Lori Morris, CRME, CHIA, is corporate revenue manager for Enchantment Group, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. The hospitality management company’s properties include Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona, and Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia, both of which recently reopened for business. Morris has been working remotely since March.
First, let me be among the first to say, “Welcome back!” We are excited to have you back to work, truly. I am a member of the “Hospitality Family” group on Facebook, and while I do enjoy the funny memes to brighten my day, my favorite posts are the ones where members share that they have been called back to work and/or that their properties are opening again. I enjoy the cheerful reactions that we give one another to those posts. It gives the collective group hope that we will all come out of this even stronger on the other side.
1. Go easy on yourself (and others). This is my number-one piece of advice, with the first part being the hardest for me to follow. Whether you are returning to work remotely or on property, it will be different. You might have added distractions while at home, even if the school year is officially over, (thank goodness). Back at the property, you might be part of a limited team that is returning, so you will be pulled in even more directions than normal.
Those who have been working throughout the pandemic might have missed something while you were gone. It wasn’t personal, or even on purpose; everyone is doing the best they can during this odd time. A little kindness and grace will go a long way in our day-to-day lives, both personal and professional.
2. Collaborate. There is so much we can learn from one another, and even if you are still working remotely, collaboration is truly important. Take the time to meet with team members; make a new plan for distributing tasks and redefined roles. Equally important is working with other departments within your company or hotel. Chances are your guests’ booking habits have changed; work with marketing on new promotions and packages. Group needs have also changed; make sure you are working closely with your sales teams on displacement analysis. On the topic of analysis, chances are costs have also changed; partner with your finance team on profit analysis. Take this opportunity to enhance the culture of revenue management within your organization.
3. Calibrate your systems. Do you use a prepackaged revenue management system, or do you have your own system? Now is the time to evaluate the setting within your system. Depending on the system you use, your provider most likely has some great content on dealing with closures in your competitive set as well as tips for reopening and handling the return of business. Do you need to change your comp set for rate shops for the time being? Take the time to make these changes.
4. Time for some tests. If now is not the time for some big risks, I’m not sure when that time is. Early during the pandemic, I heard someone say, “Do no harm” to your revenue strategy. I think that was important at the time, because there were so many unknowns. However, now we have moved past the initial cancellations/closures and can look at new trends and patterns emerging.
I believe tests are important — if they are measurable. Take the time to test some long-term strategies and short-term tactics to see what results you receive. Make sure you are being methodical with your tests, tracking, and adjusting. Remember to be patient with your long-term strategies tests; give them time to show results. In the event of negative revenue results, adjust and move on to the next test. For positive revenue results, consider adding additional dates to that current strategy.
5. Invest in yourself. I’m not sure about you, but I am disappointed that I will not be boarding a flight to San Antonio in less than a month to take part in HSMAI’s ROC 2020 event, which has been rescheduled to Oct. 26–27. However, I am excited to download the ROC@Home Toolkit and take part in some of the live expert sessions on June 17. Now more than ever, revenue optimization is evolving, and it is important to keep up with current trends and practices.
For additional information, insights, and tools, visit HSMAI’s Global Coronavirus Resources page.