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HSMAI ROC 2023: Data, Discussions, and Debates

HSMAI’s annual Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) took us to Toronto this year! The Revenue Analytics team was thrilled to attend, and we count ourselves lucky as we are well aware of the travel challenges many others faced. Lost luggage, delayed and canceled flights due to smoke and storms, last-minute van rentals, and hours on the road – attendees have some unbelievable stories to tell. (In fact, HSMAI is gathering those stories – check that out here!) HSMAI worked hard to make as many sessions as possible available via streaming or recordings shared after the fact, but we missed all those who couldn’t make it.  

ROC was both a celebration of the ways in which the industry has made a huge comeback and a recognition of the challenges we’re facing and the changes that are required in this new era. For those who couldn’t be there, we’ve pulled together some top highlights and key takeaways.  

Group is on the rise  

The day opened with the General Session, which focused on emerging insights and opportunities for growth. Mike Dominguez, President & CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International, did a deep dive into group travel trends. The good news is that there has been a noticeable uptake in group travel lately – but this has come with new challenges.  

  • First: budgets may be down, but quoted costs are on the rise. And while meeting planners are often aware of this, other stakeholders often are not. It falls to the Sales team to educate other stakeholders about this reality. And this means more than just conducting a displacement analysis; when pulling together a quote or determining the value of potential group sales, costs must be considered.
  • Second: Sales planners’ #1 complaint is the turnaround time of responses. They struggle to pull together the information they need and get back to the customer quickly, risking the loss of the sale. Naturally, they are eagerly seeking ways to expedite the process. This is where technology could be your best ally. For example, we built the N2Pricing™ Group Module to address these pain points. N2 produces group rate recommendations that are so much more than a displacement analysis – they are designed to optimize profit and are quick and easy to review. The result? Sales teams spend less time waiting and are able to get back to their customer faster, armed with a quote that will boost the business’s bottom line.   

Amir Eylon, President & CEO of Longwoods International, echoed these sentiments by encouraging the audience to lean into technology to achieve the level of service that guests expect.

The key to success in a new era  

We’ve heard time and time again that the old ways of working are out. While that’s certainly not unique to the hospitality industry, we do have to consider what it means specifically for hoteliers.

When we acknowledge that…

  • 60%+ of workers in key sectors such as business services, information, and finance are either hybrid or fully remote
  • The value creation process depends less on physical assets, and more on teams and processes  
  • Happy, engaged employees drive more productivity and positively impact margins  

…how does the way we work change?  

The answer is RELATIONSHIPS. Fostering relationships – with our team, our partners, and our guests – is the only way to ensure buy-in, alignment, and success. Investing in people, trusting them, providing the proper resources, and enabling them to do their jobs in this new environment will inspire the continued innovation that is critical to long-term growth.  

At its core, hospitality is based on relationships between people and a dedication to taking care of guests. In order to meet their expectations and appropriately serve them, we have to find new ways to drive efficiency and streamline operations so that we can spend less time manually managing our systems and more time focused on our guests. 

The Great Debate  

We might be biased, but our favorite session was The Great Debate: Setting the foundation for True Revenue Strategy. Moderated by our very own Tess McGoldrick (VP, Travel & Hospitality, Revenue Analytics), panelists discussed what’s required to empower your team to think more strategically, and to transition from Revenue Management to true Revenue Strategy and Optimization.  

We’re going to do a deep dive into the information shared and questions raised in this panel (be on the lookout for that coming soon!), but highlights included:  

  • The way improper tools & siloed teams get in the way of strategic thinking  
  • #1 most important thing a revenue leader can do to be more strategic vs. tactical 
  • How you can build trust in revenue optimization tools  
  • Who needs to be in the room for successful commercial strategy meetings  

Opinions were varied and discussions were insightful, but one thing is clear: something needs to change to make this Revenue Strategy dream a reality.  

Looking ahead  

Connecting with industry leaders and digging into these topics left us inspired! We were honored to be a part of ROC and are excited to help hoteliers leverage technology to increase efficiency, drive profit, and achieve true commercial strategy. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event (and are hoping for a smoother travel experience for all involved!). 

Didn’t get to attend ROC, or missed what we were sharing at the N2Pricing booth? Connect with an expert on our team today.

Be on the lookout for more content from Commercial Strategy Week coming soon! 

Ready to Talk About a Modern RMS?

We want you to love your RMS. If you’re spending too much time on manual tasks today, let’s talk about what Revenue Analytics can do to help. Message James Harris to get started.

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