As the global hospitality industry recovers around the world, sales and sales managers are under pressure to get started right away to capture demand and optimize returns. The right sales and distribution strategies determine whether a hotel can recover or not.

But pressed hospitality teams have to climb a steep hill. Before Covid, many sales and sales managers said that they were already overwhelmed. Fast forward to today and those who managed to keep their jobs despite massive cuts are likely to be responsible for larger numbers of properties now than they were in 2019 with even fewer resources.

Traditional approaches aren’t enough in this new, leaner world. Hotels need to be willing to change both the way they approach revenue and sales management and the tools they use so their teams can do more with less.

How can revenue and distribution managers deliver in the new normal?

Hotels are being forced to reduce their workforce to their bones in order to survive. We have seen that almost every one of our customers has gone through a reorganization, with the result that there are fewer revenue managers per property and in the entire chain. Many brands have combined their hotels in various ways to target them by location, level, or hotel with similarities for rationalizations.

As hotels bundle more resources, revenue and distribution managers either have fewer colleagues to support them in their respective hotel, or they are responsible for a growing portfolio of destinations. The pressure to perform is also great for the cluster managers, although they have fewer resources available.

At such a critical time for the hospitality industry, new ways of working are needed that will give managers the time and information they need to make the right decision to secure the future of their properties. While hotels are no stranger to managing their data digitally, most have separate systems for each task and often for each property, making it virtually impossible to get a complete picture, identify risks, or take decisive action.

New cloud-based solutions specially developed for hotels offer real-time insights into the chain of individual hotels. These, combined with cultural changes that support a more collaborative approach, will enable teams to be more productive with the resources available.

Hotels have to face digitization

The rise of intelligent data platforms built from the ground up specifically for the hospitality industry is key to freeing sales and sales managers from hours of trawling and combining reports to gather numbers and spot trends. With highly visualized dashboards, instant health assessments, performance benchmarks, actions can be easily identified.

In recent years, special hospitality platforms have been introduced that allow managers to track performance not only by individual hotel, but also by clusters and regions. Make sure everyone from field workers to C-suite executives is focused on a single source of verified data.

Better collaboration

The only way hotels with fewer resources can truly become more productive is by empowering their teams to work together to improve performance. Breaking down silos must be a top priority for any organization.

For example, many of our clients are recognizing the transformative benefits of fostering a culture of collaboration among their sales, marketing and sales teams. By making sure that each team can see and understand what the other is doing and how their actions affect the broader teams, savings can be made. By aligning the entire organization, from the C-suite to individual properties, around a hub of intelligent insights with easy-to-use dashboards, more effective decisions can be made.

Faster decision making

Traditionally, the hospitality industry is known for its slow and steady approach. Relying on processes that have hardly changed in the new normal teams over decades must be agile and act quickly in order to take advantage of opportunities. The overall overview and access to real-time data are central.

Distribution, competitive, and business intelligence tools in the cloud give teams instant access to the information they need, and the ability to slice and dice the data as needed enables the right decisions to be made at the right time.

Automated processes

Every month, sales and sales managers waste days of their time reviewing data and putting together and consolidating financial reports. A recent report from HSMAI found that revenue managers spend less than half their time on a revenue-generating activity. Business intelligence tools that combine the latest machine learning and artificial intelligence reduce this time to a few clicks or less. Automating pick-up reports, for example, leaves time to focus on strategic issues. Since they are cloud-capable, the solutions can also be implemented without any problems in the entire cluster or chain and any software updates are carried out automatically.

Invest time where it matters most

Wasting time is the greatest threat to productivity. With access to clear, actionable data, revenue managers can clearly see which hotels, clusters and chains are doing well and which need attention – so they can decide their battle and invest their time in achieving optimal results.

There is no turning back for the hospitality industry. Lean, productive teams are here to stay. While this can feel daunting at the moment, especially for a workforce that has been through so much, this should be seen as an opportunity to transform. Those hotel chains that are ready to embrace a new culture of collaboration that takes advantage of digital transformation will unlock the potential of their teams and gain a competitive advantage.