State of Talent Trend: Collaboration is Crucial

This trend follows the trend of commercial strategy accelerating, because it is the internal and external collaboration that must evolve. HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference was co-located with the Marketing Conference, showcasing the convergence happening within the industry as companies work to optimize revenues. There is a need for a shared vision and the issues, players, responsibilities, and resources must be defined. Teams must learn to coordinate actions and use integrated data to make projections and solve problems. Cindy Estis Green of Kalibri Labs stated at ROC, “There’s a need to alter what has been done, and to operate differently has become an imperative. Hotels are trying to figure out how to manage that because they can’t keep doing what they were doing with half the number of the people.” 

Staffing shortages and high turnover created stress and anxiety for many teams. Continually being expected to do more with less is resulting in burnout. Budgets are tight while expenses have been under pressure from 40-year high inflation and increasing compensation and benefits expense.  

Internal Collaboration 

Combining sales deployment, digital marketing spends, revenue and commercial analysis became necessary with smaller teams, who discovered they have different and complimentary skills. Leaders who can harness the potential when these skills can come together can drive not just more business, but the right business, and win. The convergence of revenue strategy and digital marketing accelerated through the pandemic because historical data was no longer sufficient. These skills don’t have to exist in silos. 

Effective executive skill sets that are essential include:  

  • Setting strategy and creating common goals. 
  • Offering models and examples of right actions. 
  • Harnessing cross-departmental efficiencies. 
  • Maximizing the use of existing talent and technology. 

Cross-training of the three departments, plus potentially including the distribution and loyalty teams, requires investment of resources. The payoff to cross-training is flexibility. Creating matrix teams that can shift from one department to multi-department projects and back will become more common. Opportunities for individuals to expand their skills across several specialties encourage both retention and growth. However, the skills demanded for sales, marketing, and revenue excellence can be quite different and often attract different personalities. Cross-pollination may require shared understanding of basic principles that everyone can master. Asking salespeople to learn digital marketing or revenue managers to conduct sales presentations may immediately put them in a compromised place.  

Coordinating collaboration means building teams becomes a bigger focus of the leader’s time. In-fighting as departments vie for dominance can disrupt workflows. The management of team meetings and the distribution of resources must be more deliberate and hands-on as the various departments come together. The HSMAI Curate Executive Forum surfaced several potential issues, including the need for: 

  • Technology and systems that communicate and interact. 
  • Streamlining reports, tasks, and reporting lines.
  • Clarifying expectations. 
  • Leaders adept at bringing people together and solving problems during the transition.

Change is hard for people, especially those who see themselves as losing status or influence. Diverse groups with expectations built on previous experiences are being asked to cooperate with others who often have different skill sets – and different objectives. Leaders will need to look at KPIs and compensation and determine ways to use these to build team strength rather than undermine collaborative efforts. This could mean dismantling systems that have been in place for decades, or by contract, which may prove difficult. Things could go wrong as the process moves forward. 

 Two potential bright spots regarding talent:  

  • Talent with multiple skill sets allows for flexibility. 
  • New hires may arrive with potential to excel in several positions, adding options for managers. 

External Collaboration Opportunity  

This is also a crucial time for organizations to reach out to hospitality and business schools to share resources and build relationships. In the absence of robust management training programs, on-campus presence by executives can help attract bright, trainable graduates who can grow into positions. There has been a perception that hospitality programs are irrelevant when they cannot evolve their curriculum as fast as the industry and disciplines are evolving. Providing externships for professors may be as crucial as offering internships. Industry can help ensure that the value of education is reflected in the skill levels of those graduating. 

Calls to Action: 

  • Focus on systems and processes and on data that informs decisions.  
  • Offer management training for managers and senior leaders for both the hard and soft skills needed to move commercial strategy forward and gain trust and cooperation.  
  • Communicate clearly to build transparency and cooperation, and ultimately collaboration.  
  • Present clear goals, accountability, recognition, and milestones for teams to thrive. 

To read more about the top talent trends, download The State of Hotel Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization Talent 2022-23: HSMAI Foundation Special Report. 

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles