Hotel Revenue Expert: “Even in great results there’s missed opportunity”

  Posted in Revenue Management

Melissa Kalan, founding director of the Australian Revenue Management Association, is fresh off the back of another successful event for the Asia-Pacific revenue management community.

The ‘Unite and Prosper’ themed event attracted more than 220 delegates – or as Melissa describes them – “…a brilliant, diverse mix of operators with a collaborative vibe”.

Featuring curated educational content and facilitated workshops from hotel industry leaders, the summit focused on sharing solutions to common industry-wide problems. One memorable keynote workshop, presented by Jason Carley of Simon Kucher & Partners took a deep dive into ‘Behavioural Psychology in Pricing and Sales’.

Revenue managers from across Australia and New Zealand with a broad range of skill levels found the summit to be highly beneficial with one delegate saying: “Congratulations on an amazing event. So many revman leaders and tourism organisations in one space all working collaboratively together. Great ethos and lovely to be a part of.”

Another left the event with actionable improvements and new approaches to long-standing hotel sales strategies: “Congratulations on a fantastic conference. What was learnt will make a considerable difference to our business moving forward.”

Hotel revenue management trends sparking discussion

With hundreds of delegates in attendance at this year’s ARMA event there were plenty of people creating buzz and sparking discussion about the challenges facing hoteliers.

Attendees were keen to know more about pricing hotel rooms at a granular level. They discussed blockchain and its impact on the hotel business as we know it, and strategies to secure more business.

Hoteliers delved into guest personalisation and the end-to-end travel experience and they asked experts at the event for advice on influencing trends, which can impact the bottom line. And, of course, discussions around knowing your costs and how to reduce them featured heavily too.

The changing face of hotel revenue management

Reflecting on the learnings post event, we asked Melissa about the difficulties revenue managers face day-to-day.

“Revenue management is a constant cycle of ‘risk management’ in the face of continuous change and disruption. Squeezing more profit out of the inventory jigsaw puzzle and finding the right pieces is always critical. The ‘how to’ is the challenge that constantly tries to slip away for many operators in times of rapid change.”

Melissa urges operators to balance the search for new revenue streams with the optimisation of existing ones.

“Occasionally, the focus is only on seeking more sources of demand and revenue that are new, instead of also tapping into and maximising missed opportunities within existing demand patterns. Even in great results there is missed opportunity.”

There’s a real shift happening in the way hotel sales and marketing teams might work with the revenue management equivalent.

Melissa says the naturally close collaboration between teams means the formation of one revenue strategy unit is becoming more common.

“In some instances, in order for this to function most effectively, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to align remuneration and structure across both areas that best supports this approach,” advises Melissa.

“Revenue managers have skills in high demand, and a transferable specialised skill set that appeals to a broad range of organisations. It is critical their position and remuneration within organisational structures remains an area of focus so properties can hold onto and develop exceptional talent.”

“Imbalance in this area will chip away at company profits if our industry loses great talent,” she warns.

Are the solutions to revenue management challenges the same as they’ve always been?

There’s an increasing emphasis on risk for revenue managers as hotel owners look for new approaches and more innovative campaigns to move the profit needle.

Melissa calls this idea of taking more risks “…essential”.

She also believes psychology and how we as an industry understand consumer behaviour to be critical for future revenue success.

“Other solutions and areas of focus are the importance of understanding SEO and retargeting marketing strategies – and turning an equal focus to maximising revenue from meetings and events,” says Melissa.

It’s important for revenue managers to rely on lessons of the past as Melissa suggests that “…some solutions to revenue management challenges are the same and have not been tapped into yet; however, today there are so many more options to be considered in solving pain points that fit all types of budgets and property types”.

Her final piece of advice: “Don’t ignore idle assets, create a market for them that drives revenue from that space. Understand your economies of scale and the impact on the business.”

The benefits of joining an industry association for hoteliers

Joining an industry association can help hoteliers who are feeling overloaded with the day-to-day – especially revenue managers who find themselves under immense pressure in an ever-changing market.

“Many operators can feel overwhelmed trying to grow profit margins. An association like ours at ARMA can provide step-by-step training to assist businesses to move forward confidently with the right support.”

Melissa is proud of ARMA’s ‘THINK CHANGE GROW ® Course in Yield Management Foundations (Hospitality)’, which has been upskilling the hotel revenue industry for more than five years and is recognised globally as providing quality and engaging learning. The course is offered online and supported seven days a week by qualified ARMA trainers via a support line.

ARMA’s community is made up of trained industry professionals that have completed an ARMA course. Once training is complete, hoteliers become part of the alumni for life and receives ongoing benefits for other training initiatives offered throughout the year, including the annual APAC Revenue Management Summit.

To join the ARMA, visit: https://revenuemanagement.com.au/register/

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