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 March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.