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Home For the Holidays
Tending to Hotel Operations When Your Revenue Manager is on Vacation

By Jean Francois Mourier 
December, 2010

It's that time of year again, the holidays are upon us and travelers around the world are hopping on planes and booking hotels as part of their ever-anticipated holiday plans. For some hotels, such as those in sunny destinations like South Florida, winter is certainly the high season, the time of year where they welcome crowds of holiday travelers fleeing from the cold. For other hotel markets, though, including destinations like Alaska and many parts of Canada, things slow down quite a bit and there's plenty of personnel taking advantage of holidays to take some time off to spend with family. 


Whenever key managers take time off- whether it be for vacation, because if illness or they are out attending other work-related functions- the temporary abandonment of certain positions can tax a hotel. And there is quite possibly no other position this hold more truth for than that of revenue manager. As we've mentioned before in this space, the revenue manager's job is never done. Maximizing revenue per available room is a 24 hour, 365 day a year task, and requires an almost superhuman vigilance.  Monitoring competitor's rates, making the proper adjustments, managing multiple sales channels, and distributing inventory effectively are high-touch, time consuming processes, and for many hotels require a hands-on approach.


So what's a hotelier or GM to do when the revenue manager does decide to take some precious days of vacation (or even worse, is out sick)?


Of course, this is something that virtually all hotels already have figured out.  There are assistant revenue managers and other trained staff ready and entirely capable of stepping in and taking over daily operations. Indeed, no hotel would risk being caught without some contingency for an event as predictable as a revenue manager's vacation.


But with the holidays here and vacations on everyone's mind, it's a good time to look at just how indispensable a good revenue manager is, and how their job would be augmented by the appropriate revenue management system.  The idea of a hotelier or GM being left helpless by the absence of a single manager may seem far-fetched, but the reality is that the various tasks facing revenue managers in an effort to optimize room rates and RevPAR can indeed be daunting. In fact, to achieve the best possible results in terms of RevPAR, revenue managers need cutting edge technological help- and that's when they aren't on vacation.


Today, because conditions of room sales fluctuate more rapidly than and more wildly than ever before, revenue managers must perform more 'maintenance' tasks than in previous generations.  In order to maintain a high occupancy rate and a healthy ADR, not to mention keep up with the most accurate information,  a revenue manager must monitor hundreds of online sales channels, determine which rate is attracting the most demand, reconcile that with in-house and GDS-generated reservations, adjust that rate, allocate inventory to the channel, and communicate this information across the various operating departments within the hotel.  This would be a lot to do on any winter day, and yet these tasks, to get the best results, must be performed continuously.


In fact, to maximize RevPAR, this process must be repeated as often as possible, down to the minute.  This is beyond the capacity of even the most talented revenue managers, who, though capable and competent, still must sleep, eat, and take the occasional vacation. The pursuit of rate optimization, really only attainable through a comprehensive revenue management system, takes the revenue manager or revenue management team away from the more productive initiatives they might otherwise undertake. The physical and time-consuming actions of consulting a rate generator (or worse, historical tables), manually adjusting rates across various online travel agency websites and updating the property management system rob a revenue management team of the opportunity to work with sales and marketing to develop new guest pipelines, or consult work across hotel departments on new sales-boosting initiatives.


These strategic and business development duties are as important as obtaining the right rate on each and every online transaction. Moreover, strategic planning is not  something that can be automated or outsourced; only revenue managers can complete these tasks.  Releasing revenue managers from the tedium of pricing minutia and allowing them not to just take a vacation, but to focus their energies where they can make the most impact is and should be a high priority for all hotels. The best way for hotels to meet this priority is to embrace automation, and bring in a comprehensive revenue management system to augment and assist the revenue management staff.


A good RMS system keeps an unblinking, unsleeping eye on reservation limits, OTA allotments, rates-to-bookings ratios, and even subtler changes in the intricate, 24-hour supply and demand cycle. It is integral to maintaining the level of vigilance necessary to achieve maximum RevPAR, and can create a positive multiplier effect by freeing revenue management personnel to develop more revenue-generating ideas and initiatives.


No one would suggest that a single system would enable a hotelier or general manager to send their revenue management departments on a permanent vacation.  However,  implementing a system that can manage daily aspects of revenue management- the time-consuming minutia that revenue managers should not be constrained to in the first place, can help a hotel maintain its revenue stream even when key personnel are vacationing, or performing more constructive, forward-planning tasks. 


By setting up the system in advance, your vacationing revenue manager can set up all of the parameters for the pricing adjustments during his/her vacation. Advanced systems can also send updates to the RM to their PDA or smartphone as often as they want to check the numbers. A high-tech system like that will make a revenue manager's vacation much more relaxing, knowing that their RMS is still hard at work while they are enjoying some much needed time off. Additionally, this type of system can greatly help assistant revenue managers or other hotel personal who would take over these tasks in the event the revenue manager is not in the office.

Jean Francois Mourier is CEO & Founder of RevPar Guru, a company that has developed an alternative type of revenue management and real-time pricing solution (combined with automated online distribution) to help hotels maximize occupancy and increase their profits. The company’s Yield Dynamic Price Engine, an integrated revenue management and pricing solution, adds unprecedented power and real-time adaptability to the pricing process, leaving managers more time to run their hotels. You may reach him through or by calling +1.786.478.3500. 

786-478- 3500


Also See: The World of Revenue Management: Past, Present & Future; Looking back on hotel revenue management in 2010 and what the industry is expecting for 2011 / Jean Francois Mourier / December 2010

All Science, No Guesswork: The Benefits of Algorithms in Hotel Revenue Management / Jean Francois Mourier / November 2010

The Great Debate: Humans vs. Automated RMS: Their strengths, weaknesses and what responsibilities are best suited for each / Jean Francois Mourier / October 2010

Rate Parity vs. Rate Integrity—What is Rate Integrity? / Jean Francois Mourier / October 2010

A New Day For Timeshares; Using automated RM systems for running your timeshare company / Jean Francois Mourier / October 2010

Best Practices in Revenue Management, Part 3; Automation, Channel Management and Decision Making / Jean Francois Mourier / September 2010

Best Practices in Revenue Management, Part 2; Rate discipline, the leveraging of real-time information, and price prediction / Jean Francois Mourier / August 2010

Best Practices in Revenue Management, Part 1; General revenue management and strategic pricing / Jean Francois Mourier / July 2010

The Irresistibility of the Obvious; How a new trend in revenue management and metrics is missing the point / Jean Francois Mourier / July 2010

Pricing Beyond the Compset - And other new pricing strategies that really work / Jean Francois Mourier / June 2010

A Tale of Two Strategies; Contrasting boutique and chain hotel revenue management approaches / Jean Francois Mourier / June 2010

Historical Pricing Is History, Well, Not Exactly; Examining the Role Historical Pricing Should Be Playing in Hotels’ Pricing Strategies / Jean Francois Mourier / May 2010

Tipping Your Cap (Rate) - Why hotel owners need to pay attention to RevPAR / Jean Francois Mourier / April 2010

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