Does Your Distribution Strategy Further Your Brand? Or Harm it?

By Drew Rosser VP of Business Development, Whiteboard Labs | January 27, 2012

Doesn't it feel good when you read or hear about a new promotion or discount on something, be it your local pizzeria for a two for one deal or some big discount on a flight to an area you frequent or a good deal at a great hotel and when you go to buy it all works out? When you call, everyone is in the know that you talk to at the establishment or central reservations office and the Web site spells everything out clearly and it all just works. Yippy!

Oh, but how many times has this euphoric feeling fallen short? Pizzeria..."dude I have no idea what you are talking about", airline..."I'm sorry that flight is not available for the times you need", hotel...promotion isn't available online, you call and the agent has no idea what that promotion is and cannot find it anywhere or it comes with so many restrictions that it is nearly impossible to actually book. Clearly there is a major disconnect between marketing, operations and execution of that marketing plan.

For any distribution strategy to truly be successful there needs to be a plan in place but also a methodology surrounding that plan that takes into consideration the method of communication, implementation of the strategy and execution. The best thought out marketing strategy will fall horribly short if there is no communication between the marketing department, revenue management and the operations/distribution team. All must be on the same page and have a clear understanding of what, when and how to make the plan a success.

There are two very basic but important marketing 101 items to consider when establishing a distribution strategy for your hotel or chain.

  1. TRIM (target, receiver, impact, method)

  2. Message

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.