Career Insights From HSMAI’s Revenue Management Professionals of the Year

How do you build a career in hospitality revenue management? What do you learn from job to job, and what will keep you interested and engaged along the way? Let’s ask two people who know: HSMAI 2018 Corporate Revenue Management Professional of the Year Cassandra Bond, CRME, CHRM, regional vice president of revenue management for Chesapeake Hospitality, and HSMAI 2018 Single/Multi-Unit Revenue Management Professional of the Year Derek Brewster, director of revenue management at Lotte New York Palace — both of whom will be recognized during HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) in Houston on June 19–20.

What was your first job in the hospitality industry?

Cassandra Bond: My first job in hospitality was actually in food and beverage as a hostess at Mama Della’s Ristorante in the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando. My first job on the hotel side was a front-desk agent at the Wyndham Westshore — now The Westshore Grand — in Tampa.

Derek Brewster: I lied about my experience and pushed my way into a fantastic bartender job at a nightclub in Perth, while I was backpacking through Australia.

What do you most like about working in revenue management?

CB: Revenue management is an area where you have both structure and discipline but also complete creativity. You have direct guidelines and goals, but your path to achieve them is completely up to you. At Chesapeake, we call this “freedom within a framework.” This freedom allows us to stay motivated while consistently looking for improvement. It’s a results-driven field that remains challenging.

DB: I think the most exciting part of RM is that it is always changing and innovating — the systems, technology, digital marketing, data science, etc. — but the best part of the job is that I get to work directly with so many departments within the hotel, and the impact the RM team has on the overall hotel performance is so far-reaching.

How can revenue-management professionals best collaborate with their colleagues in sales and marketing?

CB: It is crucial that revenue management and sales and marketing work in tandem in order for a hotel to be successful. This comes with trust, respect, and open communication between departments. Creating an environment where healthy discussion over revenue strategies is encouraged can help foster collaboration between these departments.

DB: It’s up to RM to navigate the market, oversee all pricing strategies, and ensure the best possible mix of business. In my opinion, the only way to be successful at all of that is to truly partner with sales and marketing, because they are the teams executing the strategies RM has established. We have weekly strategy meetings with each team — leisure, corporate, group, and marketing — to ensure we are all on track to achieve our goals, and if any segment is behind, we’re able to pivot quickly enough to mitigate any shortfalls, and everyone is engaged with the strategies that way.

What is a trend in hospitality that you have your eye on?

CB: Digital marketing and the ongoing impact on revenue management — revenue managers need to be savvy here and to understand how to create real ROI. Also, the evolving landscape of distribution channels — staying on top of new channels, costs, fees and loyalty programs.

DB: Everything involving ways that advances in technology and digital marketing can help hotels know their guests better and be able to deliver highly personalized service as well as tailored/bespoke offers to keep bringing them back.

Where would you like your career to take you?

CB: I am extremely fortunate to work for a company that understands the value and importance of revenue management. The sky is really the limit here, and I can guarantee the road ahead will be exciting and challenging.

DB: I went to hotel school because I love to travel, and I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to live in some fantastic cities in the U.S. The ultimate goal is to experience many more amazing cities while continuing to develop RM talent and helping direct teams to successful results.

Categories: Revenue Management
Insight Type: Articles