Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Salapka

Drew Salapka

Vice President of Sales and Revenue Generation, Hotel Equities

Drew Salapka serves as Vice President of Sales and Revenue Generation for Hotel Equities, an Atlanta-based, full-scale hotel management, development and consulting firm. Mr. Salapka's responsibilities include leading the firm's sales and revenue organization which is responsible for setting top line strategy and managing the total inventory for all the firm's hotels. His team analyzes the demand for all markets, evaluates market strengths and weaknesses, and reports key statistics that impact the industry and individual hotels. The team also manages sales processes and directs the ongoing training of all key sales and revenue staff members. Beginning his hospitality career at the age of sixteen, Mr. Salapka worked as a housekeeper at the Residence Inn Alpharetta, GA while still attending high school. After his graduation from college, Mr. Salapka joined Hotel Equities in 1999 as an intern at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Perimeter Center. He moved quickly to the position of Bench Manager, covering various positions at several of the company's hotels. He served as Operations Manager at the Fairfield Inn Midtown Atlanta before his promotion in 2000 to General Manager at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Macon, Georgia where he served for three years. In 2004, the company promoted Mr. Salapka to manage the TownePlace Suites in Kennesaw, Georgia. Marriott named him the General Manager of the Year for the brand two years later. In 2006, he accepted the challenge and responsibility of part-time Revenue Manager for the company and quickly expanded the work into a full-time position. Mr. Salapka is a graduate of Clemson University with a B.B.A. in Business Management. He and his wife reside in Cumming, GA. Active in his church, he leads a weekly small group study and serves as a Money Wise mentor. His interests include hiking, camping, waterskiing and traveling.

Mr. Salapka can be contacted at 678-578-4444 or dsalapka@hotelequities.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.