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November 29th 2012 | Revenue Managers are the Hospitality Leaders of Tomorrow, HOSPACE Delegates Hear

Senior hospitality roles will increasingly be filled by staff with a background in revenue management, De Vere Hotels and De Vere Village Resorts CEO Robert Cook said today.

Speaking to an audience of hotel finance, revenue and IT specialists, he underlined the importance of bringing a range of skills to a role such as general manager - and suggested that revenue experience is becoming a must have.

“You’ve got to do a couple of bits before you get the top job. I think the future GMs in our business will be coming from revenue management, ” he told the audience at the annual Hospace conference at the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5.

Cook, who joined the board at Village Resorts parent company De Vere Group, last month confessed he “came up the traditional way”. But he said that he thinks the discipline - referred to during the panel discussion as both a science and a dark art - is “one of the fundamentals”.

“If you haven’t done revenue management in your life, you really can’t progress. It is the cornerstone of what makes our business successful.”

His fellow panelist, Grant Hearn, chief executive of Travelodge also discussed the value of staff with an understanding of RM - as well as a broader experience of working in different departments.

Recalling his time at Whitbread, Hearn, who was previously in charge of HR at Forte hotels, said: “You had to have worked in at least two different functions to be considered for promotion.

“We think it is really important that people have experientially different management styles within the business so you add value all the way through.”

But Angela Vickers, managing director of Apex Hotels - which saw 2011 pre tax profits shoot up 163% on the previous year, and who started out as an accountant, said: “There is no right way or wrong way. You can supplement experience with academic or on the job learning.”

By Elizabeth Mistry for the Caterer & Hotelkeeper

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