Revenue management in the hotel industry has seen a dynamic cultural shift in recent years, from being hospitality driven to a commercial business discipline.
As an integral commercial business function, there is no one size fits all approach to revenue management (RM) in any industry.
Having no clear structure or pathway in a hotel could lead to missed opportunities or untapped potential talent according to Australian Revenue Management Association.
The industry specialist advises its members to search for an unteachable skill set that also extends beyond hospitality employees, when recruiting RM roles.
Whilst it is very important to groom internal candidates for careers in RM, the Revenue Manager of today and tomorrow does not always have to be from a hotel background. There are many skilled analysts on the market today with attractive transferable skills.
Likewise, well trained hotel Revenue Managers are attractive to other industries such as airlines, car and cruise industries.
ARMA managing director Melissa Kalan says RM is vital to any accommodation provider regardless of size, however the level of importance placed on the function to date varies between properties.
“It is important that the structure, reporting lines, remuneration and status are adjusted based on the size and scope of the role,” Kalan says.
“After all, these employees are controlling large amounts of revenue and we believe they need to be recognised at the appropriate management or executive level.”
“Traditionally the path to general manager has been through food and beverage and rooms division,” Kalan says.
“I think it’s important to include revenue management as part of this career path option.
“Having a strong development and training program in place is just as important for both new and experienced revenue managers, as is having an internal career path plan.”
Franchised accommodation provider Quest Serviced Apartments is open to potential franchisees who don’t hail from a hospitality background.
During its selection process, Quests looks for applicants with business experience and aligns with the target demographic of corporate travellers.
“There has been a concerted effort to evolve the role of the revenue manager which is great,” Kalan says.
“I think a lack of understanding of RM over the last few decades has absorbed these roles into junior or mid-management levels in some cases. This would also be driven by candidate quality which has been difficult to obtain at times however this is changing.
“Placing a junior to mid-management level emphasis on RM is not an ideal structure and does not work for the benefit of the organisation, in terms of candidate quality and revenue maximisation.”
As a result, Kalan says the hotel industry loses talented revenue managers to other industries.
This has been attributed to a lack of personal development opportunities, poor internal structure, weak recognition systems and unclear internal career paths.
Large hotel chains, five star operators and international chains tend to have a clearer RM structure in place.
The role is often defined in a separate division, with a focus on attracting managers with proven results as well as external training and education.
Candidates are able to apply for entry level positions in the yield department as an analyst, either internally or from a business background.
For instance, Mantra Group has separate revenue management teams for its three hotel brands Mantra, Peppers and Breakfree.
The corporate clusters are overseen by a national group director, who is also in charge of rate distribution and central reservation system.
The hotel industry continues to shift towards holding RM at a higher value, within its corporate structure – rather than an amalgamation of marketing.
“I think in the future, we will see more of revenue management reporting directly to the GM and working alongside the director of sales and marketing as an equal,” Kalan says.
“Or even have both revenue management and sales report to a head of revenue to balance the integration and goals of all revenue streaming departments in line with property profitability.”