Soundbites Podcast

Soundbites is the 10-minute podcast for busy hoteliers looking to learn from their peers and other industry experts. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, and watch on YouTube.

Upper funnel data

Nadine Böttcher, Head of Product Innovation, with OTA Insight, joins Jason Emanis, from Sweden.

Nadine talks about the data revenue managers should be looking at—upper funnel, that is, when guests are starting to look for a destination and compare rates.

This data is helping revenue managers track recovery and better understand who their guests are. She references the current dynamic in Europe with the opening of borders, where hotels are booking new guests simply because their destination is open for travel. Then there’s domestic, international, business leisure. All types of guests now have a digital footprint hoteliers can learn from.

Guest: Nadine Böttcher, Head of Product Innovation, OTA Insight, Sweden

Lens of Total Revenue Management.

Scott Neslage, Director of Revenue Management, for The Indigo Road Hospitality Group, joins Jason Emanis, from his soon-to-open, mountain lodge, the Skyline Lodge, in Highlands, North Carolina.Scott talks about his start in hospitality at Starbucks, his move into revenue management of restaurants, and now, hotels.

Scott goes on to explain how the hotels that are investing in new technology within the context of Total Revenue Management, are more apt to succeed.

Guest: Scott Neslage, DRM, The Indigo Road, NC

Segmentation informs strategy.

Nicole Adair, Product Manager and Director of Revenue Management for Hire, with SHR, joins Jason Emanis, from her office in Dallas, Texas.

She talks about how it’s more important than ever for a hotel to be segmenting their booking business…
  • the huge shift from OTA to direct caused by the ‘billboard effect’ amid the pandemic,
  • the need to focus on using segmentation data to inform their strategy, i.e.,

    • booking window,
    • when the guest is booking,
    • where the booking is coming from,
    • cancellation rate by channel,
    • cost of channel that might lead to shift or restrict certain channels, etc.

    Guest: Nicole Adair, SHR, Houston

Profitability managers.

Thibault Catala, Founder & Managing Director, Catala Consulting, joins Jason Emanis, from his home in London, England.

Thibault is a revenue management consultant with clients in Europe and the U.S. He talks about shifting from revenue manager to profitability manager, how creative hotels are while in survival mode, how ‘old thinking’ is slowing some hotels’ recovery, the embracing of Total Revenue Management, and when a hotel should look at using a revenue management system.

Guest: Thibault Catala, Catala Consulting, London, England.

Auxiliary revenue.

Dermot Herlihy, Commercial Director at Corinthia Palace Malta, joins Jason Emanis, from his office in Attard, Malta.

Dermot talks about how his role has changed, his focus on auxiliary revenue, how their using technology, even LinkedIn, a change in amenities given the effects of the pandemic, and and their move back into leisure from their recent focus on corporate.

Guest: Dermot Herlihy, Comm. Dir., Corinthia Palace, Malta

With no revenue to manage.

Linda Gulrajani, Vice President of Revenue Strategy and Distribution with Marcus Hotels & Resorts, joins Jason Emanis, from her office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Linda talks about her closures and re-opens, how she dealt with no revenue to manage during the pandemic, how she worked to keep her core revenue team in place, how departmental collaboration increased, how pricing her resort saw an increase while other markets in heavily restricted cities/states had to be more aggressive.

Guest: Linda Gulrajani, V.P. of Rev. Strategy and Dist., Marcus Hotels & Resorts,Milwalkee, WI

Silver lining to the struggle.

Gissell Moranta, Vice President of Sales & Marketing with Atrium Hospitality, joins Jason Emanis, from her home office in Dallas, Texas.

Gissell brings a positive attitude to hospitality’s rough going over the past year, adjusting to wearing many hats, marketing her meeting-space heavy hotels, becoming more effective with the beginnings of group and catering leads, and more.

Guest: Gissell Moranta, VP Sales & Marketing, Atrium Hospitality, Dallas, TX

Driving contactless engagement.

James Barton, Global Head of Business Transformation, with Merlin Entertainment/LEGOLAND Resorts, joins Jason, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

James talks about the 9 LEGOLAND parks, the ones in development (Korea, China, New York), his journey since the first LEGOLAND opening, what his role entails (keeping finger on the pulse, new tech to help drive more revenue and add value to customers), the technology aiding amid the pandemic, like voice AI—everything is about driving contactless engagement.

Guest: James Barton, Merlin Ent./LEGOLAND, PA

Generating better revenue than your neighbor.

Raul Moronta, Chief Commercial Officer, Remington Hotels, joins Jason from one of their properties in Santa Fe, New Mexico to talk about his new role.

Raul talks about Remington’s decision to create the CCO role, his background that led up to securing a the position, the necessary skill sets for the role, understanding customer behavior, the importance of understanding operations, and more.

Guest: Raul Moronta, CCO, Remington Hotels, Santa Fe, NM

Social leads at Virgin Hotel Dallas

Marcela Ceccacci Brown, Director of Sales, for Virgin Hotels, in Dallas, Texas, joins Jason on this episode of Soundbites.

Marcela talks about the healthy uptick in not only social leads, but corporate as well, Virgin’s sales org chart, their ‘all hands on deck’ mentality, and what photo shoots with local talent is doing for their social media presence.

Guest: Marcela Ceccacci Brown, Dir. Sales, Virgin Hotels, Dallas

Every euro counts.

Patty de Gruiter, Vice President of Revenue and Sales, for Sircle Collection, joins Jason from her office in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to talk about alternative revenue streams.

Patty talks about the enjoyment and frustrations of managing revenue amid the pandemic, the adjustments she’s had to make—running lean, minimizing risks, and then there’s the creative campaigns: win a year-long stay, popup stores, music festivals, housing, and more.

Guest: Patty de Gruiter, V.P. Revenue and Sales, Sircle Collection, Amsterdam

Your love for your hotel gets in the way

Maria Corpas, hospitality and travel tech Copywriter, joins Jason from her office in Germany.

Maria talks about messaging that turns lookers into bookers amid the pandemic: protocols in place, amenities, and nearby attractions, the mistakes she sees hotels are making, and how your love for your hotel gets in the way of good copywriting.

She also suggests, oddly for a copywriter, that hotels compliment their written messages with video messages.

Guest: Maria Corpas, Hospitality and Travel Tech Copywriter, Germany

Collaboration is key

Sean Lynch, Vice President, Revenue Management, for Graduate Hotels, joins Jason, on this episode of Soundbites, from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sean talks about his 30+ hotels across the US, located in dynamic university markets, and keeping a core revenue team focused on standardization and cancellations amid the pandemic.

He explains how the revenue team restructured, collaboration increased between Sales, Revenue, Marketing, and eCommerce, and their adjusting to the triggers that help forecast.

Guest: Sean Lynch, V.P., Revenue Management, Graduate Hotels, Las Vegas

The family spring break in Florida

Sharon Vaughn, Associate Director of Sales, Hotel Effie Sandestin, joins Jason from her office in Miramar Beach, Florida.

Sharon talks about being furloughed by Marriott, Effie’s recent opening, a busy spring break (G-rated), lead volume increasing with groups, adjusting to the new normal, and more.

Guest: Sharon Vaughn, Assoc. Dir. Sales, Hotel Effie Sandestin, Florida

The Chief Commercial Officer role at Sonesta

Garine Ferejian-Mayo, Chief Commercial Officer at Sonesta Hotels, joins Jason from her office in New York City.

Garine talks about her background in Operations, Sales, Digital Marketing, and Revenue Management, Sonesta’s rapid growth from 53 to 278 hotels, and how they came to the decision to create the CCO position.

Guest: Garine Ferejian-Mayo, CCO, Sonesta Hotels, New York

Getting ready for travel’s rebound

Nicolas Durand, Vice President, Revenue Strategy, S Hotels and Resorts, joins Jason from his office in Bangkok, Thailand.

Nicolas talks about the lack of cases in Bangkok, but also the lack of travel, S Hotels moving from owners to a management company, with hotels in Thailand, Maldives (Hard Rock), and the U.K.

He goes on about how his role has changed, doing more with less, and the putting together of their technology stack: channel manager, booking engine, BI, and optimizing all that he can, given the different markets.

Guest: Nicolas Durand, V.P., Revenue Strategy, S Hotels & Resorts

Open systems for open minds

Martin Reichenbach, Founder, apaleo, joins Jason from his office in Munich, Germany.

Martin talks about the company’s recent Series A Funding, what makes apaleo different, the ‘closedness’ amongst the PMS’s, and what the 2nd half of 2021 looks like.

Guest: Martin Reichenbach, apaleo, Germany

Time to innovate

Luis Weir, Director, Integrations and APIS Strategy, with Oracle Hospitality, joins Jason, from Royal Leamington Spa, England.

Luis breaks down Oracle’s Hospitality Integration Platform or OHIP, the streamlining and consolidating of all the interface technologies, to build integrations to Opera, simpler, quicker, cheaper.

Guest: Luis Weir, Dir., Integrations and APIS Strategy, Oracle Hospitality

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