Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Markham

Katherine M. Markham

Principal and Co-Founder, ConventionPlanit.com

Katherine Markham, CHME is the Principal & Co-Founder of ConventionPlanit.com, a multimedia search channel and RFP portal. She is responsible for marketing strategies and new business development. An innovator for her time, Ms. Markham created ConventionPlanit.com in 2003, when online bookings for the meetings industry were not yet widespread. Her vast knowledge of the hospitality industry combined with a desire to solve a problem sparked the creation of ConventionPlanit.com. The concept was simple: provide meeting planners an easy way to access information while helping suppliers reach more buyers. An Advisory Council of meeting planners assisted in outlining the search functionalities of the website, truly making the website a tool designed by and for meeting planners. With a vision to position buyers with sellers through technology at the forefront, the website is an industry favorite for original meeting planners who prefer a commission-free environment and easy sourcing tools. Today, ConventionPlanit.com boasts a strong industry endorsement by Senior Planner Industry Network (SPIN), and partnerships that include the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMAI), IMEX and IBTM. Additional digital offerings for suppliers have grown over the year to access hard to reach buyers. Ms. Markham began her career in group sales with Marriott Hotels and has held leadership positions in sales and marketing for Renaissance Hotels, Radisson Hotels, Homestead Resort, Associated Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Inc., Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Expovision. She is also a Certified Hotel Marketing Executive (CHME). Prior to launching ConventionPlanit.com in 2003, Ms. Markham was Co-Founder of the Alliance Service Network, a lead generation firm for service providers. Ms. Markham was a weekly host of Your Meeting Matters, a segment of the Washington, DC radio program Association Nation, in which she engaged key players in the meetings industry in lively discussions. Ms. Markham served on the marketing advisory councils for APEX and Event Technology Exposition. Please visit http://www.conventionplanit.com for more information.

Ms. Markham can be contacted at 301-975-9462 or katherinem@conventionplanit.com

Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. 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.