Christian Boerger, CRME, CHBA, CHDM, vice president of revenue strategy at Oxford Collection, will receive the 2022 Corporate Revenue Optimization Professional of the Year Award during HSMAI ROC Americas, taking place June 29. “I feel honored and humbled to receive this award,” he says. “It is a recognition of my revenue optimization journey that started more than a decade ago. At the same time, I thank the many peers, colleagues, and supporters who got me to this point. I couldn’t have done it on my own!”
Boerger has been in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years, taking on a range of operational and strategic leadership roles with companies such as IHG, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Design Hotels, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Pacific Hospitality Group. While devising commercial strategies geared to increase revenues and optimize profit, he also aims to advance the revenue optimization discipline through empowerment, thought leadership, and education in his role as vice chair of HSMAI Americas’ Revenue Optimization Advisory Board. Having lived on three continents and explored more than 60 countries, Boerger is based in Bend, Oregon, where he and his wife enjoy the great outdoors and support disadvantaged communities in rural Guatemala. Here, he discusses how he got his start in the industry as well as how he’s seen it evolve.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I got into hospitality right after my military service in the 1990s, when my original plans to become a law enforcement officer fortunately fell through. My aunt had the fantastic idea of doing an internship at a hotel over the December holiday period. Her thoughts were that if I could get through that stressful time, I would succeed anywhere in hospitality. And what can I say — I am still here after all those years, enjoying it more than ever.
How did you get involved with HSMAI?
I was working for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in a regional capacity out of their London office. At the time, I became a member of the European Revenue Optimization Advisory Board before taking on the role of chairman of that same board in early 2014, just before moving from England to the United States.
During your time in the industry, how have you seen the revenue optimization space evolve?
As they say, “In the beginning, there was Excel…” Revenue optimization in hospitality has surely come a long way since I got into it. From focusing on operational hotel rooms revenue management tasks in the early days, revenue optimization has evolved to become much more holistic in scope, more strategic, more impactful, and certainly more complex. Today, successful revenue optimization professionals have to be a storyteller, tech-savvy, communicative, entrepreneurial, collaborative, and business-minded, just to name a few core skills.
As the industry moves toward pandemic recovery, what do you think it takes to be an effective leader in today’s challenging times?
Being able to relate, listen, and see the bigger picture are core competencies to being successful during these volatile times. How do macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges affect my business? What is the state of our workforce, and how can leaders find creative and sustainable ways to address the severe talent shortage in hospitality? How will my strategies and actions impact others, most notably my team members in operations? How can I stay nimble and effective during times of ever-changing customer behavior? These are just a few of the questions effective leaders should have on their mind as they navigate this prolonged recovery period.
What would you describe as the best moment of your career?
Taking a break to reflect, reassure, and recharge during my gap year in 2019 that took me around the world. Time waits for nobody, so we have to make it count!