Executives on the changing revenue management landscape

Experts in the field of revenue management seem to think the “management” part of that has grown anachronistic for the work done by RMs.

Speaking at the HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference’s “Up side down” panel Wednesday, hotel executives who specialize in revenue said the discipline has grown to focus more on long-term strategy, as automated systems take over the mundane day-to-day activities once handled by RMs.

“As we get more automation and data science, more of that tactical decision-making is done with automation,” said Dave Roberts, SVP of consumer insight and revenue strategy for Marriott International. “So the role of an RM has broadened into revenue strategy for hotels and much broader performance management.”

Panelists noted that change in duties has gone hand in hand with a push up the hierarchy both on property and in the corporate structure.

“We’re working on elevating the status and stature of the revenue manager at the property level,” said Monica Xuereb, Loews Hotels & Resorts’ chief revenue officer. “That’s something we’ve done over the last two years. We’ve elevated them to the executive committee, reporting directly to the general manager, equal to directors of sales and marketing, so they’re no longer being overridden by sales. That has improved key decision-making at the hotel level since there is someone highly analytical and strategic sitting at the table.”

Mark Woodworth, head of hotels research in the Americas for CBRE, noted the work of RMs will grow ever more important over the next year as the hotel industry continues to try to realize more significant rate increases.

“One thing we’ve seen the last two or three years with our forecasts, and forecasts are rarely 100% accurate, but where we’ve been consistently off is (average daily rate growth),” he said.

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