Hotel businesses are more than just the lodging services they provide to tourists; they need an asset manager to look after and fully exploit the potential of the property on behalf of the owner. In other words, asset managers are the ones who maintain the balance between the hotel staff, operations, and owners.
Today’s volatile world has significantly impacted multiple industries, and hospitality is not an exception to this movement. This means that the hotel needs to adapt to the evolving trend and get ready to transform themselves along with other industries. Hotel owners, operation manager, and asset manager should join hands as they will be the key driver for the growth of the whole business.
Specifically, the asset manager’s roles and responsibilities in the hotel's operations are typically overseeing the business and steering it against the changing landscapes. The final goal of the asset manager is to optimise value, control costs, plus identifying potential new revenue sources. An asset manager will have to know the property inside and out, covering all different departments of the hotel - from in-room features to F&B and spa services, all the details that can help drive revenue for the business.
Asset management challenges for hotel businesses
In recent years, the nature of the Asset Manager role has faced a lot of wavering challenges while the hospitality landscape continues to transform. Modern asset managers have to adapt quickly enough to the development of new technology, the changes in customer behaviour and compete with new players in the market.
Effective data management
It is undeniable how data has transformed the hospitality industry, it provides crucial information for decision making, revenue generating and expenses mitigating. Technology has substantially changed how hotels attract and retain their customers.
By accumulating customer data, hoteliers are now able to gain full-scope information about customer preferences of the hotel’s services, what worked and what not, hence, tailor their services to meet the new expectations. Data can add to the asset manager’s performance by providing a full picture of the business status, suggesting possible expand directions and thoroughly analyse the current market circumstances.
On the other hand, new and modern OTAs services have long disrupted the way customers choose accommodations for their trip, young customers tend to choose online booking sites over the hotel’s direct booking system. This change has made hoteliers struggle to adapt to the rapid growth and constant innovation of new technology and applications. Asset managers can join the game as long as they choose the right method and take practical steps to yield benefit from data sources.
For example, data can provide crucial information like the condition of supply and demand, predict the trends, and suggest the best suitable rates for the discount program in the market. Traditional asset managers can find it complicated to migrate from the legacy system to new, data-based managing progress. The development of the market is inevitable, and the asset manager must be able to keep up with it.
Achieving real buy-in from the executive committee
The more volatile the hospitality industry becomes, the more critical it is for hoteliers in general and asset managers in specific to achieve buy-in from the executive committee of the organisation. Because a role like an asset managing for hotels is relatively new, some owners can underestimate the importance of an asset manager. Hoteliers have to distinguish the roles between the asset manager and the operator. Also, property owners need to ask themselves whether or not the organisation is ready for such change in the operation and management committee.
Once the management board has agreed to assign an asset manager role, they must ensure that the whole organisation is on the same pace. Sometimes, the asset manager role can be a complicated one due to their diverse backgrounds. Some individuals whose expertise originated from investment or finance related roles need more time to adapt to the new environment and build up authority for themselves.
After that, the hotel management team should define the corporate direction that incorporates with the asset manager's plan. Collaboration is a key aspect to boost the leaders’ capabilities altogether for the grow of the organisation, thus, increase revenue, improve performance, and cut down on costs.
Hotel leaders must keep in mind that managing asset for business success is rather unique compared with other kinds of real estate. In the hotel industry, it takes more than just data analytics to finalise on essential matters of the business, the more perspectives from the managing board there are, the better the final decisions will be.
Prepare the business for long term success
Apart from managing expenses and costs for hotels, modern asset managers are also responsible for analysing the hotel's positioning and competitive aspects. The asset managers need to look further than just the RevPAR index, yet, they still need to utilise it for the evaluation of the actual performance of the current hotel operator. This can be done by conducting field research, reviewing the hotel's unique competitive set – these details are what helps evaluate the competitor's position, properly position the property, and support a suitable operating strategy.
With the right combination of data management, strategy planning and efficient hotel asset management, hoteliers can be confident that they are moving in the right direction. It is vital to ensure the asset manager’s role is well-balanced with other leadership roles in the hotel so that they can fully exploit the capabilities of management and prepare the organisation for any possible change in the industry. Overcoming the challenges requires effort from the entire team and not just single-handedly from the asset manager.