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 October 2020...

Revenue Management: Maximizing Profit

Hotel Revenue Management continues to evolve at a blistering pace. Driven by technological innovation and new distribution channels, there are some dynamic opportunities for expansion in this fast-growing field. The technology is primarily designed to help revenue managers further refine their operations and pricing models to maximize hotel profit. For example, hotels can't be all things to all people, so a key strategy is to precisely identify their target audience. By employing geo-targeting techniques and analyzing behavior such as previous bookings, on-property purchases and online shopping practices, there is an increased capability to define guest demographics. By segmenting customers in more specific ways, hotels are able to create more personalized experiences which, in turn, allow managers to optimize their room rates. It is also an effective way to fulfill the unique needs and preferences of the individual. Another methodology is to consistently monitor the competition's pricing strategies. There are software tools that analyze a competitor's current rates, and then allow a hotel to make its own pricing adjustments. It is also a useful means to conduct forecasting models. Other technologies that are being integrated into a revenue manager's toolkit include Artificial Intelligence in the form of automated algorithms, and Voice Recognition (VR) for data inquiries, rate changes, and booking behavior. Predictive and analytic software programs are also being leveraged to provide more forward-looking data, instead of the usual reliance on historical performance. These metrics allow managers to be more proactive - rather than reactive - with their revenue strategy. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine these developments and report on how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.