In Culture & People, Digital, Distribution, Europe, Featured, HSMAI, Innovation, Leadership, Marketing, News, News items, Revenue, Revenue Management, Sales, Travel, Upcoming

After a short absence, The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association Internationals Revenue Optimisation conference made a proud return to London. Held in the Prestigious Savoy Hotel, the ROC brings together the greatest minds in Hospitality Sales & Marketing, distribution and revenue management. These included Hotel owners, general managers, commercial leaders, revenue directors and technology partners.

Networking and coffees completed the day commenced with a rousing introduction from the days host and compare Remy Merckx – VP, Global Digital at Radisson Hotel Group. Remy set the tone for the day, ensuring the audience we captivated and ready to be exposed to the myriad of learning opportunities the day presented.

Following swiftly on from Remy’s introduction, Frederic Toitot – Vice President, Global Learning & Development at Accor & Chair HSMAI Region Europe Revenue Optimization Board, gave his view on giving a second wind to Revenue Management by integration of the Sales & Marketing function. Frederic took us on a journey showing the benefits of removing silo’s and promoting cross functional working in driving revenue, and ultimately, success.

Lightning over London with HSMAI

As is HSMAI ROC tradition, a collection of executives are invited on stage to give a lightning fast insight into best practises, strategy, and the best ideas for increased profits. With less than 7 minutes each, we first heard from Finnbar Cornwall of Google on using digital marketing models to maximise revenue and profit. Second up was long time HSMAI friend, Klaus Kohlmayr – Chief Evangelist IDeaS, giving us his insights on why we are in the golden age of revenue management.

Evert Schuele, VP Sales EMEA & Asia Hyatt, changed the pace a little with his view on strategic selling. Before the session was rounded out by Sean Fitzpatrick of OTA Insight. Sean took us through the number 1 error you’re making in revenue management.

An informative and exciting session, that cemented the value of the longstanding HSMAI ROC tradition.

Taking in the Bigger Picture

The morning continued with a panel focusing on a theme that had already peppered the morning. Moderated by Damiano Zennaro – Global Director of Advisory services IDeaS, he introduced an experienced and vocal team consisting of Amanda Elder – CCO Kempinski Hotels, Anant Vithlani – VP Sales Nordic Choice Hotels, Michael Simon – GM Distribution EMEA & ASPAC Marriott International, and Niels Mekenkamp – Director of Business Solutions EMEA Cendyn.

The panel, entitled: A 360 View – Focus On Cross-Functional Strategic Thinking And Expansion Of Traditional Roles, was a candid conversation for sure! HSMAI is the industry’s only organization committed to fuelling sales, inspiring marketing, and optimizing revenue for the industry and is the only place to gain such actionable insights. Continuing the days focus on cross functional working and inter departmental relationships, they provided valuable strategies to an engaged audience.

Completing the Morning

Quite aptly, our morning was complete with a holistic approach to revenue management. Peter O’Connor – Chaired Professor of Digital Disruption at ESSEC Business School, took us on a deep dive into moving from Revenue Optimization, to Revenue Strategy. Leading us through the saga of OTA’s and the move to direct bookings, his statistical approach, teamed with audience participation, gave everyone involved an opportunity to challenge their way of thinking.

Fire up The Delorean

Our host, Remy returned to the stage, encouraged us to fasten our seatbelts, and strap in for the afternoon and gave us some added value from his insights. Kelly McGuire PhD – Principal McRevenue took to take us on a journey into the future of revenue management. Looking at how innovations in pricing impact profitability and encouraging organisations use data and analytics to their benefit. With attribute-based selling being such a buzzword in the industry, Kelly explained to the audience how this can be incorporated into the revenue management strategy of your organisation.

Following on from our trip to the future we settled back into 2020 with Nicole Young – Senior Corporate Director of Global Revenue Management Rosewood Hotel Group. Nicole explained her strategy for managing cross-generational teams now, and in the future. Looking at teams with a variety of age ranges, who have often achieved their position through varying paths, is a key part of any management style. Understanding the different stimuli to which employees respond is key, and also knowing that like everything is hospitality, it is not one size fits all.

Rise of the Machines

Juanjo Rodriguez – Founder The Hotels Network took us through how machine learning and artificial intelligence fits into revenue management and your pricing strategy. Something used by the OTA’s for some time, how do you use this for your direct bookings? This moved nicely onto a structured debate on the topic, with Sean Fitzpatrick – CEO OTA Insight, Frank Reeves – Co-Founder & CEO Avvio, Klaus Kohlmayr – Chief Evangelist IDEAS, and Patrick Bosworth – Co-Founder & Executive Chairman Duetto.

The afternoon was finished with roundtable sessions. These sessions give the opportunity to industry experts to share their views, and products to the wider audience. The small group approach gives a real interactive feel, enhancing the learning and development opportunities.

Sales Leader Forum

Alongside the main ROC event ran the Sales Leader Forum. With a focus on sales in the Hospitality and Travel industry, this forum ran small round tables and talks.

The first round table looked at the changing landscape of B2B hotel sales. Looking at threats and challenges of the future, including things like technology disruption, and the generational shift of Gen X through Millennial to Gen Y, the key takeaways were: The use of tech in support of clients to stay relevant and achieve more, along with taking ownership to be remembered for what you do.

A Panel on the future of business travel contained experts from Egencia, Tripbam and This panel established key points such as corporate travellers now want dynamic rates rather than fixed rates, will continue with a business model of customer led decisions, innovation and scale. has established that 60% of business travellers were booking outside their business travel policy, along with the fact that business travellers now want choice, not fixed rates.

Karla Pearce and Oscar Carty shared the results from a 2019 UK study by 500 qualified meeting planners. This established the top pain points during booking and the top 3 points that stops bookers returning. Price did not even feature! The key factors affecting decision were heavily focused on ease of facilities and location along with service levels.

Awards Dinner

The annual HSMAI awards dinner was held throughout the evening. An excellent night was had by all with awards presented. The First Annual Fabian Specht Revenue Optimization Professional of the Year Award was also presented, in honour of dedicated HSMAI supporter and friend Fabian Specht, who unexpectedly died in December 2019.

Please see here for all award winners and jury comments.

During the awards dinner Ingunn Hofseth, President and CEO of HSMAI Region Europe shared her thoughts:

“HSMAI Region Europe have launched several initiatives aimed at marketing our industry with a view to recruiting and retaining the best talents. We are proud of how the industry is evolving and of the stellar work many companies are doing to take their brands and their people and customers forward.

We are also delighted to be championing and supporting the hospitality leaders of the future. These bright stars are high achievers in their field, and will drive innovation in the future of our industry”

Upon receiving the results of the post event survey, Ingunn added:

“I’m delighted that yet again, our members have shown us the value of not only this event, but HSMAI’s contribution to the industry. HSMAI Region Europe is thankful to all our sponsors and for the stellar contribution made by everyone involved in creating such a fantastic event.”

‘ROC’ing on in 2021

Following the roaring success of the HSMAI ROC of the roaring 20’s we sent a survey to our attendees. Amongst a number of questions we asked:

“Next year the HSMAI ROC will take place Tuesday January 26th in London. Do you plan to join us there?”

Almost 95% responded to say they will join us next year in London. The overall feedback was very good with 30.6% rating the ROC as excellent and 57.1% giving it a rating of very good. HSMAI is thankful to know that almost 90% of the attending members gave ratings this high, showing the variety and quality of presentations and subjects really shone through.

Press here to secure your ticket for ROC 2021 at The Savoy Hotel in London

About HSMAI Europe

HSMAI Region Europe is committed to growing business for the hotel, event and travel industry and their partners, and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable revenue growth on a local, national and European level. The association provides practical tools, insights, and cutting edge expertise to enable knowledge sharing and enhance professional development as well as fuel sales, inspire marketing, transform businesses digitally and optimise revenue.

For more information about HSMAI Region Europe, please visit us at
HSMAI is a global organization founded in the US in 1927. HSMAI Region Europe is the European arm of the organisation.

After having been active in Europe for many years on National levels, HSMAI Region Europe became a true PAN-European organisation at the end of 2015. Their European Office was relocated to London by the end of 2018.

HSMAI ROC 2021 will take place in London Tuesday January 26th


For enquiries, please contact:
Anouk Scheepens
Mobile: + 447951780976


Photo taken by Cameo Photography

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