When I heard I would be traveling to Miami for the Apartment Revenue Management Conference in September, I was transported back in time.
The year was 1998. I was 15 years younger, five pounds heavier and really digging Will Smith’s new single, “Miami.” I didn’t know anything about the city, but from what I gathered based on the lyrics, every day like a Mardi Gras—everybody party all day. On the down side, I heard the rainstorms ain’t nothin to mess with.
You take the bad with the good.
Over a decade later, I was finally going to see for myself. Unfortunately, Will was already wrong about at least one thing—it wasn’t no work, all play. I was here on business.
Still, I enjoyed myself, fought a valiant (but ultimately fruitless) battle of hair vs. humidity, and learned a lot, too.
The conference kicked off with keynote speaker Greg Cross, a 30-year hotel industry veteran who is responsible for maximizing Hyatt’s guest room sales strategy. In the past, he’s also worked for Live Nation Entertainment, where he researched and recommended ticket prices for rock concert tours.
If you’re jealous, don’t be—according to Cross, Jay-Z and Prince would come into the office and walk right by him. He kept a drawer full of Neosporin for those burns.
Among other topics, Cross addressed several multifamily pricing challenges—the use of social media and pricing based on emotion—and shared that such challenges are encountered in other industries.
In the hotel industry, Cross says owners have to appeal to brand-loyal and brand-agnostic customers and find pricing strategies that appeal to both. This includes embracing discounted price and marketing channels in order to dump unsellable inventory.
Still, Cross believes in a revenue management future where people and processes trump calculations and computers, and also envisions markets that are more brand-sensitive and brand loyal than they might be now.
“Predictive technology is very much related to the development of the Internet, but you really do want a room full of smartest people controlling things, because the technology itself is directional at best,” Cross says. “Just remember that revenue management itself was originally seen as intrusive, but it was not a challenge, it was a gift.”
Bienvenido a Miami.