By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
Scott Pusillo loves travel, whether it’s seeking out adventures in his personal life, holding business meetings in new locales, or developing new technology to make the industry more efficient. And while Pusillo’s career has taken several twists and turns, his love for travel has never wavered.
After working in the field for several years and teaching himself all he could about what was then the new discipline of revenue management, Pusillo obtained HSMAI’s Certified Revenue Management Executive (CRME) credential to supplement his previous learning and take his career to the next level. Now the vice president of business development for North America for Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Pusillo recently shared his professional story with HSMAI — and a snapshot of what makes him tick outside of work.
What has your career path looked like?
I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, having earned degrees from Johnson & Wales University in culinary arts and in management. Originally, I started in hotel operations and early on found my passion for revenue management. I moved through positions in revenue management at hotels and at a corporate level, eventually leading global market strategy for Viceroy Hotel Group before making a leap into the travel technology space three years ago. I now lead business development and account management teams across North America at Sabre Hospitality Solutions.
Why did you get the CRME?
I pursued my CRME about 12 years ago, when I was early in my career and wanted to be relevant and have the credentials to back up my knowledge. When I started in this discipline, revenue management was not something that was talked about or taught in university. I didn’t know it would be something I’d be good at until a very astute general manager recognized my strengths and suggested I take the role.
Having formal training and certification helped a lot in the early days, and I get to keep my knowledge relevant and stay up-to-date on industry trends by recertifying every three years. Practical applications of these skills have changed over the years, so having “CRME” is more than just bragging rights, it helps to really further your growth and further your relevance when you speak to the ideas and concepts you’re bringing to the table.
What keeps you interested in revenue every day?
I’m passionate about the changing trends in travel in general. At Sabre, we power more than 40,000 hotels around the world, and I get to help redefine what the future of travel looks like. I’ve been passionate about this evolution for a long time — how hoteliers need to move away from just thinking about hotel rooms as a source of revenue. I believe our industry’s future is grounded in the concepts of retailing, distribution, and fulfillment, particularly in meeting the complex requirements today’s travelers have when deciding where to stay during their journeys. There are infinite possibilities out there, and I love that I work for an organization that is leading the charge into the future.
What has been the biggest setback in your career and what did you learn from it?
In the early days of my career, not having formal training available to me, not even really having standardized curriculums across the industry, led to a lot of self-teaching and self-discovery of strategies. When you develop it on your own, you don’t know what you don’t know, and you’re developing these theories and strategies in a vacuum. Self-learning is fantastic, but there were a lot of speedbumps along the way. Failing isn’t a bad thing, but the lack of defined trainings had the potential to stunt my growth. I learned perseverance and determination from those speedbumps and failures.
As HSMAI rolled out CRME and as they have enhanced and refined the study guide through the years, it has really helped catapult the discipline into a more structured and advanced stage. HSMAI helped me overcome that as I became more involved in the organization and we became more focused on honing the skills of revenue management as an industry.
What’s been the best or most exciting thing you’ve gotten a chance to do in your career?
Making the switch out of hospitality to technology was really exciting for me. It was probably the biggest risk I’ve ever taken in my career but has also been the most rewarding. I’ve loved being able to take the skills around revenue management and hotel operations and carry that experience into the travel technology space. In this role, I’ve been able to influence a lot of the focus for the next generation of systems focused on hotel distribution and strategy.
Specifically, I’m most excited about the ability to lend insights and thought leadership around the idea of optimizing every source of revenue available to hoteliers. For so long we’ve been so focused on selling just rooms, but the true opportunity comes with selling everything around it. There is endless untapped potential when you start thinking about attribute-based selling, decoupling package elements, time-based pricing strategies, or monetizing amenities, policies, and ancillaries. When you take away the guest room as the center of the purchase and look to what inspires travelers to consider a destination or hotel in the first place, you really get at the heart of the future of hotel revenue management. It’s exciting to know that a little bit of my DNA will be in the theory and application of technology systems that will power that enablement.
Outside of work, where would we find you?
My passion is travel, which is why I’ve been so lucky to have been able to marry my passion with my career. You’d find me on a plane exploring new destinations by myself; I enjoy the personal and cultural discoveries that come with traveling solo. My most recent exploration was back to Taiwan to spend a week there with friends I met on a previous solo visit and explore more of that beautiful country.
What would your coworkers be surprised to learn about you?
I think they would be surprised to learn that outside of work I am far more fun-loving and easygoing. I come into my job with a focused and driven attitude and it’s all business in my professional life, but when I go home, I’m far more relaxed, go with the flow, and whimsical.