As IDeaS’ new head of Advisory Services in the EMEA region, Damiano Zennaro is a firm advocate for the power of positive, strategic transformations. He’s made it his mission to push the boundaries of revenue science into new verticals while supporting the ongoing success of IDeaS’ existing clients.
Born in Venice, Damiano has lived in several European countries, including The Netherlands and Spain, and is currently based out of IDeaS’ Italian office in Milan. Fluent in five languages, he will be a driving force across the entire EMEA region. We recently sat down with Damiano to learn more about him and his plans with IDeaS.
What brought you to IDeaS?
I have always been passionate about innovation, pioneering new systems and strategically supporting hotels in finding their way in revenue management. It is fascinating to see how much the revenue management discipline has evolved in recent years and how much will continue to change under the push of revenue science and AI. To stay tuned, you must be stimulated by cutting-edge technology and inspired by professional people…hence, which better company than IDeaS?
What will you be doing as our Head of Advisory Services for the EMEA region?
Today, despite knowing machines will be pivotal for success, the human strategic asset is here to stay. Technology and people are often seen as a dichotomy; however, it is in the way the two will interact and work together that a hotel can benefit from the most. We know by experience one of the most difficult exercises for a company is efficiently managing mindset changes and staying tuned by investing not only in technology but also in education, people and leadership.
This is what the Advisory Services team at IDeaS does—supporting our clients in looking at things differently and in daring to change with the aim of optimizing processes and creating more value and revenue. From a purely educational point of view, IDeaS partners with the best hospitality universities in the world. We fully believe investing in disseminating the right messages around our discipline is a fundamental step to shaping the future leaders in our industry.
What did you do before IDeaS, and how did that experience prepare you for this role?
I mainly worked for one of he most exciting brands in the hospitality industry, IHG, where I spent almost 20 years growing role after role. I had the opportunity to develop myself, the privilege to meet great people and cover several roles mainly around systems and revenue management.
I thoroughly enjoyed my last challenge which was developing and leading a team of remote revenue managers across Europe helping hotels (franchised and managed) in embracing their revenue management system and understanding the dynamics of it. Performance results were extraordinary, confirming the fact that any machine needs a strategic input from a revenue manager. Dealing with change management with owners and GMs helped me a lot in my professional and personal development.
How have you seen the field of revenue management change over the course of your career?
Once seen merely as a solitary and analytical role, today, the science and the art of revenue management is unrecognizable compared to a couple years ago. The dynamism and skills required today by revenue management are evolving year after year and will continue to do so. Revenue science, machine learning, and AI, in combination with the complexity of the distribution landscape, make hospitality one of the most exciting industries to work for. There is so much to do not only on the room revenue stream but also in other revenue streams like meetings & events, spa, golf, parking—and there are so many hotels around the world. I see a bright and vibrant future in revenue management in the hospitality sector and beyond.
What advice do you have for revenue managers just getting started in their careers?
Be curious, don’t be afraid of disruption, think positively and…don’t forget to shape your soft skills!
What’s the best experience you’ve had as a hotel guest?
Sleeping so often in hotels, I’ve had many! What I always appreciate from a hotel is the right balance between being recognized as an individual and efforts to proactively make sure I have a great stay. This goes together with the guest-centric approach, an approach that looks at the total guest journey from pre to post stay. Hotels need to seriously take into consideration this approach going forward to make sure they make the difference in a highly competitive market.