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 August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.