Increasing revenue in hotels and allocating resources is certainly a puzzle.
Today we talk with Sandra Gannon, a former revenue manager at The Marlin Hotel Dublin who made lemonade out of the lemons life has given her.
The first COVID peak turned her life upside down, but she came out stronger.
This is her story.
GuestJoy: Hi Sandra, please tell us about your journey in hospitality.
Sandra: It was a child’s dream. I was only seven when I walked into one of the few 5 star hotels in East Germany, saying to my mother that I will work here one day. There was a very slim chance back then.
I started 26 years ago with an apprenticeship in Germany, then moved to London to become a receptionist. I worked my way up through Front Office, Assistant Manager, Group Sales, Events, Leisure sales – you name it, all of these positions in the UK or the Middle East before finally arriving in Dublin.
I became a Revenue Manager at the Westin Dublin, and then later the director. Then to gain different experiences I worked at the O’Callaghan collection, and finally at the Marlin Dublin. When COVID hit I went out on my own and established my company, Revenue Puzzle.
I am also a mother of two amazing children, who vacated their playroom for me to take over as home office and even designed a sign for during my zoom calls to highlight new company. With them I learned to see things through their eyes, nothing is a problem, there are only solutions, and to look forward. They are teaching me patience every day for the past 10 years, and we are progressing beautifully together.
GuestJoy: So how did you establish your own company?
Sandra: I was made redundant a few months ago. I am going to be honest here, I was upset, broken and could barely believe it.
I survived recessions already, but COVID was stronger. The hotels in Ireland started to reopen without me. After 26 years in the workforce I just could not allow myself to be unemployed. I had an amazing few months spending time with my kids and husband, I got to know them even better, from a very different perspective.
With everything changing I started looking for opportunities outside hospitality, and sent out a lot of applications. However, I realised that I have spent 26 rewarding years in this industry and I am very much driven by hospitality. Now I would like to share my experiences. Huge thanks to all the former colleagues, friends and family who encouraged me to create Revenue Puzzle!
GuestJoy: What does your company do exactly?
Sandra: Revenue Puzzle offers project-based, short or long term support. Anything from a daily – weekly check-in with a hotel to ensure that their revenue strategy and forecast is still on target. We can support interim revenue management, audits, or just have a one-time session.
I believe the most important factor in my work is to understand the customers’ perception of product value, then accurately align it with prices, placement and availability for each guest segment.
We are Cost-effective: Our services are tailor-made to each hotel’s needs to provide the most suitable support when and where it’s needed.
Immediate impact: Our experienced team knows what works best, and years of working in hospitality enables us to adapt to any market situation. We can improve the hotel from the get-go.
Flexible: We can work around the hotel’s needs – that entails anything from a few hours, to weekly audits or maternity covers.
Free up your time: You know that with us you are in great hands. We are leveraging all potential revenue opportunities, so you can have peace of mind.
GuestJoy: What are your main goals with Revenue Puzzle?
Sandra: As my consultancy slogan says, “We put the pieces together to reach your goal”.
I have always seen revenue management like a puzzle; individually not very important, but crucial to see the big picture. You can’t make something work if the pieces don’t join together, and that’s what I am here for; I love seeing efforts and strategies in work.
My motto is “Selling the right product to the right customer at the right time for the right price”.
GuestJoy: Where does your strength lie, and what is the fun part about being your own boss?
Sandra: It’s worth mentioning again that I have 26 years of experience in hospitality, and I have seen different strategies work in various types of hotels.
Nevertheless, survived multiple setbacks and economic recessions not just in the UK and Ireland, but many other countries too.
I have managed teams of very diverse backgrounds and experiences, and together we have always reached our goals.
I am motivated, forward thinking, and have a hands on approach to revenue management.
As to what is fun about being my own boss: my husband says I can talk and argue with myself 🙂 But for me, it’s being able to share my expertise and what 26 years in this industry has given me with all kinds of hotels and teams.