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

Coming up in October 2023...

Hotel Revenue Management: The Age of Big Data

The future of hotel revenue management lies in the adoption of ever more sophisticated software and technology, especially as it pertains to forecasting and pricing. For revenue professionals, the Age of Big Data has arrived. Managers are utilizing systems that employ leading-edge algorithms and machine learning, along with business analytics and data visualization tools. These tools communicate complex information more effectively, allowing managers to understand the key components driving demand and revenue. They have the ability to analyze real-time external and internal data, produce reports, and integrate information - all on a single platform - in order to improve performance. Managers are also utilizing  geographic information systems (GIS) which incorporate geographic data into forecasting. GIS also help decision-makers identify information in a visual way that cannot be detected through traditional data analysis. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on how some hotels are integrating Big Data into their revenue management strategies.