Destination Marketing: Selling Your Destination to Increase Room Sales

By Bob Dauner Vice President, Sales & Business Development, BeDynamic, Inc | May 19, 2010

Have you ever asked your guests why they are visiting your city? Beyond just casual conversation at check-in, are you actively documenting the specific activities that bring your guests to town?

If you're not, you should be. Marketing your destination as an attraction is just as important as marketing your hotel. If you do document guest activities, is everyone trained on how to enter the information and how to utilize that information to market to that guest for a future visit?

Most hotels are focused on marketing their property on price and amenities like on-site fitness centers, four-star restaurant, plush pillows, and other services. While your guests are in town for a specific purpose - a business meeting, a visit to friends or family, vacation, or some other specific event - chances are they are also looking to enrich their travel experience with a visit to a cultural or historic place such as a museum, theater, nightclub or even a sporting event. Whatever brought your guests to town, you should take the opportunity to learn more about what your guests are doing once they walk out your front door. By not proactively seeking out this information, you could be missing out on an opportunity to increase hotel room sales by leveraging regional events and activities for the guest to attend and therefore extend their stay.

An Emerging Market: The Cultural Traveler

Over the past few years, a new market segment has emerged: cultural tourism. Travelers who make up this market typically include cultural, arts, heritage, or historic activities as part of their itineraries. These are travelers who love history and culture and tend to spend more and stay longer than average tourists. According to a recent study by the Travel Industry Association (TIA), 61 million travelers cited a cultural event or activity as a reason for taking a trip, while 35 million travelers say their choice of destination is influenced by a cultural event. Also significant: TIA's research has found that 40% of cultural travelers, or 47 million people, added extra days to their trip for a cultural-related event - that equals more nights in your hotel.

This growing market creates great economic potential for the travel and tourism industry, and a unique opportunity for hotels to increase revenue by leveraging cultural tourism as a way to market destinations.

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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.