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: