N&C, the Willy Wonka of Revenue Management

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Juliette Hardouin and I joined UXCO MANAGEMENT, the Coliving branch of UXCO GROUP, in October 2022 as Sales, Revenue Management and Distribution Director.

With more than 25 years’ experience, UXCO GROUP has established itself on the French market as an investor, developer and operator of coliving residences dedicated to students and young professionals, and now operates more than 75 residences and 14,000 beds throughout France. My job is to ensure effective marketing and to optimise our revenues: in other words, for our platform, to have the right customer, in the right room, at the right time.

Could you tell me about your history with Revenue Management?

UXCO’s history with Revenue Management is closely linked to the evolution of our accommodation offering, towards a more flexible model. This evolution can be seen through our two main brands: a « classic » offering represented by our historic residences under the UXCO Students brand, offering a more traditional and standardised student environment on a human scale. On the other hand, our new brand, Ecla, which appeared in 2018, offers XXL and premium living spaces that are more modern and dynamic, where different energies and nationalities come together.

Ecla stands out for its innovative coliving concept, attracting a wide range of residents, from students to young professionals, staying from a few days to several years. These huge houses, with up to 1,800 beds (at Ecla Paris Massy-Palaiseau), form veritable villages.

The scale of our business means that it has to be carefully managed, with long-term residents, such as students from the Plateau de Saclay, and short-term visitors, such as people on business trips. A significant part of our business is therefore similar to pure hotel management, with rooms that can be rented by the night, subject to the typical challenges of revenue management.

But the challenge of revenue management doesn’t stop there, and our ambition is to make it a major issue for both long and short stays. Today, this is characterised by a certain seasonality in our prices, but tomorrow we will have to give it an even more central role, as is the case for the hotel industry.

How did you come to work with N&C?

We called on N&C when our Revenue Manager left the company last May. This led us to consider recruiting to fill the vacancy. However, we were aware that finding a qualified Revenue Management profile would take time, so we needed to find an immediate, turnkey solution to ensure the RM management of our hotel portfolio.

That’s why I thought of N&C. I had already heard of Romain, who had helped deploy revbell at Viparis when I was there. I explained our situation to him to see if he could help with this type of assignment. I liked the company’s approach: given a problem, a solution, and fast. In just three calls, everything was sorted out, a results orientation like you rarely see!

How did the integration of our consultant go?

The integration of Domitille – a consultant at N&C – began with a geographical immersion on our sites and within our teams, which proved essential for her appreciation of the environment and the Ecla product.

Domitille’s approach was meticulous, conscientious and keen to produce quality work. Her expert presence was reassuring for both the operational and sales teams. Domitille was quickly up and running, familiarising herself with our tools and adopting a « plug and play » approach.

Of course, we retained control of the business decisions, but her service offered real support in the decision-making process, by providing an in-depth analysis.

Overall, how did the support go? What did you appreciate most about working with N&C?

I found Domitille’s work to be very agile and responsive, with a personalised approach to our business sector. There were times when we had to readjust, particularly with regard to our needs in terms of short-stay sales reporting. I liked the openness of her approach: she was clearly there to help and make life easier for everyone around her, and this sense of service really made the difference.

I also found it interesting that she had other assignments at the same time, with other customers, some of whom were competitors. It’s rare to be supported by someone with such a wide range of expertise, and this enabled me to benefit from a unique perspective, a real-time benchmark, from other sectors but from players in a comparable industry.

This creates a sort of database, a collective intelligence, embodied by our consultant, born out of the good practices observed elsewhere, the performance or non-performance of other players, as well as the market trends observed. It’s relatively invaluable, and goes a long way towards informing our decisions and guiding us towards best practice.

We’ve now recruited our RM, and we can’t wait to finally have someone to embody this discipline full-time. It’s invaluable mental gymnastics and performance management if we are to embody the commercial excellence to which we aspire, in a company like ours that’s going through a period of rapid change.

I’m confident about the quality of the handover. Domitille has enshrined good practices and a sound knowledge of tools and processes, and she’s a professional who will be watching over things right up to the last minute of her assignment.

We worked together for 10 months, and it was a very rewarding experience, because N&C is a great bible of skills that makes up for the frustration of only having someone on the job one day a week.

Any final thoughts?

I’d like to stress that in all the interactions I’ve had, whether with Romain since my call for help, with Laetitia, with Domitille, or with Valérie, the human contact is remarkable.

Despite the robotic, analytical and complex nature of the profession, which can seem intimidating, N&C manages to instil a human dimension that is accessible and reassuring.

Because it has to be said that, at first glance, you might wonder what N&C – Revenue Generator really is. It’s a bit like Willy Wonka, where you put a rabbit in the hat and produce income. We like income, we’re delighted! But in the end, it’s this human relationship and this willingness to support that makes N&C’s work so successful. That’s everything you can ask for from a partner: professional expertise combined with a sincere concern for the company’s challenges.

Keywords: Uxco Management, Uxco Group, N&C, Yield Management, Revenue Management, recommendations, RM expertise, Interim, Yield Management, Coliving, Student residences