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 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.