Mr. van Meerendonk

Revenue Management

The Brain Drain: How to Make the Most of, and Protect Your Intellectual Capital.

By Paul van Meerendonk, Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions

All staff involved with, and alongside the revenue management team need to be provided with ongoing guidance and support. This investment is of particular importance during any period of time involving the planning and implementation of new sales and marketing strategies, but should also take place throughout normal day to day operations as well.

These strategies will help staff meet their own personal and team sales goals, which will see an increasing rise in worker moral and resultant improvement in overall levels of staff retention. The ongoing success and financial viability of a hotel can often be decided by how pricing decisions are implemented by various staff members. To ensure this process is done with as much preparation as possible, hotels need to invest in the staff behind the decisions.

A recent report in the Harvard Business Review(1) highlighted how Starwood approaches the potentially complex issue of ensuring that their organizations high-achievers and most talented staff are being put to best use and are constantly engaged. Starwood seek out those talented staff members and give their innovators real projects and access to top management in order to 'test people with live ammunition.' This means that the parent company of hotel chains such as Westin, W and the Sheraton lets 'innovators build and manage cross-functional teams to develop their projects and then present full-fledged sales / marketing plans to the company's top executives.'(2)

By protecting intellectual capital and ensuring that adequate levels of staff support are in place from day one, hotels will be going a long way towards protecting their different channels of revenue. When improved levels of staff retention are achieved, hotels can expect to see more consistency in the financial results they achieve.

The effect of losing a valuable member of your wider sales or marketing team can be prolonged and negatively impact upon the financial viability of your hospitality organisation. Revenue managers and all members of the wider sales team for that matter are highly skilled and trusted people. They play an important role in the wider functioning of a hotel, and their loss can have a detrimental roll-on effect throughout the organization.

To help prevent this scenario Andrew Chan, CEO Asia Pacific, for TMS recommends: "'Implementing an overall staff engagement strategy beginning with, when an employee first starts with a company - as opposed to leaving it too late, as this is invariably what happens when employers realize they have unhappy employees, but by that time, it's probably too late and its highly unlikely employees will stay. Addressing the employee attachment factor from day one is essential at all level's of business if employers are to succeed in holding on to their staff."

Furthermore, the loss of key staff within revenue management positions and other key staff during an economic downturn can actually limit how well that hotel comes out of the recession when conditions improve. Interestingly, 36% of corporate respondents to the survey carried out by the Workplace Institute at Kronos said they are concerned that as the economy picks up, they won't have the right resources to meet demand.*

If hotels invest time and effort in their people (much like the process Starwood employs above) and ensure they are content in their current work environment, they will be ensuring not only worker morale but also the ongoing viability of their organization.

Hotels should remember that many individuals within the revenue management and sales team have quite often played an important role in designing and implementing different pricing decisions and strategies. Removing them from the equation will also remove their knowledge and understanding of that particular organisation, something that in this day and age is invaluable.

Hotel owners and managers should look at ways to ensure that their workplace is both productive but also one where the staffs are able to feel involved. During periods of economic downturns, there is no better thing to do than to invest in your intellectual capital. This will help your organisation both weather the current financial storm but also position yourselves to be the first on your feet when the economic rebound eventually does occur.

For a hotel to effectively optimize their revenue on a consistent basis, the right technology needs to be in place alongside the right staff culture, which will only result from long term investment in intellectual capital. Only then will your hospitality organization be able to effectively maximize their ongoing revenue capability. For more information on how your hotel can build a successful revenue management culture whilst protecting you intellectual capital please contact Klaus Kohlmayr at IDeaS Advantage Consulting. Klaus currently holds the position of Director - IDeaS Advantage for IDeaS Revenue Optimization, a SAS COMPANY, the global leader in Hospitality Revenue Optimization (www.ideas.com), and is based in Singapore.

He is responsible for leading and growing the newly established revenue management consulting and advisory division - IDeaS Advantage - assisting Hospitality focused clients to maximize their revenue potential through the creation of a sustainable revenue culture.

Over the last 15 years, Klaus has gained global Hospitality Industry experience working in a variety of Hotel Operations and Regional Corporate Offices environments in Europe, the United States and Asia Pacific across a wide selection of primarily Luxury Hotels.

References:

  1. Lay-offs Hurt Corporate Activity: Survey Results
    Web Address: http://www.plansponsor.com/pi_type10/?RECORD_ID=50173

  2. Finding and Grooming Breakthrough Innovators: By Jeffrey Cohn, Jon Katzenbach and Gus Vlak. Harvard Business Review, December 2008

As Director of Advisory Services for IDeaS Revenue Solutions, Paul van Meerendonk leads a global team of revenue management advisors focused on hotel revenue optimization projects. Mr. van Meerendonk is responsible for global development, management and operations of the Advisory Services team. He oversees the hiring, training and management of industry-leading consultants located in London, Beijing, Singapore and Atlanta. Mr. van Meerendonk also represents IDeaS on industry thought-leadership initiatives related to trends and best practices within revenue management, including authoring a number of white papers, conducting public speaking engagements, as well as leading key client webinars with an average audience of over 200 global representatives. Mr. van Meerendonk can be contacted at +44 (0) 118-82-8100 or Extended Bio...

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