Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Chastan, CMP

John Chastan, CMP

General Manager, Kalahari Resorts

John Chastan grew up surrounded by the hospitality business in a family that owned an independent restaurant. He followed this profession into college studying Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Wisconsin Stout. For six years in the 1990's Mr. Chastan held both operational and sales positions with Residence Inn by Marriott in several locations around the country. For several years he gained experience at convention properties with Hilton Hotels. Following this Mr. Chastan represented Monona Terrace Convention Center and Alliant Energy Center for the Greater Madison Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau. He joined the Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells in 2003 and has held the positions of Director of Sales and General Manager. Mr. Chastan is a past board member and Vice President of Finance for Meeting Professional International - Wisconsin chapter. Currently he is the Chairman-Elect of the Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association. He has also participated in the original creation of a two-year associate's degree program in meeting and event planning at Madison Area Technical College.

Mr. Chastan, CMP can be contacted at 608-254-3314 or wigroups@kalahariresorts.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.