In soccer, the goalie doesn’t often directly interact with their forwards, save for a few well-placed punts. These two positions have very specific jobs that are drastically different. But the outcome of the game weighs equally on both positions’ shoulders.
Now think of the Revenue Manager as the goalie and the Director of Sales and Marketing as the forward. Each has a very specific and important role to play in order for the hotel to succeed. How often do these two roles directly interact? Not often enough, according to some industry experts.
During a recent webinar hosted by Revinate, Mary Margaret Malott, Hospitality Marketing Strategist for Revinate, along with Lily Mockerman, CEO of Total Customized Revenue Management, discussed the barriers to collaboration between these two roles. They also offered tips to better align Revenue Management and Marketing departments and thus drive success.
Barriers to Collaboration
One of the biggest barriers to collaboration is the fact that these two positions often report to different managers. As a result, the strategies and goals are not always aligned.
Similarly, the role of “marketing” in hotels is changing. It’s no longer just about designing a really beautiful brochure. Marketing is now more focused on data, analytics and understanding how to get the right message to the right person at the right time.
“We see a lot of disjointed teams and that causes challenges,” says Malott. “In many cases, there is no dedicated marketing person within a hotel and instead the job is taken on by a front office manager or someone in the reservation department. But in order to succeed, the effort needs to be collaborative—no matter who is doing it.”
“The revenue team is often in one silo, while the marketing team is in another,” says Mockerman. “They might talk once in a while, but I have yet to see many teams have a truly cohesive system where they’re both working from the same dashboard and with the same analytics, metrics and pace numbers.”
Align Performance Metrics
Working from the same data sets is critical. So Mockerman and Malott suggest both sides make a concerted effort to reach out directly and ensure everyone has access to the same information. From there, it’s important to understand each position’s challenges and find ways to collectively overcome them.
According to Malott, this starts by aligning goals. Mockerman agrees.
“Revenue management is evolving into profit optimization,” says Mockerman. “There is nothing wrong with direct booking, but it’s often something that is pushed with marketing and they throw a lot of resources at it. But they’re not always looking at the profit side and so it might be a 40% cost channel. But marketing is driven by top line ROI. So it’s important for revenue managers and marketers to see what types of demand by channel are in the market, how much each channel costs and how they can strategize each channel in order to hit their best revenue numbers.”
Taking this type of approach to marketing leads to a more holistic strategy. In order for it to succeed, marketers need to be a part of the revenue management process from the beginning—and vice versa.
Success will depends on who you have in those roles and how much the individuals are willing to collaborate, says Mockerman. “RMs, communicate your goals regularly along with your pricing strategies and high demand dates,” she says. “Take your marketing person to lunch. Be friends. You’ll be so much stronger together.”
“And marketing managers: make sure you are taking a data-driven approach,” says Malott.
It’s time to evolve and embrace change and maybe even hire marketing professionals from outside the hotel industry, suggests Mockerman. That way hotels can stop being "behind the trends" and instead start setting them.