5 Tips for Recruiting, Developing, and Retaining Talent in Revenue Optimization

Jennifer Hill, Vice President – Commercial Strategy, Kalibri Labs, HSMAI Revenue Optimization Advisory Board Member  

It goes without saying that we’ve had a lot of change over the last several years – some as a direct result of the pandemic and post-pandemic era, and some changes have been unrelated, like the surge of AI tools over the last year and the marked generational shift. 

The global hospitality market is expected to reach $5,816.66 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5%. This indicates a robust and expanding industry, which could be attractive to professionals considering a career in hospitality sales, revenue, and marketing. Why does it seem so hard?  

I wanted to talk with the HSMAI Revenue Optimization Advisory Board about how this issue challenges our industry in terms of talent identification, recruitment, and retention. Here are the five takeaways from our conversation including what is keeping us up at night and our reflections from the readings shared at the end of this article.  

1. Compensation  

A key hurdle in attracting top talent is offering competitive compensation. We are grappling with how to benchmark salaries effectively, considering the delicate balance between profitability and attractive pay. Tools like wage research, pay transparency laws, and internal adjustments based on exit interviews are becoming increasingly utilized. Moreover, a concerning trend has emerged: talented individuals are leaving hospitality for industries like banking, enticed by better pay and more sociable hours. This shift calls for a reevaluation of compensation strategies within our sector. 

2. Professional Development and Employee Engagement 

Professional development opportunities are critical in not just attracting, but also retaining talent. Innovative programs, such as the JI to H1B initiative and HSMAI certifications, are making significant impacts. By investing in comprehensive development plans and creating cross-functional teams, hotels are not only enhancing skill sets but also fostering loyalty and reducing turnover. This holistic approach to employee engagement is proving instrumental in building a strong and healthy workforce. 

3. Marketing the Discipline 

Attracting talent to revenue optimization roles requires a creative marketing approach. Emphasizing the dynamic, multifaceted nature of the hospitality industry can make these roles more appealing. The focus should be on the excitement and diversity of the industry, showcasing opportunities beyond traditional service roles. 

4. Retention Strategies and Performance Incentives 

Retention is as crucial as recruitment. Performance-based incentives, though effective, pose challenges, especially when they create significant year-on-year salary discrepancies. Flexibility in work arrangements and acknowledging the impact of economic conditions on compensation expectations are emerging as key factors in retaining talent. This adaptability, combined with a variety of experiences in different roles, can help maintain employee interest and commitment. 

5. The Role of Leadership in Talent Development 

Effective leadership is paramount in supporting and driving employee engagement and retention. Developing managerial skills that focus on nurturing talent, fostering a positive work environment, and recognizing individual contributions can significantly impact employee satisfaction and loyalty. 

Recommended Reading:  

Discussion for your team:  

  1. Do you know about AHLA’s efforts at promoting The Hotel Industry as a career?  
  2. Competitive Compensation vs. Industry Standards: Considering that competitive compensation is crucial for attracting talent in commercial roles, how can hotels and hotel companies benchmark their packages against industry standards while maintaining profitability?
  3. Professional Development and Employee Engagement: How can hotels and hotel companies effectively integrate professional development opportunities to not only attract but also retain talent in commercial roles, keeping in mind the dynamic and competitive nature of the hospitality industry?
  4. Recruitment and Skill Development: Given the significant talent gap created by the pandemic, especially in crucial roles like marketing, sales, and revenue management, what innovative recruitment strategies can hotels and hotel companies employ to attract skilled professionals? Additionally, how can hotels rapidly develop the skills of new recruits to align them with the evolving market demands?
  5. Retention Strategies in the Post-Pandemic Era: Considering the altered job expectations and work conditions post-pandemic, what are some effective strategies that hotels and hotel companies can implement to retain quality talent? How can they balance offering competitive compensation with creating a positive work environment that includes mental health support and work-life balance initiatives?
  6. How can we market the business better to prospective employees?

Categories: Revenue Management
Insight Type: Articles