HB on the Scene: Kalibri Labs to launch Commercial Strategy Certification Program

Kalibri Labs, an innovative data science leader in hotel performance analytics and benchmarking, has released a groundbreaking initiative, which will be supported by multiple industry associations, that will revolutionize the approach of hoteliers in a market dominated by digital disruption.

In a strategic collaboration, Kalibri Labs and leading industry associations including AAHOA, HFTP and HSMAI, will launch the first-ever Commercial Strategy Certification Program. This announcement follows the recent release of “Demystifying the Digital Market & Guide to Commercial Strategy,” published in partnership with Hotel Business, a market leader in delivering insights to owners and operators. The new certification program will provide practical tools and techniques to hotel operators faced with increasing challenges of operating profitably in a marketplace with rapidly rising costs.

Officials of Kalibri Labs, AAHOA, HFTP and HSMAI gathered for a group photo.

The Commercial Strategy Certification Program, powered by Kalibri Labs, will address the emerging discipline of commercial strategy as an imperative for hoteliers operating in a world of digital disruption. The online certification program will emphasize the importance of growing asset value as a measure of success and introduce the concept of profit contribution as a critical component in commercial decision-making.

Traditional approaches to commercial techniques have typically focused on maximizing revenue. However, the Commercial Strategy Certification Program will underscore the added significance of growing asset value by focusing on profit contribution. This shift in perspective aims to ensure hotel professionals consider the bottom line in commercial spending decisions, such as those around advertising, sales deployment, digital campaigns and loyalty initiatives.

Recognizing the need for a comprehensive and multidisciplinary curriculum, the program will be developed and implemented with guidance from an expert advisory board comprising renowned industry thought leaders, academics and experienced practitioners. The curriculum will encompass many topics from calculation of asset value to tradeoff analysis and assessing actions related to a hotel’s business mix.

Cindy Estis Green, CEO/cofounder, Kalibri Labs, expressed the value and impact: “In working on the certification with one of my coauthors on the book, Dave Roberts from the faculty of Cornell’s Hotel School, we recognize that a rigorous certification will define a standard of excellence and convey the necessary skills and knowledge to advance the emerging discipline of commercial strategy throughout the industry. It is a critical toolkit to manage effectively with the high costs of operating in today’s marketplace.”

The participating organizations will target various roles, including on-property and above-property general managers, financial and accounting managers, hotel owners, asset managers and commercial teams consisting of revenue, sales, marketing and digital leaders to gain deeper expertise in this new approach. With digital disruption significantly impacting profitability, acquiring the necessary skills to navigate these challenges becomes crucial for sustained success.

Several prominent industry figures have voiced their support for the program. Frank Wolfe, CEO, HFTP, explained, “This is a sea change in the hotel industry, and we want to be part of it. We recognize the significant transformation in how hotels go to market and are committed to contributing to this evolution.”

Bob Gilbert, president/CEO of the largest hospitality sales and marketing professional society in the world (HSMAI), also expressed enthusiasm, emphasizing that “commercial strategy certification is a vehicle to sustaining a healthy hotel ecosystem in the decades to come. Leadership in revenue management, sales, marketing and digital have already started to come together in integrated planning and decision making, and the commercial strategy framework will facilitate this process.”

Bharat Patel, chairman, AAHOA, added, “Hoteliers at various levels must grasp the vital importance of evaluating performance based on profit contribution. At present, the burden of debt service has doubled, while labor costs have surged since the pandemic. Consequently, owners are scrutinizing every dollar. A primary avenue to improve asset value lies in growing a hotel’s profit contribution. The main controllable element for a hotel lies in managing customer acquisition expenses by being selective about the business mix pursued.”

Upon successful certification, each team can adapt their own commercial strategy playbook according to their specific portfolio and organizational structure. The Commercial Strategy Certification Program is projected to launch by the close of 2023.

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