June FOCUS

Sales & Marketing: Playing the Long Game

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...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Library Archives

 

Last month's feature articles...

Robert Allender

Fair warning. If the terms climate change, ESG, and net zero do not currently pepper the paragraphs your hotel's business strategy, its marketing strategy, and its executive committee meeting conversations, they soon will. This article explains how a hotel's management team can build a rock-solid energy-use strategy and thereby deal with the #1 underlying 'cause' for all three of those related mega-transitions in one single document. READ MORE

Becky  Zimmermann

Becky Zimmermann, president of Design Workshop, an international landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm, shares examples of how three leading resort hotels are implementing sustainable practices without sacrificing luxury. While there is not a one-size-fits-all approach for hotels to reduce their respective environmental impact, these three properties demonstrate critical best practices that can be adapted to fit the needs of individual properties. Read more here.... READ MORE

Steve Bowie

Hotel properties continue to leverage "green" to not only reduce costs, but also illustrate to guests their brand's commitment to conserving resources. Today's on-premises laundry equipment offers a variety features that save time and resources. In this article, Steve Bowie, general manager of the on-premises laundry segment at Alliance Laundry Systems, explores the game-changing green technologies available to hoteliers. READ MORE

Joseph Ricci

TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci explains the impacts on hotel sustainability of laundry machinery efficiency, linen life and product life cycles. He quantifies the extent to which large-scale laundry conserves natural resources, suggests housekeeping practices that prevent linens from being removed from service too soon and describes the "cradle-to-grave" green benefits of choosing reusable textiles for restaurants instead of disposable equivalents. READ MORE

Scott Parisi

COVID-19 pandemic guests now require and demand a much safer experience when staying at hotels for business and leisure travel. With solutions and vendors marketing to the hotel industry evaluation and proof of effectiveness is extremely important. All hotels must have an indoor air quality strategy to insure guests are staying a safe and clean environment. READ MORE

Natasa Christodoulidou

Industry 4.0 trends around the Internet of Things are paving new ways to make hospitality operations more sustainable. In particular, the guest room, as the biggest energy and water consumer in the hotel environment is set to undergo a transformation; intelligent connected devices can now use their newly found ability to gather and exchange data to optimize resource consumption in ways that not possible just a few years ago. READ MORE

Sara Southam

Sustainability can seem overwhelming to implement, especially considering the pressures operators face with the pandemic, staffing levels, and reduced revenue streams. How we can traverse the gap in bite-sized and financially viable ways? This article touches on how properties can create partnerships within their communities and supply chains to leverage industry scale. Sustainability and financial profitability are not mutually exclusive. READ MORE

Matthew Lobach

Although conventional wisdom would propose that the global pandemic dissipated a focus on sustainability within the hospitality sector, Hersha Hotels and Resorts recognizes that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) will be one of the most essential aspects of "building back better" through the recovery of our industry and the economy. Hersha's sustainability program, EarthView, was created in 2010 and is the driver of Hersha's ESG strategy. READ MORE

Suzanne  Owens

Extended stay properties offer a kitchenette equipped with a 2-burner cooktop. These cooktops can be green, socially responsible and sustainable, yet they do not carry Energy Star ratings, which may seem contradictory. By changing and upgrading older properties away from coil cooktops, savings attributable to the newer technologies can be both fiscally beneficial and socially responsible and sustainable. Read on! READ MORE

Jan Peter Bergkvist

Are you ready for the Sustainable Hybrid Meeting Market? Across the globe a consensus is building up amongst business leaders, politicians, NGOs and the majority of the global citizens. A green restart is the only way forward post-COVID. And when paradigm shifts occur there is no time to lose, you need to be prepared to become a winner! READ MORE

Paloma Zapata

Gone are the days when hotels could encourage guests to reuse towels and call themselves "green." As travelers become more aware of the environmental impacts of their actions, they are increasingly choosing brands that adopt eco-friendly practices. With climate change at the forefront of the global conversation, hotels should be taking these three steps to become carbon neutral. READ MORE

Hans Pfister

This article covers some lessons learned about "how sustainability really mattered" in the past year and how this has prepared us for a strong comeback. It focuses on stakeholder relationships and the importance of treating employees right no matter what. It also explores the opportunities in innovation and how the pandemic has been acting as an accelerator. READ MORE

Taryn Holowka

The COVID-19 pandemic has been felt around the world and has shaken the hotel and lodging industry. In anticipation of the "next normal," hotels around the world are revisiting their strategies in an effort to evolve their business and operations practices. In fact, many hotels are turning to green building as a way to demonstrate their re-entry plans and safety measures to guests. READ MORE

Ranjit Gunewardane

Climate change is real, and it is spectacular in how it is changing our weather norms around the world. So, at this point, we need all possible assistance to combat the climate crisis. Hotel Managers could contribute heavily towards battling against this factual threat. Simply understanding that the decisions hotel managers make about how to operate the hotel have important consequences and help determine the gravity of climate impacts. READ MORE

Robert  O'Halloran

The discussion of sustainability, green and or eco-friendly has been happening for years but many of these initiatives did not get integrated into the planning and thought processes of a lot of hotel management teams. The practice of eco-friendly hotels is sometimes aligned with an organization's mission and ethics. The discussion in this article offers steps to identify resources and plan for operating an eco-friendly hotel. READ MORE

Peter Kjellberg

Peter Kjellberg, CMO and Head of Global Verticals at Dometic, explores redefining the outdoor guest experience looking at the ways in which the global pandemic experience has caused shifts in perspective that are shaping and will continue to shape the luxury hotel guest experience. This article looks at new concepts and product categories that can aid hotel executives to leveling up the outdoor guest experience amenities moving forward. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2021...

Hotel Spa: Immense Transformation

There is no doubt that the Hotel Spa industry is undergoing an immense transformation as a result of the pandemic. New cleanliness standards for facilities, new safety standards for employees, and new ways of interacting with guests are now the New Normal, and will be for the foreseeable future. Given that some former patrons might be reluctant to return due to safety concerns, some spas are offering contactless experiences that utilize high-tech technologies to address wellness concerns like sleep, stress, pain, and immunity. Other spas are expanding their services to include life coaches, osteopaths, psychologists, and nutrition counselors in an effort to help their guests achieve a balanced lifestyle. Some spas are tapping into traditional Asian rituals to create programs such as sound healing, chakra balancing, and intuitive energy reading. Other programs emphasize re-connecting with Nature and have developed outdoor treatments such as Star Bathing, Feet in the Creek, and Treehouse meditations. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotel spas are doing to promote and manage their operations so guests can safely return for their health, wellness and beauty treatments.