The Impact of Recession Marketing: Getting Creative With Less

By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | May 06, 2010

With trying to keep your hotel afloat and operating during a downturn, it is important you don't panic about what's ahead. This is the time to invest in a fast action marketing plan to help you plow through the recession we are facing, and the key is to invest wisely in those areas that will get you the most exposure, branding and outreach.

Below are some tactics to keep in mind as you create your recession-proof marketing plan. First of all examine all your options:

Advertising.

Does it make sense to create a very bold campaign for the year to make a strong statement and stand out from competition? Are you a new property that really needs to brand itself in the marketplace? Are you an older property that's just slipping off the public's mind? Maybe you just aren't sure. Whatever the case, it is important to know that in order for this tactic to work, it has to be properly run. You can't run an ad once or twice and expect results. Either invest six-twelve-eighteen months on an ad campaign (depending on the message you want to send out) or keep the money for something else.

Direct Mail and E-Blasts.

An old tactic, but a classic one that still yields results if strategized. If you have a loyal customer base, it makes sense to keep in touch with them through direct mail every two or three months, with a simple offer, a complimentary appetizer, or a free upgrade. While mailing costs get higher every year, I still know a lot of people who love opening their snail mail and finding an invitation from their favorite hotel, who remembered their birthday with a 20% off certificate on their next stay.

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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.