At last year's Convention Sales Summit's Innovation Presentations, we heard two large destinations share how a revenue strategist fits into their convention sales teams. Barbara Kirklighter, VP Revenue Strategy of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, and Nicole Halmer, Sr. Director, Market Strategy & Research for the San Francisco Travel Association share the need and execution of such a position.
Why revenue strategy?
While DMOs may not own room inventory, they still have the responsibility to sell them. A revenue strategist serves several purposes on behalf of the DMO -- not only internally to ensure sales optimization, but also externally to communicate to stakeholders and customers alike.
A Division of Talents
In this day and age, business intelligence and data drive success, but as Barbara and Nicole stated in their presentation, DMOs "need sales experts selling... not sitting at a computer extracting data." Revenue strategists are able to cull through the trends and analysis and make recommendations to improve the sales process or structure the team's goals and incentives, leaving sales pros more time to close vetted business.
From the big picture understanding of how hotel markets, convention center guidelines, and the overall economy will affect the economic impact of groups; to specific considerations of seasonality, hotel performance, hosting costs or meeting histories, revenue strategists have a lot of information to apply. Usual data sources include the DMO's own CRM and internal research data, Smith Travel Research, as well as other trend, analysis, and projection reports.
One key area where revenue strategists can contribute is in defining normal room demand against compression. By analyzing baseline hotel performance over seasonal and day-of-week differences, the DMO can then understand how different city regions are performing and where their "tipping points" are.
This then informs the DMO's convention market segmentation strategy and sets a blueprint for its target convention pattern for an optimal mix of groups for that year.
If you're looking to hire a revenue strategist, Barbara and Nicole recommend that your candidates have the following qualifications:
- Hotel Revenue/Sales Experience
- Events Industry Experience
- Technical, Analytical, Tech Savvy Abilities
- Research Background
- Strong Communication Skills
Do you have a revenue strategy for your destination and the business partners you serve? Share your experiences with us.