Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Pingston

Julie Pingston

President, Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA)

Julie Pingston, CMP, CTA is the current President of the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) and is Senior Vice President for the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau in Lansing, Michigan. She has been with the GLCVB for 21 years and works in conjunction with the Bureau's President in overall organizational operations. She also has direct oversight over convention services, membership, the Greater Lansing Sports Authority, the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program and special events which are coordinated by the organization. Previously, Ms. Pingston worked in Washington, D.C. for the United States Travel & Tourism Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce. While there, she assisted in planning international conferences and Board Meetings as well as administering a disaster relief assistance grant program. Ms. Pingston chaired ESPA's 2014 Annual Conference and is a member of MSAE, MMPI and the Rotary Club of Lansing. She also serves as the President of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, President of the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation and Secretary of the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan. Ms. Pingston was Michigan Meetings and Events Magazine's Hall of Fame Inductee/Supplier of the Year (2008), MSAE's Diamond Award Winner (2009), MMPI's Mentor of the Year (2011), ESPA's Member of the Year (2004), ESPA's President's Award Recipient (2009) and ESPA's Executive Excellence Award Recipient (2013).

Ms. Pingston can be contacted at 517-377-1412 or jpingston@lansing.org

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.