Looking for a Yielding Manager? Spot the best one.
by Konstantinos Santikos , Managing Director – Sales & Finance|Santikos Collection
If I had to think for the most important position in a hotel’s Sales & Reservations team, my answer would have been a Yielding Manager. Its the person that will unemotionally give the reservations team which room types they have to open or close and the sales team which channel to continue to promote. A Yielding Manager is in the words of the Star Trek fans, “the Spock” of our hotel team, the nonemotional numbers guy that will give you the clear number perspective. However, a Yielding Manager works ideally as a lone wolf, and a combination with operations could be ineffective.
Before evaluating any candidate, we have to define how such a position could help our hotel. The purpose of a Yielding Manager is to take decisions based on numbers and not based on a hunch, so the first attribute we should be looking into is the ability to think with data. This could be evaluated through their CV and expertise in Excel or similar software. Another great way is during the interview to present a yielding problem and assess their solving method. Here is an example:
Reservations get a request for 50 rooms in a 150 room hotel. The group will need the conference room for two days with a coffee break and a private dinner. The banquet team calculated the minimum charge for the extras as €12,000. What information would you need to calculate the room selling price?
The method that any great candidate should follow is to try and get all possible information on booking pattern of the hotel. The should ask for data such as:
- ADR of the week affected the past two years
- The average stay of guests
- The average occupancy
- and of course the current availability & ADR
The case above is one of the many scenarios a yield manager should have to solve weekly. All problems will have to do with statistics and current data and a simple problem like the above could show if a candidate has some basic principles of problem-solving.
The more rooms one hotel has, the more important is the presence of a Yielding Manager in their Sales & Reservations team but always keep in mind that such a person needs to stay unaffected from any personal relationship one Sales or Reservations Manager may have with a TO or Agent. This is another attribute one should look into a candidate. Once again a scenario should be taken into account. A great question to the candidate is the following:
If you had to choose only 1 Tour Operator to work with, from which country will that TO be?
Here we have to understand that Yielding Managers are the most short term decision maker in your business, only because their decisions are based solely on numbers. If you don’t want that, then you don’t need a yielding manager per se and could train your reservations team to make their decisions also based on some yielding techniques.
Thus, going back to our question, we are looking for answers that show no preference in a nationality due to generalizations. Responses such as “Italians consume more,” “Germans have a longer season” or “Middle Eastern guests spend more” have no place in a Yielding Manager’s thinking process. We are looking for the following question from the candidate:
Could I have data from all Nationalities based on revenue, booking pattern and spending average? I would also need the average cost of Food & Beverage for each guest.
It all comes down to the ability of the Yielding Manager to give answers based on what makes more sense financially for the hotel and not based on a hunch from a rumor or a personal relationship. It is pretty straight forward how one can qualify as a great Yielding Manager as numbers never lie.
Since the Yielding Manager position is not a popular one, especially in individual properties, the majority of candidates will need additional training to qualify. By having this in mind, you can make the candidate prepare for the interview by sending him reading materials. This will show not only dedication to the position but also the ability to learn fast. An easy way to find out how the candidate consumed the reading material ask the following:
Please explain to a High School Graduate what a Yield Manager’s day should look like.
The answer should not be memorization of the material but rather a more comprehensive list of tasks that the candidate would do if tomorrow were the 1st day.
Such a position is in most cases thought as not necessary in individual hotels and considered extra but from my experience, if the owner is unable to make decisions based on data, then they have to train their Reservations Team into the yielding process.
A Yielding Manager interview is nevertheless an interview for a member of your team so the basics must be followed. Notice if the following attributes fit your culture:
- Passion for work
- Potential for career development
- Work Ethics
- Love for hospitality
I know that the pressure of recruiting and hiring especially for such a position could be a frustrating experience. My suggestion is not to stress about it and once you apply my recommendations above in your interview, go with your gut. At the end of the day, everyone is at their best version during their interview. It’s ok to hire someone that will not cover your needs as long as you learn from your mistakes.
Good luck on your recruiting and never forget to call for references!