Are Business Schools Preparing Students for the Real World? The Case of 'Hospitality Revenue Managers'
Posted: 10 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 10, 2011
Evidence from the field suggests that Hospitality Programs are failing to meet industry needs for skilled and competent employees. Interview results with industry professionals and recruiters raise concerns about the lack of quality of graduating students/employees coming out of hospitality programs. This suggests that hospitality programs show slow response to change and meet industry needs. One such issue includes the positioning of Revenue Management (RM) as its own discipline. While only a few programs offer RM as its one discipline, the majority include material on RM related topics in courses such as finance, accounting, cost control, and marketing. RM is a technique that applies economic principles to system variables in order to maximize revenue. Its focus, as perceived by most hospitality practitioners and researchers, is room revenue maximization. Specifically is an integrated set of business processes that brings together people and technology with the goal of understanding the market, anticipating consumer behavior and responding quickly to exploit opportunities that present themselves. The technique integrates sophisticated information technology, effective application of statistics, probability, organizational theory, and business experience. New models of RM systems continue to be developed and improved providing effective means to help achieve an optimal level of revenue. Industry recruiters however argue that the increased demand for adequately prepared RMGRS with dynamic career growth opportunities will not be met if academia fails to develop well-educated RM employees. Career growth exists across all segments of the hospitality industry and as the discipline matures, more career choice will become available. Currently most Revenue Managers (RMGRS) are home grown, trained and promoted internally, or recruited from competitors; very few hires are university graduates. This paper attempts to identify gaps between academia and hospitality industry and investigates their critical factors sought by industry lacking in students/employees pursuing a career in RM. This research applies qualitative methodology techniques, which include face-to-face interviews with industry professionals and educators, and literature review. The result of the study identified several constraints to recruiting RMGRS. Ranking at the top is lack of education or training in RM; followed by newness of discipline; non existent human resources succession planning practice; lack of consistency in job description; lack of career path; need to educate top management and owners; and most importantly the need for professional development courses at the university level. The researcher synthesizes results and suggests several approaches to narrow or eliminate the gaps between RM industry requirement and RM education. Hospitality educators should work closely with industry leaders to identify their needs and create RM internship opportunities for students. Hospitality programs should include executive education and certifications for industry practitioners. The curriculum should emphasize on RM” to encourage development of case studies providing a central forum to share ideas and institute a depository for archiving relevant research. Faculty should be encouraged to research and publish on the topics related to pricing and revenue management that encompass all segments of the hospitality, tourism, and travel industries.
Keywords: career development, human resources development, business schools, hospitality education, education gap, revenue management education
JEL Classification: J20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation