How interesting it has been for seasoned hospitality executives to witness firsthand the emergence of the profession of revenue management, and simultaneously, the significant improvements in revenue per available room our industry has achieved these last 20 or so years. Yet as far as we have come as an industry, most revenue-management visionaries agree that we have so far actualized only a small percentage of industry’s potential benefit. Despite an up market, there is still far too much money being left on the table by hotels that have failed to actualize their revenue optimization potential.

It’s been said that revenue management is both an art and science, but perhaps we should say revenue management is mostly about political science. In today’s industry environment, most financially successful hotels have the necessary technology to forecast demand, manage their inventory, and adjust to changing trends in the market as they are emerging. Those that don’t no longer have an excuse, as there is a wide variety of supplier/partners who are marketing systems of all levels of sophistication, according to the property’s needs and budgetary constraints.

No, it’s not the systems that are holding so many hotels back from succeeding, but rather the people and their corporate politics. It’s the director of sales who stands up at the end of the revenue management meeting and says, “Yeah, but I still think we should take them because it’s a sure thing,” after the transient displacement report and banquet-room demand forecast both indicate the dates are peak demand. It’s the general manager who sits atop an org-chart where the revenue management is an assistant/supervisor level staff member. It’s the vice president of operations who still thinks that revenue management is a person rather than a core hotel management function crossing all disciplines within his or her company. It’s the owner/investor who doesn’t see the need to pay for the competitive-set pricing reports on the market these days and says “Why can’t they just check the Web and call around themselves?”

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