Bridging the Revenue Management Talent Gap

By Breffni Noone Associate Professor, School of Hospitality, The Pennsylvania State University | October 08, 2017

Company Growth Requires a Strong Focus on Revenue Management

Revenue growth is a fundamental driver of long-term hotel performance. A focus on revenue places the revenue management function, as the natural owner of top line revenues, squarely at the forefront of driving a hotel company’s success. Just as the scope of the revenue management function has evolved from a stand-alone function charged with managing rooms revenue to an organization-wide initiative concerned with maximizing the profitability of all hotel revenue streams, the requirements of a revenue leader have changed. It is no longer sufficient to possess the stereotypical number-crunching skills needed for revenue management. Revenue managers also need to have the people skills and leadership experience required to engage and influence the management team, such that actionable, forward-looking revenue strategies can be effectively implemented.

The increasingly demanding role of the revenue manager has signaled a growing need for a talent pool to support the revenue management function, leading to the fundamental question: where, beyond existing initiatives, do opportunities lie to develop the talent pipeline? The HSMAI Revenue Management Advisory Board for the Americas asked themselves that very question.

A New Initiative to Address the Revenue Management Talent Gap

The mission of the HSMAI Revenue Management Advisory Board is to advance the Revenue Management discipline and, over the years, it has done so in a number of ways, from the Certified Revenue Management Executive certification program, to the annual HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference, which provides the revenue management community the opportunity to network and exchange best practices.

In the Fall of 2016, the Advisory Board added a new initiative to its roster of activities, formally launching a Faculty Outreach program, geared towards engaging with revenue management faculty at hotel schools to promote the revenue management field and develop resources to support revenue management education. In doing so, the objective is to help to bridge the revenue management talent gap.

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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.