Tuesday, 7 June 2016

CONFERENCE: Travel Technology Initiative Summer Conference 2016 - Moneyfor nothing

How to explain revenue mangement to normal people...
This year's TTI summer conference was around the idea of "money for nothing" - that is doing effective revenue management to get more profit without any extra product or inventory. Like most of the professions in and around travel, it should come as no surprise that data analytics and supporting business decisions effectively seemed to be the main theme of the morning. 

There were three speakers covering various aspects. Deniz Dorbek from
Wyndham Hotel Group started by talking about "Total revenue management" from a hotel point of view. This included exploiting spa, sports, food and beverage, meetings as well as room rates. A key point in her summary was around people in revenue management communicating and working closely with the marketing and online analytics teams to ensure success. 

Dimitrios Hiotis from Simon-Kucher and Partners is from a tour operator background and introduced tools at TUI, which he has then built on this experience working in a management consultancy. So he talked about the different strategies that you can apply depending on the needs of the organisation - dynamic pricing isn't always needed or desirable! - and the data available for different levels of sophistication. Again he made a point that the tool you use and complexity needs to match the revenue management culture and capability. 

Finally Neil Corr from IDeaS discussed the tool suppliers side, which was informed from having been a hotel chain revenue manager. He reinforced the points that Dimitrios made about the evolution of strategy, but also explicitly said the other aspects impacted P&L account might need to be looked at first. For example might get more benefit looking at the cost of acquisition through automated channels. 

In the panel discussion I particularly liked Dimitrios' point that as you replace manual processes, with sophisticated tools, you lose the experience and intuition of what is a "good price" in the market, i.e. How the market perceives the value of he product. It's this point that I think Peter Dennis, TTI chairman, then summed up with a fashion based analogy - It's not always about price but perceived value at point of the purchase, for example when buying a shirt, a nice experience in the shop might sway me from going down road where a comparable shirt is cheaper.

On the conference side, it is nice having a lightening half day conference almost on your door step - even though it does mean playing the Southern Rail lottery to get up there!