Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Barker

Ned Barker

President, Grill Ventures Consulting, Inc.

Ned Barker is a hotel industry veteran and principal of Grill Ventures International. In a former role as Vice President of F&B Franchise Services for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Mr. Barker worked with both hotels and third-party restaurants to create win-win partnerships. Specializing in F&B solutions, Grill Ventures works with both hotel and restaurant companies. Grill Venture's work includes concept development, strategy, operations / marketing review & analysis, and special one-off project assignments. Mr. Barker is a noted speaker who delights at sharing his expertise at hospitality and hotel management conferences. He is a frequent contributor to food and beverage publications such as In The Mix Magazine and Hotel F&B Magazine. Mr. Barker serves on the board of the Global Soap Project (www.GlobalSoap.org) which recycles discarded hotel bar soap into new bars that are shipped to vulnerable populations around the world. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and serves on the American Hotel & Lodging Association's (AH&LA) F&B Council.

Mr. Barker can be contacted at 404-547-1900 or Ned@Grillvi.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.