The HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) was the best yet. While leading and attending sessions, networking at during the breaks, and presenting awards, the Rainmaker team and I had a great time connecting with our customers and friends, including revenue managers from all over the world. And on top of it all, we got to enjoy the great city of New Orleans!
The conference agenda was packed with exciting and relevant topics. The opening keynote with four leading ladies in hospitality revenue management as informative and provocative. There as a great deal of discussion about the importance of groups, and both Monica Xuereb of Loews Hotels and Jamie Pena of Omni Hotels stressed the importance of group pricing and increasing hotel profitability. It was music to our ears, as we have just published new group revenue management research that shows what a great opportunity this still presents to hotels.
The industry is finally realizing the sharing economy is here to stay and there is more interest than ever on what effect Airbnb and others might have on the long term outlook. Our own VP of analytics, Dan Skodol, headed a session covering the impact of alternative lodging and what it means for revenue management. Dan gave great insights on Airbnb’s effect on hotels and offered revenue managers practical advice on how to interpret and leverage available data to account for the presence of Airbnb in their markets.
I had the honor of co-presenting the 2016 HSMAI Revenue Management Professionals of the Year awards to two industry stars: Christian Boerger of Pacific Hospitality Group and Emily Bowen of Penn State Hospitality Services. Christian was named Corporate Revenue Management Professional of the Year and Emily the Single/Multi-unit Revenue Management Professional of the Year. Congratulations on a great year, Christian and Emily!
Rainmaker’s party with co-host Agilysys was one of the hits of ROC/HITEC week. Our guests loved the ambiance of Marché and enjoyed a night of fine dining, tarot card readings, and a live band. It’s always fun to see our customers and industry friends in a more relaxed social setting! The collage below is just a taste – our Facebook album truly captures the night.
Another hot topic during ROC was the talk around integrating revenue management and demand generation/marketing departments in hotels. Vikram Singh, our VP of hotel demand generation, presented a TED-style talk at the CRO Roundtable, held the day after the ROC conference, titled The Converging World of Digital Marketing and Revenue Management. Vikram offered a wealth of advice on how to successfully merge revenue management and digital strategies, generating a great deal of interest and follow-up questions from the roundtable participants. Integrating pricing, forecasting, budgeting and digital marketing is definitely top of mind for our industry leaders.
I’m already looking forward to next June, when ROC heads north to Toronto. Get your passports ready and we’ll see you there!