Like many other sports throughout the world, America’s National Football League (NFL) fans congregate every week during the season in pubs, restaurants and homes to cheer on their favorite teams and players, celebrating their victories and drinking away their losses. Patronize any hometown bar during game time and you can experience the high levels of energy (and um, “passion”) that NFL fans across the nation exude during the league’s 17+ week regular & playoff season.
The start of the NFL regular season also signals the beginning of a spin-off phenomenon league known as fantasy football. Fantasy football, which is an online NFL fan football league, started out (ironically for us hoteliers, in a New York hotel room) as an intimate game that a small group of founders played simply for their own enjoyment. Today, it’s amassed into something best described as a mania that many NFL fans actively participate in – and look forward to – throughout the NFL’s regular season.
The basis of the game is really pretty simple: Similar to how NFL football teams draft their players each year, fantasy football participants draft their top players (from any NFL team) for each available position on their team until a full roster is comprised of active and benched players to ‘play’ strategically throughout the season.
Leading up to their draft day, fantasy football participants spend time researching the year’s best draft picks, the order of athlete selection and even stress over selecting their league’s trendiest team name (hey, good marketing is everywhere these days.) Each week, their team is chosen from their best players to start and the ones to bench – a decision often based on the previous week’s performance, player stats, player bye weeks and each player’s team’s opponent for the week.
With the kick-off of this year’s American fantasy football season, I can’t help but wonder: Are we, as revenue managers and hoteliers, thinking about revenue management in a similar strategic manner? Are our revenue strategies at the top of our minds and are we frequently looking for updates on our hotel’s performance – tweaking our starting positions every week for the strongest performance possible?
Fantasy football participants actively use weekly statistics and historical performance as indicators of whether their players should start on a particular week. Hotel revenue managers are also reviewing comparable kinds of historical data and performance reports to keep them on top of their hotel’s recent achievements.
We need to make sure that we are thinking about every area of our revenue strategy and how it impacted our overall revenue performance. For example, was there a chance taken on a spontaneous promotion last week? Did its performance hit it out of the park – or did it unpredictably underperform?
It’s important that we are thinking about the reasons why one of our “players” (in our case, one of our revenue management strategy components) was so successful or why they flopped unexpectedly instead. Who was our competition this week and what did they do in the game that brought them better results? Did we rely too heavily on gut feelings, and less on factoring in our reputation, statistics and performance data at hand? Are we reviewing our performance reports to help us monitor and track the impacts from our strategic decisions? Is a change needed – should a new pricing position be drafted or sub-par promotion benched?
When I think about the things that revenue managers and hoteliers can glean from fantasy football, I think we might really be on to something. Think about the possibilities that come from thinking about our revenue management positions on a frequent, strategic basis. Think about the possibilities of confidently using the information at our fingertips to establish our strongest position in every single week.
Just like in fantasy football, our hotel’s optimal performance cannot simply be set at the beginning of the season to never be looked at again. Finishing our season strong requires active monitoring, necessary strategic adjustments and a watchful eye on our team’s overall position. If we know that we are playing the game with our best strategy, we can be confident that we are playing to win.