Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Kotrba

Bill Kotrba

VP of Industry Strategy, Leisure, Travel & Hospitality, JDA Software

Bill Kotrba is Vice President of Industry Strategy for the Leisure, Travel and Hospitality practice at JDA Software. In this role he has the opportunity to consult with hotel managers and executives frequently on the subject of pricing and revenue management best practices, systems and techniques. As leader of one of the top RM software providers in the Hospitality space he has constant exposure to industry best practices and the most technologically advanced approaches that are available. Mr. Kotrba is passionate about the hotel business and how it intersects with the art and science of revenue management. As a young person who had stayed in over 1,000 hotels before his 25th birthday, the industry and its commercial management became a subject of fascination. Mr. Kotrba went on to study pricing and revenue management at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration while earning an MBA degree at Cornell. Mr. Kotrba’s career in revenue management has spanned every facet of the discipline and he has “lived” on both the client side as a revenue manager and the vendor side in his current role. After earning his MBA, Mr. Kotrba joined Northwest Airlines where he held a variety of analytical and leadership roles in pricing and revenue management over ten years in the air passenger business. Long-term planning and revenue forecasting, point-of-sale optimization, tactical pricing and yield management, as well as broader marketing functions were added to his resume along the way. In 2007 he was recruited to lead revenue management and network planning for Northwest Cargo, with nearly $1 billion of revenue and 14 dedicated 747 freight aircraft under management. Following the acquisition of Northwest by Delta Air Lines, Mr. Kotrba held the same position for one year as head of revenue management at Delta Cargo. Mr. Kotrba has been an advocate within JDA Software and with hospitality clients for the transition away from traditional revenue management—using static fare classes and inventory controls—to Price Optimization whereby a revenue management system recommends optimal pricing for every stay-night. “In today’s hotel environment with instant price transparency via the Internet,” he says, “understanding price elasticity and customer willingness-to-pay are the biggest untapped source of revenue upside and profit improvement for today’s hotels.”

Mr. Kotrba can be contacted at 480-308-3000 or bill.kotrba@jda.com

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.