Developing the Revenue Management Talent Pipeline: An Industry and Academia Partnership

By Breffni Noone Associate Professor, School of Hospitality, The Pennsylvania State University | October 09, 2016

It is no secret that revenue management is facing a talent shortage. Current revenue management practice requires a focus on managing the profitability of all of a hotel’s revenue streams, and hotel companies are looking for emerging revenue managers who have the skill set required to meet that challenge. Amidst growing concern that hotel schools do not make the cut in terms of graduating students who are prepared for the demands of this new era in revenue management, I suggest that a strategic industry-academia approach is needed to develop a viable, and strong, revenue management talent pipeline.

The Right Talent for Revenue Management

The expanding scope of hotel revenue management, 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, calls for the right talent pool prepared to meet the increasing demands placed on the revenue management function. There appears to be a consensus on the skill set required of emerging revenue management professionals. In addition to strong analytical and communication skills, revenue managers of the future need to be both forward looking and creative, using data to form actionable strategies, and have the ability to work with, and influence, managers of all revenue streams to drive total hotel profit. However, a significant consequence of the rapidly evolving nature of the revenue management function is the current shortage of talent in the field.

Addressing the Revenue Management Talent Shortfall

Some hotel companies have responded to the revenue management talent shortfall by creating in-house revenue management training programs to develop their revenue management pipeline, while others have been forced to co-source or outsource the revenue management function. But what role are hotel schools playing in providing a talent pipeline? Hotel schools have traditionally been a solid source of talent for the hotel industry, particularly on the operations front, so can’t we expect that they will also deliver for revenue management?

In recent years I have listened to a growing concern among industry colleagues that hospitality programs are not addressing the evolution of the revenue management function within their curriculum, and that students are not being adequately prepared to manage revenue, or profit, from a total hotel perspective. A number of factors have fueled this concern:

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