Editorial Board   

Mr. Smith

Donald R. Smith

Executive Vice President, Nor1 Inc.

Don Smith, a noted expert in ecommerce for hospitality, is responsible for developing strategic supply partners worldwide and creating additional revenue opportunities through innovative upgrade processes and other up-selling related modules and processes. Mr. Smith also oversees the implementation of the Nor1's suite of revenue enhancement products with these suppliers. Prior to Nor 1 Inc., Mr. Smith most recently headed up Business Development at SideStep from their early stages in 2004, maximizing SideStep's revenues and building the most comprehensive supply network in online travel, positioning the company for the successful sale to Kayak Software in December 2007. Prior to SideStep, Mr. Smith headed up the sales efforts at WorldRes, the first the real-time internet based hotel distribution platform. Mr. Smith was the founder of Performance Marketing, a corporate meeting planning, representation and consulting group. Mr. Smith has also held senior level sales and marketing positions at Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, Pan Pacific Hotels and Princess Hotels International. He currently plays leadership roles in a number of different hotel industry associations, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA). Mr. Smith lives on the San Francisco Peninsula with his wife and three children.

Mr. Smith can be contacted at 408-996-7417 or don.smith@nor1.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.