How to Effectively Deploy Hotel Management Resources for Maximum Bottom-line Impact

By Clifford Ferrara Executive Vice President of Sales & Revenue Generation, Chesapeake Hospitality | December 29, 2013

It is not exactly a revelation that hotel owners and operators are always looking to drive sales, increase operational efficiencies and maximize revenue. For all but the best hotel management companies, however, the proverbial pot of revenue gold at the end of the rainbow can sometimes be elusive.

At a time when many hotel management companies are engaged in or have recently completed meetings with their sales teams-dissecting performances, evaluating accomplishments, and reviewing goals for the coming year and beyond-this might be an appropriate time to look at some of the specific strategies and techniques that hotel professionals can use to achieve those goals.

For most companies and for most properties, that means beginning by asking some very fundamental questions: how are you deployed towards achieving your goals and results? Whether you are taking over a hotel or are committed to boosting your current performance, what are you going to do differently to make it work? Are you properly staffed with the right people? What specific strategies and techniques should your sales team(s) be implementing to effectively and efficiently leverage resources to impact the bottom line? And what can hotel management companies do to provide those sales professionals with the support and structure that they need to make that happen?

Size-up Your Asset

Every meaningful management turnaround begins with (and is foundationally reliant upon) a detailed and high-quality market analysis. The market assessment is broad-based, pulling city/regional volume reports that show all the rooms and rates that are produced in that particular market for transient travel. That information shows which corporations are producing the largest amount of rooms for that market, and allows the hotel manager and sales team to evaluate overall market potential. Utilize contacts with the local chambers of commerce and convention & visitors bureau for information and reports. Understanding what feeder cities have an impact on your market is essential, and knowing who and where the demand generators are in your market is also important. As you begin to refine and narrow your analysis, assess more detailed information, whether through proprietary brand reports or products provided through third-party vendors such as TravelCLICK's Hotelligence 360.

Regardless of where it comes from, securing detailed information with a breakdown of where hotel business is coming from, what the average room rates are, and what channels guests have booked through provides hotel managers a better sense of what kind of potential exists in the market and wherein lies the opportunity. Looking at how the overall volume of business breaks down into group or individual and leisure or business bookings also begins to give a more detailed picture of where that market potential might come from. The bottom line is that it is impossible to create a truly optimized management/sales strategy to boost revenue without first achieving an intimate understanding of every feature on the landscape of your marketplace. The best hotel management companies have developed their own in-house tools for evaluating this information and developing a corresponding strategic plan to leverage it to their advantage.

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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.