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FIU Hosts Inaugural Visionary Leaders Forum in Singapore

November 21, 2013 MICE No Comments Email Email

In an industry so heavily reliant on talent, evolving technology, consumer trends, and where change is the norm, the Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Research (IHTER), a division of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU) set its sights on addressing key issues faced by the hospitality industry with the launch of the Visionary Leaders Forum in Singapore.

image003“Being an important regional hub for the hospitality and tourism industry, Singapore was an obvious choice from which to expand FIU’s footprints in Asia beyond our 9-year presence as a leading hospitality management school in Tianjin, China,” said Mike Hampton, dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at FIU.

Held on October 24, during the week of Web In Travel and ITB Asia, this ‘invitation-only’ insight exchange forum brought together senior hospitality leaders to speak candidly about the persistent issues that have a profound impact on a hotel’s ability to stay current, competitive and profitable.

Three topics chosen for discussion were:

  • Revenue Management in the Digital Age
  • Optimizing Profits with Total Revenue Management
  • Revenue Management Leadership & Talent

Common threads running through each discussion group:

  • Serious need for robust customer segmentation, supported by tightly integrated hotel management systems and business intelligence tools to allow hoteliers to see the big picture, spot the opportunities, be confident, fluid and more responsive to customers as individuals with different needs and motivations.
  • Asia’s high real estate development cost together with the rise in mix-use development projects will inevitably shift the focus to a Total Revenue Management (TRM) approach, but that being said, participants agreed that the industry is lacking in sufficient performance benchmarks and best practices to move us forward?
  • Revenue management in the Digital and TRM age requires a new set of performance metrics. Tracking RevPAR and RGI is no longer relevant and should be replaced with KPIs that considers multiple revenue streams and all associated cost of distribution by channel. Only then can we make conscious decisions on the type of business to accept in order to maximize profitability across the entire asset.
  • Operators and owners should leverage more on revenue management professionals like asset managers at an early stage of the hotel’s technical design & development, and during the various lifecycles of the asset. The “If you build it – they will come” idealism is just an elusive dream. The result can be a rude awakening when you get it wrong.
  • Develop future hospitality leaders with a holistic and commercial mindset to optimize the total asset, while at the same time, provide professional education to senior management to prevent unintended ‘traditional and legacy thinking’ from stifling growth and long-term career progression of younger professionals.
  • While revenue management is a highly specialized discipline on its own, education in revenue management must be an integral component of the hospitality and tourism management curriculum regardless of specialization.

“It was a privilege to play host to this distinguish group of hospitality leaders. The rapport and energy among the group members as they delved into their respective discussion topics was refreshing,” said Simone Champagnie, executive director of IHTER.

“Presenting partners, HSMAI Asia Pacific, IDeaS a SAS Company, Travelport and Trust International, actively engaged participants throughout the day. They played a vital role in the program delivery and their proactive approach to this partnership was essential,” said Christine Toguchi, project consultant for IHTER.

Sharing their insight and perspective at this forum were:

  • Anna Au-Yeung, Head of Partner Marketing, Asia Pacific  – Travelport
  • Fabian Bartnick, Senior Consultant, Asia Pacific – IDeaS a SAS Company
  • Simone Champagnie, Executive Director – Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Research at FIU
  • Bernadette Dennis, Director – BD Concepts/Managing Director – HSMAI Asia Pacific
  • Craig Fong, Founder & Director – CF Ventures Pte Ltd
  • Siv Forlie, Vice President – Revenue Management – Shangri-La International Hotels
  • Jeannette Ho, Vice President, Revenue Management and Analytics, Asia Pacific – Fairmont Raffles Hotels International
  • Puneet Mahindroo, Director, Revenue Management, Asia Pacific – Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
  • Jurgen Ortelee, Vice President, Revenue Performance – Pan Pacific Hotels
  • Shailesh Pallipuram, Director of Revenue Management – Operations and Pricing, Asia, Middle East & Africa – InterContinental Hotels
  • Jagdish Sandhu, Assistant Vice President, Revenue Management & Distribution – Silver Needle Hospitality
  • Philip Schaetz, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing – Dorsett Hospitality International
  • Christine Tan, Vice President, Sales, Asia Pacific – Trust International
  • Maria Taylor, Regional Vice President, Revenue – Meritus Hotels & Resorts
  • Maunik Thacker, Senior Vice President, Marketing – Marina Bay Sands
  • Christine Toguchi, Managing Director – MacroVision Network Pte Ltd/Project Consultant for IHTER at FIU
  • Richard Wiegmann, Chief Operating Officer – Trust International
  • Stefan Wolf, Senior Vice President, Revenue & Distribution Strategy – Onyx Hospitality Group

Facilitators guiding the discussion groups were:

  • Patrick Andres, Vice President & Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific – Travelport
  • Mike Hampton, Dean – Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University
  • Grahame Tate, Managing Director, Asia Pacific – IDeaS a SAS Company

A white paper containing key outcomes on the issues and opportunities discussed at IHTER’s Visionary Leaders Forum will be published and shared with the industry.  IHTER will be producing a series of Visionary Leaders Forums with equally provocative themes in Asia Pacific in 2014.

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