Posted By: SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Interview: Caroline Morrison, Area Revenue Manager, Revenue Management
Like many of my colleagues, the first job I held in the hotel industry was in the Canadian Rockies. I fell in love with the hospitality industry; everything from welcoming guests who had traveled from all parts of the world to stay with us to working with talented and diverse people. After holding various front office positions at the hotel over a period of four years, I returned to Montreal to study Human Resources Management at McGill University.
Following graduation, I worked for a management consulting firm and then a real estate management company where I eventually held the position of Property Manager, managing commercial office buildings as well as retail space in Montreal prior to returning to the hotel industry.
I have been with SilverBirch Hotels and Resorts for almost 5 years now, starting in the Central Reservations Office and then moving on to Revenue Support with interim revenue management positions for our Toronto and Charlottetown properties before becoming a full-time Revenue Manager in Edmonton. I have worked the last 2 years for properties in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. Being an Area Revenue Manager affords me the opportunity to travel and spend time with on-site hotel staff and management all while seeing what each city and province has to offer both its residents and visitors.
When not working, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, travelling, reading as well as taking walks with my rescue dog Zach.
SBHR: What value is most important when you think about your role as Area Revenue Manager?
CM: All of the values are important but Performance is one of the most fundamental ones in my role as an Area Revenue Manager. Our main objective is to generate revenues for the hotels and help the properties perform well financially. The goal of revenue management is to strike the right balance between pricing and volume of sales. While competition places limits on the upside of pricing and means we need a certain volume of sales to satisfy revenue objectives, we can’t just lower our prices to make the sales task easier. There has to be a healthy tension between pricing and volume of sales and getting this performance factor right is perhaps the most important aspect of revenue management.
SBHR: In your role you are working with different properties and teams. What value do you keep top of mind when juggling these different experiences?
CM: I think of Engagement – for our company to succeed we need the engagement of all of our employees, no matter the geographic location or language that we speak. People are the secret to our success and engaged individuals will provide excellent customer service and valuable opinions and feedback to each other. Such feedback enables us to find ways to do things differently or more efficiently and can also lead to more revenue-generating ideas.
SBHR: what do you “value” the most in your role?
CM: It is difficult to select only one value, but one of the things I appreciate the most not only in my role, but also with the company is “Growth”. SilverBirch has given me many opportunities to develop my skills over the years and I continue learning every day.
I also find it exciting to observe the “growth” in our revenue generation teams. We all bring something different to the team; different areas of expertise, experiences and perspectives. We learn from each other and challenge one another to find ways to generate revenue all the while keeping guest satisfaction top of mind. In the short term, this makes my job enjoyable. In the longer term, it promises more profitable revenue growth in our properties.
SBHR: You are working with hotels not only in different geographic locations, but also in different languages, what value(s) has (ve) been most helpful to you in this process?
CM: All of the values have helped me work with the various hotels. I know that my colleagues and teams from the other properties share the same values and that we are working towards common goals.
Our guests can rely on quality of service from engaged individuals; that they will get excellent service from the front desk associates who greet them at the hotel and that their rooms will have met our high expectations of cleanliness no matter where the hotel is located. Daily I see positive comments from our guests about quality of service in our restaurants and banquet facilities and I can certainly attest that the food is excellent!
SBHR: Of all of our values, which one influences your day to day activities the most?
CM: Integrity influences my day to day activities on both a personal and professional level. The effectiveness of the teams that I am a part of depends very largely on the feelings of honesty, reliability and good faith that the members have for each other. Part of my mandate is to facilitate changes to existing practices and I know that I can only succeed in this area if the other team members find me to be honest and trustworthy.
SBHR: What is the most rewarding hotel experience you have encountered?
CM: I had the opportunity to work very closely with a group of leaders at one of our hotels last year during a very difficult time for the property. I had never lived an experience quite like it – to see so many people striving to achieve a common goal no matter the challenges they faced. The camaraderie, respect and personal sacrifice was remarkable and very touching. Everyone worked as a team, helping various departments with tasks not only without complaint but with fun and laughter thrown in for good measure! While my hotel portfolio has changed over the last few months, the respect I hold for this group continues and I will always think of this experience as not only my most rewarding hotel experience but also as my example of SilverBirch values in action.