What’s The Future of Revenue Management: A Collaborative Networking Experience

by Akshay Ramanathan & Jamieson Asselta

How do we continue to drive value for our members?.  How do continue to grow our chapter and the association across the industry?  This has been the task at hand for the Greater New York HSMAI Chapter and one which is shared across chapters and associations alike.

First things first… listen to our members. Ask them what they want… then deliver.  

As we embarked on this inward project, our members shared with us what they want most out of an industry association. Provide continued development opportunity in an environment where we can network amongst our peers and industry partners.

With the task at hand, we set out for something new, something different, all the while providing our membership what they are asking for. The Greater New York HSMAI chapter’s recent program marked a bold move toward delivering on both fronts.

Co-sponsored by IDeaS & TravelClick“The Future of Revenue Management“ organized attendees at tables to discuss emerging issues within Revenue Management.  Each table was aided by a Revenue Management industry leader who facilitated group discussion. The attendees rotated to each table throughout the evening, discussing respective topics and how to best address them in the future.

Hosted at Convene Times Square, a networking environment was created with a backdrop overlooking the crossroads of the world, with state of the art meeting space & technology to aid in collaboration. Here are some of the major takeaways:

Rise of the Machine?  (Facilitated by Derek Brewster, Director of Revenue Management Lotte New York Palace)

As artificial intelligence continues to advance how should hoteliers best navigate the role technology plays in revenue management?

  1. Technology = greater efficiency through automation = greater resources on strategic activities
  2. Technology = reduced customer transaction friction
  3. Technology = greater collaboration = enhanced culture
  4. Stay informed on what’s out there through industry media
  5. Capture & structure data and to allow systems to machine learn
  6. Avoid analysis paralysis  through understanding Smart Data vs. Big Data.
  7. Ensure your technology does something for you.
  8. We need executive awareness and support of the technology required to ensure we can compete today and in the future!

Elevating your Bench (Facilitated by Caryl Helsel, Founder & CEO Dragonfly Strategists)

What skill set and tools are needed to turn today’s revenue managers into tomorrow’s most successful revenue leaders?

  1. Tomorrow’s successful revenue leaders must be analytical, creative, and able to see the larger strategic picture.
  2. Greater communication of consumable data to stakeholders at all levels of the organization will play a large role in the execution strategy.
  3. Greater  understanding of the distribution landscape and ecommerce strategies in order to maximize the value they are receiving from each channel.  
  4. As a leader foster a culture that  rewards innovation and learning. Encourage both among current team members and prospective and remind everyone of the role they play in the greater strategy of the business..
  5. Take advantage of accessible accredited certifications and ensure that all continued education is based on  developing e current best practices, not outdated ones.
  6. Adopt technology as both a way to stay competitive as well as develop and grow talent.   
  7. Leaders take advantage of opportunities to guest lecture at hospitality programs and provide internship & mentorship opportunities for students
  8. Hiring managers must be tuned into what the business of the future needs and look for those talents within potential hires,
  9. Hiring Managers need to assess what knowledge gaps exist in current environment and invest in reducing  
  10. Balance the The Science with the Art = don’t lose focus of the power of relationship and communicative skill set.

Making Meeting Space a Star (Facilitated by Vikram Pradhan, Vice President Revenue Management Convene)

How can revenue leaders build a holistic and cohesive strategy to capitalize on the abundant opportunity for an often underrated revenue stream?

  1. The nature of meetings has changed dramatically causing us to look at this business differently.
  2. Higher volume of last minute pop ups/smaller meetings
  3. Work around prohibitive costs such as unionized labor prohibiting  dynamic pricing
  4. Combine group and sleeping room revenue management responsibility
  5. Revenue Per Available Square Foot should be  metric we are all focused on
  6. Dynamic Pricing Meeting Space & Removal of Free-Sell constraint  to price appropriately
  7. Coworking/common spaces offers a great opportunity to revenue manage

Next Generation KPIs (Facilitated by Dominik Gomez Regional Director of Revenue Management, Denihan Hospitality Group & Kristine Richards, Vice President Distribution & Revenue Technology, Two Roads Hospitality)

How can hotels create, execute and measure the success of a revenue and channel strategy that empowers profitability?  How can we use relevant data to make responsible decisions.

  1. Start to shift how we look at the business and align reporting metrics  with the view from ownership.
  2. Understand all costs of business to forecast appropriate. Net REVPAR
  3. Don’t be afraid to review and re-prioritize financial goals.
  4. Data accuracy is critical to  to track production & bottom line revenue of each reservation.
  5. Focus on revenue per square foot.  What revenue opportunities are available by meeting per square foot or similarly restaurant cost per meal.
  6. Enter into partnerships with vendors and customers that are in line with a growing profit vs. revenue strategy.
  7. Understand COPE (Contribution to Operation, Profit, & Expense)

Conversations highlighted the shifting roles that sales, marketing, and revenue will play in driving commercial profitability.  The workshop like program engaged industry professionals in a unique manner and prompted a re-examination of long standing models of operation and the way work has traditionally been approached. Regardless of what side of the business or discipline within the hotel, common ground was established through shared challenges and collaborative discussion around the future.

Moreover the event succeeded, as a direct response to what industry officials cited as a needed approach to education.  A format that enabled deep discussions, around often contentious issues, and prompted enhanced networking and educational dynamics.  Attendees stayed long after the event finished to continue conversations and to network strengthening professional relationships

Here’s to growing our chapter through continued networking development!