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Revenue Management and the Millennial

Once again the UK’s revenue management community will come together for a day of great debate and industry learning, as Revenue By Design prepares to host its Opportunity 2019 event at the Hilton Bankside, London, on 12 February 2019.

Entitled, Revenue Management and the Connected Customer, the conference will tackle the challenges revenue managers face now, as customers look for a different experience and relationship with hotels. 

The Millennial market has a different attitude to travel. They want things tailored to themselves, seek instant gratification and look for simplicity. Hotels need to deliver a message tailored to them at the point in time they want that message. 

Opportunity 2019 aims to look at this from a revenue management point of view. 

We caught up with Ally Northfield, Managing Director of Revenue by Design, organisers of Opportunity 2019, to find out more about the event, what opportunities the connected customer offers to revenue managers, and her outlook for the UK market in the year ahead.

What can we expect from Opportunity 2019 this year?

Northfield: The conference is there to build the revenue management community. The aim is to get people in the room, sharing best practices and enable the revenue management community to communicate with each other.

We will start with the bigger picture and then look at how to make it reality. We will give practical takeaways of what we can do now. By end of the day, with Patrick’s closing session, the aim is to encapsulate the practical realities with a magic spin. As he says, ‘Fortune favours the brave’. People need to be brave to take this on, throw away the tech they have now and connect with the guest in the way they want to connect.

The aim is to help revenue managers understand what they can do. Systems like Duetto are giving us the ability to enable revenue, marketing and sales departments to talk to each other, and really understand what each other is saying.

What opportunities does this customer evolution present for revenue managers? 

Northfield: Those revenue managers that do it well will engender the new loyalty that Millennials seek – this is not transactional but experiential. From a pricing perspective, we have to price to that message in a way that is meaningful. Those that reconfigure their offering as an experience rather than simply selling a bedroom will hopefully maintain and increase revenue. We have to shift from transactional loyalty to experiential loyalty.

As increased data enables us to better map out customer intent, how can revenue and sales and marketing teams better personalise their offering?

Northfield: We are almost there in terms of understanding where we want to go. We have look at that market segment of one. But we can’t drill down to that segment of one without data. There are concerns because of GDPR but technology will find appropriate ways of measuring intent and tailoring messaging and pricing accordingly. Pricing to individuals is possible; some industries such as casinos are already playing with that. 

We are still seeing hotels with 12 market segments when they have 400 rooms and eight different room types. There are hotels whose booking window is 3-5 days and they won’t talk to customers until they hit that window.

We are still stuck in this box of broadcast messaging. We have historically been very selfish in our messaging – it’s all about the hotel. The millennial wants it to be all about them.

What should be their priorities in the year ahead?

Northfield: Be honest and have a look at the technology you are using and ask, “Is it sufficient?” Technology is much more affordable now, and it can take you so much further. It offers the opportunity to increase time to market and price effectively.

What are your expectations for the UK hotels market?

Northfield: The challenges are not going to arise from something obvious. This year it’s very pertinent that we have the Brexit issue. 

There will be changes to markets we have been used to seeing, such as Europe and the US. Added to that, our ability to control costs because wages (we pay to workers from outside the UK) are so low, is going to disappear. Everything we count as normal just won’t be. The market is O.K. but you have to play it harder. Who knows what Brexit will bring?

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Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Marketing Communications

Sarah joined Duetto in 2015 as a contributing editor covering Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). In 2017, she was promoted to Director of Content, EMEA, and in 2022 promoted to Director of Marketing Communications. An experienced B2B travel industry journalist, Sarah spent 14 years working in the Middle East, most notably as senior editor – hospitality for ITP Publishing Group in Dubai, where she headed up the editorial teams on Hotelier Middle East, Caterer Middle East and Arabian Travel News. Sarah is now based back in the UK.

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