How To Generate Demand Through Outstanding Service And Reputation Cultivation

By Adele Gutman VP Sales, Marketing & Revenue, Library Hotel Collection | February 19, 2012

Hospitality marketing has changed dramatically since I entered the business in the early 1980s. The Internet has actually leveled the playing field for independent and boutique hotels competing against big name chain hotels for a slice of the market. And while there are still many travelers who feel most comfortable choosing familiar brands, there is a vast and ever growing market of travelers who are more than willing to try a hotel they have never heard of, based on information on the hotel's website and their reputation built by reviews in social media on websites such as TripAdvisor. That is why even if you have no budget for advertising, you can harness the power of social media to create phenomenal demand for your property.

There are important techniques that will not only help your online efforts, but also dramatically enhance your traditional sales efforts as well. Your sales team works very hard to bring in new accounts. But when that first traveler walks through the door, and your Front Office Manager grunts, "Yes. Can I help you?" you and your sales team will find yourself spinning your wheels, continually seeking out new customers to replace the ones who won't return. In fact, you might have to resort to advertising to attract new guests, pay high fees to OTAs, or even negotiate lower rates to attract guests.

Conversely, if every guest you bring in is treated spectacularly, they then become a brand ambassador, helping you to attract multiple new guests, who will then, in turn, bring more guests in the future. Those guests will be attracted to your hotel based on the experience and will be willing to pay a premium to get that experience.

If you have ever felt as though you and your sales team are on a treadmill, spending day after day and year after year chasing down new accounts, now, thanks to social media and review sites like TripAdvisor, you can focus a portion of your energy every day in helping your property enhance the guest experience, and maximize your revenue instead of just replacing it.

Keep in mind that I am not saying you will never need to make sales calls or cultivate relationships again. They will always be important. What I am saying is that a "Service is Marketing" approach is a powerful, low-cost way to continually generate huge demand, while cultivating loyal repeat guests who will be dedicated brand ambassadors for your company.

The bottom line benefits of the "service is marketing" approach:

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.