Tom is a young, smart new member in the Revenue Management team of a large Hospitality chain.

Revenue Management team

He walks up to his manager, John, and asks “Don’t you think we should be talking more to the Promotions team? I am sure we can get our pricing to a more optimal level by understanding more about the Promotions.”

John responds “You are new here and so you don’t understand the organizational dynamics. They are a completely different team; and frankly, I think all the money spent on promotions is a complete waste. So let’s focus on our own work.”

Does this resonate?

You are not alone in the struggle for Collaboration

Multiple firms in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry have talked to us about this kind of a problem. In general, collaboration as a concept seems arcane; especially when it comes to the different departments dealing with customers (marketing/ promotions/ front-desk/ revenue management/ etc.) sharing information seems to be a big taboo.

As a matter of fact, collaboration is not that common in other industries as well. Motley Fool seems to be the only firm with a Chief Collaboration officer (refer here ). Jack Welch initiated a “Theft Award” to promote learning and re-using best practices across business units (refer here). But apart from a handful of such cases, collaboration doesn’t seem to be as prevalent as one would like.

What are some of the benefits of collaboration?

You make new friends and grow professionally
The social element of the workplace is so underrated. Once you start collaborating more, you get exposed to different teams, work environments, systems and ways of doing things. This helps you to grow, network, learn and adapt.

You serve your customers better
When you collaborate across teams, you get a better understanding of customers, as well as an understanding of addressing their needs better. Improved customer servicing leads to customer delight, loyalty and continued profits..

Helps your organization out-compete and win against competition
Once the artificial walls are broken between departments and teams, the overall organization gets aligned. The energies are synchronized and orchestrated towards the same goal, thus providing the organization a strategic advantage over competition.

So how do you achieve collaboration?

Start from the top
Senior leadership across departments should make it a point to collaborate at their level and make it visible across the organization. This will then percolate down to the managers and executives.

Set up collaboration platforms
Organizations need to set up a platform or forums where team members from different departments can get together and connect with each other. This can be either an online or offline platform. An informal platform is typically seen to be more effective than a formal one.

Create shared project teams
Organizations need to set up cross-departmental teams for certain key projects. This allows team members to understand the capabilities and expertise of each other across departments.

Build an effective system for conflict resolution
Organizations need to set up both a formal as well as an informal system where intra- and inter-departmental conflicts can be resolved effectively. This will require commitment from the senior leadership.

Align departmental goals to the organizational goals
Departmental goals need to be set up in such a way that each department gets impacted by the performance of the others. In such a scenario, it is in the best interest of the departments to support and help each other achieve the organizational goals. A common approach is to tie an individual’s performance bonus to the organizational performance. There can be more direct links to collaboration as well.

We will be talking more about collaboration (or, rather the lack of it) in the Hospitality Industry and would love to know your thoughts.

Authored by Kunal Jain – Hospitality Expert and Associate Director at Absolutdata & Nanak Banerjee – Hospitality Analytics Expert and Senior Manager at Absolutdata.