Hilton’s SVP and commercial director for the Americas, Chris Wilroy, spoke with HNN on video about what revenue managers should be prioritizing now, and ways his company has invested in direct relationships with its customers.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee—Cycle dynamics play a big role in revenue management, and Hilton’s SVP and commercial director of the Americas, Chris Wilroy, said revenue managers should be focusing on both the art and science of revenue management as the industry approaches the next phase of the cycle.
“All too often, revenue managers are heads down, setting rates and inventory controls, and not really thinking about … their pricing decisions, their rate structure, their inventory controls through the lens of the customer,” he said in a video interview with Hotel News Now at the 2019 Hotel Data Conference.
Wilroy spoke on the “How guest experience pays off” general session panel at the Hotel Data Conference, which covered ways hotel companies are translating great customer experiences into revenue.
On the panel, Wilroy talked about Hilton’s investments into the “dreaming” stage of trip planning. The company is rolling out initiatives through its digital channels that make research and booking easier and more intuitive for guests.
In the video interview, Wilroy expanded on Hilton’s current priorities in this arena, calling out two specific programs—the company’s new Group Direct product, which “will allow for additional direct booking of groups … in a much more simplified way,” he said. And he mentioned Hilton’s Connected Room initiative.
“We’re going to have 200 hotels live (with Connected Room) by the end of this year,” he said. “It’s a convergence of the digital and physical space—personalization of your guestroom.”
When it comes to forecasting the next downturn, Wilroy said one of Hilton’s priorities right now is to “put the right strategy in place that will insulate our hotels, regardless of the ups and downs in the market.”
For the company, that has meant investing in digital-direct channels and in the Hilton Honors loyalty program—both efforts to grow Hilton’s direct relationship with its guests.
“We’ve developed a really, really strong base of loyal customers that we think provides a solid base of insulation for our owners,” he said. “We’ve got 94 million members that will continue to drive revenue to our hotels no matter what’s happening outside in the broader market.”