December 6, 2018
Monica Xuereb is Chief Revenue Officer for Loews Hotels & Co. and a member of HSMAI’s Revenue Management Advisory Board:
My first job in the hospitality industry was at the front desk at the Crowne Plaza White Plains. My mother’s best friend was the director of housekeeping and she got me a job there. I don’t think I had even stayed in many hotels before I started working there. I really enjoyed the interaction with guests as well as learning overall about hotel operations.
I later moved to Austin, Texas, and started working at the Marriott Austin at the Capitol, where I moved into reservations and got my first taste in pricing and yield management. I always say that I learned everything I needed to know about revenue management from Marriott and still use those fundamentals every day. They saw the potential in me and put me in their management program and just really pushed me to continue to learn and grow.
When Marriott bought Ritz-Carlton in 1997, I was sent over to train on their reservations and revenue-management systems and decided to join the luxury brand. I was fortunate to be selected to go live in Shanghai, China, for a year and open the Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai. I moved back to New York City and joined the first cluster revenue management office at the Marriott Marquis, managing 10 properties at the time. It was terrifying to oversell hotels by up to 200 rooms per night. I still remember dialing up into the reservations system at 11 p.m. to see if the numbers had gone down.
When two new Ritz-Carlton hotels were opening up in NYC, I joined as the area director of revenue management. Ritz-Carlton started to integrate more processes and systems with Marriott, and I was in a great position to join as the first regional director of revenue management for the brand, at that time only for the domestic hotels. Having grown up in Europe, I was recruited to help out with some international hotels, as they needed help with revenue strategy. This led to being the first regional director and then vice president of revenue management for the international region for Ritz-Carlton.
I spent 17 years total with Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, going back and forth between the brands three times. I got to work with people who were amazing and super-passionate about revenue management. I opened 15 hotels in 10 different countries and traveled extensively for about 10 years.
During the financial crisis in 2009, Marriott was combining regions and absorbing many Ritz-Carlton positions into their existing regions. My position was being eliminated, and I was offered a job at Marriott. It was a turning point in my life, as I was very comfortable there and Marriott is a great company to work for.
I decided to leave, which in hindsight was probably the best decision I ever made — although it was terrifying. Most of my adult working life was tied into this one company. I took about six months off and decided to start consulting. I wrote up my business plan, built my own website, and started to put the feelers out. I promised myself that I would give it two years before I took on a permanent position again.
For about three-and-a-half years, I worked with a lot of smaller brands like Morgans, Viceroy, Rosewood, Dorchester Collection, and Leading Hotels of the World. Many of my former colleagues were now in leadership positions at other brands, and they had worked with me before. It was very satisfying to take what I learned from Marriott and adapt it to help smaller brands that did not have the same resources.
In 2013, I got a call from a former boss to join Loews as the vice president of revenue management. I knew very little about the brand, but several former Ritz-Carlton colleagues worked there and spoke highly of the company. I did my research and decided to join.
Loews is a great company. We’re small, but we’re very fortunate to have an amazing family that owns the business that is incredibly supportive of everything that we do. We have more tools and resources at this company than most others I have seen. Our corporate and hotel revenue teams are highly respected, and we place a great focus on collaboration and performance. A year in, I was promoted to chief revenue officer to oversee total revenue. The beauty of this place is that there are not many layers. If you have an idea, you can build your case, present it, ask for resources, and there’s a very good chance you will get them. Owning most of our hotels means we get to be nimble and make quick decisions.
Over two years ago, I was given responsibility over sales in addition to revenue management. Bringing demand generation and demand management together has been revolutionary for our company— we have a competitive advantage with this structure as we have one focus: to generate more efficient, predictable, and profitable revenue over the short and long term to support our company growth and value.