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Founder of REMS Hospitality Carmen Mallo joined Lobby Talks

15/02/2022 Kieron Bailey Comments Off

We welcomed Carmen Mallo for a new episode of Lobby Talks, and we were amazed by her background in Hospitality and Revenue Management. Let’s get to know Carmen a little bit better, her career achievements, why she founded benchmarking tool REMS, and her advice to younger people who want to build a career in the industry.

Carmen has over 8 years of experience in revenue management and data analysis, she has taken restaurant revenue optimisation to the next level by applying dynamic yield management strategies. She is now on the journey to implement market share across all restaurants globally. Carmen used market share widely during her time in the hotel industry.

On joining a restaurant group, she quickly decided that restaurants would benefit from using market share strategically by learning more about their competitors. This is why she founded REMS Hospitality, to help restaurants understand their market to the same degree of accuracy present within other industries. Her spirit for always finding new techniques to drive revenue and her passion in the field makes her a true pioneer with a desire to transform the industry.

Favourite hotel lobbies

Two hotels, actually. First, La Bobadilla, A Royal Hideaway Hotel. I remember when I finished university I visited this place with my friend, and when I saw it, I thought: I want to be an entrepreneur. And then that evening I visited Hotel L’Alhambra Palace, for its gorgeous Islamic architecture and that’s when I decided to move to London, start my career in hospitality and do something different.

Carmen’s Career in 60 Seconds

I don’t have 60 years of career so I can summarise easily! I studied Economics and Music in Spain. I landed in London 11 years ago and applied for a job at Nando’s – I’ll always remember that experience. Then I improved my English and started working in hotels, for instance at the Revenue Management Centre in Hilton. It was a great experience, it taught me all I know now, and I could transfer that knowledge to the F&B sector.

So I got back working in restaurants and I joined The Ivy Collection, a massive group of restaurants. I joined them while they were still building the brand, and it was a turning point in my career! I thought: How could I implement benchmarking and yield management in the restaurant industry?. That’s how I started REMS, and here I am building a company of my own. Restaurants didn’t use yield and revenue management much, and I hope to achieve that with REMS.

Good Day / Bad Day 

A good day: when I got my first job in Nando’s I felt really proud. But then something amazing happened in my time at the Hilton London Tower Bridge back in 2012. I was a Front Desk Supervisor, and the Reception Manager told our team we’d have someone really influential staying at the hotel, so we had to preserve their identities. I thought: oh wow. This person was actually the Queen Sofia of Spain. So because I’m Spanish they asked me to take care of the whole thing. I ended up meeting her and using the formal “Her Majesty” and she asked me where I was from. I said that I was from this little village in Spain and she was like ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe it, my cousin is from there!”. I was sitting there, thinking what a small world!

A bad day: I’d say just before the second lockdown at The Ivy. Everybody was very happy to get back to work after the first lockdown, we were ready to welcome everyone, and then we got the announcement that we were in lockdown again, after weeks of hard work… it was pretty heartbreaking. We tried to find ways to cope and still have fun. What I told my team at the time: one day you’re gonna be up, one day you’re gonna be down. You need to be ready for everything, I think resilience is the key. Even in chaos, I was able to pass that message. You have to pull yourself together and keep going because things are gonna pass and we’ll continue.

Last day on Earth 

I love roller coasters, so I’d probably go to Six Flags. Or I’d go back to where I come from. And then that’s it I’d just wait for the tsunami (laughs). This question is really relevant, I think on the last day on Earth most people would try to be hospitable, choose a restaurant, a nice hotel, a concert etc. That’s why hospitality is so important in keeping people together.

The Guestbook

Hospitality is a tough industry, it’s not for everybody. If you’d asked me years back, I’d have stopped – what would I do in a restaurant? Then I started to study the different areas of a restaurant. People don’t want necessarily to be an operator, but you can do something else. It’s all about how we uplift this industry. We have a lot of history and data and that’s what we need to transmit. We also have to be more data-driven. When I speak to restaurants, I emphasise that it’s important to become more globalised and do better. Hospitality is not only about cooking. Behind the scenes, there is a group of people who have great skills.

What’s next in 2022?   

If you try to do a perfect business mix, there’s so much we can do with KPIs in the industry. Hopefully, restaurants will look at the opportunities that revenue management can drive.

You have to understand your level of no-shows, too. Take a credit card for a potential cancellation. Call your guests so they’re reminded – but the most efficient technique is overbooking. You need to plan, but hospitality needs to protect their business and that goes through a well-planned overbooking strategy. But I keep testing it to see what the reactions would be.

To get started with getting Revenue Management skills, I’d recommend:

A. Explore any of the top programmes to learn about OTA Insights, OTR etc.

B. Read what I write about optimisation in restaurants on REMS Hospitality. I do a lot of reading, and about airlines, too.

C. Connect with people.

We’d like to thank Carmen for sharing her knowledge and experiences with us. If you missed the livestream, watch the replay: