During a discussion at the recent HSMAI Chief Revenue Officer Executive Roundtable, leaders said they look to fill revenue-management roles by identifying people internally who can understand analytics and communicate it easily to others.
MINNEAPOLIS—Revenue-management talent is best found and cultivated within a company, according to leaders in the discipline who spoke in a roundtable discussion hosted by Hotel News Now at the recent HSMAI Chief Revenue Officer Executive Roundtable.
Karen McWilliams, VP of revenue strategy at Concord Hospitality, said the company set out to grow its revenue-management talent by first filling a couple of junior analyst positions on her team.
“Some of (the positions) are very administrative in nature, and others are a path to a revenue leader,” she said. “We’re able to work with them day in and day out. They do all of the training side-by-side the regular team; they go through the HSMAI (certification); and really just being able to test their skills and get them the knowledge base they need, we know we’re exposing them to great talents and great inner workings with the other hotel team members.”
Kerry Mack, EVP of revenue and distribution at Highgate Hotels, said her company utilizes a large summer internship program to seek talent.
“We take 15 to 20 interns throughout all our major markets every summer, (and) we’ve found talent right away,” she said. “Four weeks into the intern program, we’ve given them a full-time job.” Of course, some didn’t cut it, and others were advised to keep the company in mind after graduation, she said.
Monika Morrobel, corporate director of revenue for Kessler Collection, said there are three requirements for good revenue strategists.
“They have to be good at analytics, at communication and at creativity in order to be a good revenue manager,” she said. “Most people are good at one or two, but not all three. That’s why it has to come from inside talent because you don’t know hiring someone from the (outside).”
Hunter Webster, SVP of revenue strategy at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, said the communication component is really important in the revenue-management discipline.
“These folks are very involved in discussions with our owners and very senior-level individuals internally and externally, and we’re asking them to articulate a very large part of the discussion,” he said.
Finding passionate people
Mack said Highgate looks for people who have a passion for revenue management and aren’t using it as a stepping stone to get to a position in asset management or a GM role.
“We want them to love this position, own it, love new products, learn new things, segments, digging into all the data, and you have to want to do this for life to be successful,” she said.
Raul Moronta, SVP of revenue management at Crescent Hotels & Resorts, said getting talent up to speed in revenue management is a big investment in a person.
“You hire somebody for what they do at the two-year mark, not what they do at year one,” he said.
Another advantage of hiring internally for revenue-management positions is that the person already knows the company culture and “tends to get on their feet a lot faster than if you hire somebody from the outside,” he said.
Priya Chandnani, VP of revenue management at Benchmark, said companies also need to think about the culture they’re creating to retain talent.
“What are you doing to keep them happy, challenged, motivated with different projects? Are you having those conversations about, ‘where do you want to go?’” she said. “I think any revenue manager (with) that ability to say, ‘I have the flexibility to try new things,’ is key.
“We live in a discipline that really doesn’t have defined lines at this point. We’re defining those lines. As future leaders, if you give them a platform to say, ‘what do you want to do? Let’s test it out at some of our properties,’ there should be less of an incentive to move out of a culture that gets you excited every day.”