BBC Travel recently featured six individuals referred to as ‘Travel Pioneers’ on their website. From cycling the Atlantic Ocean to capturing photographs of disappearing tribes to years spent hoofing the globe on foot, these Travel Pioneers are changing the way that we think about travel, as we’ve always known it.
One of the featured spotlights was an interview with Levison Wood, a 32-year-old British photojournalist, whose geographic exploration is seriously nothing short of extraordinary. As I was reading through his incredible stories of travel and trekking 4,000 miles along the Nile River (on foot, mind you), I started thinking about some of the similar themes that a Travel Pioneer shares with being a Revenue Pioneer in today’s hotel industry.
There were five shared themes that emerged with both types of Pioneers: a source of encouragement, mapping out a plan, a sense of culture, handling challenges and going beyond the expected.
Source of encouragement
When asked about the source of his inspiration to travel the world, Wood had paid homage to the support and encouragement that he had received from his parents. His parents had provided him with experiences to fascinating places from a young age, cheering him on as he took on new challenges, explored geographic territories and created a vision of where he wanted to go throughout his life.
Thinking about the success of a Revenue Pioneer, their effective and successful strategy also starts from the top and requires support from their executive team. When the executive team encourages a Revenue Pioneer to experience and tackle new regions of revenue management, it paves the way to creating a vision that is inclusive of goals that can be shared by the entire organization.
Mapping out a plan
Traveling to any new destination requires understanding and research of its particular location. One of the key statements that I took away from the Wood interview was that he never went into a place ‘blind’. He spoke of the importance in knowing where the dangers and risks are, and the areas that are safe for travel. This hit home because it reflects comparable questions that Revenue Pioneers ask themselves when mapping out their strategic revenue plans.
While these comparisons differ with regards to actual physical danger, think about their overall similarities: Both travel and revenue management require thoughtful evaluation of the areas that hold associated dangers or risks. Where will a hotel encounter danger or loss of profits to its business? If there are risks associated with taking a certain direction: What are the specific risks and do their potential rewards outweigh the percentage of risk?
Mapping out a strategic revenue management plan allows a Revenue Pioneer to evaluate their road to success and where they might be apt to encounter dangers along the way.
Sense of culture
Culture is a word long associated with travel. Traveling to different areas around the world exposes a traveler to the way of life of those who inhabit that region. Culture is inclusive of the behaviors, values and belief system within any region and has a profound impact on the overall experience of a traveler.
Building a sustainable culture is talked about a lot within successful revenue management. A strong revenue management culture and its principles play an integral role within the overall hotel structure. When the philosophies that drive strong revenue management performance permeate into the entire hotel and its departments, all hotel employees are able to integrate those doctrines within their own roles to help drive better revenue.
I sincerely hope there is little risk of being chased by a crocodile, buffalo or snake in the revenue management workplace; however, Revenue Pioneers still need to prepare for the predictable (and unpredictable) challenges they will inevitably stumble across in the future.
One of the challenges facing today’s hoteliers is how to handle the abundance of data available within the industry. What data will help the hotel make more money, or what types of data could hurt revenue goals instead? The emergence of the big data era has given hoteliers infinite data points to analyze and optimize. It’s important to have processes in place that allow a Revenue Pioneer to understand, tackle and turn their future challenges into big opportunities.
Going beyond expectations
A common theme throughout the interview with Wood was that his overall experiences were shaped by the desire to go beyond the expected and embark on holistic journeys. He immersed himself in the journey and the cultures, careful not to get stuck in what he referred to as “traveler ghettoes” and enjoy a truly organic, cultural experience.
This is similar to our greatest challenge today in revenue management: embracing Total Revenue Management. The principles of Total Revenue Performance require a Revenue Pioneer to think differently about their current strategy and make decisions that deliver the greatest overall value to their hotel. It requires them to stretch their thinking beyond what they might be used to and explore new territories (and possibilities) of revenue performance.
We’d love to hear your Revenue Pioneer stories! Share them via email to: email@example.com