HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

June FOCUS: Sales & Marketing

 
June, 2021

Sales & Marketing: Playing the Long Game

During an economic downturn, it is tempting to slash marketing budgets to make up for lost revenue. But smart hoteliers play the long game, knowing that companies who stay engaged with their customers will be the first to benefit from a rebound. Therefore, now is the time to renew and revamp sales and marketing strategies in order to be ready for what lies ahead. For example, this is a perfect time to refresh website content, social media and SEO.  The same for hotel blogs where content can be updated to give customers inspirational ideas as they begin to travel and meet again. Multimedia assets should also be revised with new photo/video shoots that provide accurate information about how setups, room configurations, and onsite offerings have changed to accommodate safer meetings and social distancing. The June Hotel Business Review will focus on the sales and marketing strategies that some hotels are adopting in anticipation of a recovery in 2021.



This month's feature articles...

Mark Ricketts

Along with operations, the pandemic thrust sales and marketing staffs front and center, as they worked creatively to reach guests through a maze of enhanced cleaning and safety standards, local regulations or, in some cases, consumer trepidation. This article will consider how we can reach both leisure and group guests under today's challenging hospitality environment, and what guest engagement might look like moving forward. READ MORE

Brenda Fields

After experiencing 15 months of a global shut down, what have we learned? How do we reopen? Are we actually experiencing a "new normal" or is it business as usual? In planning how to do this, the hotel industry can take a lesson from Steve Job's playbook in launching the "Think Different" advertising campaign. The innovative concept was brilliantly conceived and executed to drive the point of the power of a different perspective. READ MORE

Wendy Mallas

To continue to drive strong bookings post-pandemic, hotel sales & marketing teams need to stay true to delivering their core message while also getting creative to explore new media opportunities and community partnerships. As consumer travel habits continue to shift, staying mindful of your hotel's strong strongest attributes will allow you to focus on travelers who are ready to book. READ MORE

Paige Duke

Buckle your seatbelt! The rebound is coming and here is some horsepower to help fuel it. By leveraging specific data and segments, outside staffing solutions and social messaging, you can combat limited brand support, conflicting forecasts and less seasoned staff. This article will most likely surface some ideas or tasks that you know need to be done and that keep getting postponed for later. READ MORE

Christopher Hartley

As travel loyalty programs mark their 40th anniversary, are they still viable? Loyalty proved profitable even during the pandemic, and it is now more important than ever for hotels to preserve their guest relationship versus letting the online travel agencies become an intermediary. Owning the customer journey is still one of the most effective marketing tools for hotels to utilize. READ MORE

Conor Kenny

If we accept that the customer will change because of this terrible pandemic, then it follows that hotels will need to change, reimagine and reboot how they market and sell their brand. In this new article, Conor Kenny challenges many of the cliched sales and marketing methods that are no longer relevant and will make you rethink, question and plan for a new world order and vastly different guest expectations. READ MORE

Bonnie Knutson

If Radar O'Reilly of M*A*S*H* fame were here, he would sense three forces moving the hotel industry into the future: Knowledge is King; Living Longer and Aging Better, and More Time for Leisure. In this article, you will find new ways of thinking about how your hotel can take advantage of these tailwinds. READ MORE

Jack Lindemuth

Independent hotels are uniquely positioned to lead the commercial strategy charge by creating on-property leadership positions. An aligned commercial strategy allows hotels to drive revenue by eliminating silos and ensuring that sales, marketing, and revenue management are working toward the same goals. An on-property commercial strategy role creates a career path for discipline leaders and streamlines payroll costs. READ MORE

Steven Schumacher

Virtual events have dominated the meeting space for the past year, but with screen fatigue rising, many people are ready to travel for events and meet in-person again. Hotels should prepare to meet this demand by instilling confidence and providing safe experiences for meeting planners to successfully welcome the return of in-person meetings. READ MORE

Brigette Breitenbach

The strength of your branding and marketing today will have a dramatic effect on long-term success. For hospitality, today's messaging needs to inspire consumers to get out again and return to travel. But we also need to manage expectations, and that has to happen at both the marketing and operational levels. It's time for an internal assessment and perhaps a course correction. Whether a small independent property or a multi-state operator, hoteliers need to be honest with themselves, be real with people, make smart investment and get creative. READ MORE

Gabor Forgacs

Hotel industry room rates were not problematic at all before the pandemic. However important they are, rates did not cause our problems, so rates will not fix them. This article discusses the importance of data-driven decisions and offers encouragement to exploring the real drivers of strategy. Larger market forces cannot be overpowered but understanding them can prove vitally important. READ MORE

Tom Dibble

As marketing and advertising begin to rebound from the depths of the abyss that was 2020, accommodation brands need to be smarter about revitalizing their marketing strategies and media funds to reach audiences whose habits and preferences have shifted during the pandemic. There is now more than ever an increased pressure to drive return on investment with earned, owned and paid media by making the most of marketing budgets and engaging with an altered media landscape. READ MORE

Chris McAndrews

Chris McAndrews, Vice President of Marketing at Cvent, discusses how hotels and venues can leverage technology to help attract and win group business. As experiences moved online due to the pandemic, the events, meeting and hospitality industries underwent an accelerated digital transformation. Now, as in-person gatherings return and hybrid events gain momentum, technology will continue to be a cornerstone of successful events by facilitating a venue's ability to host safe and efficient experiences. READ MORE

Robert  O'Halloran

Lodging sales and marketing will need to focus on service and value. Service is the tool that can differentiate one product or service from another. Service, sales, and marketing in these times must include digital options, i.e. websites, apps, virtual tours etc. An obvious demonstration of new media and technology and an integrated marketing and communications plan will be useful both in the long term, strategically and to meet tactical objectives. READ MORE

Justin Taillon

Hotel sales and marketing managers face uniquely competitive landscapes. Coupled with product differentiation and the threat of substitutes, identifying a competitive advantage is paramount to building a successful career. Radical and incremental innovations are approaches to product differentiation that may result in sustainable competitive advantages. This article seeks to identify approaches to effective innovation and provides examples of successful innovations. READ MORE

Stephanie Smith

Hotel Marketers need to align their KPIs with Sales and Revenue Management, instead of just focusing on single campaign ROI. Once hotel marketers start focusing on metrics aligned with stealing market share from the competitive set, the conversations will elevate and become more holistic. The pandemic has proven that strong ROI in a campaign may not mean the hotel is performing well overall. READ MORE

Paul Payette

Travel is experiencing a comeback, but with that comes a newfound sense of anxiety from travelers who have spent the past year at home. In order for the hospitality industry to return to its pre-pandemic numbers, it's important to understand the new habits that travelers have acquired the past year and welcome guests back with a reimagined experience that has comfort and ease built into all touch points. READ MORE

Wade Bryant

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to the hotel industry in so many ways. If hotels were able to weather the storm, how and when do sales and marketing activities get revived? How do hotels do more with less and what can be done to prove that your marketing and advertising initiatives are working? I don't have all the answers but I'll share my thoughts and opinions on this subject after spending the last 20 years selling and marketing hotels across the country. READ MORE

Alain Spieser

Alain Spieser, Marketing and Communication teacher at the Geneva Hotel School, gives his perspective on how Covid 19 crisis affecting hotel sales & marketing activities has influenced the fast pace development of more extensive and efficient use of Digital tools. Can the guest experience be digitalized? READ MORE

Florian Kittler

Attracting top talents is always one of the most difficult tasks in the hospitality industry, even with a strategic process in place. While many Top Executives are made redundant and looking for new positions elsewhere this year, and a business that might come back looking very different, the task of making strategic hiring decisions is one that deserves special attention. READ MORE

Jennifer Nagy

Many marketers have used the pandemic as a crutch to get more exposure for clients, but to be effective today, we need to shift our messaging towards recovery, rather than the hardship we've all, collectively, experienced in the past 14 months. Here are 4 ways that marketers can improve their messaging to help hospitality companies discover the road to recovery. READ MORE

Walter Isenberg

The pandemic has not only challenged our operational leaders – it has forced our sales and marketing leaders to fundamentally change how they work. Learn three prominent Sales and Marketing insights that we as a company have gained throughout the pandemic, and how we see those insights shaping our future revenue generation efforts. READ MORE

Frank  Vertolli

Direct booking has been a staple in the hotel industry for brands looking to build a stronger connection with their guests. But as we move forward into a future that increasingly focuses on user profiling's privacy and ethical concerns and a shift to a "cookieless world", the need for and value of first-party data becomes more evident. READ MORE

Chris Campbell

As the travel industry gets ready for post-COVID economic recovery to come into focus, natural language processing technology - deployed to analyze online reviews and guest feedback - provides a data-driven solution to help hotels improve hygiene standards, ensure impactful staff training, and successfully personalize the guest experience. These, in turn, can help operators craft safe, post-pandemic experiences that match the expectations of business and leisure travelers alike. READ MORE

Bill Quain

Your customers have changed! They aren't waiting around for you to sell them something. Instead, they are taking action – searching the web for solutions to their problems. Learn to position yourself as a problem-solving partner, not just a salesperson. In return, you'll meet your sales goals – despite the fact that you never sold them anything. READ MORE

Amy Draheim

New tech has allowed us to maintain work relationships (thank you, Zoom), personal relationships (FaceTime), and professional relationships (Clubhouse), while also keeping us entertained (TikTok), and informed for better or worse (Facebook/Twitter). New tech has also proven to be a linchpin in saving the hospitality industry. Hotels must continue to adopt new and existing tech to appeal to today's travelers. READ MORE

John Welty

Despite the courts largely ruling in favor of insurers in response to COVID-19 claims, general liability losses continue to increase and impact hoteliers. Both the pandemic and other factors are contributing to social inflation, with rapidly expanding litigation costs impacting insurer claims payouts, loss ratios and rates. In this article, we'll examine the factors contributing to this trend and its potential impact on hoteliers. READ MORE

Robert Gilbert

HSMAI's recent series of Executive Roundtable programs for hotel sales and marketing leaders revealed the trends, challenges, and priorities that have reshaped the hospitality industry during the pandemic - including the frustrations of trying to sell when so many factors are still up in the air, the advantages of focusing on high-performing verticals, the need to approach virtual sales and marketing differently, and the importance of training and supporting teams as they've adapted to remote work. READ MORE

Justin Hauge

Weighing in on recent shifts, Justin Hauge outlines the new pillars of post-COVID marketing. Justin is the Chief Growth Officer at Rabbu, a flexible rental asset management company named by Welp as one of the top real estate companies in America. Here, he highlights the magic of concurrent listings, the value of automation, and the new language of marketing. READ MORE

Gary Richards

Conditions over the last year are forcing us to revisit traditional marketing results, and today we must find patience to work and wait, something uncomfortable to many. But while some customers do not have the willingness to buy just yet, there are important steps we can take now that will set the stage for our future success. READ MORE

Alexandre Sogno

Ever wonder if your hotel is optimizing its sales & marketing strategy? Want to discover how the sales & marketing department can transform your hotel and the impact it can have if done right? This article explores several best practices, and the impact an asset manager's services and perspective can have on this vital department. READ MORE

Karla Brooklyn

The crisis has pushed hoteliers to reconsider their long-held beliefs about retaining their systems. Perhaps there's been a fear of accepting the heavy investment that came with introducing systems which quickly dated and were yet to prove ROI. Here's how sales & marketing teams can use technology to position for growth, be savvy and curate the brand story for the long-term. READ MORE

Ryan McAndrew

Pent-up demand for travel is palpable. Rising U.S. vaccinations, coupled with strong pandemic stimulus, personal savings and recovering employment, are set to propel travel in the second half of 2021. Real estate senior analysts at RSM, Laura Dietzel and Ryan McAndrew, provide an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities hotel owners and operators will face in the coming months. READ MORE

Clifford Ferrara

Now that vaccine roll-out is picking up steam and businesses begin to get back on their feet, hope lingers on the horizon. The industry is in for a period of transformative change in the months ahead-in a good way. With a goal-oriented, measurable and tactical plans in place, only hoteliers properly prepared for the looming recovery will declare victory as the race to recovery switches into high gear. Are you ready? READ MORE

Deborah Popely

Empathy is an important component of hospitality that has taken on new importance in light of the pandemic and other recent events. The public is calling upon business leaders to address long-standing social inequities with empathetic, transparent and action-oriented communications. The conversation should start with hotel employees who by extension can convey our values to guests. With the right training and support, the hospitality industry also can be agents for the greater good. READ MORE

Shahin Sharifi

With the COVID-19 vaccination programs in place all around the world, the tourism and hospitality sectors must foresee the new demands from the customers and stakeholders. This article by Macquarie University Lecturer Shahin Sharifi offers a broad view of the target market and the key change, driven by the pandemic, in the product offering. READ MORE

Coming up in August 2021...

Food & Beverage: Necessity Breeds Invention


Hotel restaurants were not immune to the devastation that Covid caused in the food & beverage industry last year. In order to survive, many operations expanded their services to include packaged food sales, prepared meals to go, mini pop-up grocery stores, meal kits, takeout, and delivery to make up for lost revenues. These hybrid operations have become increasingly popular in hotels because they maximize limited F&B space and also attract local business. In those restaurants where customers are willing to dine in, there is a greater emphasis on safety protocols. Tables and chairs are spaced far enough apart to provide a sense of safety and comfort between parties. There are also stricter cleaning and disinfecting practices occurring in between dining encounters. In addition, there is a greater emphasis on outdoor dining with its offer of fresh air. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on what some leading hotels are doing to manage their F&B operations in the wake of the pandemic.