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 February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.