Wolf Pack or A-Team?

This reminds me of a topic that is often touched on by Dr. Ravi Mehrota: “[Revenue management] systems are not a substitute for human intuition, just as human intuition cannot achieve all the signs and rationale built into the system. The people and the system have to work together to achieve the best results.”

With revenue managers shirking the ‘lone wolf’ mentality and joining the hotel’s ‘wolf pack,’ they can better communicate the value of revenue management and build a more comprehensive and successful data-driven revenue management culture. I often look at the key members of the ‘wolf pack’ as being comprised of the general manager, director of sales and front office manager – although this may be different in many organizations.  As I began thinking even further about the various roles that the hotel ‘wolf pack’ plays in total revenue management, it actually started to remind me of another well-known team: The A-Team.

The general manager (GM) takes on the role of the leader, Hannibal. Being a master tactician and an excellent strategist like Hannibal, the GM organizes the hotel’s operations to maximize Gross Operating Profit (GOP). So if GOP is the general manager’s key driver, how can the revenue manager communicate the necessity of revenue management? By remembering the phrase, “Show me the money.” Revenue managers contribute to the hotel’s GOP by optimizing revenues. It is crucial that revenue managers attach real monetary value to their strategies so the GM can make informed decisions and evaluate the impact that following these strategies has on the GOP.

The director of sales is revenue management’s Faceman, focusing on client relationships and customer loyalty. They attract the right customer, convince them to buy (often and in higher quantities) and bring in more customers. Revenue management only works when we understand consumer behavior and address the market based on an effective value proposition. What will the customer get for the money they have to pay and what are the alternatives? Using this logic to collaborate with the director of sales is a good way to increase their understanding of revenue management. This will help them apply strategies and choose the customers that will help achieve customer loyalty, while minding the revenue management targets of the hotel.

The front office manager, otherwise known as BA, handles guest satisfaction and provides a measure of how products and services meet and surpass customer expectations. Like the A-Team’s ‘Mr-Fix-It’, front office managers deal with uncertain circumstances and often need a plan of action to get out of sticky situations. They appreciate transparency and accuracy (and hate uncertainty.) They do not want to handle difficult pricing questions from guests due to pricing irregularities.

If revenue management is done correctly, consistently and analytically, front office managers will be hugely appreciative, aligning their goals of achieving client satisfaction with the revenue optimization target of the hotel. Working together with them on critical revenue management issues allows the team to have one common goal in mind.

It becomes the revenue manager’s goal to make sure everyone stays on target to optimize revenue, understand consumer behavior and carry out disciplined analytics. Revenue managers also need to understand the importance people play in making revenue management work. Revenue managers must become outgoing like Murdock!

As the team’s pilot, he always ensured the team arrived at their destination to complete a mission. Like him, revenue managers have to effectively communicate their findings to all fields and make sure everyone arrives at their desired end goal. Even though working with the key players can be complex with their mixture of responsibilities, revenue managers should be willing to speak their minds and allow their voices to be heard within the workplace.

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