HOTEL REVENUE LEADERS IN AUSTRALIA ARE SEEING THE UPSIDE IN 2023
On March 28th, 2023, HSMAI hosted a Revenue Leaders Roundtable, where participants discussed current trends and challenges in the hospitality industry. The meeting covered a wide range of topics, including the recovery of China’s tourism industry, revenue management talent, and the differences between automation and AI. In this article, we will summarize the key points discussed in the meeting.
The participants discussed the early days of transient business in China and noted that most visitors were students and people visiting friends and relatives (VFR), with more visitors coming from Hong Kong and Taiwan than Mainland China. The hoteliers are preparing for the return of this segment by refreshing their properties, while some have not started. Short lead time was common in China’s business before COVID, and it still is.
The participants shared some tips for revenue leaders and hoteliers in China. They emphasized the importance of
getting the Ctrip approval badge, which is necessary to attract Chinese tourists. The participants also noted that Tourism Australia is putting funding into Trip.com to advertise Australia from July 2023 onwards, so they are not expecting a significant change until after that. Trip.com has started working with hotels in Sydney to get them involved in campaigns to bring mainlanders to Australia. Finally, the participants emphasized that no one is building business in the next three months from a forecasting perspective.
Revenue Management Talent
The participants discussed the challenges of recruiting revenue management talent. Big brands tend to be “always on” recruiting for revenue talent for centralized and property level. Many have implemented internal development programs to spot the right skills and train them to be in the revenue team. Some are targeting reservations people who display some commercial savvy in their day-to-day work. However, having legacy systems makes hiring people from outside the industry a longer journey to become proficient.
From the perspective of hospitality schools, most students have a Southeast Asia background, and only 4-5 out of 30 students are interested in working in hotels. The participants discussed how to change this and shared some tips. They suggested talking to the casuals in the hotel who are going to university or TAFE and looking for passion, talent, and customer service skills as the best basis to build up skills for the revenue function. Participants also suggested promoting the benefits of working for a hotel brand and bringing in a bubbly HR person to interview candidates and promote the role.
One smaller brand shared that they focused on a big push to bring in technology that is common across many industries, which now means that they can hire people for their commercial and customer service skills rather than system knowledge.
Automation vs. AI
The participants discussed the differences between automation and AI. They used the analogy of a car to explain the difference between the two. An automatic gearbox makes all the decisions for you based on a set of rules it has been given. In contrast, a self-driving Tesla car makes decisions based on obstacles, other cars, road conditions, weather conditions, etc. That’s AI in action.
What should never be automated?
Finally, the participants discussed what should never be automated. They agreed that stakeholder management, the ceiling price of rooms, and decisions involving moral elements should never be automated.
In conclusion, the HSMAI Revenue Leaders Roundtable on March 28th, 2023, covered many important topics
relevant to the hospitality industry. The participants shared their insights on the recovery of China’s tourism industry, revenue management talent, and automation vs. AI. The tips shared in the meeting can help revenue leaders and hoteliers prepare for the future and overcome the challenges they face.
We’re all looking forward to the next meeting,
Jackie Douglas, President
HSMAI Asia Pacific