Hotels Manage Tasks

A hotel manager, hotelier, or lodging manager is a person who manages the operation of a hotel, motel, resort, or other lodging-related establishment. Management of a hotel operation includes, but is not limited to management of hotel staff, business management, upkeep and sanitary standards of hotel facilities, guest satisfaction and customer service, marketing management, sales management, revenue management, financial accounting, purchasing, and other functions. The title “hotel manager” or “hotelier” often refers to the hotel’s General Manager who serves as a hotel’s head executive, though their duties and responsibilities vary depending on the hotel’s size, purpose, and expectations from ownership. The hotel’s General Manager is often supported by subordinate department managers that are responsible for individual departments and key functions of the hotel operation.

Hotel managers are generally exposed to long shifts that include late hours, weekends, and holidays due to the 24-hour operation of a hotel. The common workplace environment in hotels is fast-paced, with high levels of interaction with guests, employees, investors, and other managers.

Upper management consisting of senior managers, department heads, and General Managers may sometimes enjoy a more desirable work schedule consisting of a more traditional business day with occasional weekends and holidays off. Depending on the size of the hotel, a typical hotel manager’s day may include assisting with operational duties, managing employee performance, handling dissatisfied guests, managing work schedules, purchasing supplies, interviewing potential job candidates, conducting physical walks and inspections of the hotel facilities and public areas, and additional duties. These duties may vary each day depending on the needs of the property. The manager’s responsibility also includes knowing about all current local events as well as the events being held on the hotel property. Managers are often required to attend regular department meetings, management meetings, training seminars for professional development, and additional functions. A hotel/casino property may require additional duties regarding special events being held on property for casino complimentary guests.

To address revenue optimization, each chain has a slightly different approach to the RMS question. Some chains are contracting with independent RMS providers to “white-label” each system, like GRO for Hilton. Others, like Hyatt and Starwood, have developed entirely proprietary systems to suit their internal brand goals. Brand systems, particularly those that are uniquely developed for one brand family, often have a significant edge over independent systems in dynamic functions due to the size of the budget backing the development of each program.

The ability to leverage more expensive features such as hourly real-time optimization updates can quickly give a property a strong competitive edge in a major market, as opposed to many independent systems that offer updates only once or twice a day. Alternatively, brand systems leave less room for customization, which at times can hinder properties that might not fit the exact mold of the brand, resulting in additional overrides and manipulation of the system by revenue managers to help create adaptation.

This may lead those in the industry to believe that independent hotels do not possess the same resources as chain hotels. To an extent, that is true. There are certain challenges that an independent hotel faces that don’t affect chains. In today’s revenue management environment, there are a few critical resources that revenue managers must use when working with independent properties. Most importantly, revenue managers cannot excel without adaptability and learning agility. Every independent property in each market presents unique challenges and opportunities, and requires a truly adaptable approach to each situation, with the necessary level of customization, to properly leverage the opportunities that present themselves. Depending on the property, demand may dictate completely opposing strategies.

For one hotel, packaging and upgraded room types may be in demand, while at another property, upgrades may rarely be booked directly and will only be filled by overbooking base room types. In another case, packages may be used strictly for SEO purposes and rarely generate revenue directly. For independent properties, it’s essential for revenue managers to be creative, constantly researching and uncovering new opportunities within the industry. This will help each property develop future revenue growth rather than remaining stagnant.

There are many challenges that have developed in the revenue management industry over the years. Booking windows grow shorter and shorter and year over year pace no longer yields as much intelligence as it previously did, mainly because patterns and booking behavior of guests have changed dramatically. As TCRM leads strategy for our clients, it remains important that we present the data for changing elements in each unique market and the opportunities or potential pitfalls that could present themselves.

It can be easy to get mired in the minutia and fixated on same-day results, especially when trying to impact a longer-term, more sustainable change in revenue strategy. Long-term gains can sometimes necessitate absorbing short-term pain. For example, when strategy shifts from an occupancy focus to an ADR focus, there may be short-term negative results. This is when hotels often panic and think a mistake has been made and derail the carefully crafted strategy.

This is precisely the reason that it is so important to work with a Revenue Manager experienced in analyzing these situations rather than giving in to an emotional, knee-jerk reaction. A seasoned Revenue Manager will evaluate the data correctly, pulling from various sources and looking at multiple angles, and adjusting and tweaking the approach as the property travels toward sustainable strategies and overall revenue growth.

As mentioned previously, independent hotels benefit from a higher level of agility, as they can react to changing times with the potential to quickly shift strategy. Chains remain forced to roll out a complete change to their entire portfolio, which can sometimes take months to move forward. Independent hotels can change quickly, given that the appropriately experienced person is leading the way.

However, a major challenge for independent hotels remains the ability to boost ADR, which is typically easier for chains. Chains often receive better placement on the available distribution sites because of the size of their agreements with each OTA. This can leave independent hotels with fewer tools to boost visibility without having to offer discounts or higher commissions to secure better placement, particularly relevant in larger markets. As a result, and by default, independent properties may push RevPAR from an occupancy standpoint. This is notably different for iconic independent properties or well-known luxury properties, which create their own “brand,” while being managed independently and experiencing strong direct booking demand.

While this disparate ADR strategy may be the trend of today’s market, however, traveler preference and demographics are beginning to lean more towards independent properties that provide unique and local experiences for their guests, mainly a result of the emergence of affluent millennial travelers that prize an experience over the standard amenities of a cookie-cutter brand. Brands are already seeking to capitalize on this with the emergence of “soft brands” such as Curio, Autograph or Tribute, but independent hotels have the potential to create thoughtful authentic experiences for their guests and will continue to hold the advantage. Over the next two to three years, independent properties that provide excellent guest service and receive overall positive reviews will be able to charge premiums that compete with and may overtake similar branded properties, which would propel them to higher RevPAR than their branded competition.

On the other hand, an independent hotel may decide to align itself with a “soft brand” or perhaps an affiliation group, such as Preferred Hotels or Design Hotels, to benefit from the brand’s broader marketing reach and list of resources. It is important to closely evaluate the costs and benefits of this type of affiliation prior to engaging in the partnership. The expected increase in demand, the impact of having to accept lower-rated reservations, such as reward stays, and the additional marketing fees and higher cost of distribution are all areas that need to be carefully evaluated.