05 Oct Wanted: Revenue Manager with a Rock & Roll Heart. 5 Essential Traits
For years, hotels staffed in an orderly, traditional fashion: General Manager, Director of Sales, Front Office Manager. Almost two decades ago, the Revenue Manager burst onto the scene and, as distribution channels expanded and pricing became more complex and transparent, there was an exponential increase in the Revenue Manager’s value. The early Revenue Managers sat in their dark, back-room cubicles processing data, analyzing statistics, running a mountain of reports, finally emerging with the hotel’s rate strategy….which the General Manager and/or Director of Sales either accepted or rejected. Give Revenue Manager‘s green eyeshades and they became boring Bob Cratchit clones. As I look around today, I see too many Bob Cratchit’s masquerading as Revenue Managers: hardworking, underpaid clerks. Nice enough, but not lighting up the world.
I want a Rock & Roll Revenue Manager! What is this new species, you ask? It’s a person who still does all the clinical data stuff but who is also responsible for developing and engaging social media channels, maintaining key account relationships with the OTA’s, enhancing the hotel’s website, influencing SEO. Someone who can successfully multi-task with an iPhone and an iPad while reclining on a cloud. Why Rock & Roll? It’s an attitude, a philosophy, a way of life. Mick Fleetwood said, “Rock and roll is passion, commitment and spirit.” I want that in a Revenue Manager. Too much to ask? Let’s explore.
There are as many definitions of revenue management as there are Republican presidential candidates. Technology advances have made monitoring the competitive set, adjusting on-line strategies, serving up inventory and rates, and evaluating results a whole lot quicker, easier and more accurate. A hotel’s success today depends on a seamless strategy across all distribution channels including group. Who best to handle this than the Revenue Manager? We simply need to stop stereotyping this position. Some hotels have approached this opportunity with an open mind and have combined their Director of Sales and Marketing positions with that of the Revenue Manager. All egos aside, others would not think of having the Revenue Manager report to anyone except the DOSM. After all, revenue generation is the DOSM’s ultimate responsibility. Others companies have elevated it to an Executive Committee position. What about you? Are you ready for a Rock & Roll Revenue Manager?
How do you know an R&RRM when you see one? Look for these 5 essential traits:
- They think their job is a lot of fun. You remember fun, don’t you? Sometimes cranky bosses suck the fun right out of the workplace. An R&RRM is vibrant, enthusiastic and doesn’t let a ratty old pessimist spoil the day. The R&RRM thrives on a fast-paced, competitive work environment and they’re in it to win it. In fact, for them, it’s a lot like a gambling junket to Vegas every single day. The R&RRM’s are playing the odds, and the old, dependable forecasting rules have changed. To them, fun at work is not a myth but their reality.
- They relish risk-taking. R&RRM’s embrace the philosophy of high risk = high reward. In the finance world, pursuing a riskier investment strategy generally results in a much higher return on your investment. With the wholesale rate reductions that occurred in our industry in 2007-2009, the hotel industry has a lot of ground to make up. Even with ADR in some markets recovering at a double-digit pace, rates are still not close to 2007 levels. R&RRM’s fully understand what we mean by “value proposition.” They recognize that the lowest rate does not always reflect value in the guest’s mind (and it doesn’t do much for your profit line, either). R&RRM’s rarely develop strategy based on price point alone; in fact, they are generally the first in the marketplace to introduce a rate increase. And they are savvy enough to do it by market segment and by demand. Risky…you bet! And if you don’t have the stomach for it, then an R&RRM is not for you.
- They’re a little rebellious and like to go against the grain. R&RRM’s aren’t “yes” people and they aren’t here just to take orders. Be prepared for them to challenge the conventional way of thinking. They have done the research, watched the market and they are giving you the most comprehensive revenue enhancement advice you can get…usually with a little twist. This may not always be comfortable for conventional managers. Just remember, the title GM or DOSM doesn’t automatically make you Miss Cleo. If you want your Revenue Manager to perform at an optimal level, avoid knee-jerk negatives and ask questions to clarify how the recommendations were developed. Remember, this is what you hired them to do; otherwise, why bother filling the position with a Revenue Manager. Just hire an analyst.
- They exude confidence and are comfortable and articulate in a team environment. They are not simply clerks, providing research for others to make important business decisions that impact the future of the hotel. R&RRM’s are integral partners with the entire revenue-generating team and are valued for their insight and advice. They can be counted on to provide creative, sometimes unusual, solutions for problem-solving though they may not always follow the usual structure when doing so.
- They embrace creativity and dream big. R&RRM’s have elevated visions of success because they know how to seize the moment (see #2). And they are arrogant enough to believe that their hotel should be the market leader. Therefore, they are always searching for the best niche, that subtle point-of-difference…anything that gives them an advantage. And they are intuitive enough to see it before their competitors because, let’s face it; most of the hotels in the comp set don’t have an R&RRM.
Are you ready for a Rock & Roll Revenue Manager? Only you can decide. In today’s competitive environment, everyone is looking for an edge. I’ll take mine with a little moxie. “It’s only rock and roll but I like it.” Sing it, Mick!