I’ve worked in Corporate Finance and in Revenue Management for the Hospitality and other industries and I can confirm that, when done correctly, there is no more analytically intense profession than that of a Hotel Revenue Manager.
Like I have said on this blog dozens of times, the Hotel Revenue Management profession sits at the crossroads of every department in a hotel company. As an example, over the last few years, hotel RMs have been taking over the responsibility for setting the pricing and promotional strategy for Sales, Marketing, and even F&B.
Furthermore, RM now has as much fiduciary responsibility for hotel profits as Accounting and Finance. So why is it that Hotel RMs are underpaid compared to their colleagues in other departments, specifically Finance?
According to glassdoor.com, the average US salary for a Hotel Revenue Manager is around $65K, while the average US salary for a Hotel Finance Manager is $85K.
Think about that. RMs have to deal with more systems, more data, more calculations, more tasks, more changes, and more pressure, but get paid an average of 25% less than their Finance counterparts. This is not equal pay for equal work.
In an effort to try to add some perspective to this income inequality problem (and hopefully begin to fight for a solution), I gathered public LinkedIn profile data for 9,000 Hotel Revenue Management professionals. I then looked for the most clear trends that would suggest an explanation for the above.
I was able to identify 15 data points that shed some light on the drivers of the problem. The causes of the RM income disparity center around Career Path, Qualification, and Skill Set.
Here are the first 5 insights.
#1 Revenue Managers have a Service not a Technical Background
Back in 2003, in the rush to load rates into the new OTA websites, hotel management took the people closest to the reservation process and turned them in RMs. Today, most RMs still come from one of the Service areas of the Rooms Division.