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 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.