Strategic Revenue Management – 25th Spalteholz Anniversary
Due to digitalisation, the outsourcing of revenue management has long since found its way into the hotel industry. The increased use of artificial intelligence to assess demand is accelerating the already considerable and also dynamic changes occurring in the RM business model. In times of staff shortages, many hotels cannot avoid outsourcing anyway, because now more than ever it‘s important to keep a close eye on controlling capacity and managing prices.
Spalteholz Hotelkompetenz pursues a holistic approach that focuses both on total revenue management strategies and strategic change management. One of the hotel consultancy firm‘s particular strengths lies in its many years of in-depth international experience working with hotel chains and individually managed establishments of all sizes. In fact, leading hotels, hotel groups and technology partners frequently rely on Spalteholz‘s knowledge and methodological expertise.
Strategic consulting for hotel management and teams since 1998
Since Spalteholz Hotelkompetenz was first set up, it has focused particularly on holistic and strategic consultancy work, both in supporting the manage- ment of individually run hotels as well as in the further training of hotel teams. The first RM systems such as IDeaS established themselves in the market during the early stages of the consultancy firm and, around the turn of the millennium, strategic capacity and price management also made inroads into private hotels in Germany.
Founder Bianca Spalteholz was the first consultant in Germany to recognise the head start in knowledge enjoyed by the international corporate hotel industry which, through its US roots, had already discovered revenue manage- ment at the beginning of the 1990s. Spalteholz developed an RM concept for private hotels, which she used with great success as a pioneer in the German market.
Ms Spalteholz, you‘ve been an expert in the hotel industry since the early 80s. What‘s your recipe for success?
I‘m very practice-oriented. I also convey complex issues in a way that hotel employees can readily understand and implement. Plus my experience has made me a universalist; I look at hotels from every angle. Based on my experience, it soon becomes apparent to me which problems need to be addressed at a hotel and at which point.
Clients say you‘re mercilessly honest ...
Talking things up doesn‘t help. Success in the hotel industry entails taking a good hard look at your business, directing your attention both internally to all departments and externally towards the market. The inconsistencies visible in the presentation speak volumes, as they often conflict with the product on offer. This creates high expectations on the part of guests, resulting in disappointment when they arrive at the hotel. Different hotel departments might also be pursuing different goals or they might not know their market very well. Since COVID, many hotels have adopted an RMS and therefore believe they no longer need to look closely at their internal operations or their market. That‘s a big mistake!
Assuming an RMS delivers the „right“ price, what‘s the mistake?
A simple example can illustrate this. Imagine a holiday hotel which has up to 70 % of its guests returning on a regular basis. If you change from static seasonal prices to dynamic daily prices, then you‘ve brought about a fundamental paradigm shift in your offer and communication. This not only applies to the hotel management and its guests but also to all the employees in all departments! Staff at a spa hotel should also have an answer ready for guests in the changing rooms when they complain about the rising prices for overnight stays and treatments. They should receive guidance on how to deal with these guest‘s questions appropriately.
Revenue management doesn‘t only take place „in the back room“ ...
A professional revenue management strategy is developed together with the entire team and also implemented together. Ideally, theory and practice merge. The task of the management or owners is not to save money in the wrong place; training should be included at the very beginning of a project.
This is an article from GRANT #3: Revenue Management from A to Z
Download and/or order here
You‘re a highly respected industry expert. How did you personally come across the topic of revenue management?
While I was training in logistics at a forwarding agency in Bremen, I was already fascinated by the most profitable way to load containers with goods. This is by no means trivial. Then I switched to foreign trade in the banking business for 7 years and got to know the financial side even more thoroughly. There I was dealing with securing the movement of goods and the calculation and financing of various transport routes. That way of thinking has now become second nature to me. Years later, when I was running an Italian restaurant in the USA, without realising that revenue management even existed, I was always thinking about how to make sure every seat was occupied and not just every table.
How did you end up in the hotel industry?
It was while I was studying Italian in Italy. I got a taste of the hotel industry while I was trying to earn some money. I fell in love with the country and the people and their way of life, and with the hotel industry as well. What an experience! In Castiglione della Pescaia in Tuscany, my partner and I were hired by a 4-star resort founded by Carlo Ponti and Sophia Loren. The hotel business became my vocation!
You went on to have a very successful career in the hospitality industry. What motivated you to start your own company in 1998?
After 1995, the travel industry, and therefore also hotel reservations, underwent a decisive change. That was when the internet became commercial and it was new territory for everyone. It was an exciting time. Hotels needed marketing advice and training to ensure the revolution in hotel sales could take hold across the board. A niche opened up for me. I wanted to put my practical experience from various management positions into practice in a business idea I‘d developed myself. I love challenges.
What changes are we facing? What new sales channels will the future bring? Which technologies will play a role in the selection of travel and hotel offers in the future? What tools will hoteliers have at our disposal to assert ourselves in the market?
We created GRANT Magazine to find answers to these questions. The English to grant means to grant insights and to fulfill wishes ....
Career stages in the hospitality industry before 1998
1984 Head of Marketing Services at SRS - Steigen- berger Reservation Service (now Worldhotels).
1990 Director of Project Development for Stei- genberger Reservation Service. Establishment of a department for worldwide hotel acquisition, quality control and brand implementation for the new brands of the Steigenberger Hotel Group. This period saw the rapid worldwide expansion of the SRS hotel portfolio.
1993 Moved to the world‘s leading reservation and distribution service provider Utell Internation- al (Pegasus) as Managing Director for Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe responsible for devel- opment, sales & marketing, PR and expanding rela- tionships with the travel agency community.
Bianca Spalteholz founded in 1998 the first highly specialised consulting and training company in marketing, sales, e-distribution and pricing. Initial requests for proposals (RFPs) for reservation and distribution software systems (CRS, GDS, IDS, IBE) and their optimisation made her the first independent and neutral specialist for reservation systems. Almost all Germany‘s hotel co-operations hired her as a service provider to train the employees of their affiliated hotels in the promotional distribution of hotel data via CRS systems to globally operating travel agencies.
Bianca Spalteholz particularly values her work as a guest lecturer at various universities. She‘s been sharing her know-how regarding electronic distribution, revenue management and online sales and marketing for the past 25 years, subjects which had not been available at universities for a long time. The topics of total revenue management and change management consultancy are currently attracting particular interest.
Bianca Spalteholz is also qualified as a systemic master coach and, together with her team, takes on complex challenges in the hotel industry.
SPALTEHOLZ HOTELKOMPETENZ GmbH & Co. KG
Frankfurt am Main
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