The Real Marketing Challenge: Favoring Adventure Over 'Awareness'

By Dale Scott Marion Founder, SpareCash | November 09, 2014

The greatest marketing challenge for hoteliers is not, all print and TV promotions to the contrary, an issue of building "awareness."

From luxury brands and their respective catchphrases that emphasize wealth and exclusivity to a chain of roadside motels, their number-as-logo shining like a beacon to tired travelers and corporate journeymen throughout America's interstate highways, there is no confusion or ignorance about the many players within the hospitality industry.

Nor is there any ambiguity, in terms of marketing, of how to reach potential guests.

Simply approximate the weight and the grade of paper stock of that lifestyle or business publication before you. If the distance between the table of contents and the first article is a flip book of seemingly animated sports cars, undulating palm fronds, and sparkling platinum and diamond necklaces, bracelets and earrings; if this makeshift Mutoscope is also an olfactory experience, courtesy of Chanel, Joy and Christian Dior – and if, in this parade of decadence and "scented cinema," there is a full-page advertisement of a luxury hotelier's marquee property – then there is no problem about awareness.

But there is a marketing problem just the same because, in their effort to sell luxury or affordable adventure, these companies – regardless of their station across the pricing spectrum – fail to make marketing an adventure.

Yes, indeed, marketing is (or should be) an interactive adventure. Otherwise, all those dollars spent attempting to make this subject more "scientific" only prove the naysayers' point: That there is nothing scientific about a social science, except its predictable descent into "scientism," a distorted use of the tools and language of science on behalf of something immeasurable and inherently unscientific.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.