Insights From HSMAI Revenue Professional of the Year – Corporate: Monika Morrobel

Monika Morrobel, CRME, CHDM, Senior Corporate Director of Commercial Strategy at Kessler Collection will receive the Revenue Professional of the Year Award for corporate during HSMAI Commercial Strategy Week, taking place June 28. Growing her career within the Kessler Collection and its group of inspiring, unique properties, Monika has 19 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has a passion for analyzing data and trends to create synergy between departments and improve company performance. 

How did you get your start in the industry?  

I grew up in Orlando (and still live here), so it was only natural to get a job in hospitality, working line level jobs at Disney during high school. Being one of those people who have no idea what they want to do when they grow up, I majored in Hospitality as a catch-all, getting an internship at Kessler Collection’s corporate office in 2004. After working front-of-house operations at Disney, it was intriguing working behind the scenes, and during my early years at Kessler, I had the wonderful opportunity to work in many departments. I had responsibilities in Marketing, PR, Sales, Revenue, Design, Purchasing, Development – you name it, and this gave me an amazing perspective into all the pieces of a company.  

That experience and knowledge has given me a huge leg up in my career since it broadens the narrow-minded focus of just my area. I understand better what matters to other departments, how we impact each other, and most importantly how we can work better together to achieve success. I highly encourage new individuals entering the industry to latch onto opportunities of special tasks like that as a blessing rather than a nuisance of “that’s not my job”. The development and learnings from doing so are invaluable, and it leads to the Commercial Strategy revolution that this industry is now diving into. 

How did you get involved with HSMAI?  

Kessler has always been a proponent of HSMAI since we have a focus on enrichment and progress. HSMAI does such a wonderful job of education and helping the development of not just the industry overall or companies but individuals as well. My involvement began with basic attendance of HSMAI regional chapters then over the years grew to attending the special Curate conference, ROC, taking CRME and CHDM certifications, getting my team certified, until eventually I received the chance to join the Revenue Management Advisory Board. It has been wonderful being able to contribute to the industry in this way, with a group of peers that are all so passionate about the same goal. 

During your time in the industry, how have you seen the revenue optimization space evolve?  

When I first entered Revenue Management at Kessler, there were individual on-site revenue managers at each hotel. The first major step of the field’s development was when hotels started pulling out these individual managers and centralizing Revenue Management. Even though this was done mostly because of staffing challenges, it solved the challenge of pulling revenue managers out of the nitty gritty of operations so they could focus their analytical skills on strategy. From there it was only a matter of time for Sales to blend with Revenue Management as the opportunities in strategy became apparent and the only way to do so was by bringing the two areas together in alignment. Especially as technology and systems exploded into the picture, it was natural for the most analytical department to take ownership of the evolution, which naturally morphed into the envelopment of Marketing over the years. Marketing has moved into the digital world and become increasingly complex, involved in similar KPI’s and numbers as Revenue Management instead of print ads, so it is impossible for the three areas of Revenue Management, Sales and Marketing to be kept in their silos of old.  Commercial Strategy is the only way forward, and it is exciting to see the industry start to embrace it through the trailblazing efforts of individuals like my fearless leader Lori Kiel. 


How would you describe your approach to revenue management strategy?  

As analytical and number-minded as I am, I have an odd right-brain mentality. I love the creative side of things, even to the point where I once was interested in wedding planning. Fortunately, I did not go that route, but it has served me well in Revenue Management by opening a deeper level of strategy. It is not just about being able to spout off numbers and tear up a pivot table in 1,000 different ways. It is so easy to get lost in data overload and fall down endless rabbit holes, that it is important to step back and be able to visualize that data and extract the meaningful pieces to weave together the story that needs telling.  That way you are not just able to explain performance but then brainstorm and come up with ideas to keep improving.  Some of my “creative” ideas may get rightfully laughed at by Marketing, but I love participating in the process and working together with individuals that each are an expert in their area and contribute to one complete picture. 


What would you say has been the best moment of your career?  

After my latest promotion to the Corporate Director of Commercial Strategy, the team I oversee gifted me with a special necklace and thoughtful card, which just blew me away. There are so many times in your career that you get frustrated or overwhelmed, pulled into too many directions and feel ineffectual.  You doubt your leadership abilities, feeling that you are not doing enough to support your team and help each of them individually. The higher up you go up the ladder, the harder you are on yourself, but that moment showed just how proud and supportive they were of me and put things into perspective. This team, whose strength and efforts have been key to my success reciprocated my gratitude and brought me back to what really matters in all my efforts – the people. You cannot buy that kind of loyalty, and I am so proud to be part of this team on this endless journey with them. 

Categories: Revenue Management
Insight Type: Articles