Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Vandevender

Jim Vandevender

Chief Marketing Officer, Knowland

Jim Vandevender is Chief Marketing Officer at Knowland. Mr. Vandevender joined Knowland in 2012. He has supported various departments within the company including data and research and has been actively involved in supporting the development team in the redevelopment of Knowland's Insight tool and in the creation of the new Market Analytics tool. He works closely with the sales department in the areas of training and developing customer relationship skills. Currently, Mr. Vandevender manages Knowland's marketing department, including all aspects of social media, new product launches, and supporting all processes for creating, communicating, and delivering Knowland products to customers. Mr. Vandevender is an award-winning hotel industry veteran, having spent more than 20 years in various sales positions within Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts. Among the properties where he worked was New York's Waldorf Astoria, where he began as a Senior Sales Manager. He has been awarded AICPA's Supplier of the Year Award given to the National Account Manager providing the highest level of service to AICPA's meeting planning division. Before coming to Knowland, Mr. Vandevender held the position of Vice President of Training and Development for ConferenceDirect for 7 years, where he managed one of the company's largest Strategic Meeting Management accounts and was the Team Leader for CD's largest team of sales associates. In addition to these duties , Mr. Vandevender was responsible for training all of ConferenceDirect's associates. He was awarded ConferenceDirect's “Hero of the Year Award” for three consecutive years for being the person making the most impact on ConferenceDirect associates. Mr. Vandevender also worked on the Microsoft account . He also was the recipient of the Hilton Achievement Award for ConferencDirect Team Microsoft for his work. In 2015, Mr. Vandevender was appointed to HSMAI's Sales Advisory Board. He has been a featured speaker at many HSMAI conferences and events including the 2016 Hotel Management Company Roundtable. He will be a panel speaker at the 2016 STR Data Conference in Nashville. Mr. Vandevender is also a proud Member of Skål International, Washington - a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry. Mr. Vandevender has a large presence on LinkedIn with almost 12,000 Followers who receive his weekly blogs on trend and industry developments within the hotel industry. He has been featured in various hotel and meetings trade publications. Please visit http://www.knowland.com for more information.

Mr. Vandevender can be contacted at 202-351-1552 or jvandevender@knowland.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.