Do you need a new title?

16 June 2022
There is an ongoing discussion in the hospitality industry about titles for the different roles in the commercial team. Are the present titles outdated, so there is a real need for new titles, or are some functions trying to use new titles to increase their importance or area of responsibility?
The two primary purposes of a title are to make the person with the title understand what they should deliver and clarify what this person does for everyone outside the hotel company. There is a maximum of four to five leading roles in a hotel commercial team, depending on the size and category of the hotel. Let's look at each position and which titles go with the different roles for large independent hotels or small hotel groups..
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Commercial team titles

Here are the typical roles and their titles in hotels.

Commercial

The commercial role is the leader of all commercial activities in a hotel or a group of hotels. The title Commercial Manager works fine for a large independent hotel, and Commercial Director works for a group of hotels.

Marketing

The title marketing manager would be the standard title for one hotel and Director of Marketing for a group of hotels. Depending on the size and type of the hotel, this role can have many titles, such as Digital Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager, etc. Maybe a group of hotels has several functions within marketing and, therefore, many different titles. One person needs to be responsible for marketing and have the marketing title.

Sales

Sales Manager is the standard title for one hotel and Director of Sales for a group of hotels. Also, here it all depends on the size and type of hotel. Hotels can divide roles into domestic and international sales, corporate and leisure sales, or rooms and MICE sales.

Revenue

Revenue Manager is the standard title for one hotel and Director of Revenue for a group of hotels. There are also titles such as Distribution Manager, Pricing Manager, and other titles in large hotels where one person cannot handle the workload.

Reservations

In larger hotels, there might be a separate reservations department. The title for the head of the department would be Reservations Manager and probably the same if a group of hotels has a centralized reservations department. It is rare with the title Director of Reservations.

Combining roles and titles

Every role in the commercial team is there for a good reason. Every hotel needs marketing, sales, and revenue, regardless of size and type. The only reason for not having all three roles in a hotel is the size, limiting how much the hotel can afford to spend on customer acquisition.

Small independent hotel

If the hotel is small, then the hotel can only afford one person in a commercial role. This person has to fill all three positions and focus on activities that maximize the revenue. It will be a mix of marketing, sales, and revenue. In this case, the title could be Commercial Manager or any other manager titles showing which role is the primary focus.
 
If the hotel can afford two roles, maybe one is Marketing and Sales, and the other is Revenue and Reservations.

Large full-service independent hotel

A large full-service hotel would have more rooms and other facilities to fill, so it needs more commercial resources. Role + Manager are great titles; if resources are limited, it is possible to combine roles. A sizeable full-service hotel probably needs a full-time sales team headed by a Sales Manager, so it is not a good idea to combine marketing and sales because this will cause a distraction for the leader of the sales team.

A small group of hotels

A small group of hotels organizes themselves in many different ways depending on which functions the group wants to centralize and which functions stay at each hotel. Roles that oversee all hotels in a group should be Director of + role to send a clear message that this person has a larger area of responsibility than just one hotel.

Confusing titles

The titles above are easy for anyone to understand. However, many people want to show off with a creative title that enhances their importance in the hotel company. At one time, all revenue managers wanted to become Profit Managers. Probably good intentions, but a revenue manager cannot and should not focus on purchasing and labor scheduling which is critically important to make a healthy profit. Instead, Revenue Managers should focus on revenue and net revenue to maximize contribution after customer acquisition costs (CAC).
 
Another confusing title in a hotel is Revenue Generation Manager. The demand for hotel rooms is a complementary product/service to the reason for travel, so it is impossible to generate demand for hotel rooms at the hotel level. Instead, destinations should have a Destination Revenue Generation Manager that works on attracting events to a destination since events are the easiest way to drive demand for hotel rooms.