The Brain Drain: How to Make the Most of, and Protect Your Intellectual Capital.

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | November 17, 2014

All staff involved with, and alongside the revenue management team need to be provided with ongoing guidance and support. This investment is of particular importance during any period of time involving the planning and implementation of new sales and marketing strategies, but should also take place throughout normal day to day operations as well.

These strategies will help staff meet their own personal and team sales goals, which will see an increasing rise in worker moral and resultant improvement in overall levels of staff retention. The ongoing success and financial viability of a hotel can often be decided by how pricing decisions are implemented by various staff members. To ensure this process is done with as much preparation as possible, hotels need to invest in the staff behind the decisions.

A recent report in the Harvard Business Review(1) highlighted how Starwood approaches the potentially complex issue of ensuring that their organizations high-achievers and most talented staff are being put to best use and are constantly engaged. Starwood seek out those talented staff members and give their innovators real projects and access to top management in order to 'test people with live ammunition.' This means that the parent company of hotel chains such as Westin, W and the Sheraton lets 'innovators build and manage cross-functional teams to develop their projects and then present full-fledged sales / marketing plans to the company's top executives.'(2)

By protecting intellectual capital and ensuring that adequate levels of staff support are in place from day one, hotels will be going a long way towards protecting their different channels of revenue. When improved levels of staff retention are achieved, hotels can expect to see more consistency in the financial results they achieve.

The effect of losing a valuable member of your wider sales or marketing team can be prolonged and negatively impact upon the financial viability of your hospitality organisation. Revenue managers and all members of the wider sales team for that matter are highly skilled and trusted people. They play an important role in the wider functioning of a hotel, and their loss can have a detrimental roll-on effect throughout the organization.

To help prevent this scenario Andrew Chan, CEO Asia Pacific, for TMS recommends: "'Implementing an overall staff engagement strategy beginning with, when an employee first starts with a company - as opposed to leaving it too late, as this is invariably what happens when employers realize they have unhappy employees, but by that time, it's probably too late and its highly unlikely employees will stay. Addressing the employee attachment factor from day one is essential at all level's of business if employers are to succeed in holding on to their staff."

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.