Building the Bridge Between Corporate and Field Marketing
By Stacy Shaw President & Founder, m-k-t-g | August 09, 2010
In many cases, the rapport between the corporate marketing department and hotel field marketing can be described as a love/hate relationship. Creating synergy between the two will have a positive impact on the brand image as well as the bottom line. But as part of the corporate marketing team, how do you accomplish this sometimes daunting task?
It begins with creating demand for corporate resources and insights, not about imposing standards. If the hotels actively seek out the corporate office, then the standards compliance and brand-quality work will follow.
As a former vice president of marketing for a hotel company, one way for creating the demand for corporate resources that I personally found effective is to save the hotel time and money, two commodities that always seem to be in short supply for a hotel director of sales and marketing.
The corporate marketing team can research, interview and secure agency resources for the field that are thoroughly trained in the industry, the business challenges and the brand standards, therefore guaranteeing brand quality work at the local level. The field will be more incline to use the designated agency because the firm will already understand the hotel business eliminating the learning-curve period that can slow down the process and delay results. Another selling point of having an established agency relationship for the field is that the prices have been negotiated by corporate marketing based on anticipated work volume; usually resulting in a better rate than individual hotels can procure on their own. Since the agency of record has been pre-approved, there is no longer a need for the hotels to seek approval from the corporate office for their local initiatives, a task that sometimes irritates the hotels in the first place. Having these marketing resources in place for the field allows the hotels to spend their valuable and limited time on direct selling for their properties.
Developing template programs with a high degree of customization is another way to generate demand. Provide the field with materials based on the corporate standards and programs, but that also allow the use of local hotel photography and copy. This will make it easy for a hotel to incorporate the local flavor and culture of its market while still conforming to the brand standards. When working for the hotel company and now at m-k-t-g, we found that once the hotels start using these programs, they become advocates. In several cases the hotels have created a push demand for template products - driving creation of solutions for everything from brunch covers to recruiting.
Serve as best practice library. From distressed-date marketing tactics to renovation campaigns, chances are the very marketing program one of your hotels needs to implement, you've already done with another. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when a hotel can take an idea that already has a successful track record and just tweak it to meet its objectives.