Author Benedicte Ollagnon, Certain Logics Ltd
This week saw the 2nd episode organised by Rita Varga from Women in Hospitality and Travel Tech of the Revenue Hacks. Each week Ally Northfield, Berangere Brohan, Khristina Ridge, Susanne Williams, Olga Sommer and myself discuss a specific HOT subject related to Revenue Management. This week was extra special as we had a guest - Jonathon Liu, Director of Revenue Strategy & Marketing Operations at glh Hotels.
We were not disappointed - Jonathon was bombarded with questions from all ladies and gracefully answered them with a lot of patience!
What will be the new focus of sales, distribution and marketing teams?
Jonathon shared his vision and how GLH is transforming the commercial team’s focus to manage communication with clients.
Sales managers’ focus on relationships and commercial discussions with the customers will be even more crucial in the near future as the demand remains low, to increase market share.
Digital marketing will play a bigger role and at GLH, the team handled 3 responsibilities: one team looks after the acquisition and driving traffic, one team focused on converting the bookings and the 3rd team drives retention. The main objective is to have a strong content strategy with stories, personalised messages to the travellers. They are also responsible for the creation of experiences and partnerships with other companies (Train companies, tourism boards..) to promote London as a destination.
Distribution team focus is on the technical aspects to make sure whatever sales and marketing are coming up with is actually possible to be distributed.
For sure, the focus on net profitability that may have sit in the past only with the revenue management team and the general manager will have to be the focus of all teams as costs of acquisition with new channels may go up.
How can we help teams to work together?
At GLH, Jonathon organises a weekly content meeting with revenue management, sales, distribution and marketing to review needs, messages, distribution of the offers and review results.
Jonathon’s tip is to throw people from different teams together, build these key friendships and even offer cross-training between departments. This goes a long way to get rid of the possible silos.
It is crucial for all teams to learn from each other. For example, MICE sales teams have been trained to ask more questions to their clients at the time of enquiry so revenue managers could quote faster.
Jonathon also invites guest speakers to come in and present to all teams. For example, STR came to present their products to the sales teams.
The bonus scheme is also reviewed to make sure a portion of it is based on team results.
Working together allows the delivery of a common strategy - for example, to communicate with the clients with a clear message, no duplications.
Data sharing will also help to improve the collaboration of all departments. GLH is currently building a data warehouse which will allow the creation of common reporting.
What is the future of revenue management?
Jonathon believes that revenue management will change to revenue strategy and optimisation.
All teams will come up with the overall strategy and the revenue managers will be responsible for optimising the business according to the strategy.
There will be more and more automation of basic tasks by the use of technology (actually in other departments as well - GLH is looking to use robotics to automatically cancel the bookings that come by email) so the revenue managers will be able to focus more on commercial strategy.
They will need to keep developing key soft skills such as managing up and down to influence others in following the strategy.
Jonathon believes we will see more and more revenue managers getting to commercial senior roles or even more senior roles.
So this may be a prime time to get any silo down and build up collaboration between departments to come up with an overall strategy to get the hotels out of this crisis and for the revenue managers to take on bigger responsibilities in the future within the business.
Many thanks to Jonathon for participating in this lively exchange with the six ladies of Revenue Hacks.
Watch Revenue HACKS episode 2