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COVID-19 Recovery Highlights MRK’s 10th Revenue Management Roundtable

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Two weeks after hosting their first in-person revenue management event since the pandemic, MRK Associates were back at the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square to host their 10th industry roundtable.

The focus of this roundtable was the large hotel brands, hotel management companies and the asset management industry. On Thursday 23rd September 2021, we hosted our 10th roundtable for the revenue management community. Similarly to the previous event, the objective of this roundtable was to discuss COVID-19 and share different recovery experiences.

The host for this event was MRK Managing Director, Roland Seddon. The event took place at the spectacular five-star venue - Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. Accompanying us at this roundtable was an overabundance of revenue management experts from across the country.

Sameer Gheewala, Aprirose Real Estate Investment; Chris Martin, RBH Management; Louise Clarke, Valor Hospitality Europe; Nick Moffatt, easyHotel Plc; David Gebei, Hilton; Ben Godon, Colliers International; Nader Nawwar, YOTEL; Carrie Ashton, Choice Hotels EMEA; Stuart Alexander, Graduate Hotels; Kadira Canavese, Corinthia Hotels; Anna Hahn, Choice Hotels EMEA were all in attendance.

MRK Managing Director, Roland Seddon, opening the discussion with the topic of operational staffing shortages. The group then went on to examine the challenges they faced as a result of this. The conversation moved onto the current occupancy levels, with many sharing that city centres have taken longer to return but have seen that weekends are becoming more popular again.

The local market in London is still way behind the rest of the country in terms of weekday occupancy, but the capital is slowly seeing an increase. The experts then discussed promotions and incentives that are currently being used to increase occupancy levels. It was understood that more focus had to be put on customer segmentation in order to create incentives tailored to their guests.

Going forward, incentives must be designed to retain new guests obtained during the covid-19 period whilst creating demand for future guests. Following the previous topic, the discussion moved to digital marketing, as participants acknowledged that this has become a huge part of a Revenue Manager’s role. Over the past few years, the revenue strategy and digital marketing have become closely linked. Many within the group believe that digital marketing should fall under the revenue management function rather than marketing. The discussion then turned to Mergers & Acquisitions.

The group shared that there wasn’t much movement in the industry as valuations had fallen. This seemed to be a result of the furlough scheme. Many hotels didn’t go under during this period, with some offering themselves as quarantine hotels. As a result, hotels were able to bounce back once lockdown restrictions were lifted.

The event concluded with a discussion around the demand for revenue managers in the industry. As the market returns, Revenue Managers across the UK will continue to be hard to find. This will only get tougher in the future as all hotels get back to pre-covid levels.

MRK Managing Director, Roland Seddon shared his delight for the event

“It was great to see such a mix of familiar and new faces to what was our 10th Revenue Management Roundtable. Aimed at the large hotel brands, hotel management companies and the asset management industry, we had some great discussions about key issues in the industry from a Brand, Operator and Owner viewpoint. With more events to come, it was great to see so many people in the industry back on form and looking to the future.”

The industry was short of talent in 2019 and COVID-19 has created a perfect storm to reduce the talent in the market. During the COVID-19 period, Revenue Managers moved to other industries and Europeans found work back in Europe. Employers need to plan for the future and start developing junior talent.

Each attendee brought a dynamic approach with unique views to the event. We would like to say a huge thank you to all those in attendance, Olga Sommer and Nobu Hotel London Portman Square for allowing us to host this event at your wonderful hotel.

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