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Hotel Star Reports: What are they and how to read them

  Posted in Resources

As a hotel operator, you might have come across STR reports at one point or another. But what are they all about?

Staying ahead of the competition is essential to the long-term growth of your hotel. Falling short of your competitors when it comes to guest experience, accommodation standards or your marketing and advertising strategy can quickly lead to lost revenue.

That said, understanding where you stand in relation to the competition is critical for analysing the strengths and weaknesses of your hotel business strategy and making adjustments accordingly. Which areas of your hotel are performing well and which do you need to improve? Which competitors are outpacing you and why? Where are there gaps in your strategy that should be filled?

An STR report, also called a STAR report, can help you answer these questions and more. This guide covers all you need to know about this essential hotel benchmarking tool: what an STR report is, what it can tell you, how to get one and how to read and analyse one.

Table of contents

What does STR stand for within the hotel industry?

Before we look at STR reports in more detail, what exactly does ‘STR’ stand for?

STR Inc. is a hotel analytics company founded in 1985 as Smith Travel Research. The company is the recognised leader in hotel industry benchmarking and provides market data including supply and demand and market share information on a global scale.

For example, STR data reveals that the average occupancy rate across US hotels in August 2022 was 66.5%, and the average daily rate was US$151.49.

STR Inc. compiles all of the data they receive into STR reports, which can be used by hotels across the globe to benchmark their performance against relevant competitors.

What is an STR report?

An STR report is a benchmarking tool that compares your hotel’s performance in relation to a group of similar hotels (competitors). Although it’s spelled ‘STR’, the correct pronunciation is ‘STAR’ and the terms ‘STR report’ and ‘STAR report’ are often used interchangeably.

It’s important to note that STR reports or STAR reports aren’t related to star ratings that help you gauge guest satisfaction. Rather, an STR report uses a variety of KPIs and metrics to show how well your hotel is performing compared to your competitors. To do this, STR Inc. uses data from your competitive set (compset), which is a group of hotels that you choose for comparison purposes.

STR reports are typically released weekly, although you can also choose to receive reports monthly or yearly if preferred. We’ll talk more about how to access an STR report in ‘How to get an STR report for your hotel’ below.

What can an STR report help with?

An STR report can help you to:

  • Benchmark and compare your performance
  • Stay on top of your competitors and your market
  • Understand what qualifies as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ performance for your market
  • Make strategic pricing decisions to improve profitability
  • Monitor the effectiveness of your business strategies over time
  • View supply, demand and revenue changes for your in market (driven by new hotels, more/less customers or economic changes, for example)

Benchmarking with an optimal compset

Comparing your performance against your competitors is a critical step when measuring your success. However, to benchmark accurately, you need to choose a group of competitors with a similar profile to your hotel.

This is where your competition set, or compset, comes in.

When ordering your STR report you’ll need to choose a compset, which STR Inc. uses as a basis to compile and deliver data that’s relevant to your hotel.

Generally speaking, an optimal compset includes 3-5 hotels that:

  • Are located in the same geographical area as your hotel (some exceptions to this would be if your hotel is in a very remote area or the other hotels in your area have a distinctly different target market)
  • Have similarly priced rooms
  • Offer similar amenities and/or services

One thing to keep in mind is that you can change your compset with subsequent STR reports, so don’t worry too much about getting it perfect the first time around.

How to get an STR report for your hotel

To get an STR report, you can head to the STR website and request a demo or purchase a report. Once you’ve registered, you can choose whether to receive new reports weekly, monthly or yearly.

You’ll also get access to 18 months of historical data, which includes year-on-year, year-to-date, and running 3 and 12-month data percentage changes and indexes. The report covers various KPIs and metrics, which we’ll cover in more detail below.

How to read and analyse an STR report

Looking at your STR report for the first time can be confusing given the amount of data available. That said, with a bit of background reading it shouldn’t take long to familiarise yourself with the key terms, KPIs and metrics, and what they mean for your hotel.

A good starting point to read an STR report is to scroll down to the ‘Monthly Performance at a Glance’ tab. This tab contains a general summary of your hotel’s performance against your competitive set for the current month, year-to-date,
running 3-month and running 12-month periods.

A more involved way to analyse your STR report is to compare the current week’s performance to your performance during the same week last year. You can also do this for your compset.

Once you have a better handle on the ins and outs of the report, you can dive deeper into the data to review your performance against KPIs including occupancy, ADR and RevPar.

Index numbers in an STR report

When reading your STR report, you’ll see your performance is calculated as an index. Your index number tells you whether or not your hotel is outperforming your compset against three key KPIs: occupancy, ADR and RevPar. The index is calculated by dividing your KPI values by the average KPI values of your compset, then multiplying by 100.

An index number higher than 100 indicates you are capturing more than your fair market share, whereas an index number below 100 indicates you are capturing less than your fair share.

In other words, the higher your index number, the better your hotel is performing. An index below 100 tells you there’s room for improvement to compete more effectively in your market.

Tabs in an STR report

These are the tabs you can expect to see in a typical STR report, and the information they provide:

Monthly performance at a glance
This tab is a summary of your hotel’s performance against your competitive set for the current month, year-to-date, running 3-month and running 12-month periods.

Questions to ask when reviewing this tab:

  • How does my hotel compare to my competitors this month?
  • What has changed since last month?

STAR summary
Here you’ll see a summary of your hotel’s occupancy, ADR and RevPar versus your compset and others industry segments, for the current month, year-to-date, running 3-month and running 12-month periods.

Questions to ask when reviewing this tab:

  • How does my hotel perform compared to other industry segments?
  • How does my compset perform compared to other industry segments?
  • How does the performance compare for different time periods?

Competitive set report
See a comparison of your hotel versus your compset for the most recent 18-month period, as well as for the year-to-date, running 3-month and running 12-month periods.

Questions to ask when reviewing this tab:

  • How has my compset’s performance changed over the last 18 months?
  • What seasonal trends exist?
  • What do the index numbers show?

Response report
Here you can find details of properties in your compset that have reported data to STR over the past 24 months.

Segmentation summary
Your segmentation summary compares your hotel versus your compet’s segmentation data for the current month and year-to-date. Segmentation data includes occupancy, ADR andRevPar broken down by the source of business (transient, group and contract).

Questions to ask when reviewing this tab:

  • How do I compare to my compset and market for different sources of business?
  • How do numbers of different business sources change on weekdays versus weekends?

Segmentation analysis
This tab shows monthly occupancy, ADR, RevPAR, index and ranking analysis of transient, group, contract and total business for the past 18 months. It compares your hotel’s data to your compset and your broader market.

Segmentation day of week
On this tab you’ll find monthly occupancy, ADR, RevPAR, index and ranking analysis of transient, group, contract and total business by day of week for the current month. It compares your hotel’s data to your compset and your broader market.

Additional revenue analysis
This is a monthly revenue analysis for room, food and beverage, other and total for the past 18 months. It compares your hotel’s data to your compset and your broader market.

Questions to ask when reviewing this tab:

  • How do I compare to my compset and market in relation to food and beverage, and other revenue?
  • How have additional revenue numbers changed over time?

Daily data for the month
This tab shows occupancy, ADR and RevPAR by day of the week for the entire month. It compares your hotel’s data to your compset.

Questions to ask when reviewing this tab:

  • How did the daily data add up to the monthly numbers?
  • Were there specific times during the month where my hotel won or lost in Occ or ADR?
  • How did special events or seasonal fluctuations contribute to my hotel’s performance?

Day of week and weekday/weekend
This tab details occupancy, ADR and RevPAR for each day of the week and weekday/weekend for the current month, year-to-date, and the same day of the week for running 3-month and 12-month periods. It compares your hotel’s data to your compset and your broader market.

Questions to ask when reviewing this tab:

  • How did my hotel perform compared to my compset on weekdays versus weekends?
  • Are there days where I am outperforming or underperforming more than usual?
  • How does performance vary over time?

What are the most important tabs in an STR report?

The three most important STR report tabs to pay attention to are:

  • Tab 1 – monthly performance at a glance: Look at this tab to get a quick one-page summary of your performance relative to your competitors.
  • Tab 2 – STAR summary: Get a more detailed comparison of your hotel to your competitors and various industry segments. If you’re beating your competitors but both you and your competitors are losing to industry segments, it could be worth reviewing your compset.
  • Tab 3 – competitive set report: Use this tab to see a historic comparison of your hotel to your compset over time.

KPIs in an STR report

An STR report details important KPIs for your hotel and for your competitors (compset). The three core KPIs to be aware of are:

1. Average daily rate (ADR)
ADR, which stands for average daily rate, is the average income per occupied room your hotel makes in a set period of time.

ADR = Total room revenue/total rooms sold

You can use ADR to forecast for specific weeks, months, or seasons, and then set performance goals for your business – making plans to improve any areas you thought you could have done better in the past.

2. Occupancy (Occ)
Occupancy rate is the percentage of occupied rooms in your hotel at a given time. It is one of the most high-level indicators of success and is calculated by dividing the total number of rooms occupied, by the total number of rooms available, times 100, creating a percentage.

Occ = Total rooms occupied/total rooms available for sale x 100

3. Revenue per available room
RevPAR stands for revenue per available room, and is one of the most common and important hotel metrics. It provides an insight into the number of rooms that are being sold at a hotel and how much revenue is being generated from those bookings.

RevPar = ADR x Occ

If the RevPAR of your property is increasing, it can mean your average room rate or occupancy rate is increasing – or both.

By analysing these three KPIs in your report, you can discover:

  • How occupancy (Occ), average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) for your hotel compares to ADR, Occ and RevPAR of your competitors.
  • What drove revenue generation (RevPAR) for your hotel and for your competitors. This could be Occ, ADR or both.

STR report analysis tips

Follow these best-practice tips to get the most out of your STR report:

Keep an eye on trends
Whether caused by seasonal fluctuations, adjusted pricing or a change in your business strategy, look out for trends that could be positively (or negatively) impacting your hotel’s performance and the performance of your compset.

A good place to start is to look at your index number. If it’s above 100, you’re doing better than your compset average, and if it’s below 100, there’s room for improvement. Ideally you want to see your index number trending upward over time. If it’s trending downward, look to see if the same trend is happening to your compset and other industry segments. This can tell you whether it’s isolated to your hotel or a result of wider industry fluctuations.

Compare year-on-year performance
Hotels and accommodation providers are particularly susceptible to seasonal fluctuations, so a drop in performance over a week or month isn’t necessarily a major warning sign. However, a general improvement in year-on-year performance shows that your hotel is growing steadily in the long term.

If your performance has dropped compared to last year, try to figure out why that’s the case. Perhaps a tourist campaign brought more guests to your hotel last year, or maybe there has been an overall downturn in discretionary spending. If you can’t attribute the downturn to any broader causes, it could be time to rethink your strategy and start looking at new ways to bring in revenue or attract a different subset of guests.

Make notes of your insights
While an STR report contains a lot of valuable data, you need to dive deep into the meaning behind the data to make meaningful improvements to your business. Taking time to analyse your reports thoroughly and make notes of your findings is a crucial first step in developing more effective strategies that help you win a bigger share of your market and outperform your competitors.

Grow hotel revenue with an end-to-end hotel commerce solution

An STR report is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing your hotel effectively and ensuring your long-term success.

Our hotel commerce platform helps you take full control of your hotel or accommodation business, with valuable insights and tools to support your growth.

From distribution and marketing, to bookings and payments, we partner with you to succeed on your terms. Find out more about how to unlock the full potential of your property with SiteMinder.

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