For third-party management companies and GMs alike, surviving the economic downturn was a challenge that tested the limits of revenue management.

“Whether you’re in a recession or coming out of one, for pricing in particular, you need to understand who you are,” said Scott Blakeslee, GM of the InterContinental Dallas.

A drop in group and corporate demand challenged Blakeslee and his team to increase occupancy without dropping rates.

“I always try to stick to basics of understanding the product, audience and market,” he said. “Every day you need to yield rates to market conditions through competitors, weather history for a property, or sometimes even gut feelings.”

“The economy really changed consumer buying patterns—we have a stronger short-term booking window,” said Ben Seidel, president and CEO of Real Hospitality Group. RHG was founded early in 2010, and already has more than a dozen properties spanning a wide range of segments and markets.

“Now we really have to use every channel we have to monitor rates, packages and offerings, including promotional programs on third-party sites like Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline,” he said. “You need to know where yours is priced against the others. A few dollars will make a difference in a consumer’s decision.“

Blakeslee said it is important for a manager to stay true to the identity of his or her hotel and guest, even in a challenging economy.

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