Finding and Promoting Revenue Management Talent Within Your Organization

Hidden Revenue Managers

By Steve Van President & CEO, Prism Hotels | October 22, 2017

Do you have a catering assistant whose first question each morning is Did we sell out? or What was our occupancy and ADR last night? What about a front office associate who is so hungry to earn the perfect sell incentive that every time she works the 3:00 to 11:00 shift and the hotel has just a few rooms left to sell, you can count on the fact that you are going to end up with a perfect sell? If so, you may have just found your next revenue manager!

As hotel owners and operators, we are all cognizant of the value of outstanding revenue management. We’ve all seen the way that revenue management has evolved–and continues to evolve–and the way that even a single gifted and passionate revenue manager can fill rooms and get you and your property over the top.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have all been in the painful position when that seat in our hotel is empty. Talk about missed opportunities and lost profits! Sure, it’s not the end of the world; task force services are available, your General Manager can make a few reactive tweaks here and there, and sales can continue to book business. But all of these solutions are not really solutions at all, they are temporary fixes–stopgaps, at best. And none of them holds a candle to having that position filled with the right person – that gifted and motivated revenue manager that can be a true difference-maker.

The trick is finding that right person. To be honest, I find it more than a little surprising that we don’t do a better job of that. The processes we have in place to find, train, hire and retain great revenue management talent have not caught up to the priority we place on the position. We all know by now how important revenue management is–but, all too often, we don’t act like it.

That more-talk-than-action dynamic even extends to the education and training of future revenue management professionals. Think about this surprising tidbit for a minute: despite the fact that this is known to be a critical, maybe even essential position within the organization, many hotel schools don’t even require revenue management courses. Sure, some offer them, but many times revenue management is just included within another subject. It’s treated like an afterthought! That stands in stark contrast to other core disciplines like finance and marketing, two or more courses of which are required for graduation. Since the emergence of revenue management as a true field of specialty in the 1990s, and the evolution from just managing rooms to maximizing total hotel profitability, the preferred skillset of the future revenue manager has gotten much clearer.

Revenue management is a fascinating discipline; doing the job well means going beyond the known necessities of leadership, analytical, technical and communication skills. The revenue manager of tomorrow is one who can figure things out, and who is hungry and agile. Great revenue managers need to be able to think on their feet, manage stress, consistently demonstrate a high EQ, work collaboratively and take calculated risks. Ideally, you want the head of your revenue management team to be creative, and ( while it might sound like a contradiction ) someone who is both proactive and responsive to fluctuations in daily inventory and shifting market demands. Ultimately, you want someone in the revenue management seat who thinks like the owner of the hotel.

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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.