Hotels encounter change every single day, experiencing changes in guests, rates, menus, events and staff. At an even higher level, hotels experience changes in management, brands, job responsibilities, revenue strategy and guest expectations. Widespread changes in distribution, technology, analytics and industry mergers also affect the hospitality industry in nearly every region.
Change management in revenue management refers to how hotels transition their individuals and teams and align their resources, processes and technology to meaningfully restructure their organization toward a common goal. And with many hotels now actively pursuing total revenue performance strategies, how can hoteliers ensure they keep up the pace and smoothly implement these analytical revenue management approaches throughout their organization?
Let’s take a look at how hotels can effectively manage the impacts of applying analytically-driven approaches on their people, processes and technologies:
One of the questions hoteliers need to ask is who is going to apply sophisticated analytics within their organization. The role of a data scientist is becoming an essential component of an effective revenue management strategy. In-house resources are also becoming more common in larger organizations. There’s also been a lot of recent discussions around the opportunity of a cross-departmental data scientist that can apply their skills where needed, while balancing the overhead costs to maintain this new role. External resources and third parties that can provide analytics as a service are also available. Dedicated support services for analytical technology and processes ensure hotels can perform at their maximum potential.
Restructuring a hotel organization around new processes requires an active, engaging transition plan for employees and teams that supports the new direction. This may involve adding new leaders, redesigning job roles and responsibilities, and developing a higher standard of skills and capabilities. And since many people are often intimidated and resistant to changes in the processes, practices and technology they’ve grown familiar with, it is important to recognize that taking a proactive approach to change will help negate the potential risks to employee morale and acceptance.
Thoroughly planning for upcoming organizational changes – and the impacts to and requirements of its people – requires comprehensive development and a structure that can adjust as the effects of change are felt at various stages. Hoteliers can begin the implementation by focusing on data collection, analyzing, planning and implementing business practices that support the new processes, technology and revenue strategies. These efforts should also consider the hotel organization’s realistic capacity for change. It is also important to recognize whether the desired change is the natural next step for the organization, or if there are more appropriate transitions that may be better suited. Moving too fast – too soon – can leave hotel teams feeling like they are being set up to fail.
Active involvement, communication and support from the hotel’s executive team are critical pieces of the change management puzzle. A leadership team exemplifying the behaviors and processes expected from their own teams demonstrates the organization is wholeheartedly embracing change from the top down. This is critical to the success of any change management plan – and when teams are facing stressful situations, they can feel supported by their leaders and deliver results.
Optimal processes should not only look at taking advantage of the analytics outputs, but also the inputs. To make analytics work effectively for a hotel organization, the company culture needs to be geared toward a common goal of data integrity and the effective implementation of analytical decisions.
Change is a process in itself – and different levels of a hotel organization are going to be impacted by the progress of change. Hotels should outline the current state of their organization, transitionary periods and the desired future outcome – and how they are going to involve every layer of the organization for a smooth flow throughout every department. Identifying, training and aligning the appropriate leaders at every layer – and communicating progress and messaging to the entire hotel – will help make the transition from point A to point B a manageable and successful process.
Analytics help hotels move even further beyond the normal revenue management processes into harnessing data and forecasting capabilities to explore, predict and optimize revenue results. Today’s analytics help hotel organizations explore why patterns and trends are happening to predict whether similar or different results will occur moving forward. By determining why specific results are emerging – and if they expect to continue – organizations can then start to optimize them by taking action to get the best effects and deliver revenue performance.
There are many aspects of analytics and technology that play a role in delivering optimal results: High performance forecasting capabilities provide a dynamic selection of hundreds of forecasting algorithms and models to give the best possible results; granular data and decisions can be provided for multiple hotels by departments, segments, room types, day parts and rate codes; predictive analytical tools allow hotels understand the impacts of changing strategy; advanced pricing and inventory controls maximize revenue opportunities; and expanded data sources such as reputation, competitive performance, rate shopping and value of demand can be integrated into decision outputs.
The hospitality industry continues to evolve, change and innovate. It is essential for today’s forward-looking organization to ensure they are moving up the revenue capability ladder to effectively apply analytics across their income streams. The race for total revenue performance is relentless and only those with the capability to adapt quickly and effectively will ultimately benefit from these sweeping changes impacting the industry.