Revenue Management, friend or foe? 

I have to republish this, it fits so well this time of year. There is still the push / pull between the folks that are willing to walk away and risk losing a large client to get fair rates – and those that fear the unknown. The unknown is can your hotel survive losing a large client? It would be nice to have a list of clients ready to take their place but so often most of our efforts are based on keeping the big client, which means letting them have a significant amount of rooms even over high demand times. We don’t hold back, but probably should at times. After all, they can decide to leave you and what do you have? I am not a fan of being that dependent on one client. I think we have to continuously be ready to replace, renegotiate and renew our relationships. That is delicate balance especially if a hotel has made most of their inventory decisions about the Big client. We also can lose our negotiating power if they know we won’t walk away. Relationships count but only if both sides value it equally.

In my 20 plus years in the hotel industry (oh my gosh, i am getting older?), terms like Revenue Management, dynamic pricing and value added selling can make a salesperson and their clients a little less friendly to each other.

We talk about building relationships with clients to foster long term gains for our hotels and at the same time have to address selling the right rooms at the right time at the right rate. No wonder we sometimes feel we are walking a tightrope in a very fast paced circus.

Hospitality can get a little lost at times. I have explained dynamic, flat and fixed pricing enough to know that clients just want a good deal and to trust who they are doing business with. Explaining that dynamic rates are much like the airlines does not makes us sound friendlier either,lol.Like they have to book the right room at the right time for the right amount of nights, but not when they need it…. yeah, i would scratch my head a little at that too.

Hotels and revenue managers have budgets to meet and surpass. And we are evolving with more tools and technology to do so. But is it replacing true hospitality? After all , one thing never changes – we need guests to survive. They need to choose us. Insert my favorite needy line from Grey’s Anatomy “So pick me, choose me, love me.” Sigh. Too needy? Probably. Which means we also have to balance our negotiating skills with knowing when to cave in or walk away. I have never been good at the needy part, always a bit too stubborn. Ask anyone.

I pride myself on being a dual focused hospitality professional – being a warm friendly sales representative while working with the operations side to realistically approach our mutual goals. Yes, it means balancing multiple personalities – and you have to be a little crazy, creative and passionate to do so. Do I speak “out of turn” at times to ask questions that are unwelcome? Probably. And we all should – as I addressed in a previous blog (just follow me on, it’s easier) #shamelessplug , we are not robots and we think independently. How refreshing that can be. I love a good debate, fiery but respectful on all sides can bring positive results for a company, or partnership.

I will always have to carefully balance my ambition, passion, independence with what is best for my clients and the company I represent while keeping in mind that I am a mother, daughter and friend. Oh my. Now I will ask for your prayers, wine and patience. That just got real.


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