In Pursuit of Work/Life Balance
It’s a question we hear often from our potential clients and consultants – how many properties does each person handle? It’s a reasonable question, but our answer, to some, seems less straightforward – well, it depends!
Most companies operate Revenue Management in a model similar to housekeeping’s board of room credits. Each person gets X hotels. While this might differ for full-service or limited-service hotels, generally it’s a fairly set number. If things get tight or there is an open position within the company, the revenue managers may also find themselves saddled with more, either temporarily or on a permanent basis. Some companies and brand centers assign as many as 18 properties to one person. Looking at this kind of workload, we can’t help but ask how any quality work can be done in this scenario.
Let’s do some quick math here. If each limited service property, the ones most likely to be assigned in bulk numbers, takes at least 5 hours of attention per week for daily reviews and regular strategy calls, even at a more “reasonable” portfolio of 12 hotels, we are looking at a 60 hour work week. Keep in mind, this is just for the standard day to day operation, no special projects, conversions, extended forecasts, RFP season, budgets or room for internal meetings. In this scenario, 12 hour days become the norm, and should someone go on vacation, the properties are either left without support or added to the plate of another revenue manager who already has just as much to do. Furthermore, 5 hours a week is nearly impossible for accomplishing any type of proactive revenue management outside the immediate 90-day window. If this is the case, imagine those who do a portfolio of 18! Within a 60 hour week, only 3.25 hours could be dedicated to each property, assuming no outside needs arise.
Additionally, these scenarios assume something very unusual – all properties and revenue needs are created equal, branded with the stamp of “limited service” or “full service”. These descriptors work well to help guests understand what the asset may offer to their customers, but a one-size-fits-all approach to revenue management can promote drastic under-performance. Should a roadside Hampton Inn in Kansas really be in the same category as the Courtyard in the center of Manhattan or San Francisco?
At Total Customized Revenue Management (TCRM), we believe that every asset has unique needs and a unique story to tell. While every company seeks to be profitable, we believe that a commitment to quality and customization sets us apart. This is why, when we work with our clients, we seek to understand the number of hours per week each property will need to be successful. Operating on only billable hours through a primarily remote structure, we’re often able to accomplish in 20 hours what an on-site employee would need 40 hours to do. By setting up these parameters in advance with each client, we can not only ensure quality results for the client, but our consultants have time to enjoy their lives!
Revenue Management can easily become a 24/7 job, but what good does it do to have a revenue manager who is burned out, demotivated, and stuck in a routine? By giving our consultants analyst support, direct oversight and mentorship on a day to day basis, and keeping their workload within a reasonable 40-50 hours a week, we produce higher quality results, happier employees, and seek to achieve that elusive thing we like to call work/life balance. Giving employee bonuses for participating in charitable work, exercising, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and finding ways to have fun at work are all part of the culture that makes TCRM not only a winning solution for our customers, but also a great place to work. This is why our answer to how many hotels our consultants handle will always start out with that seemingly elusive but also perfect answer, “It depends.”