Evolving expectations for revenue managers

Attracting and retaining top revenue management talent can be a challenge these days.

Owners and general managers often ask me what appears on the surface to be a very straightforward question: “What makes for a good revenue management practitioner?”

The correct answer is, “It depends.” And, while accurate, this answer isn’t terribly satisfying; so let’s take a few minutes to explore this topic together.

Corporate Culture

The first thing to understand is the corporate culture in which the revenue management role needs to exist. This requires an honest and objective assessment of the current reality—not a theory, a hope, dream or hallucination.

For example, a respected colleague once shared with me the reason that his GMs are not invited to participate in revenue strategy meetings. “Airlines don’t expect their pilots to walk down the aisles and collect money from passengers,” he said, “Their job is to fly the plane.” This is simply how it is, and he remains unabashed regarding this approach.

For me, his statement provided a direct window into the culture of his company and, while extremely uncommon, this approach does seem to work quite well for him. It wouldn’t for everyone.

Obviously, those involved in revenue management at this firm wield a lot of power and influence over their properties, but are also held to an extremely high level of accountability for performance.

Qualities, such as creative intelligence, deep analytical skills, a highly competitive spirit, intrinsic motivation, dogged determination and the ability to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment, are placed at a premium. Those that are cut from this cloth will thrive within this corporate culture, others need not apply.


While strongly influenced by corporate culture, the specific scope and expectations for the revenue management function can vary from one setting to another.

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