Boutique or big brand, how to be an on-trend revenue manager

Anael Peu of Kew Green Hotels offers tips on how to stay ahead of the curve in revenue management.

In the midst of such intense competition in the hotel industry, it’s important not to focus only on following in the footsteps of your competitors but instead to aim to be one step ahead. After all, Apple didn’t change the game with the iPod by attempting to produce the best Walkman!

As with many careers, technological progress has played a big part in changing the role of the revenue manager. With buzzwords such as ‘disruptors’ or ‘compression days’ almost omnipresent in the industry, making accurate forecasts or attaining top line rooms revenue expectations is no longer good enough. What do revenue managers now need to focus on? How do we shift our focus from tactical pricing management, to a more strategic commercial focus?

In answer, next-generation revenue managers must strive to optimise profitability and analyse all potential ancillary revenue streams, particularly if they don’t want to become ‘revenue system administrators’. In other words, they need to be ahead of the trend.

Does this mean revenue managers should stick their heels in and do all they can to stop technological advances in the business? Of course not. The best way to survive career extinction is to do something the computers can’t, that is, staying one step ahead of the trends and ensuring to provide strong added value to the business. To avoid extinction, revenue managers must deploy their skills and knowledge to all revenue streams: spotting new opportunities, identifying and being ahead of trends for new income, and developing a strong entrepreneurial attitude.

Being ahead of the trend is often easier said than done, but it certainly isn’t impossible. The most important thing for revenue managers to do is to stay aware of what is happening around them both inside the industry and further afield. With the increase of sharing economy business models, the opportunities are endless for revenue managers on the lookout for trends that can be used to benefit their hotel. When it comes to sharing economy, hoteliers tend to focus on new competition from industry disruptors like Airbnb, but many other ‘sharing economy’ businesses are appearing and this is where new revenue streams will come from. As the phrase goes, “Don’t look up, look out!”.

Here are a few we are currently investigating, piloting and rolling out in Kew Green Hotels:
• Take away and delivery services: partnering with some big names to get our fantastic food directly to the local community kitchen table, or into meeting rooms
• Unused parking spaces: partnering with a company best known for helping customers rent out their home driveway, to sell our unused parking bays by the day, week or month
• Electric Car Charging points: making charging point available to electric cars owners
• Collection points: with their long opening hours, hotels are such a great place for members of the local community to have their latest online order delivered, thereby increasing local recognition at the same time as bringing in extra revenue for the business
• Small meetings e-booking portal: providing our guests with a simple ‘instant book and pay’ functionality on our website to grow our share of the small meetings market

As long as hoteliers remember to stay in touch with the changing industry and customer, revenue generation in the hotel sector still has a lot up its sleeve. Remember to try new things, they may not all work, but you might also uncover a strong revenue stream for your business. Keep your entrepreneurial eye out; the next revenue stream potential is just around the corner.

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