Certificate in Commercial Acumen (Hospitality)

Short Courses covering Commercial disciplines of Sales, Marketing & Revenue Management

Online Learning for General Managers and Hospitality Managers




Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International have developed a full training program for hotels & accommodation businesses to learn more about the commercial, Digital Marketing & Distribution functions. 100% Online courses and some optional face-to-face workshops.

The program is intended to allow for hotel professionals to study single courses, groups of courses under one topic, or go through the whole program. The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) have put together a program based on the things that hotel General Managers have told us they need to learn about the commercial disciplines of sales, marketing and revenue management.  HSMAI is a 90-year old,non-profit association and is recognised globally for sharing knowledge on these disciplines.


Hotel Managers and General Managers

If you are already a General Manager, Owner/operator or Resort/Hotel Manager, you can upskill in specific areas without having togo through the whole program.  For example, if you’re finding the Revenue management function is a mystery, just take the revenue coursesto get up to speed on the language you need, what the Revenue Manager should do for you, and what questions to ask in different situations.

Course for Hotel Professionals

If you are working your way towards becoming a hotel manager or general manager, this program is for you.  Most educational programs for hoteliers focus on the operational management of a hotel, whereas this program gives you the knowledge and skills you need to manage the commercial aspects of running an accommodation business.  Complete this program to give yourself the edge when you apply for a Hotel Manager position.


  • HSMAI Members pay a lower price than non-members.
  • Individual courses from US$55 for HSMAI members and US$65 for non-members
  • Complete 10 courses to earn a Certificate in Business Acumen (Hospitality)*
  • 12 months online access to course materials so you can come back to review topics when needed


Discipline Course name Details
Core module Understanding your Guests’ path to booking Available now
Core module Understanding the Accommodation Market Available now
Core module Accommodation Distribution Available now
Core module Price-Value Analysis Available now
Tip! Tap on each Course name to view more details.

Scroll down for more detailed descriptions of each course.

Tip! Tap on each Course name to view more details.

Please let us know if you are interested in studying the full “Certificate in Business Acumen (Hospitality) and we will let you know when we have the full pricing and courses available.  

The courses below haven’t been released as yet.  For the courses Available now, go to the HSMAI Academy Online Courses page.

Tip! Tap the Course title to see more information about each course.

Course descriptions

This course will cover the following topics from a management perspective:

  • The role of the revenue director has evolved. He/she can be a valuable ally when you’re looking to increase your ROI, lower costs and when you’re dealing with owners/ corporate head office
  • Understanding the RM perspective
  • Using data to gain insights, what questions should you ask the RM? What insights should they be delivering?
  • How to communicate with your revenue staff
  • Leveraging the RM function across the business
  • Focus on Forecasting

Learn how the owner looks at the property performance and the criteria for increasing the value of their asset.  Should you be re-thinking the culture and strategy to better meet owners’ objectives?  How can you come to an agreement with owners on investing in marketing? This short course will provide hoteliers with tips, checklists, and guides to improving relationships and ROI.

the hospitality industry.

 You will learn
  • How Owners measure the value of their asset
  • Tips for managing the relationship with your owner
  • Understand your real cost of sale by channel (most hotels omit certain data you need)
  • Shifting Mindset: Marketing or Direct Channel Commission
  • How to assess your Sales & Marketing function
  • How to demonstrate your strategy and why it will increase profit and asset value
  • How to convince owners/ head office to invest more in digital

(For the purpose of this course, Owners can be individual property owners or a brand/chain who owns the assets).  This course forms part of a program to earn a Certificate in Business Acumen (Hospitality).  You can either study the full Certificate program or just take individual courses to update your skills.

More details coming soon! This is our starting list:

  • Leisure Sales -the key operators and decision-drivers
  • Corporate Sales – the Corporate RFP season – how to plan, prepare and navigate for success
  • MICE Sales – the key operators and decision drivers
  • Understanding how contracting works in the current (complex) environment- floating, dynamic and static pricing, Operators models of commission, markup and margin
  • Meetings and functions – are your sales team an efficient, customer-friendly team? What should be happening be win more of the group and meetings business?
  • The role of hotel salespeople has changed so much that it is barely recognisable, are you still using salespeople for the same tasks as you have been for years?
  • Do you have the right skill sets in your sales team for the digital age?
  • What type of salespeople do you need?  (Your business objectives determines this)
  • Can your younger salespeople pick up the phone when they need to?
  • Assessing optimal structure and sales team size
  • How to motivate and retain your salespeople

Value-based pricing requires determining what your customers truly value ie the highest price they’re open to pay for your product/features.  Learn to:

  • Understand the value proposition and rate strategy of your key competitors
  • Develop a competitive advantage based on the analysis findings and repositioning the hotel by offering better value for money for consumers.
  • A template spreadsheet is provided to aid in this strategy
  • Embracing “Test and Learn Strategy”
  • Website Analytics – what information can you get from website data, what can you do with that information i.e. Visitor Analytics, Source of visitors, keywords, conversion, usability, testing. What metrics should you be tracking?  Understand these reports and what information you can get from them to improve performance and how to start implementing a data performance model
  • Email Analytics – best practices, what to measure, benchmarking
  • Analytics & Attribution modelling – where is the ROI really coming from?
  • What questions should you be asking your Digital team, whether they are insourced or outsourced
  • Developing the perfect Marketing dashboard for your property/ properties
  • In different scenarios, what tactics/strategies should we consider?
  • Pricing and value/competitor analysis
  • Developing your SWOT Analysis
  • Defining your marketing strategy and tactical plan
  • Components of the Marketing Plan (including digital components – only from a planning perspective)
  • Tools – CRM, benchmarking, data
  • Templates – marketing plan

Pre-requisite courses:

  • Assessing your Product Value and Pricing
  • Understanding the Accommodation Industry (includes SWOT/PEST)
  • Introduction to Hotel Digital Marketing
  • What is marketing and it’s role in a digital world
  • From 4P’s to 7C’s to 4C’s to the modern marketing mix
  • Importance of brand and branding
  • Importance of spending on quality Photography and Video
  • Print & Outdoor marketing
  • Local Marketing
  • Modern Email marketing
  • CRM
  • Loyalty
  • Marketing integration across disciplines
  • Content, content, content and importance of unified messages

GDPR, PSD2 & Privacy

  • Should you outsource or insource Marketing services – benefits and drawbacks of both
  • Case Studies
  • How to evaluate vendors
  • Negotiating the contract
  • Onboard and manage the vendor relationship
  • How to scale resources
  • Combining in-house and outsourced services
  • Getting the mix right
  • Collaboration between revenue, sales, marketing, Public relations & digital marketing staff

Why single out the China and Muslim segments? Both are massive markets, growing fast and involve bigger differences that we don’t see across any other markets.

  • Fast Facts on China outbound travellers
  • Channels they use
  • How to attract them in the purchase journey?
  • Reviews and Ratings

Why single out the China and Muslim segments? Both are massive markets, growing fast and involve bigger differences that we don’t see across any other markets.

  • Marketing and catering for Muslim Travellers
  • Who are they?
  • What are they looking for?
  • Personas/ demographics
  • Halal
  • Travel needs


  • Your website from your customers perspective
  • The Google 5 stages of travel explained (lesson from Course 8)
  • Assess your hotel website – SEO and content, tools to assess speed, mobile friendliness etc
  • Selecting a vendor to build your website
  • Best practices – UX, Placement of Book button, layout basics
  • Best Practices – Imagery and rich media and Domain structure
  • Translated/localised content – when do you need it
  • SEO strategy
  • Content Marketing Plan – what is it
  • Comparing your website to your Competitor set
  • Analytics available, what the GM should track
  • Emerging trends e.g. payment types

Booking path

  • How to Assess the booking path – content, room types, images, descriptions, rates & offers
  • Your competition – checking your Comp Set and competitive analysis
  • Conversion rate
  • Structure: on-property, centralised, clustered
  • Staffing levels – how many do you need in sales, marketing, revenue & distribution?
  • Digital marketing function – insourced or outsourced
  • Revenue management: role, on-property or outsourced
  • Training and education costs and more

The Roles of your sales, marketing and revenue staff need to change

  • Managing and guiding your staff in the digital age
  • Some strategies to help you start, and then continually improve
  • Auditing and Rightsizing your hotels Sales and Marketing organization to be future (or even current ready)
  • Involving your sales team and giving them confidence in their role to play
  • Getting your team to work together. Do strategy sessions. Tips on how to approach this. (This is essentially about how to change the mix of roles in Sales, Mktg and Revenue)

Implementing best practice in commercial management, developing a team with collective goals

  • Incentives and common goals
  • Evolve your morning meeting – Is your morning team meeting something everyone dreads? Learn some great strategies for not only making the meeting interesting but making it productive too.  Who should be in the meeting?
  • Increasing direct bookings involves everyone in your commercial team i.e. revenue, sales, reservations, events, distribution & marketing.


More specifically, the skills needed and how each person contributes to the running of a successful marketing campaign:

  • The role of Sales, Marketing & Revenue in developing and executing a successful campaign
  • The value of PR & reputation
  • PR writing – writing a press release, writing for social media, visual storytelling
  • Building media relationships
  • Managing Reviews
  • Igniting PR Champions
  • Using Influencer marketing
  • Engaging media during a crisis
  • How to select and engage a PR Agency

Online reviews drive business because consumers trust each other more than they trust hotel marketing messages. Positive reviews, the response from management, up to date photos and descriptions on your website are the primary factors that contribute to improving your reviews and rating score.

    • Types of customer feedback -online and offline

    • What components drive review ratings and rankings

    • Best practice for responding to reviews & customer feedback

    • The benefits of reviews aggregators

    • Adding review feeds to your website

    • How and why consumers rate/review your property

    • Reviews and their impact on conversion & price

    • Managing complaints and bad reviews

    • Tools available to monitor social and reviews

Contact Us

Send us an email for any queries you have about HSMAI Academy and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.