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Technology Rock Stars CALVIN ANDERSON

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March 16, 2020
Technology Leaders
Fran Worrall

The People Leading the Industry

Although many people come to mind when considering technology leaders in hospitality, our HU panel — which consisted of hotel and gaming consultants and insiders — selected 10 visionary men and women who not only are driving change within their organizations but also are at the forefront of innovation in the industry. In this special report, we highlight these technology leaders, providing an in-depth look at their recent accomplishments as well as their predictions for technology’s future.

Head of Commercial, North America

Calvin Anderson heads North American commercial operations for Oyo, a relative newcomer to the hospitality industry that has become the fastest-growing chain of leased and franchised hotels, homes and living spaces in the world. Prior to joining the company, he held leadership positions at Red Lion Hotel Corporation and Duetto and served as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.
One of Anderson’s most unique responsibilities is overseeing Oyo’s revenue prediction team, which rates hotels throughout the United States and Canada for potential business partnerships. Artificial intelligence algorithms combined with industry statistics and the company’s own revenue management data help the team assign a score to each property according to four metrics – commercial value, product value, geographic value and guest experience review value. The data is then evaluated against the average market value of the properties in its competitive set. “As we bring new hotels to the market, we assess the gap between what the average of the set is doing, what we predict the individual property is doing and where Oyo is performing,” Anderson explained. “If the difference is large enough, we know we have a recipe that fits the property’s business needs.”
The data is then utilized both inside and outside of the commercial verticals to support business development, revenue management and marketing. The brand team, for example, uses the information to direct the efforts of the interior design group. “We know which properties need major upgrades and which ones need only a facelift,” Anderson said, noting that brands sometimes force owners to make renovations that don’t justify the investment. “We refurbish properties according to their needs, focusing heavily on improved digital conversion.”
This strategy also enables network planning. “All of our business development efforts are better optimized because we know where to focus,” he said. “Ultimately, we get a national chart – similar to a heat map – telling us which properties and locations will drive the most demand.”
Oyo also uses this data to base-line its pricing algorithms, which are designed to optimize demand elasticity within its markets. “We often don’t have access to each new partners’ historical reservations data, which is necessary for accurate forecasting, so we depend on data from our market assessments to generate an initial pro forma,” Anderson explained. This information, plus sensitivity to booking velocity and competitor pricing bands, allows the company to make an immediate impact on revenue performance via its pricing strategy.
While Anderson acknowledges that Oyo has received some negative press, he is quick to point out that it has the potential to transform hospitality. “The lodging industry still carries a lot of legacy practices, so when you get the opportunity to work for a company with vision and resources, you take the risk and jump,” he concluded. “I’m an innovator. It’s in my bones to find a better way.”

©2020 Hospitality Upgrade 
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