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October 01, 2007
Hotel | Technology
Dan Phillips - dphillips@cni.com

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Help Wanted/Hotel:

Mid-size hotel owner/management company is reinventing itself starting with an exciting new initiative. 30 hotels with multiple flags, mostly full-service and/or convention center locations. The owner is standardizing on one PMS solution across the board and will be adding a CRM component as well. This rebirth will include a complete overhaul of its online presence and booking engine. This initiative is focused on two main objectives:

  1. Make guests happy by:
    -Being able to identify them by name, and group affiliation when applicable, upon arrival and throughout their stay.
    -Enabling them to design their stay and determing their individual points of interest.
  2. Increase revenues by:
    -Making more guests happy, therefore more heads in beds.
    -Increasing the take of total guest spending through better promotion of hotel amenities and creating lifestyle packages that provide financial return to the hotel.
    -Developing interest-driven, non-intrusive advertising campaigns of similar socio-economic status and push that content through various digital touch points throughout the hotel.

Job Title:
Guest Relations and Revenue Optimization Manager
-Several years of hotel experience specifically in marketing, sales, reservations or concierge
-Working knowledge of PMS
-Familiarity with CRM, Web sites, online booking engines

Preferred experience includes management level experience with occupancy forecasting, room rate management, multiple booking feeds and RevPAR analysis. Candidate skills should include creativity, marketing and charismatic leadership.

Position responsibilities: Leading team member responsible for re-creating online presence and booking engine. Work with PMS and CRM providers to both deliver and use pertinent guest data. Establish the definition of the company's socio-economic status and then develop marketing campaigns with similarly placed companies and their products. Create training programs for hotel staff positions, from reservations to sales and marketing, to concierge and front desk to housekeeping and IT, enabling them to facilitate guest relations and catered packages.

In the 1990s, the word convergence referred to bringing together voice, data and video. Today, in regards to hospitality, it could refer to the convergence of technology and marketing.  Technology has come to the point where it more readily enables marketing.  The CRM and PMS is more closely integrated today, giving hoteliers valuable stores of guest history and preferences that helps hotel directors of marketing design more effective strategies.  Digital touch points, from the hotel Web site and booking engine down to the televisions in the guestrooms and digital signage in the lobbies and meeting spaces, have all become windows whereby hoteliers showcase their branding to their guests.

To really bring all of this together, to develop a consistent message and to cater to individual guests at the hotel level, hotel companies will need to create new staff positions.  To get to the point where one guest gets chocolate and another gets a rose, there is a great deal that has to happen on the back end.  In this light, perhaps a help wanted posting similar to the one on page 164 will fill the need.

Job Title: Guest Relations and Revenue Optimization Manager
Good salary with bonuses and commissions. Satisfaction from being the first in the industry to succeed in the way that the rest of hospitality will soon be running their companies.

Convergence of marketing strategies and the technological tools that support them has never been more important than it will be in the next three to five years.  The demographics of the traveling public are changing.  Where we once had Baby Boomers traveling on a per diem business budget, tomorrow these same travelers will be more leisure centered.  And, the new business traveler, Gen X and Gen Y, will mix leisure and business, with leisure being the driving force behind most reservations.  In addition, over the next five to 10 years the actual size of the traveling public, in terms of population, will decrease dramatically.

Another change in the near future, leisure travelers will put more demand on hotel technology.  They will travel with their own devices seeking connectivity.  They will demand more from video entertainment.  They will demand more from content delivery, specifically relevant, timely information catered to their interests.  They will demand to do more in less time in the way of lifestyle choices – unique places to eat, things to see, experiences and so on.  Though there will be fewer total travelers in the future, each guest will spend more money per excursion than people do today.  It is the hotel company that creates and hires new staff positions like the one described here, that will take more than its fair share from its guests’ wallets.

Dan Phillips is the EVP of CNI. He can be reached at dphillips@cni.com.

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