Photo: Jennifer Jago, Acting Assistant Vice President, Revenue Optimisation – MEIA, Shangri-La, Stan Josephi, Senior Lecturer Revenue Management, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Jonathon Liu, Director of Revenue & Marketing Strategy, GLH Hotels, Dave Overeem van Elferen, Corporate Revenue Manager, Inntel Hotels, Shumi Khan, Director of Business Insights & Analytics, Accor, Par Augustsson, VP Total Profit, Nordic Choice Hotels, Carol Dodds, SVP Commercial, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Fredrik Toitot, Founder & Managing Director, Hotel Games, Joe Pettigrew, Chief Commercial Officer, Starwood Capital Europe Advisers, LLP, Stuart Yeates, Head of Revenue, Distribution and Pricing, Jurys Inn , also in attendance: Frank Komen, Head of Revenue Management Europe, IHG Hotels and Resorts

HSMAI Europe Chief Revenue Officer Executive Roundtable – 1st July 2022

On July 1st 2022, HSMAI Europe hosted a round table event inviting Hospitality Revenue experts to share their insights on current trends and crucial steps to take to navigate through these uncertain times.

A great moment to meet again and share on key topics

Shumi Khan, SVP Business Intelligence & Revenue Management at Accor, has been the chair to the HSMAI Europe Revenue Optimization Advisory Board for a few months now. She asked the participants a series of questions on some of the hot topics that revenue professionals have currently to deal with, and asked their perception of the status of our industry.

”Revenue professionals not only need to drive the numbers but also drive the culture”

Do we need to change the profile of Revenue professionals?

Development programs were mostly halted during the pandemic. Since then, it has been quite difficult to find the right talents, especially from “top of the class” students that are now tempted to start their career in other industries. 

Participants agreed that it is harder to find enough commercially minded, digital savvy profiles in the hotel operations. Overall, the pipeline of new Revenue Managers is shrinking.

Experts around the table considered that recruiters have to target a much broader range of profiles (from different backgrounds, countries, cultures…) and focus more on soft skills (leadership, communication, critical thinking, cognitive agility…) than on pure technical skills.

To do so, recruitment tests must be adapted, aiming at efficiency and practicality. The use of “real-life case studies” could be a good way to test the “eligibility” of applicants. Recruitment tests may also vary depending on the organization of the company, and where the Revenue Managers seat (property, cluster, central office).

In terms of retention, revenue executives should focus on maintaining the passion and engagement that new starters are expressing, by being aware of their motivation and priorities at work. Flexibility in terms of work location (remote vs. office) smart objectives and expectations, and a boost on company benefits. In some cases, benefits are not clearly stated as being part of the management/franchisee contract and maintaining the level of benefits can become an issue. 

Participants strongly agree that hotel companies will have to make substantial efforts if they want to attract and retain top talents in their organization in the future.

Is it time for the industry to review and upgrade their revenue optimization programs & certifications?

Everyone in the meeting agreed that development programs in Revenue could bring consistency across the organizations, set the bar, raise awareness throughout hospitality companies, and even at industry level. A certification or accreditation could be added to the programs to provide continuing professional development and a more defined career structure. Outside of the hospitality industry there are existing professional bodies such as ACCA, CIMA and CIM that are targeted at finance & marketing professionals : the aim is to provide something similar for the revenue professional. 

These programs should target primarily Revenue & Profit Managers but with some modules targeted for General Managers, Heads of department and teams. 

Participants of the round table strongly believe that these development programs (design, delivery, monitoring) should be “sponsored” and supported by hotel groups, with HSMAI Europe as a potential central platform. Further meetings will be set up in the coming week to discuss the next steps.

Should Revenue Optimization leaders adapt their leadership styles in the future?

We need to be agile in our leadership styles, especially with the new generation of workers.

Senior leaders in our industry, including Revenue Optimization should be given the means to understand the needs and the expectations of their workforce. The focus has to made on a new mindset (more flexibility, agility, trust…). 

The participants agreed that the set up of a “leadership conference” held by HSMAI could be a good opportunity for revenue professional at all levels to meet and develop their leadership and communication skills. In particular, there is a need for the revenue professional to be able to influence and drive the revenue culture across the organisation.

Should GOPAR be a major KPI to monitor in our industry? Can we find a way to standardize measurements at profit level?

Because some revenue executives’ responsibilities stop at the RevPAR or net RevPAR levels, participants feel that benchmarking hotel performance using the GOPAR indicator introduces too much complexity, given data limitation. 

Net RevPAR is a consideration, however variation in distribution costs and fees structures mean that we are far from standardisation across the industry. 

Rather than moving metric, revenue professionals should develop more in the area of non rooms revenue. Participants insist that performance metrics on Food & Beverage are critical, and too often left aside. They are and will be more and more important in the job of Revenue Optimization. Today there is a lack of standardization in that domain.

The same applies to Meeting & Events revenue optimization, for which revenue optimization opportunities are potentially huge. Participants think that this should be part of the global education efforts made by hotel companies and integrated in the job description of future Revenue Managers. 

To conclude, all participants agreed that the role Revenue Managers will be more and more tied to the understanding the macro-economic environment, in a world that is definitely becoming more volatile, uncertain and complex.

Chief Revenue Officer Executive Roundtable summarized by:

Frederic Toitot

Founder & Managing Director at Hotel Games. Formerly, he is the Vice President, Global Learning & Development at Accor. He is an active member of HSMAI Europe. He is currently serving on the HSMAI Europe Revenue Optimization Advisory Board and is the past chair.

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