For professionals in the hospitality industry, every day has a time clock. They have 24 hours to book unfilled hotel rooms, airline seats, restaurant tables and club membership rosters. Too many empty plates, rooms and seats equal lost revenues that can never be recovered.
Add in the growing influence of social media review websites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, and restaurants, private clubs, hotels, airlines and other hospitality industry businesses also must find innovative ways to tell their marketing story and make revenue.
Recognizing these challenges to the bottom line, hospitality industry executives increasingly see revenue management as paramount to their survival. To meet the needs of industry employers, DePaul’s School of Hospitality Leadership devised a series of initatives, including the MBA in Revenue Management.
“In terms of revenue management, the industry’s mantra is, ‘Finding the right price for the right customer at the right time,’” says Thomas Meier, an assistant professor in the School of Hospitality Leadership. “In the hospitality industry the product itself is a perishable product. So revenue management strategy and execution becomes increasingly more important. DePaul recognized the complex nature of revenue management practices and the growing level of interest from industry leaders and we took steps to address it.”
Blazing Trails with DePaul’s MBA in Revenue Management
Maier says there are several factors that make DePaul’s MBA in Revenue Management degree distinctive, including its solid business foundation. “It combines revenue management principles unique to the hospitality industry with advanced business concepts and data analysis,” says Maier. Students learn the principles of yield management, online channel distribution systems and pricing theory, among other business-based principles.
Another factor that makes the program unique is DePaul’s location. Nestled in Chicago, home to United Airlines, Hyatt Hotels and McDonald’s Corp., among other hospitality leaders, students have ample opportunity to conduct industry research and pursue real-world application of their studies. “We have a wealth and depth of hospitality industry stakeholders here in Chicago and our program takes full advantage of that,” Maier says.
To help with the applied learning and research aspects of the program, DePaul launched the Revenue Management Alliance (RMA), an industry think tank, with Smith Travel Research.
Maier, who is executive director of the RMA, says the group’s blog publishes industry news, research studies, articles and white papers on revenue management theories and practices. A recent study by RMA evaluating hotel web performance revealed that only six of the 15 hotels researched were operating at optimal online channel distribution effectiveness. Read more about the study and the RMA recommendations.
Changing the Hospitality Game
With the introduction of the MBA in Revenue Management, the newly launched RMA and additional focus on predictive analytics within the university’s undergraduate and graduate hospitality programs, Maier says DePaul is poised to become a pioneer in developing a new breed of hospitality leader that understands the importance of delivering high quality customer service but also demonstrates innovative business acumen.