Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Denston

Dan Denston

Executive Director, Mystery Shopping Providers Association - North America

Dan Denston, the Executive Director of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (North America), has an extensive history with associations and association management throughout the country, as well as other varied business and educational experience. Mr. Denston, hired to lead MSPA-NA in 2011, began his association career as a membership coordinator for the National Association of Brick Distributors. After holding various positions with the association over 6.5 years, he was named the Executive Director of the NABD, a post he held for 2.5 years. While there, Mr. Denston developed a national marketing campaign working with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Brickyard 400 race and won an ASAE Gold Circle Award for the association's magazine. Mr. Denston has worked for and with associations and association management companies in the Washington area in membership and member services, conventions and trade shows, marketing, publishing, and government relations. In addition to mystery shopping, his association management experience has included work with the construction, manufacturing, and medical industries. A graduate of Union University in Jackson, TN, Mr. Denston began his professional career as a high school teacher, teaching U.S. government and coaching high school football and baseball in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. He also managed and co-owned a restaurant business. He also started founded his own publishing company, publishing a life-style magazine for a beach community in North Carolina covering topics ranging from history to current events, environment to business development, and government and community affairs to topics of local interest. He also was elected as a Board member of the Chamber of Commerce and represented the business membership to the local government and community.

Mr. Denston can be contacted at 502-574-9033 or dan@mysteryshop.org

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.