All these years as head of revenue management at corporate level at various reputed hotel companies, I have come across several front office managers of business as well as leisure properties. After getting to know most of them, I have come across different challenges that these FOMs & AFOMs face especially in the mid-segment and budget properties. While some FOMs are really pro towards pricing and distribution channel management, most of them find it a pain managing dynamic pricing and variety of channels to update. Some of the many known and unknown reasons can be lobby pressures, manning issues, lack of training, etc.
FOM is a role with very high responsibilities and pressures. Simply because, as a front office manager, one is not just the first point of contact for the guest but also responsible for reservations and revenue management and even sales at most mid-segment and boutique hotels and resorts.
Management of hotel companies today are looking for someone who not just has good personality or communication but smartness and ability to reap higher room revenues out of the inventory that he/she directly holds charge of.
Penning down 3 key revenue management related skills which I feel every front office manager should have in order to do justice to their role in today’s date and time:
1. Pricing skills:
It is pivotal to know how to decide on right price for the right customer at the right time. FOM is one person who is always first to be updated about the market conditions and competition internal data. This makes it easier for FOMs to be able to analyse and suggest the right rate of the day and help decide how and when to discount. FOMs should work together along with revenue managers and sales managers to create packages and promotions for specific customer segments.
2. MIS maintenance and analysis:
The decisions made today could affect profitability for years to come. Punching in correct information for each reservation so that accurate report data can be retrieved is the most critical role a FOM has to play. Pulling out daily reports and personally going through them and analysing which business to accept or not, is what is expected out of a smart FOM. Implementation of any strategy can only be backed by existing data in PMS. Also to analyse the same to check whether the strategies implemented are working properly or not is for FOM to bring into notice of the management.
3. Online channel management:
Online Channel management is a complex task, with millions of information to manage on live systems. The challenge here is for the front office manager who is expected to be technology savvy, while being a pro with guest relations, reservations, pricing strategies, etc. Pressure is to makes sense with all of this together. Managing online channels is more time consuming than technologically complex. He/she should be able to implement a distribution strategy while ensuring operations run smoothly.