Revenue management is amazing. The industry is exciting, the people are great, and you identify with the mission. Your commercial impact is huge, you work across multiple teams, and you use bleeding edge technology to find and capture revenue opportunities. Your work is strategic and you have a seat at the leadership table. Finally, your career opportunities are limitless in a $20 billion industry that’s growing rapidly.

But that’s the future. Maybe.

Today 30-40% of your valuable time is spent on manual tasks. You have to interact with multiple solutions and platforms to get the data and reports you need. Then you have to manually integrate the data to make it useful. Capturing opportunities means you have to implement your decisions in multiple disconnected places. Often revenue management is an afterthought, or a complement to other teams, rather than a strategic function. Finally, investment in revenue management is shrinking and innovation seems to have stalled.

Why is this? Why is the perception still that revenue management is a back-office function, a cost-center, rather than a profit-center? Why are we still debating if revenue management is an art or a science? Why does it feel like we’ve been debating the same topics for the last decade (at least)?

Revenue management is broken

It has been four decades since revenue management was invented. To paraphrase Peter Thiel: “We wanted automated, real-time, total revenue optimisation, instead we got open pricing”.

“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters” - Peter Thiel

There has been some innovation, but it’s been slow. If we fast-forward current trends 20% of hospitality will be on a cloud PMS by 2030. Roughly the same share of the industry will be using an RMS by then. There will be a few new players such as SONDER, The Student Hotel, SAGE and others who will have state-of-the-art business intelligence and revenue management but they will be far and few between.

What’s going wrong?

We have a culture challenge

Hospitality is a people industry and has historically prioritised soft skills over analytical and commercial acumen. Over the last decade growth has been phenomenal and this has actually made things worse since no urgency was generated by competitive pressures.

We have an industry challenge

Hospitality is unusually fragmented in the structural separation between brand owners, equity owners, and operators. This fragmentation has stifled innovation, as operators focus on their incentives, brand owners on their fees, and equity owners on keeping costs down.

We have a technology challenge

Hospitality vendors have been slow to innovate and standards have been slow to emerge (SOAP, XML, OXI, service-bus, extra-net, are all prehistoric from a technology perspective)

A once in a lifetime opportunity

2020/21 was, and continues to be, a scramble for survival and in this race for relevance and efficiency there will be winners and losers. With slower growth and reduced demand those that fail to adapt will be taken over by those that do.

During this crisis, and beyond, revenue management will be one of the important determinants of success or failure. Revenue management remains a 10-20% opportunity for the vast majority of the industry. Those that capture it can choose to invest in growing market-share, or better guest experience. Those that do not will be eaten.

“An estimated $25-50 billion of revenue in hospitality is left on the table every year. The winners will capture it. The losers will disappear. The race is on!” - Jens Munch


  1. Revenue management is a science Revenue management is not painting by numbers. It is not a weekend watercolour workshop. It is not trying your hardest and hoping for the best. It is not an art. Revenue management is applying a rigorous analytical process to complex commercial challenges, thereby generating repeatable, and sustainable, performance improvement.
  2. Revenue management requires investment We will need to have control over our data, and the ability to take appropriate action. We can not accept being powerless to drive efficiency and growth because we don’t have a clear, easy, way to find data data insights, or take the appropriate commercial actions. [Soft skills, tech etc etc]
  3. Revenue management is cross-functional We will not optimise for ADR and occupancy separately. We will not use different success KPIs for sales, marketing and revenue management. We will use smart KPIs that enable us to compare channels, products, sources etc. We will fight back against “silo syndrome”.


There is no more potent catalyst for change than being confronted with a life or death situation. We stand before a once in a lifetime opportunity for revenue management to come into its own, and deliver on its promise. What we have to do as an industry is to capture this opportunity with clear and decisive action.

If enough of us commit ourselves to the principles of the Revenue Revolution the remainder of our careers will be spent in one of the most exciting industries you can imagine. If we don’t we will spend the next few decades working in the jobs and companies that are holding progress back. It might be comfortable, but it won’t be fun.