named Scott Hershorin joined us as chief operating officer a few months ago. And he kind of ruined our women-led approach. But he came to us from PwC, and he was in learning and development there. And so one of our goals at Dragonfly is to develop some of this L&D material that can help close that gap, because we just don’t have those resources. There are associations. HEDNA is great about distribution, obviously, HSMAI. But still, there is just not the in-depth experience. So you have people like me, like Evelyn Oreskovich, like Erica Penley-Claycomb, that have been in distribution for a long time. And we really understand it. Liz McCabe on our team understands it inside and out. There aren’t that many of those left. And so I think it’s an industry problem that we need to solve together.

Karen – 00:26:15: It really is. How do we get the next generation? Because the system, the methodology isn’t, I mean, as you mentioned, you tried, you know, 30 plus years ago to get rid of Marsha. Still there. You know, like this.

Caryl – 00:26:28: This is the story. What would the Lamedians be able to do at this time? I certainly hope so.

Karen – 00:26:33: We’ll see. I see a lot of memes about Marsha. Marsha, for those who aren’t familiar, Marsha is the system for Marriott, the CRS for Marriott. Okay, so I would love to talk a little bit about high level revenue strategy. I know you work with a lot of customers. We mentioned a success story at the top. Is there another hotel or group that you can talk about where you really saw a transformation of their revenue strategy, where you sat down and worked together, and how that transformation took place? And I don’t know if you’re able to call out some clients, but I think it might be helpful for people to get an example.

Caryl – 00:27:07: Absolutely. So I’ll use a couple of New York City examples. I relocated to build the business in New York. It was such an important market and a city that I love. And so it originally built out with a very heavy New York City bent to it. And so one of our clients, Marmara Park Avenue, the Chief Operating Officer is a lady named Nur Ercan Marmara. Most of their hotels are in Turkey. This is the only hotel in New York City. And it’s a lovely property at 32nd and Park. And originally they brought us on to do a distribution audit because they didn’t know how to load their rates, right? And so we were able to come in and immediately fix all their negotiated rates. And all of a sudden they started getting all this production, right? So it was pretty rapid like turning on the pipe and it started coming. And from there they decided to hire us in revenue services. And so we have been doing revenue there since 2018. And she just renewed again, which we’re excited about. And her RevPAR index has been with us in the 120s to 200%. And that was not the case prior to us coming on board. And a lot of that was around the collaboration with Gourmet Marketing, who’s their digital agency. And we use Revinate at this property. So, you know, it’s a great tool. And we also partner closely with sales. We’re very engaged in group evaluations. We’re very engaged in getting BT pricing correct, moving them over to dynamic pricing instead of static. You know, with their wholesalers, with their as many BT accounts as we could, some of them won’t let you go dynamic. And we just had a great amount of success using Sabre’s functionality to allow there to be a ceiling on the negotiated rate. But if your public rates ever drop below, be sure you’re matching it. You know, just so much around the revenue and distribution strategy. And really it is commercial. So again, that collaboration of the teams together. And you know, she’s hired us and engaged us to do a lot of technology conversions for them, to do training. You know, now our corporate department is there because part of her inventory is extended stay. And we have an amazing partnership. One other example, we opened a couple of hotels in New York during COVID. One of them is The Wallace in the Upper West Side. If you get a chance, go there. It’s a delightful, amazing hotel. It had been a one-star asset. The owners took it down to the studs and renovated it and rebuilt it. And we are performing and we have tried to change our prop set to find somebody else to compete with because we’re performing 150 to 200% RevPAR index. And we’re like, we’ve changed and we’re still doing this. And the owners are like, how is doing this? And their partner hotel, the Lucerne, is performing equally as well. It’s about three blocks away. And we’re like, we just know what we’re doing. And we installed the revenue management system. We installed Revit. We got the tech stack right. We have Opera there. We have Sabre. So, you know, we got the tech stack right. And then we again have a great collaboration amongst the commercial team and the operators there to make it successful. Go to The Wallace Upper West Side. Amazing hotel.

Karen – 00:30:26: I will check it out. Oh my God, that’s amazing. We have an expression at Revinate, which is that the brains are in the building, meaning somebody knows somewhere in the building. I would just say if you’re a hotelier and you don’t have the brains in the building, you go, our new Dragonfly Strategists and they will bring their brains to your building. Wow.

Caryl – 00:30:42: And the way we look at it, you know, with our outsource side, with our revenue and distribution subscription service is really talent is hard to come by now, right? We had a lot of people leave the industry during COVID. Even pre-COVID, we had a dart of talent and revenue. And I think that to get a team of people at the table, what’s unique about us is that we have salespeople, we have marketing people on our team, right? We have operators. We have it all covered. And so when we are faced with a challenge, We often call an internal meeting and strategize about that client. Like, what do you think we should do with the entire team at the table? Where else are you going to get that? And so we see ourselves as sort of an outsourced. Corporate office or home office, I like to call it, or small to medium-sized hotel companies at independent boutique hotels, because they don’t have a corporate office or a home office. And so you get this whole team of people solving problems for you. It’s pretty successful.

Karen – 00:31:43: Yeah, I love it. Well, Caryl, it has really been a pleasure speaking to you. For our listeners who want to learn more about Dragonfly, where should they go? What’s the URL?

Caryl – 00:31:51: dragonfly str, like the Star Report, but not strategist, str.com.

Karen – 00:31:58: All right, awesome. Thank you, Caryl. It’s been a pleasure. We’ll see you soon.

Caryl- 00:32:02: Thank you, Karen.

Outro – 00:32:04: Thank you for listening to the Hotel Moment Podcast. Make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you’re watching on YouTube, please like the video and subscribe for more content. For more information, head to hotelmomentpodcast.com. The Hotel Moment Podcast is presented by Revinate.

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