Paris Think Tank focus on talent and data analytics

Last Tuesday saw the completion of an HSMAI Region Europe Revenue Management Advisory Board meeting and one of several HSMAI Region Europe Think Tanks, both held at the AccorHotels Rue Henry Farman headquarters in Paris, emphasizing the growing importance of Revenue Management, increased market volatility, and talent and data, according to this report from the RM Advisory Board chair and vice chair respectively, Mr. Paul van Meerendonk and Mr. Steven Dow.

The HSMAI Region Europe RM Advisory Board met to discuss some of the key topics facing the industry at the moment. One of the key themes up for discussion were the rapid changes currently taking place within Revenue, Distribution and related areas. It was noted that innovative start-ups and new ways of travel and travel booking are changing the way guests interact with hotels.

This has a profound effect on the industry and revenue management was viewed as being essential to work with massive amounts of data now available and being generated throughout the guest journey. The process of using these data to optimize inventory and pricing is more important than ever. One of the key objectives of the meeting was to pull apart the topics and discussions and formulate concrete focus areas for the 2019 ROC & DOC conference.

RM increasingly important for resort market

Being held in Palma de Mallorca this upcoming April, the event will bring together global and European revenue & distribution leaders with local & regional experts and innovators. The location of the event also prompted discussion amongst board members about the growing importance of revenue management in the resort market and that this should be a key component of the conference.

In addition, the continuing consolidation of marketing, sales, distribution and revenue was debated at length and the group felt it was more important than ever to develop talent within the industry that will have a broad view across the specializations and bring them together. Education and innovation were therefore cornerstones of the discussions.

Online tool used in Think Tank discussions

In the immediate wake of the RM Advisory Board meeting HSMAI hosted its critical Think Tank at the same location. This event brought together industry leaders from across hospitality to discuss and debate topics and trends impacting the industry. To gain as many perspectives and viewpoints as possible, and narrow down the most relevant subjects to be discussed during the afternoon, HSMAI used an online collaboration tool that enabled individuals to enter ideas and then vote on the critical items they wanted to discuss. This happened in real-time and created an extremely interactive environment and ensured lively debate.

Growing uncertainty an unquestionable challenge

Key socio-political topics that surfaced were Brexit, GDPR, and the outlook on economic conditions for the next 12-18 months. After lengthy discussions all were in agreement that growing uncertainty was the over-arching sentiment at the moment. This was reflected in various statistics and research articles discussed, that all had differing view of how the tourism and travel industry would perform. One silver lining seemed to be the growing travelling populations from India and China. The group felt that despite any short-term political or economic challenges the industry might face, the sheer size of these two markets alone and the untapped outbound travel expectations would ensure that hospitality and travel will continue to grow exponentially over the long term.

An important focus area of discussion was also around loyalty programs. A lengthy deep-dive into lessons-learned highlighted the changing consumer expectations and the diversity of travelers. The conclusion drawn from this is that there is no silver bullet or single approach that would be successful, but programs that address the many niches and individual requirements and expectations of travelers that would be successful.

Focus on talent and data

Finally the focus was put on the strategies and goals for the industry. By sharing individual and company goals anonymously and then discussing the outcomes as a group, the Think Tank narrowed it down to 2 main areas – Talent and Data. It was felt that these two areas needed the most focus for the coming year and that they went hand-in-hand in addressing many of the challenges and opportunities discussed during the afternoon.

The growing need to develop and nurture talent in the industry, to be able to deal with the technological and innovative changes was felt to be extremely critical. The ever-increasing importance of analyzing and working with data was seen as the one of the biggest challenges and opportunities – across all disciplines in hospitality, from revenue to distribution and across sales & marketing. The expectation of the group was therefore that the two topics, Talent and Data, will go hand-in-hand to ensure the success of the industry over the coming 12 months and beyond.

Warm regards,

Paul van MeerendonkPaul van Meerendonk
Director Global Advisory Services
HSMAI Region Europe’s RM Advisory Board

Steven Dow
VP of Revenue Management Europe
Diamond Resorts International
Vice chair
HSMAI Region Europe’s RM Advisory Board

Top photo: One of the sessions during the 5th of February 2019 Paris Think Tank.