HSMAI Top 25 Profile: Kristi Gole

HSMAI honored the 2022 Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization and Distribution — recognizing leaders from hospitality, travel, and tourism organizations for their accomplishments. Kristi Gole, Executive Vice President, Global Hotel Alliance is one of these honorees. 

Kristi Gole is a passionate commercial leader responsible for the core product (the GHA DISCOVERY loyalty program), its roadmap and its growth at Global Hotel Alliance (GHA). GHA is the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands with 40 brands and 800 hotels across 100 countries. Kristi was part of the original team in this start-up and helped build the brand, the global marketing team, and the first-of-its-kind experiential loyalty program from the ground-up. GHA DISCOVERY has won over 100 awards for its innovations and now has 23 million members driving US$2B in revenue. 

Key accomplishment 

After leading an exploratory project in 2019, in 2020 Kristi was selected to lead an alliance-wide transformation, changing everything from the value proposition to the business model, to the technology, marketing and digital experience. Working closely with her CEO, she secured funding and approvals across hundreds of stakeholders and set out on the biggest project her company had undertaken. 

What inspired this nomination?  

“Kristi is a strong leader who worked tirelessly on this transformation project over a period of 3 years and it has been incredibly exciting to see it come to life and with such positive results.” 

Q&A with Kristi Gole 

What keeps you inspired?  

I love learning. I love seeing new things, from different vantage points, and expanding my perspective. I’m a creative type and am always connecting the dots, so it excites me to be exposed to more ‘dots’ – I actively seek to be involved in, and have visibility to, as much as possible. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

1) Upskill as much as possible early on. It becomes harder to make time for that later in your career due to other priorities. For example, I wish I had taken courses on photoshop, or learned to code, or learned another language. All of those are not necessary for my job and I can lean on tools or colleagues for that instead, but I wish I had those skills and my 20s would have been a great time to learn them. I am very glad I did my MBA, though I wish that had been earlier too – balancing that on top of my job, and work travel, plus a toddler at home, was completely exhausting. Doing that in my 20s, with a less demanding role and no kids at the time, would have been smarter. 

2) I think management consulting as a first or second job out of college would have been very useful. Understanding how businesses work and grow, and gaining exposure to that across various industries would be incredibly valuable as a foundation. And similar to point #1 – the hours are very demanding, so doing that early on, before kids and other priorities, would be easiest. 

State of Talent Trend: Mental Health, Safety, and Wellbeing

Organizations must measure employee wellbeing, happiness, stress, satisfaction, and purpose. Everyone should ask themselves, “How am I creating a thriving workplace?” One of the kindest things a manager can do is reassure their employees that they understand that the environment is uncertain. The past few years have shaken everyone’s confidence in health, job security, and income. Employees want reassurance that they are being considered and heard. 

Pandemic fears attuned individuals to new factors and above property safety and hygiene became business drivers. Marketing and sales teams designed wellness initiatives to elevate the guest experiences. The recovery was fast but uneven, impacted by supply-chain issues, rising real estate prices, and high inflation. We know the pandemic changed individual work expectations and team relationships. It was not possible to separate work from home and many were not interested in returning to the workplace or returning to the same rules as before. We see a dichotomy of how organizations and workers decide on what comes next.  

Pre-COVID, it could be a badge of honor in many companies to show up sick and there were workplaces where it was expected that if you took time, time, should be replaced. Today, many workers are prioritizing mental health, flexibility and company culture over the “work-is-life” mentality. 

What Employees Want  

Staffing shortages and high turnover created stress and anxiety for many teams. Continually being expected to do more with less is resulting in burnout. Budgets are tight while expenses have been under pressure from 40-year high inflation and increasing compensation and benefits expense.  

Employees are:  

  • Seeking work/life balance and manageable stress.
  • Evaluating their own mental health in their decisions to stay or leave.
  • Are feeling extremely vulnerable, especially early career employees.
  • A rewarding and meaningful career that challenges them without demanding the sacrifice of health and balance in their lives
  • Looking for leaders who demonstrate empathy. 

Unrelenting stress is the most-often-cited reason for people leaving Gallup has reported that global daily stress levels are at 44%, the highest ever recorded, with women in the U.S. and Canada reporting the highest rates of all. Employees report that it is an accumulation of things, not one specific thing, that leads to their resignations. It is this accumulation that is also leading to burnout for those who cannot afford to resign. Globally, workers’ confidence to improve their financial situation has been falling since January 2022. Employee engagement and wellbeing have been stagnant for three years, after rising for more than a decade according to Gallup. Just 21% of employees are engaged at work and 33% are thriving in their overall wellbeing. Europe and South Asia have been hardest hit by continued waves of COVID-19. 

Retention Efforts  

For so long, work was at the heart of how employees viewed themselves and the pandemic changed that. Mental health became more important than outworking colleagues. Influencers, from Olympic athletes to rock stars, spoke out about prioritizing mental health. Hoteliers and others responded with strategies dubbed loud retention. These were employee-focused strategies for motivating and rewarding employees. Encouraged companies to refresh their talent experience and put people at the center of their business growth. Managers are learning to individualize employee needs. Flexibility is essential for many, in hours, location, and work arrangements. It also means setting clear expectations and reasonable productivity measures and allowing individuals to meet their goals. Wellness programs, skill building, and soft skill development can become part of team and individual discussions. 

New recruits are looking at what companies are offering for wellbeing programs. According to Indeed, 80% of potential recruits report that it is important to see wellbeing information when considering working at a company. Finally, build your understanding of what drives wellbeing. Indeed, measures four key indicators of wellbeing — happiness, stress, satisfaction, and purpose. They also look at key drivers such as foundational needs, such as fair pay, flexibility, and trust; social needs like belonging, inclusion, support, and appreciation, and being well-managed; and growth needs such as learning, achievement and being energized by your work. By examining all these holistically, you’ll have a better idea of where your organization stands.  

Calls to Action: 

  • Realign guest-centricity to meet guest expectations around health, safety, and wellbeing. 
  • Highlight career path opportunities along with personal and professional growth to help build a talent pipeline and retain valued team members.  
  • Monitor, measure, and prioritize staff wellbeing to create healthy workplaces and teams.  
  • Review your Employee Engagement Survey to ensure it asks relevant health and wellbeing questions. 


To provide insight on solutions, Hamza Khan, Speaker, Author and Leadership Expert, shared his wisdom from his research and his book, The Burnout Gamble, in a video series exclusively for HSMAI Organizational Members. 

To read more about the top talent trends, download The State of Hotel Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization Talent 2022-23: HSMAI Foundation Special Report. 

Innovative Strategies for Hotel Revenue Growth

Charity Hanke, CRME, Corporate Manager of Revenue Strategy, Oxford Collection, HSMAI Revenue Optimization Rising Leader Council Member 

With growing operational costs hotels need to get creative about ways to drive more Revenue. Ancillary and other revenue streams are becoming more and more important as the days go on and are moving to be included, if not already, under the revenue optimization umbrella. Aiming to improve topline revenue, combat rising operational costs, and increase guest conversion, ancillary and other revenue streams will become as important as rooms revenue in the blink of an eye.

1. Enhancing Guest Conversion

The spotlight on ancillary revenue has paved the way for increased guest conversion. Hotels are hosting tastings with local distillers and creating vibrant on-property activations, adding an experiential dimension to guests’ stays. These experiences, differentiated through unique offerings, have a two-fold effect: they not only increase on-property revenue but also fuel the creative exploration of new revenue avenues.

2. Innovative Revenue-Driving Strategies

The industry is witnessing a surge in creative strategies aimed at enhancing overall guest spending. Hotels are increasingly adopting a “vacation your way” approach, allowing guests to customize their stays with value-added services such as spa treatments and food & beverage options. Fostering partnerships with local attractions has also proven fruitful, with cross-promotions and social media collaborations driving both awareness and bookings.

3. Maximizing Opportunities for Add-On Purchases

Hospitality professionals are leveraging multiple touchpoints and ensuring ease of access to entice guests into availing additional goods or services. Just as retail stores strategically place products near the checkout line, hotels must proactively present guests with appealing options. This can range from exclusive scents to luxurious mattresses, inviting guests to take a piece of their stay home.

4. Strategic Cross-Promotion & Collaboration

Hotels are tapping into the marketing databases and reach of products or services that fall under other revenue to broaden awareness. For instance, a brewery’s Instagram followers can significantly boost a hotel’s visibility. The key is to seek partnerships that align with the brand and to focus on awareness-driven campaigns rather than discount-centric ones, which often present operational challenges.

5. Navigating Technological Challenges

Technology, while a boon, doesn’t always align with the dynamic needs of driving ancillary revenue. Integration issues and outdated systems from vendors can hinder seamless operation. However, the industry is adapting, with professionals weighing the benefits of manual intervention during low-risk periods against potential revenue gains. 

Hotels must remain agile, adapting, and exploring the myriad avenues ancillary and other revenue streams present. It’s about learning from other industries, being proactive rather than reactive, and constantly seeking ways to intrigue guests and enhance their experience – all while ensuring the bottom line stays healthy. 

Read more 

Questions for your team: 

  • How has the greater focus on ancillary/other revenue impacted guest conversion. 
  • What are new or innovative ideas to drive Other Revenue aspects as a way to increase overall guest spend to drive topline, due to costs increasing and OCC being less palatable to drive topline.
  • How are you providing opportunities for guests to purchase goods or services on top of their room with you? multiple touch points, ease of access, that kind of thing. 
  • How can you use products or services that fall under Other Revenue to cross promote with the product / service business, tap into their marketing databases and reach to expand awareness for you hotel. 
  • Example: “how many people does this brewery have as followers on Insta, and if they promote the hotel how many new eyeballs will see me” 

How do you combat that tech doesn’t necessarily function properly for ancillary and other revenue. 

CSR, ESG, and Sustainability: 5 Takeaways from Rising Leaders

Michele Marcinick, CTA | Director of Event Strategy & Development, Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Rising Marketing Leader Council Member 

CSR, ESG, and Sustainability are different terms to essentially get to the same realization this new generation of travelers are considering more than price when making their choices of where to stay and who to travel with. Whether environmental impact, social responsibility, or community engagement be their driving factor, travelers are now not only expecting stellar onsite service, but ensuring that their meal was sustainably sourced, property employees receive fair treatment, and the property is supporting the local economy. 

1.Companies Getting it Right

In the CSR, ESG, and sustainability space, some companies are leading the way. Several RLC members mentioned their companies have taken steps including DEI programs, sustainability initiatives, and sustainable meeting packages. The marketing of these efforts, however, could be improved.  

2. The Gap in Marketing 

A pressing concern that emerged from the discussion was the disparity between on-ground sustainable actions and their representation in marketing. Today’s travelers don’t just want sustainable choices; they want to know about them. With the increasing demand for transparency, companies have an opportunity—and an obligation—to showcase their sustainability efforts. 

3. The Next Generation 

The emerging travelers—millennials and Gen Z—are driving market trends and demanding authenticity. Their preferences heavily lean toward genuine commitment to sustainability, community, and global well-being. Superficial nods to eco-friendliness won’t cut it. They demand real, palpable efforts that align with their values and worldviews. 

4. Community Engagement and Business 

Community involvement was spotlighted as a focal area for many businesses. While some companies grapple with budgetary constraints for expansive engagement opportunities, the consensus was clear: even small, strategic shifts within organizations can yield significant dividends in staff buy-in and community impact. 

5. The Intersection of Hiring and Marketing 

A fascinating tangent of the discussion was the interplay between workforce development, equity, representation, and marketing. There’s an unmistakable gap between many companies’ hiring practices and their marketing narratives. Closing this gap can bolster both internal morale and external perception. 


Questions for Your Team:  

  1. Does your company prioritize Corporate Social Responsibility; Environmental, Social, & Governance; and Sustainability? If so, how? If not, why?
  2. As these articles suggest the traveler is becoming more socially responsible with their choices. Are you seeing this in your own company’s marketing research? Do these preferences align with certain generational demographics? 
  3. Though these efforts require a long-term investment, would you say that your company has seen an increased ROI due to implementing these measures?
  4. With hiring and retaining being a current challenge industry-wide do you feel that your CSR efforts have become a facet of attracting new talent?

5 Tips for Futureproofing: The Complexities of Distribution

HSMAI hosted a Distribution Executive Roundtable in Toronto.  From technological advances to sustainability demands, industry leaders grapple with a changing landscape of distribution. Here’s a look at the most pressing concerns and strategies to address them. 

1.Technology and Costs 

Technology’s rapid evolution is a double-edge sword. The influx of digital tools promises efficiency but demands adaptability. For many, this means not just updating systems but retraining staff and reshaping traditional practices to integrate new tech. 

The escalating distribution costs threaten the sector’s profitability. Companies must strike a balance between automation, which promises cost savings, and human intervention, which ensures quality.  

2. Sustainability is a Priority 

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword; it’s a consumer demand. The rise in eco-friendly practices and sustainability certifications highlights this shift. Yet, with a myriad of certifications, there’s a call for standardization. Meeting consumer expectations requires clarity in sustainable offerings, urging businesses to align with universally recognized standards. 

3. Vendor Management and Third-Party Dependencies 

Effective vendor relationships are key in distribution. Companies struggle finding reliable third-party resources, while also ensuring transparent and collaborative communication. Participants shared that an inward-focused approach, where information is shared widely within an organization, can make an impact. 

4. The Operational Maze 

From resort fees to recruitment, operations in hospitality can feel like navigating a maze. Addressing diverse challenges such as variable state-by-state taxation only adds to the complexity. Efficient execution of new initiatives, balanced budgets, and adaptive recruitment strategies are essential. 

5. Preparing for the Future 

What does the future hold? In this rapidly evolving landscape, participants suggested embracing innovation, honing problem-solving skills, and continuous learning. Equally crucial is educating both teams and customers, ensuring everyone is on the same informed page. Others recommended adaptability, foresight, and a proactive approach as the cornerstones to not just survive but thrive in this dynamic environment. 


Thank you to the executives from participating companies:  

  • Accor Hotels 
  • Aimbridge Hospitality 
  • Cote Family Companies 
  • IHG 
  • Marriott International 
  • MGM Resorts International 
  • Montage International 
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts 
  • Rosewood Hotels & Resorts 

HSMAI hosts this unique by-invitation only forum annually for distribution executives. If you are interested in being invited next year, please email Bob Gilbert.  

The Future of Corporate Travel

Emily Friel, Director of Sales and Account Management, Amadeus, HSMAI Sales Advisory Board Member 


As we navigate the complexities of a post-pandemic world, one question looms large: What is the future of corporate travel? I brought this question to discuss at the HSMAI Sales Advisory Board.  

Internal Corporate Meetings: A Pulse Check 

The members of the Advisory Board reflected a diverse set of strategies for 2024. Some organizations are maintaining the status quo — holding biannual in-person meetings and supplementing with virtual alternatives. The significance of face-to-face interactions is underscored by the resurgence of big brand conferences, with many reconvening in 2023 for the first time since 2019. 

However, a notable shift is visible in certain sectors. Some companies in the Software as a Service (SaaS) have completely pivoted to remote operations, forgoing air travel to close deals. Such shifts could have significant implications. 

Carbon Footprints & Cost Implications 

Environmental considerations are influencing corporate travel choices. With organizations setting internal carbon limits, the cost of air travel — both monetary and environmental — is becoming a key decision factor. A large European company, for instance, had to halt travel after reaching its carbon limit.  

Economic constraints, too, have reshaped meeting structures. External customer meetings remain crucial, but internal offsites and incentives, once considered indispensable, are now scrutinized for cost-effectiveness.  

The Cost of Remote Work 

The rise of remote work presents a dual challenge. On the one hand, it’s harder to get employees to events because of the dispersed workforce. Yet, as organizations like Shopify highlight, the “cost” of a virtual meeting can spiral out of control. A simple watercooler talk can balloon into a 22-person meeting, leading to inefficiencies. 

 But it’s not just about quantity; it’s about quality. Big sales teams feel the pinch, noting that restrictions on travel hinder their ability to connect with customers and internal stakeholders. 

Championing In-Person Meetings 

Despite these challenges, successful organizations will continue to value in-person interactions. The sensory experience of dining in a restaurant or the camaraderie of an in-person conference can’t be replicated online. For our industry to thrive, it’s crucial to emphasize the irreplaceable value of such experiences. After all, if we aren’t championing the significance of putting “heads in beds” and filling our restaurants, who will? 

The successful hospitality brand of the future will be one that recognizes the evolving corporate landscape. Efficiency and intentionality will be key — we need to ensure every meeting and event delivers value. While large-scale meetings are rebounding, smaller regional ones seem to be dwindling. Recognizing and adapting to these patterns will determine our success. 


Read More 

Survey: Corp. Travel Budgets to Rise Through 2024 

HMC CDO’s 10 Practices to Address Digital Marketing Challenges

Hotel management companies (HMC) find themselves grappling with a myriad of challenges in the current digital marketing landscape, including driving innovation, standardizing processes, scalability, changing vendor products, and privacy and legal concerns.  

HSMAI hosted a Chief Digital Officers from hotel management companies during a recent Executive Roundtable. Drawing insights from these industry leaders, this article highlights ten best practices that can help organizations effectively navigate these challenges.  

  1. Transitioning to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

With the sunset of Universal Analytics, teams need to familiarize themselves with GA4’s new reporting structures. Offer training sessions and up-to-date resources to keep teams abreast of these changes. 

  1. Staffing and Talent Retention

Strengthen your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) by understanding the motivations of your existing staff. Offer competitive benefits, growth opportunities, and a positive work culture to retain top talent. 

  1. Brand Growth & Portfolio Management

As brand portfolios grow, consider diversifying marketing and operational strategies to cater to different segments without diluting the core brand values. 

  1. GDPR & Data Privacy

Regularly update teams on data privacy regulations. Implement strict protocols for data acquisition, storage, and processing to ensure compliance. 

  1. Launching New Products 

For data-intensive products, ensure that IT, marketing, and sales departments collaborate closely, ensuring seamless integration and utilization of data resources. 

  1. Sales and Acquisition Processes

Use Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) to manage user consents efficiently, ensuring legal acquisition of marketing lists and other data-driven processes. 

  1. Innovation & Branding

Engage users through feedback loops and actively involve them in innovation processes to ensure that branding efforts resonate with evolving consumer expectations. 

  1. 8. Customer Behavior Insights

Use advanced analytics tools to anticipate shifts in consumer behavior, allowing for proactive strategy adjustments. 

  1. Cost Management

Regularly review budgets to ensure that rising costs don’t stifle innovation. Look for cost-effective yet impactful marketing and operational strategies. 

  1. Managing Upward & Supporting Initiatives

Foster a culture of open dialogue between different organizational hierarchies. Clearly communicate the ROI and potential impacts of new initiatives to get stakeholder buy-in. 

By leveraging these best practices, companies can not only address current challenges but also position themselves for future success.  


We’re grateful for the candid discussion from the executives from 13 companies, including:  


Bluewater Development Company 

Concord Hospitality 

CoralTree Hospitality 

Highgate Hotels 

InterMountain Management 

Lodging Dynamics Hospitality Group 

NCG Hotels 

Outrigger Hospitality Group 

Peachtree Hospitality Management 

Stonebridge Companies  

Sun Outdoors 

HHM Hotels  


 HSMAI hosts this unique by-invitation only forum annually for HMC CDOs. If you are interested in being invited next year, please email Bob Gilbert. 

The Importance of Purposeful Leadership in Today’s Labor Climate

Tess McGoldrick, Vice President, Travel & Hospitality, Revenue Analytics, HSMAI Revenue Optimization Advisory Board Member  


It is no secret that we are still facing a labor shortage. However, the hospitality industry isn’t just grappling with a talent shortage, we are dealing with a retention problem. The answer may lie in the way we approach leadership. I brought this topic to the HSMAI Revenue Optimization Advisory Board to discuss purpose-driven leadership in revenue optimization.  



Top 3 Takeaways  

  1. Shift from Transactional to Purpose-Driven Approach: Embrace Purpose-Driven Leadership in revenue analytics and operations to go beyond short-term profits. Revenue analytics has often been pigeonholed as merely a tool to boost a company’s bottom line. But look deeper, and its potential is transformative. It’s not just about the money, it’s about enriching guest experiences, framing their stay, their meals, and their interactions in a way that can change their day. This function is pivotal in sculpting the value proposition for guests. If we continue to perceive revenue management and revenue operations as just mechanisms to make money, we could be setting our teams up for burnout. This discipline holds a unique position – it sits at the intersection of data, operations, and human interactions. 
  1. Inspire Innovation and Human-Centeredness: Encourage innovation by asking “why” and “how” to transform the guest experience. Education plays a key role in instilling the human-centeredness of the discipline, ensuring teams understand the importance of their work beyond financial gains.
  1. Enhance Talent Retention through Purpose: Purpose-Driven Leadership becomes a powerful tool for talent retention. When employees connect with the broader purpose of their roles, they are more engaged, motivated, and committed to the organization’s mission, contributing to a more fulfilling work environment. 


One of my fellow AB members shared the wisdom of Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. 

As revenue leaders, we have the platform, the capability, and the mandate to make this vision a reality. By embracing purpose-driven leadership, we’re not just improving our revenue, we’re enriching lives and catalyzing change. Let’s not lose sight of that purpose. 

Read More 

Questions to ask your team:  

  1. How can purpose-driven leadership directly impact the bottom line and overall profitability of our organizations? 
  1. How does purpose-driven leadership foster a culture of adaptability and innovation, allowing us to stay competitive and agile in dynamic markets? 
  1. What are the potential challenges or misconceptions regarding the integration of purpose-driven leadership within a traditionally profit-focused business model. 
  1. What metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) can be used to track the success and effectiveness of purpose-driven leadership initiatives in our companies? 

Evolving Distribution in Food and Beverage and Ancillary Areas

Brij Bhushan Chachra, Vice President of Revenue Management and Distribution, The Indian Hotels Company Limited, HSMAI Global Distribution Advisory Board Member  

Distribution teams’ missions have always been focused on selling rooms across a multitude of platforms. But as the industry evolves, so should our strategies. It’s time to cast our net wider and delve into structured approaches for food & beverage (F&B) and other ancillary areas. 

If distribution and revenue strategies can enhance room sales, why can’t they work on F&B and other ancillary sectors? I brought this question to fellow HSMAI Global Distribution Advisory Board members.  

A Challenge: Fragmentation 

In today’s landscape, no global system embraces everything: rooms, F&B, amenities, and other services. Individual systems often manage these revenue streams. One major roadblock is the decentralization in F&B distribution compared to room sales.  

However, challenges also lead to innovation. Some establishments have begun launching direct channels for restaurant bookings. These endeavors, though in their infancy, have shown promise with about 8-10% topline increase for participating restaurants. 

The Power of Centralization 

The dream? A platform where customers can centralize their purchases. Imagine booking a room, reserving a table at the hotel’s restaurant, and buying tickets to the in-house water park, all in one go. This streamlined approach doesn’t just enhance the guest experience but also sets clear expectations for the customer journey. 

The Learning Curve 

Tackling the intricacies of distribution for ancillary areas isn’t about learning an entirely new skillset. Instead, it demands an expansion of existing knowledge. While there’s a significant learning curve, the foundation remains the same. The key is to evolve, pushing out of the comfort zones of room-focused strategies and embracing a holistic approach. 

What’s First: Strategy or Technology? 

When we talk about total revenue management, the age-old chicken-and-egg conundrum emerges. As distribution evolves, revenue strategies must also progress. There’s no point in implementing dynamic pricing if distribution systems can’t support it. Strategy and technology must move hand in hand, with neither impeding the other. 

A New Lens for F&B 

While the prospect of dynamic pricing in F&B might not be as straightforward as in room sales, there’s room for creativity. Differentiated pricing for locals versus travelers or offering discounts during off-peak hours are just some examples. A few players are even testing the waters with dynamic pricing for both demographics. 

The future of distribution in the hospitality sector isn’t just about rooms anymore. With a growing emphasis on the whole guest experiences and maximizing revenue streams, it’s time for the discipline to broaden its horizons and venture into the untapped potential of F&B and other ancillary areas.  

Questions for Your Team:

  • Which areas can be impacted through distribution platforms?  
  • Does the scope of distribution now need to enhance to other streams?  
  • What are the systems and platforms available and recommended?  
  • Is there a need for a central distribution system for all services? Is there anything available?  
  • The customer being center of all, what does the customer requirements?  
  • How does revenue management be enabled though these platforms?

6 Keys to Good Data

Cheryl McMaster, CHA, CRME Director, Third Party & Commercial Operations, Sonesta, HSMAI Revenue Optimization Rising Leader Council Member 

As our industry and technology become more complex, clean data is critical. Managing a pricing strategy to drive REVPAR is only one layer to the equation. When a new system is implemented, the best outcome is an integration that allows for a holistic look at the new data available. Even with access to data, we must be wary of the accuracy to avoid a “garbage in, garbage out” scenario when deciding. The HSMAI Revenue Optimization Rising Leaders Council recently discussed this topic and brainstormed our top keys to good data.  

1. Clean Data = Clear Decisions

Clean data is not just about having neat spreadsheets; it’s the cornerstone of making decisions that drive results.

2. Centralize Systems

The more we integrate, the more fragmented our data can become. A single source of truth in a centralized system can make sure everything aligns and lead to better decisions. 

3. Share Data

Sharing data across teams can help craft strategies that are in tune with guest preferences and buying behaviors.  

4. Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees

Instead of getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty, take a step back and look at the bigger data picture. 

5. Be Adaptable

If the current system or approach feels like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, it might be time to seek alternatives.  

6. AI Can Help

Let machines do the heavy lifting of data analysis and set up automated processes. This allows us to focus on what humans do best – creativity, innovation, and building genuine connections. 


Questions for Your Team:  

  1. How many systems are you extracting data from regularly? How many of those systems integrate in a meaningful way to drive powerful decisions versus piecemealing the information together?
  2. What is the biggest data gap in your world today that you wish you could fill to make better decisions?
  3. Each department uses different data sets. What data commonly used in the revenue management discipline could benefit other teams? What data from other teams could improve your decisions in revenue management if you had access?
  4. What are best practices you’ve learned to find the “needle in the haystack” – sifting through all available data to find actionable insights?