Best Practices for Brand Revenue Professionals Responding to COVID-19

By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

HSMAI hosted a Brand Chief Revenue Officer Virtual Roundtable on March 24 that focused on the impact that COVID-19 is having on hotel revenue optimization. In addition to discussing key indicators they are using to track how the hospitality industry is doing, brand CRO participants shared their best practices, lessons learned, and ideas for preparing to accelerate as quickly as possible. Here are six of their suggestions, presented in their own words:


  • “You have to have a date [that hotels are closed/open], but every time the date shifts, you have a lot of work ahead — to cancel reservations, move things around, reconfigure selling strategies — and if you don’t have someone tethered to that property, you’re not going to be able to do that effectively. What we don’t want is a hotel, even one that’s closed, to have no revenue management oversight.”
  • “We’re streamlining the process to respond to local government requests so we can provide rates faster, which requires revenue managers to be on hand at the hotels, so it’s a really good opportunity for revenue managers.”


  • “We’re encouraging people to make the most of their time to be productive, even if they’re on furlough. There’s lots of online learning resources available. Use the time to get to things you never have time to get to.”
  • “Our situation is unique, but nobody has been furloughed and everyone is on the clock. They all have a laptop, so we have the expectation they will be advancing their training and skillsets. I think we’ll be a lot better equipped when we come back.”


  • “We came up with a national healthcare rate for all hotels. It makes it easier for traveling nurses and doctors. Another business we still have is government travel and extended-stay travel, for travelers who can’t go back home.”
  • “We’re looking for areas of opportunity to drive rate in the future, Q4 and 2021 in particular, with all the pent-up demand. There have been so many events canceled, so I think that there is going to be an opportunity to drive more than the traditional year-over-year rate increases.”


  • “Our agents sent out 6,000 calls to let customers know that we were closing and offer to rebook them at a later date instead of just sending out a mass email. The feedback was very positive, and it kept our call-center employees employed.”
  • “Early on we set up daily calls with all our teams, to make sure we’re all touching base and giving reassurance to our revenue managers about how we’re supporting our teams. It’s important to go out there consistently and make sure everyone knows what our strategies are.”
  • “We’ve been having town halls with all of our member hotels, showing them the value we have is important, and we’ve had a high level of participation. We’re sharing what our strategies are and what’s happening and giving them some reassurance. We want to show our hotels we have their backs.”


  • “Have a date and work back from it. Know what you need to do leading up to that, because you do not want to be caught flat-footed coming out of this. I really think that revenue management is going to be a part of the solution and ensuring we come out of this strong.”
  • “We’re sharing best practices with not just the revenue teams but the hotel operators. Discounting does not create demand, so we’re making sure we’re setting ourselves up to come out of this and not digging ourselves into a bigger hole.”


  • “We’re consolidating revenue management for our closed hotels and using regional teams to cover some of our hotels, because they know the hotels pretty well.”
  • “We’re having directors of sales work the front desk when guests are checking in, so they are selling to those guests. We’re trying to imprint on them that it’s business as usual, you just have a smaller target. They’re driving through town and seeing who is staying in town, so everyone can focus their energy on those targets. They’re still bringing in negotiator rates. It’s old school, but everything is on the table right now.”

For additional information, insights, and tools, visit HSMAI’s Global Coronavirus Resources page.

Categories: Revenue Management
Insight Type: Articles, Best Practices