What is a Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager?

The Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager (CHRM) is the most prestigious certification available for revenue management in the lodging industry. Hospitality professionals who hold the certification are among the industry’s most elite group, with a wide range of professional benefits and career opportunities in leadership, management, and any role that requires hospitality expertise. In short, earning a CHRM certification is one of the best ways to advance your career in the hospitality industry.

How Do I Become a CHRM?

In order to apply for CHRM certification, first, you’ll need to be on the relevant hospitality career track. Those qualifications include:

  • Fifty percent or more of duties and responsibilities in revenue management, including forecasting, analyzing inventories, rates and occupancy
  • Experience in data input and report generation
  • Manage block activity and monitor property management system
  • Manage and supervise reservations

Applicants with less than a year of full-time experience need either an accredited associate’s degree or must have completed a five-course specialization program; early entry eligibility is also available. Otherwise, relevant hospitality career roles may include Food and Beverage Manager, Group Sales Coordinator, General Manager, or Directors of Hotel Sales.

For the online application, you’ll need to upload the following:

  • Current Resume
  • Job Description
  • Employment Verification Form (signed by your immediate supervisor)
  • Copy of diploma or transcripts (if necessary)
  • Complete payment of $300 ($375 for non-members)

The CHRM Exam

Created by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), a division of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the CHRM exam is designed to ensure maximum value and service to hospitality customers. All exams are must have a designated proctor, which may include a CHA, CHRM, hospitality educator, an AH&LA member association/federation executive, your immediate supervisor, or a member of the clergy. The exam itself features 125 multiple-choice questions, which you’ll have three hours to complete, and which cover the CHRM candidate’s knowledge of 5 key hospitality areas:

  • The Lodging Industry
  • Forecasting and Planning
  • Strategies and Tactics
  • Statistical Analysis
  • E-Commerce and Online Distribution

All candidates receive an official test prep booklet that includes resources, materials and a CD (included in the $300 fee).

CHRM Job Responsibilities

The central role of the hospitality revenue manager is to implement optimal revenue management strategies and processes. In other words, the CHRM figures out the best way to make the most money. Depending on the day, that might include a whole range of responsibilities, and a CHRM needs to have a flexible, Swiss Army knife set of skills in business, management, analytics, and organization. A few responsibilities include:

  • Oversee day-to-day operations of the finance, accounting, or reservations departments
  • Develop and manage market segments, hotel branding, pricing strategy, sales operations, distribution channels, content management, and revenue forecasting,
  • Interview, hire, train, and supervise a hospitality staff
  • Set and maintain performance standards, build corporate teamwork, and promote a hospitality ethic

Of course, job responsibilities will vary. Hospitality revenue managers at boutique hotels will likely have a different set of duties than hotel revenue managers at a large chain. Further, the CHRM role itself has undergone significant changes over the years with the advent of online bookings. Where previously business funneled through a few (analog) channels, hospitality revenue managers now must understand the nuances of mobile marketing, online travel agencies, and a proliferation of agile competitors, among other challenges. On the one hand, that means the CHRM role is more complicated than ever before. The upside is that hospitality revenue managers now wield powerful influence within corporations and across the industry.

CHRM Salary and Job Outlook

How much money do certified hospitality revenue managers make? That depends on the job parameters, but the general outlook is positive.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, management positions across the country are expected to grow 8 percent over the next decade, which equals 807,300 new jobs. The median annual wage for management occupations is slightly less than $110k, the highest of any major job groups. Sales managers earn a median salary of $117k per year, and financial managers average $140k. While previously these numbers might not have correlated to a CHRM career, the role is changing so rapidly that CHRM salaries are trending in that direction.

As important to hospitality revenue managers is the industry at large. In 2016, the hotel industry’s revenue was $550 billion. Annually travel & tourism makes a global economic impact of around $6.5 trillion. In the United States, there are 16 million hospitality and leisure workers at about 850,000 establishments, making the industry one of the top ten employers nationwide. While the hospitality industry will always be vulnerable to recessions – elastic goods are the first to go – the above numbers represent a robust business foundation, which should transfer to continued job expansion. And because certified hospitality revenue managers are high-demand talent, they benefit from special job security and benefits.

Best Degrees for a CHRM

There are multiple routes to a CHRM, but earning a degree in hospitality management is the best method. The most popular hospitality degree is a bachelor’s in hospitality management, which combines a business core and specialized hospitality management courses. At the graduate level, you can either pursue an MS in Hospitality Management or an MBA in Hospitality Management, depending on your preference. (To learn the difference, read our guide.) Finally, for students interested in an accelerated professional track, associate degree-holders can also apply for CHRM certification.

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