Finding and Promoting Revenue Management Talent Within Your Hotel
Hidden Revenue Managers
By Steve Van President & CEO, Prism Hotels | October 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.