Two weeks at hotel-industry events in India, Singapore and Hong Kong reveal key themes for what’s ahead
- Totally focused on Total Revenue Management
- The evolving tech stack
- The rise of the machines
The Asia-Pacific region has always had a special place in my heart. Before moving to IDeaS HQ in the US in 2010, I spent a number of years based in Singapore, first helping IHG grow their footprint in the region and then educating hoteliers across Asia Pacific about revenue management by launching and growing IDeaS’ then new consulting services arm (now called IDeaS Advisory Services).
Over the years I have seen the Asia-Pacific hotel industry grow and mature. During a two-week trip to India, Singapore and Hong Kong, attending or speaking at eight different industry events, I was keen to have in-depth conversations with hoteliers, innovators, startups, and investors to understand the latest developments and needs of the industry across this vast region.
Totally focused on Total Revenue Management
For many hotels in Asia Pacific, 50 percent or more of revenues are generated from non-room revenues, including meeting rooms, conference, spa and others. Many hotel companies and brands feel their capabilities for rooms revenue management is sufficiently advanced, but it is now time to focus on the other revenue generating areas. Total Revenue Management has been talked about for a long time, and some companies have started to tackle it either through regional efforts or through creating dedicated global teams focused on optimizing the totality of a hotel’s revenue potential.
Accessibility to clean data is still a challenge as hotels struggle to consolidate information from a variety of sources; however, with new technology comes better and more efficient access to data, better insights and increased ability to make revenue enhancing decisions. In roundtables in Mumbai, Pune and Singapore, with experts from hotel companies, consultants and technology partners, all parties confirmed that now is the time to focus on Total Revenue Management, with some allocating significant efforts toward it.
The evolving tech stack & the rise of the machines
At the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), Asia Pacific’s largest gathering of hospitality movers and shakers, Microsoft distinguished engineer and technical evangelist James Whittaker kicked off the annual proceedings with a dire prediction: it is inevitable that “the machines” will outsmart and outperform humans in the not too distant future. And the reason is that “everything is data” which can be digitized, analyzed and optimized. As the world is transformed into a sea of data, we will generate 163 zettabytes of structured data by the year 2025, equivalent to 40 trillion DVDs. An increasing amount is generated by devices talking to each other through the Internet of Things (IoT), with the data stored in the cloud.
In a panel conversation I led with participants from Oracle, Sabre and German BI company Snapshot, we discussed the implications of this transformation. This includes cloud-based platforms, increasingly efficient ways to access data, unparalleled insights into consumer behavior and more and more engaging ways to interact and connect with customers along the entire buyer’s journey, and across all revenue streams.
In a world where it is more efficient to order food from an app-based delivery company (Deliveroo, Foodpanda, BiteSquad and others) than from hotel room service and fully automated restaurants, hoteliers of the future will need to be mindful that disruption is increasingly coming from tech-minded entrepreneurs outside the traditional hotel space. It is no question that the rise of the machine will alter our lives, in many cases making it better than ever before. However, in order to stay relevant, the hotel industry needs to start reinventing itself, become data savvy, embrace technology and be ready for the age of the machines.
Klaus Kohlmayr challenges strategic processes, stimulates thought-provoking conversations and reinvigorates the future of revenue management and pricing within the hospitality and travel industries.
A natural contrarian, Klaus has challenged the status quo for over 20 years. He re-joined IDeaS from TSA, where he led the company’s global commercial, operations and strategic partnership initiatives. During his previous stint with IDeaS, he started the company’s global consulting division -- leading a team that partnered with top hotel companies. Together they pioneered the industry’s first group price optimization and function space revenue management proof-of-concepts in a real-world environment.
Klaus developed his passion for the hotel industry at the Hotel Management and Catering School in Villach, Austria, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management. An advocate of lifelong learning, he has since studied business at Henley Management College, real estate investment and asset management at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration; and finance and strategy at the Singapore Management University.
Klaus has been an active participant in various advisory boards, including HSMAI in Asia Pacific and the Americas, and the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management, Singapore. He not only loves to challenge the status quo, but wholly welcomes being challenged in new ways of thinking.
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