Revenue Management and the Digital Revolution
There are very few jobs that have remained unaffected by the digital revolution, and revenue management is no exception. The transition from an entirely analogue and offline world to one that is increasingly also digital and online will never happen again in the history of humanity: a genuine transformation is taking place that will disrupt and change all aspects of society.
For workers, there is no choice but to adapt and continue to train and learn as technology evolves, and computing power and smart devices transform the digital world. This new era is sometimes referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, and has been named by philosophers such as Luciano Floridi as the beginning of hyperhistory.
This technological impact on revenue management can be demonstrated in other topics, such as: artificial intelligence, social media, data and privacy and regulating online platforms. Research suggests that revenue managers are particularly exposed to the need to commit to continually updating their training and skills.
Ferguson and Smith (2014) suggest that the role is likely to continue to evolve further, and Van der Rest and Wang (2015) has highlighted that there is not enough specialist training to meet the needs of the revenue management industry.
The need to continue to learn is mitigated by the modern flexibility in ways to learn: there are more resources available in all fields than ever before. Content can be delivered digitally to fit in with working hours and free time. On-line courses have helped millions of people develop their knowledge and learn new skills altogether.
The single unchanging career is a thing of the past and ‘lifelong learning’ is becoming the norm. With rapid transformation in the knowledge economy, some politicians are discussing the need for a lifelong ‘national education service’ to promote lifelong learning. It is often said that people now need to prepare to have 5 different jobs in a lifetime.
With all of the available choices to study and learn in new ways, it can be difficult for people to decide which skills they may need in their chosen career. It is not easy to assess the quality of generic courses and people risk dedicating their valuable time to acquiring unhelpful or outdated skills and knowledge. Some courses may involve signup fees with the promise of increasing employable skills but may offer poor value for money. Choosing where to invest valuable resources of both time and money into training can be a minefield.
Revenue Management Training - bespoke training packages
As the role becomes more complex, it is important that revenue managers continue to acquire the critical skills that can have the impacts that will be expected of them. As all jobs become more integrated with technology and the digital world, it is becoming more important that training is delivered in a way that understands the specific context of the way a particular organisation works: as jobs become more specialised, so too must the training. It is likely to be better to have training specifically designed for an organisation or person, than following a broader curriculum that is designed to suit everybody: a one size fits all approach is not the best option for revenue management training.
No two hotels are the same; there may be specific requirements related to a unique venue. The staff may have different needs in how they are best able to learn, and different staff may need different approaches to coaching. If jobs now require a journey of lifelong learning, then there will be liminal spaces in this journey, with gaps in knowledge that can only be addressed by understanding the context of the organisations and people involved.
This is the only way to ensure that training is relevant and can prepare revenue managers and their colleagues for the future.
Floridi, L: The 4th Revolution
Ferguson and Smith (2014): The changing landscape of hotel revenue management and the role of the hotel revenue manager.
Koupriouchina, L., Van der Rest, J.-P., & Wang, X. L. (2015). Revenue management education (RevME), 30
April-2 May 2015, University of Delaware, USA. Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, 14 (5), 384-388.
Van der Rest and Wang (2015): Revenue management education RevME, Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management.