Editorial Board   

Mr. Bernstein

Laurence Bernstein

Managing Partner, Protean Strategies

During a highly successful 20 year career, Laurence Bernstein launched and nurtured numerous global hospitality, foodservice and financial service brands, on behalf of global advertising and brand marketing firms. Prior to working in advertising, Mr. Bernstein cut his teeth in sales and marketing with Westin Hotels. In 1998, in response to the rapidly changing marketing environment, he founded the boutique strategy and research agency that he now runs, Protean Strategies. From its inception, the firm has led the way in experiential branding -- converting attributes, features and benefits into relevant and differentiating experiences that form the underpinning of real brand-centric growth. This led to the seminal idea of “modern luxury”, first posited in a 1999 white paper published in the Cornell Quarterly, which now underpins the entire boutique category. In 2012 Mr. Bernstein started Protean Hospitality Partnerships, a marketing advisory consultancy focusing on the hotel and resort business. Recently, the firm published a widely quoted study of how consumers engage on an emotional level with hotel brands. In the consumer research field, Mr. Bernstein developed the first psychoanalytic approach to market research, Inner Directives Archetype Studies, that has been used by more than 20 automotive brands to understand the underlying relationships between people and their vehicles. Inner directives has also been used by hotel companies and travel organizations to better understand and cater to their guests and visitors. The Protean Guest Experience Audit system is an inexpensive methodology to help hotels understand what guests actually experience at the property level, using an interactive, real time methodology. In addition, Protean is recognized by Forrester Research as a leader in the exciting new field of Predictive Market based consumer research. Mr. Bernstein attended the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He has published numerous articles on hospitality brand and guest experience design and has been invited to lecture at Cornell University, University of Toronto, and many associations including the inaugural Leadership Seminar presented by the Boutique and Lifestyle Hotel Association.

Mr. Bernstein can be contacted at 416-967-3337 x101 or bernstein@proteanstrategies.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.