Revenue Optimization in the “New Abnormal”

By Juli Jones, CAE, Vice President, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Advisory Board members spent time recently updating their dashboard of the top issues facing hotels and the professionals leading revenue optimization efforts. Surprisingly, the issues themselves haven’t changed dramatically since their last “scouting” exercise conducted in December 2019, but the context has certainly shifted in the “new abnormal.”

It is sort of a “same story, different tune” situation.

Tim Wiersma, CRME, chair of the advisory board and President & CEO of Revenue Generation, Inc., summed it up. “Any remaining silos that exist between sales, marketing and revenue will fall,” he said. “New industry standard KPIs will become more prominent in the industry. Technology will play an even bigger role in the future.”


Even in December, the advisory board talked about the need to make better use of the technology that was in place. In addition to making the most of the technology we have, today the conversation has shifted more toward identifying (and developing) better technologies, including automation, that allow us to do more with less (less time, smaller teams, etc.).

Along with the actual tech itself, revenue professionals – and all stakeholders that impact and are impacted by the revenue optimization function – are under increased pressure to improve their collaboration, communication, and productivity.

Now more than ever brands and management companies are looking at tech to create efficiency and perform strategic analysis to increase profitability. Automation will allow revenue management professionals to spend more time on the strategy and less time on the tactics.


With our traditional  measures being less relevant today due to the variances in supply and mix of business changes, focus on profitability measures such as ProPAR, channel profitability, and acquisition costs have moved to the forefront.

As you are thinking about your own KPIs, ask yourself a few key questions:

  • With profitability as an increasingly key metric, how strong is your and your team’s business acumen? (If you need a boost here, check out HSMAI’s highly-acclaimed Certified Hospitality Business Acumen program).
  • What metrics will help you price where you should?
  • What metrics will help you know if what you’re doing is working?
  • What new data can provide more relevant insights during the recovery than in a typical environment?

“Revenue leaders are becoming commercial strategists as they work with and understand the key measures that will drive the entire strategy across all commercial disciplines,” according to Tim Wiersma.


Winston Churchill first said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” While it is hard to appreciate the opportunities at hand in the midst of the serious crisis facing hotels, there are a few.

  • Innovation in Optimization: Experiment with new ways to optimize function space, restaurants, and ancillary services; Diversify your revenue; Expand revenue optimization principles and techniques into non-room revenue-producing areas
  • Talent Development: Support those on your team who are still working by giving them the tools to build their resilience and take care of their mental health, and help them prioritize and learn to “no” to requests that distract them from their focus on revenue optimization; Build your pipeline by through the next generation of revenue professionals – connect with a university-level hospitality program to speak to classes, offer internships when safe and practical, and provide faculty with special projects to give their students real-world experience

And most of all, thinking creatively, break down silos, and better position yourself, you team, and your company to thrive post-Covid.

To discuss these and more of the latest issues facing sales, marketing, and revenue optimization professionals, join the HSMAI Recovery Connections sessions on HSMAI’s Road to Recovery 2020.

Categories: Revenue Management
Insight Type: Articles