Metrics that matter to Suiteness: What hotels measure to put heads in beds
Suiteness, a remote-first company inspired by Basecamp, has a very clear mission: make booking multiple bedrooms at hotels affordable for families and friends.
In the latest edition of our Metrics that Matter series, we discover the immense market opportunity in connecting customers to hotel suites, and why Airbnb, Booking.com, and major hotel chains rely on Kyle Killion, the founder of Suiteness, to increase bookings.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- What numbers hotels value the most when judging the value of their partners.
- The most significant product challenge facing Suiteness as it continues to grow.
- How one metric aligns an entire company behind a common goal that serves customers and the bottom line.
Let’s dive in.
Mixpanel: How did you get here, and what sets Suiteness apart?
Kyle Killion: I’ve been doing product at different startups for the past decade or so. I did product at Coupa; went over to Yelp to work on deals and self-serve ads; and then I ran product at Apartment List. I started Suiteness with the original Silicon Valley hubris that I was going to solve group travel, and created a really complicated and very advanced technical tool for that. And it was fine, but customers kept asking for multi-room suites, and that was the genesis of Suiteness.
We play a two-sided marketplace and go to hotels and say, “Hey, you guys don’t want to sell your connecting rooms or suites because it is hard, and we’ll make it easy.” We make that inventory available on Suiteness.com and our apps, but we also distribute out to places like Booking.com, Vrbo, and Airbnb. So we have direct consumer data and then we also get data from other online travel agencies on how our inventory is performing.
What gives you an advantage over competitors, and what are you measuring to keep that advantage?
We are in such a unique niche that no one else is looking at connecting hotel rooms; however, apathy is our biggest competitor. Right now, if you don’t put your inventory on Suiteness, who would know? In terms of hotels, the metric that drives the most excitement is the average daily rate (ADR), which is the average revenue based on the number of rooms sold.
We are the highest ADR partner out there for hotels, consistently. That’s what gets hotels excited, because that’s margin.
The hotel industry is also concerned with revenue per available room night. So if you can have every room filled up every night at the highest possible rate, you’re going to be successful as a hotel.
With Suiteness, our average booking is five times higher than any other partner they’re working with. So this is, generally, a fairly easy pitch to make.
How have the metrics to which you pay attention changed from inception to today?
They’re not even similar to what we were looking at years ago, because most of our bookings come in through partners now. The B2C business like Suiteness.com and the apps are great, but really what’s important to us is how we’re performing on partners.
We found there’s a direct relationship between us getting inventory and people booking, so the metrics we’re really looking at include:
- How is our extranet performing?
- Are people loading data into our system?
- Are the hotels coming back?
- Are we checking in and making sure our data is up to date?
That’s where we’re looking now more than anywhere.
How do you communicate and align the company to those goals?
With some of our teams, everything they do is based on how much inventory they onboard. For instance, if there was an uptick in people signing into the extranet, but there wasn’t a corresponding increase of inventory onboarded, where are they dropping? Having easy access to visualizations where we can see those results is crucial to our teams.
What are long-term goals for Suiteness?
There’s over half a million connecting hotel rooms in the United States, and we’re only about 3% of the way through onboarding that inventory. So for us, we’ve got a long way to go. But my goal is to have every single connecting room in the United States, and eventually the world, available and bookable through Suiteness. We use Mixpanel to understand how people are going through the extranet onboarding and bookings. We can’t have one without the other; you can’t miss the cold-start problems. So, without bookings and revenue, no one’s excited enough to go into our system to enter their inventory.
Eventually, we want hotel owners to say, “Hey, why aren’t we on Suiteness?” Our goal is that it is an absolute necessity to be on our platform.
What are the challenges Suiteness faces as it grows?
Hotels don’t have a lot of time to learn a new system, so they’re wanting to go in, drop in the data, and be done. We also have to verify that things are actually working, and that’s a whole other process. There’s a lot of back and forth on that, and we have live chat support from our data team to support.
It’s really hard because there’s somebody at the hotel who is not very technical coming to a new website that they’ve never encountered before. So the education aspect and the support aspect and just making it easy are all challenges. You know a system is good when somebody says, “Well, yeah, it was obvious. I just went in and did this.”