Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Hirko

Rhett Hirko

Executive Director, Preferred Hotels and Resorts

Rhett Hirko serves as Executive Director of Revenue Account Management for Preferred Hotels & Resorts, responsible for supporting the revenue activities across all of the company's member hotels in the Americas and working directly with Sabre to support the reservation needs for all member hotels globally. A Certified Revenue Management Executive, Mr. Hirko has practiced revenue management for more than 20 years, spending the majority of his time in various roles with Hyatt. He designed and implemented the single-image inventory reservations process for Hyatt Hotels Corporation in North America and oversaw revenue management in a regional capacity for seven years. For the next 14 years, he worked with Hyatt International where he designed both the CRS-RM interface and the RM training program and directed the RM process. From there, he was transferred to Zurich to head revenue management for all Hyatt hotels in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia, a position he held for the two years prior to joining Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Mr. Hirko received his B.A. in Business, with a major in Hotel & Restaurant Management, from Michigan State University. He lives in the Chicago area with his spouse and two dogs and enjoys spending his spare time running or cheering for his alma mater, Michigan State.

Please visit www.preferredhotels.com for more information.

Mr. Hirko can be contacted at 312-542-9245 or rhirko@preferredhotels.com

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.