The Institute of Hospitality is running a series of professional development workshops across the UK in 2019.
One of our speakers is Janel Clark MIH, who brings experience from a range of 4* and 5* properties across the UK and is an expert on revenue management. We caught up with Janel to find out about her career and her top tips on maximising profits for your hospitality business.
Hello Janel, can you start by letting people know more about your hospitality career.
My career has been dominated by revenue management. Both being responsible for it in industry and now delivering training courses about it.
I started as a junior reservations agent, first in a call centre, then on property, eventually moving to distribution and revenue management. I developed my skills at both property and group level, before finally moving to the supplier side with a focus on distribution. Getting this practical experience in EMEA was great and I found that I had a passion for training.
I developed this interest and have been successfully running workshops and online courses in revenue management for over 10 years, for hotel companies, independent properties and hospitality schools.
What has been your career highlight from a revenue management perspective?
I love the hospitality industry and I love revenue management and I’ve been lucky to have many highlights. If I had to pick one, it would be delivering training for Leading Hotels of the World, which took me to the pyramids in Cairo and in Mexico City in the same month.
Also, working with a London hotel during the 2012 Olympics was pretty cool from a revenue management perspective with intense focus on the City from guests and the media.
For me now, the highlights are when I see people that I am working with suddenly understand what we are doing – the mist clears and you get that ‘lightbulb’ moment. My passion is to inspire more people to embrace revenue management and become commercial leaders for their business.
Thinking back to earlier in your career, who have been inspirational leaders or given good advice in terms of revenue management?
My first management position was at Sarova Hotels in 1998, when revenue management was just being introduced into UK hotels. Luckily for me the marketing director was Rajesh Vohra – who later became chairman of the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA).
He was keen to embrace the changes that were happening in the industry and supported my personal development and growth. Back then, revenue management leaders were few and far between, but I would read anything I could get my hands on from Sheryl Kimes at Cornell. She was another hospitality leader who inspired me to really follow this path.
What common mistakes do you see relating to revenue management in your role as a consultant?
There are a few that come up regularly. A lack of investment in the tools a hotel needs to make smart decisions or data being incorrectly tracked or not tracked at all are two.
Another common mistake is being too influenced competitors when it comes to pricing, especially when demand is low.
Finally, it is common for hotels not to move fast enough compared to how rapidly their customers’ behaviour and expectations are changing.
What are the three essential things that hospitality professionals should be doing to maximise revenue in 2019?
Invest in technology – make sure your team have the right tools to do their job properly and automate processes wherever possible.
Also, make sure the revenue manager understands costs and profitability – it’s not all about RevPAR & RGI. As costs increase, the top line doesn’t tell the full story.
Work closely across all departments – operations are part of the revenue management strategy. Just think how much damage a few poor reviews can do to your bookings and profitability.
What is the key learning outcome that a delegate will get from the IOH revenue management workshop?
To understand how the basics of revenue management are evolving and what that means to a hospitality business in 2019.
Janel will be running one of our professional development workshops in Oxford on 19 February 2019.
Read full details and book your places online or contact Tracey Appleby on 020 8661 4930.
Want to learn more about financial management and business planning for hospitality professionals? Check out our programme of professional development workshops for all the details.