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It was an exceptional year for entries for the Revenue Manager of the Year, but in a remarkable field Amy Ayers stood out for her resourcefulness, dedication and ambition, both for Holiday Inn Winchester and for her team.
Shortlisted in 2017, Ayers showed great tenacity in entering for a second time, coming back with an entry that won over the judges.
Having worked her way up from part-time receptionist to her current role as conference, events and reservations revenue manager, Ayers encourages others to follow her example. She manages a team of four, who have weekly one-on-one reviews to ensure they are both delivering and given the opportunity for development. Her style of leadership is designed to empower her reports, so they can take ownership of the department in her absence.
Ayers is happy to take responsibility for her own development too, paying to attend a social media course to learn how the hotel could maximise its presence online.
In terms of revenue generation, Ayers has had an exceptional year. Over the past 12 months, revpar at the hotel has outperformed its comp set by 9.9%, driven by a 6.8% growth in occupancy and a 2.9% growth in ADR. Using tools provided by the brand to control length of stay, she has ensured occupancy remains sustainable throughout the midweek period and does not suffer from peaks and troughs.
Working with the hotel sales manager, Ayers has created a rate strategy that focuses on accommodating business groups from corporate accounts midweek, which typically book for between three and five nights. She has developed relationships with film crews who frequent the area, using this channel to drive ADR, with trade business only taken when leisure business drops – which Ayers can predict thanks to her demand calendar.
Perhaps most impressive is the contribution made by wedding business at the hotel. Ayers contributed to the conversion of 60 weddings from Holiday Inn Winchester’s package selector for 2018 – a colossal achievement considering the hotel has only been open for eight years. In addition, the hotel broke its 3,000 festive cover target for the first time in 2017, making December one of its most lucrative months. This was no fluke. Ayers launches the hotel’s festive brochure in February – ahead of its competitors – and in May and June she and her team go on the road to clients promoting the offer.
Ayers organises sell-out tribute nights that include comedy acts such as Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses and Absolutely Fabulous, generating in excess of £10,000 revenue each night.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Ayers has also presented to students at nearby Eastleigh College, describing the opportunities available in hospitality. Her nominator said that the experience made Ayers realise just how far she has come. Now being named the Revenue Manager of the Year 2018 is testament to her significant achievements.
What the judges said
“The fact that she came back from being shortlisted in 2017 showed fantastic tenacity. She has achieved great results in reducing OTA reliance without affecting overall business and had some amazing success with weddings.”
Sarah Glanville, revenue manager, Red Carnation Hotels
“From an exceptional list of entries, Amy stood out for her initiative, dedication and ambition for the hotel and her team. She is an all-rounder that has delivered on all fronts.”
Jane Pendlebury, chief executive, Hospa
Amy Ayers Holiday Inn Winchester
Morgane Bimet Hilton London Bankside
Irene Micallef The London Edition
Anaël Peu Kew Green Hotels
Yash Taneja Crowne Plaza London Docklands
2017 Rachel Perry Radisson Blu Edinburgh
2016 Olga Sommer Ham Yard Hotel, London
2015 Catherine Bernard Lancaster London
2014 Helle Nørgaard Beattie Hyatt Regency London – the Churchill