Insights From HSMAI Revenue Professional of the Year – Single/Multi-Unit: Don Hood

Don Hood, Director of Commercial Services, Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa will receive the Revenue Professional of the Year Award for single/multi-unit during HSMAI Commercial Strategy Week, taking place June 28. 

A 23-year veteran with Hyatt Hotels, he has over 20+ years of experience within the field of Revenue Management. Don is responsible for the Revenue, Sales, Marketing, and Events efforts for the Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa. He is passionate about revenue and has received several Hyatt awards for his work – Director of Revenue of the year (twice) and most recently led his team in Key West to win the Commercial Services Team of the Year. He is a firm believer that revenue optimization is very much a team effort and works with his counterparts to garner support for each strategic revenue tactic that is put into place.  

How did you get your start in the industry? 

I started in the industry at the age of 16 as a busboy at the Elks Lodge. This initial opportunity sparked my interest in the field of hospitality. I explored other aspects of hospitality, working at a water park and at TCBY (head pie maker!). I was pre-med when I first enrolled in college, but that major only lasted six weeks. I ended up majoring in Hospitality Administration.  

I started in hotels as a front desk clerk at a Red Roof Inn. There I had the privilege of working under an exceptional General Manager. Under this GM, the role allowed me to explore leadership roles and develop skills. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and the experiences it provided me with.  

How did you get involved with HSMAI? 

My colleagues first invited me to industry events with HSMAI. While brand perspective training was available through work, in HSMAI I found value in observing and learning from individual hotels as well. It was fascinating to see what they were taught and to gain insights into their unique approaches. I actively engaged with the HSMAI to dive deeper into all aspects of the industry. 

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

When I started, we were forecasting using spreadsheet, then I deployed Hyatt’s RMS. I also sought to expand my knowledge beyond the Hyatt environment and familiarize myself with other systems used in the industry. This allowed me to broaden my skill set and understand different approaches to forecasting. 

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of revenue management is opening up a whole new world of possibilities. With an abundance of data points available, there is a tremendous opportunity to analyze and extract meaningful insights. I think we’re moving towards optimizing various aspects of revenue management, such as total space utilization, total booking optimization, and total profit.  

How would you describe your approach to revenue management strategy? 

I would describe my approach as sales forward with data driven analytics. Numbers serve as a crucial source of information, providing insights that enable strategic decision-making. To put it simply, numbers don’t lie.  

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

I consider myself lucky to have been treated exceptionally well and taken care of throughout my career journey. Hyatt has recognized my contributions by honoring me with awards within the company.  

However, what truly brings me fulfillment is the opportunity to train, develop, and mentor others, helping them progress to the next level and seeing them become wildly successful. Giving back through mentorship has always been important to me. 

I am so interested to see where my career path is going. As the industry continuously evolves, I have had to redefine my career and reinvent myself in order to remain relevant and stay up to date with the latest trends and advancements. It parallels revenue management, where we are always course correcting and perfecting.   

Categories: Revenue Management
Insight Type: Articles