Optimise the efficacy of your Revenue Manager
It’s challenging being a Revenue Manager. Be it in a large city-centre hotel or a small countryside hotel, Revenue Managers face similar challenges & stresses. Too much to do, too little time. Many of these challenges come from client demands, but today we’re discussing the internal challenges faced by a Revenue Manager. These are generally a little easier to fix than external factors and can have a big impact on a Revenue Managers efficacy and efficiency.
Firstly, we need to look from the top down. This is where most of the work culture in business organisations come from – General Managers, we’re looking at you! It’s imperative that the Revenue Manager has the support of the GM in the hotel for them to do their job effectively and efficiently. The GM needs to instill the culture throughout the entire hotel that everybody has a role to play and responsibility for room sales in supporting the RM.
Communication between Departments
All Head Of Departments and their teams should understand the Revenue Strategy and what the GM & RM are looking to achieve this month and year. The sales team and RM should be working together for the same goals. Equally, the Front Desk & Reservations team should know the reasons behind rate increases, decreases and incentives so they can encourage guests to book direct.
Ensure that the most current forecast is shared with all departments. This has a symbiotic function. It will help all teams drive sales, but also help other departments with forecasting their sales and staffing. Food & Beverage allocations can be a thorn in a RMs side, so open dialogue as to why these need to be decreased or increased needs to take place.
Another specific example of communication issues are over-bookings. The RM should collate stats on No-show rates, prove what is achievable through overbooking and work with the Front Desk team to have a plan in place for the team if things go wrong and they need to book out a guest.
Audit Online Reviews
It’s a lot easier for a Revenue Manager to increase rates for a hotel with a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor than it is a 3.5-star rating. Team members in each department need to be aware of how their interactions with guests have an impact on room sales. As you know from reading TripAdvisor reviews, they can be about any element of the guest’s stay – from cleanliness to food quality, to the temperature of the jacuzzi in the Leisure Centre.
This is not just on TripAdvisor however, it impacts reviews left on OTAs, on your own site and just as importantly, word of mouth. All online reviews should be audited daily and management as a whole take responsibility for improving and maintaining high scores. Issues within departments can then be highlighted to the HOD, to ensure that they are resolved and avoided in future.
When speaking with hotels, we are told too often that the RM is the only person who knows how to use the booking engine or channel manager. This means that when they are not at work, no dates can be closed out, rates can’t be optimised and opportunities are missed out on. It’s important to ensure that there is an employee who is trained on the systems at all times in the hotel and empowered to make decisions on these matters. This will also allow the RM to be able to go offsite for conferences and workshops without having to worry about the daily running of the hotel.
If a chef needed an extra mixer in the kitchen to ensure there was enough bread for the day, we suspect the GM would see little issue with making the investment into this equipment. However, it can be a different story for the RM who may not have the correct tools in place to do their job efficiently. The role of an RM is made a lot simpler with the most up-to-date and correct type of software.
An up-to-date Property Management System with a solid reporting system, an easy to manage Channel Manager and most importantly, a responsive website with a strong Booking Engine are all essential. If the RM spends hours pulling reports before getting to the analysis or updates rates on several channels individually, they won’t have time to delve into other revenue opportunities. Also, don’t forget about the hardware. Invest in a good, speedy PC and a second monitor for it – it makes the job a lot easier!
Consider Their Workload
Especially with small properties, it may be difficult to find the time for a RM to focus on the role specifically. While it is important that they understand and supervise the work of the Front Office & Reservations team, it’s impossible to concentrate on a good analysis or work on forecasting when you need to regularly drop what you are doing to answer the phone or emails or are sitting at the front desk.
The RM needs to have the time to dedicate to Revenue Management as well as somewhere for them to retreat to for these tasks without having to worry about the phones or check-ins, even if it’s just a morning scheduled once or twice a week in the GMs office with no interruptions.
Once these challenges are addressed in the hotel, it will make a huge difference into top line sales achieved. It will also allow the RM to optimise their efficacy and concentrate on channel strategies, impacting the bottom line stats – the profit made per room sale.