MRK Associates and Revenue Management Jobs hosts industry round table discussion

“Revenue management is a discipline without discipline”

Revenue management is growing in importance on a daily basis and makes for incredible viewing. With the exception of crypto-currency trading and a few others, revenue management is globally one of the fastest growing industries.

Totally unique

In a first meeting of its kind, 12 UK senior decision makers from large portfolio hotel brands and prestigious, single-location establishments met at the inaugural MRK Associates/revenuemanagementjobs.com industry round table to discuss how the industry is evolving; there was plenty to discuss.

It was an enlightening event at The Ned; a wonderful, atmospheric hotel in the heart of London’s Theatre Land. Throughout the day, conversation flowed, ideas discussed, and opinions aired.

Round table participants:
Airline – Oliver Ranson, Independent Revenue Management specialist
IHG – Philip Gardner, Vice President of Revenue Management, Europe
Hilton – Cyril Landy – Director of Revenue, Continental Europe
AccorHotels – Russell Low, Director of Revenue
AccorHotels – Christian Olney, Director of Revenue
Redefine BDL – Neetu Ganesh, Regional Director of Revenue
The Langham – Jamie Blackmore, Director of Revenue
HOSPA – Michael Hayward, Chairman of Revenue Management Committee
Lightbulb Consulting – Patricia Griffin, Co-Founder
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group – Andrea Downes, Regional Director of Revenue
The NED – Neville Govewalla, Director of Revenue

Where is development required?
The meeting started by discussing how talent within the sector needs to be developed and where the revenue management professionals of tomorrow would be found. Whilst this is a challenge faced by many businesses and industries, it is one that revenue management is likely to find itself acutely exposed to, owing to the limited number of relevant courses being offered at Universities and higher education establishments.

Stay on course?
For more students to graduate with the requisite qualifications, appropriate course content needs to be provided by tutors who understand the industry. In the short-medium term the table hoped that more relevant course content would be delivered, subsequently increasing the number of suitably qualified graduates.

Meanwhile, graduate programmes are being promoted by prestigious venues and organisations in the hotel sector to the level that hundreds of applications are being received for each programme. However, there are two challenges for the revenue management teams: firstly; other departments (Finance, Marketing etc.) often get chosen as the preferred career choice for these individuals. Secondly, even where specific revenue management graduate roles are advertised, there is a scarcity in the candidates applying who have the combined analytical mindset and necessary communication skills.

Those involved in the discussion all agreed that revenue management is a viable career option, although talented professionals are seemingly not aware of this. Candidates are still applying in their droves for general management and hospitality roles at hotels, therefore it is vital that an awareness of this alternative career route is urgently raised. This is an industry wide challenge and involves higher education institutions teaching the principles of revenue management as well.

Train to gain?
With so many candidates falling by the wayside, could additional training and/or qualifications be offered to such applicants? The group agreed to consider this option and advocate it throughout their organisations.

Revenue management needs to improve its marketing
The group agreed that a greater awareness to promote revenue management as a meaningful career is required. This needs to be sustainable and follow the success stories of people within the industry, enabling them to become a benchmark for the future. It was felt that there were sufficient numbers of hotels, venues and organisations within the sector to make a clear, demonstrable point.

We’ve seen nursing, army and banking groups attracting new candidates; hotels should apply the same concepts to attract the best revenue management staff.

The conversation easily flowed to the next point – the recruitment aspect of the industry and the talent pool. There is a definite need to build awareness and educate general management and HR that, rather than focusing on the initial recruitment costs of a revenue manager, the return on investment should be analysed. After all, few other people in a hotel can add more to the bottom line and pay back a recruitment fee quicker than a Revenue Manager. Through regular, ongoing communications and being part of the operational management of the hotel/cluster of hotels, this realisation will be apparent but will not occur overnight.

Identifying the stars of tomorrow – and retaining them
As well as more efficient marketing within the overall industry, identifying future professionals will assist with the needs associated with the rise in the industry. This will be achieved through the provision of better course curriculum in educational establishments. However, who are tomorrow’s stars? Start them from a junior role and enable them to progress from there.

Co-ordinating the revenue management personnel of tomorrow with a unified approach to interviewing would, it was felt, kill two birds with one stone. For instance, some organisations – including those represented at the meeting – are too heavily focused on the online assessments, whereas others fail to use the online assessment tool at all.

It was recognised that online assessments are not the be-all and end-all, however, a consistent approach to the application would help everyone: the candidates, the hiring team and the organisation. This was underlined by one view where it was explained that due to a vast shortage of experienced Cluster Revenue Managers, one member of the table stated that they focused more on the ability and character of the individual rather than whether they had two years’ industry experience. The majority of the table seemed to agree with this approach. Surely, a consistent online assessment would help the growth potential of all?

Evolution?
For certain, revenue management is a growth sector, especially in hotels. However, this has not been appreciated by all within the hotel environment. Triggers are required to assist the growth of the profession. When the group reconvenes later in 2018, we’ll see the progress made.

About MRK Associates
MRK Associates is the only recruitment business in the UK with a dedicated Revenue/Yield Management/ Pricing division sitting alongside two other main business units – Finance/ Accountancy and Office Support. Consisting of specialist consultants, the Revenue / Management market has witnessed substantial recent  growth across numerous industry sectors, but none more so than in Hotels. The types of vacancies in which we specialise are:

  • Revenue Analyst, (Cluster) Revenue Manager, Director/Head of Revenue
  • Pricing Analyst, Manager and Director
  • Yield Analyst, Manager and Director
  • Data Analyst and BI

In a skill-deficient marketplace where experienced individuals are at a premium, MRK has proved successful in sourcing the right talent and opening the market up for these specialist individuals.

We also partner with the recently launched and only Revenue Management/Pricing sector specific job board in the world: www.revenuemanagementjobs.com

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