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How HOSPA’s Professional Development courses helped lead Inna Nekrassova to industry recognition


Inna Nekrassova, Head of Revenue at The Lanesborough Hotel, is a former Professional Development student who was our highest achieving learner on the Operational Revenue Management course in March 2021 — with the support of a grant from the Savoy Educational Trust.


This year, she was named on Boutique Hotelier’s Power List — a collection of 50 top professionals in the UK's boutique hotel industry who are making serious strides in their career.


We caught up with Inna and explored her journey through hospitality, as well as her experience of a HOSPA Professional Development course.

When did you first get into the hospitality industry, and what sparked your interest in this field?

I first got into hospitality at the age of 17, taking a summer job in housekeeping at the charming Schlossle Hotel in my hometown of Tallinn, Estonia. What started as a holiday job ended up turning into a life-long passion. I was so intrigued to discover the world of luxury hospitality and I knew this is where my career path would lead me. I spent several years experiencing operational departments and learning how to run a hotel from the ground up. What really captivated my attention throughout my career was revenue management — a logical and data-led discipline that also left space for creativity and experimentation.

What led you to choose a HOSPA course, and how did it contribute to your professional development?

A lot of my knowledge in revenue management came purely from experience on the job and mentorship from my managers. Therefore, I felt I could benefit from a more thorough and academic approach to the subject matter. HOSPA courses were always well regarded in the industry and having attended HOSPA events in the past, I knew it was the right choice for me. I was also lucky to have the support of the Savoy Educational Trust who helped fund the course.


The completion of the Operational Revenue Management course ultimately allowed me to deepen my understanding of principles and techniques behind pricing, forecasting and sales & marketing planning — all skills that were easily transferable to my workplace.

As a distinguished HOSPA PD Alumni, how has the programme helped you in your career progression?

The programme offered me a more well-rounded understanding of revenue management that was underpinned by both academic research and practical techniques. Within a year of receiving the certification, I was promoted to Senior Cluster Revenue Manager by my then-employer, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

How would you describe your leadership style, and what qualities do you believe are essential for successful leadership in the industry?

I am a strong believer in coaching and providing guidance, but also giving my teams space to be autonomous. In my opinion, you really succeed at leadership when your team can run just as well when you are not around. In terms of leadership qualities that are essential for success, I would say the ability to influence and inspire, having long-term vision and a passion to help people realise their potential are key. Commercial awareness is also important for successful leadership no matter the department.

Could you share some significant milestones or experiences that shaped your career in hospitality?

Making the progression from reservations to revenue was a great move. Having spent time managing a reservations team really set the bedrock for that step and still helps me understand the complexities of running the reservations departments on a daily basis. A strong reservations department is one of the cornerstones of a successful revenue strategy in a luxury hotel.

I have also been very fortunate in my cluster revenue role with Four Seasons, to oversee both a flagship London city hotel and a British countryside resort. As you can imagine, each requires completely different, but complementary strategies. Gaining experience at both, especially at the same time, was invaluable exposure. In particular, I am proud of one of the hotels winning Four Seasons’ own ‘Revenue Management Hotel of the Year EMEA’ award in 2021.

I am also incredibly proud to now be leading the revenue function at The Lanesborough, one of London’s most luxurious and expensive hotels. And of course, another significant highlight in my career this year was being named in Boutique Hotelier’s Power List 2023.

In your opinion, what are some of the key challenges faced by the hospitality industry today, and how do you think they can be addressed?

The biggest challenge I see in the hospitality industry today is inspiring a new generation of hoteliers and slowing down the rate at which we lose people to other industries. Our industry is not perfect, but now is the time to talk about any shortfallings openly and honestly. Work-life balance, fair pay, mental health, transparency of career progression and inclusivity are all issues we need to be tackling together as hospitality leaders. Challenging our own behaviours and attitudes is the first step. We owe it to our teams to create a better workplace.

Can you share any tips or strategies for building strong relationships and collaborations within the hospitality sector?

I cannot stress the importance of networking enough. You never know what a ten-minute conversation with someone can turn into and in fact, some of my most rewarding opportunities came from networking. Seek exposure to the community you aspire to be a part of and fortunately, there are a lot of worthwhile hospitality events. Some of them cost nothing to attend and others are worth investing in or asking your employer for support. If there isn’t a big existing community in your location, then why not start your own?

I would also advise people to consider mentorship. Having been both a mentee and a mentor, the value of mentorship for both parties can be immense. In addition, volunteering or fundraising activities are also a great way to give back and make some incredible connections.

What advice would you give to aspiring young professionals who are considering a career in hospitality and revenue management?

If you are considering a career in hospitality and revenue management, my advice would be to just try it. Start with some introductory courses into revenue management and there are plenty of basic resources online — or, you could try a more in-depth approach like a HOSPA Professional Development course.

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for the future, both for your personal growth and your contributions to the industry?

I would like to continue to contribute to the revenue community through mentorship, panels, events and collaborations. Learning never stops, so continuous investment into my professional development is important to me. Within the next year, I am particularly focused on developing my knowledge of asset management and data analytics further.


Inna completed one of HOSPA’s industry-leading professional development courses and to find out how you could access this support, please visit: https://www.hospa.org/professionaldevelopment


To apply for funding support through our Professional Development Grants, supported by the Savoy Education Trust, please visit: Funding Support | HOSPA

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