Tag Archives: Hotel Marketing

10 Quick Ideas To Market Your Property Better Now

We meet or talk with GMs, DOSMs, and Revenue Managers on almost a daily basis and the follow 10 ideas that can help attract and retain new guests, as supplied by Larry Mogelonsky with LMA Communications, should be framed and hung in each one of their offices as a constant reminder that marketing a hotel is a 365-day campaign.

Many GMs think that marketing planning is done once a year, typically in the fall and in advance of the coming fiscal year. Here are a series of quick points you can spring on your director of marketing to see to help keep your marketing program on track.

1. Repeat customers are easier to cultivate than new guests. Make sure you don’t forget to capture as much information as you can for each guest. Expand your database to know: why they visited, what they did (spa, golf, meals, room type, etc.) Then, maintain a relationship with your past guests, encouraging them to revisit by appealing to their interests.

2. To everything there is a season. Mark your calendar in advance. Plan every holiday with military precision. Unlike every other promotional program that you create, these no-brainer events deserve your full attention. If you’re not full, shame on you! You have the power and the knowledge. Just do it. No excuses.

3. Everybody eats. Of course you have a spa and you might have a golf course, too. But at best a quarter of people regularly visit spas, with lower numbers for golf. However, with almost perfect certainty, I can guarantee that your guests eat, Make it your business to ensure that they eat with you. Create menus and venues that give your guests what they want. Incentivize them with room and food packages if need be.

4. Remember there are five weekdays and two days in the weekend. Depending upon your property’s location, this typically means that business groups take precedence to leisure travel. Now examine your sales and marketing plan spending. Is this reality accurately reflected?

5. Marketing needs to start the minute your guest interacts with you. Once you have a reservation, start your engines! Remember the importance of initial experiences. A welcome packet on check-in beats a myriad of tent cards.

6. You don’t control price; the market does. Only your owners are interested in comparisons to pre-2008 ADRs. Be realistic in your expectations. It’s a different world out there. If your competitive set is at $250 per night, don’t even think that the old days of $400 per night are in the cards. Remember that without occupancy, rate is irrelevant.

7. The minute you wean yourself off the OTAs, the better. Sure, they provide a quick fill. But they drive your rate down and do nothing to generate loyalty in your product. For example, the latest OTA deal is to offer a four-star property at a two-star price. Think about it for a moment: they are commoditizing all the work it took you to get to four stars, relegating you to an equal with others at that level.

8. Invest in your local neighborhood. Hire and train. Promote and motivate. Donate and participate.Give back and tell everyone about it. It pays to be a friend and a community leader. Treat everyone as family and they will return in kind.

9. Socially savvy makes sense. Don’t just pay lip service to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Invest in appropriate programs to harness the energy of these programs and fully integrate them into your marketing programs and brand strategy.

10. Your website is your window to the world. Make it sing, and make sure that it works effectively. Don’t expect to be No. 1 in Google search if you are an independent in a busy market. Use creative programs to drive links.

And One Bonus Idea
Advertising still works. The best way to find you is through your website. Advertise its presence. Create meaningful advertising campaigns that combine eye-catching imagery with calls to action. And remember to measure the campaign, not just each and every individual ad.

Larry Mogelonsky (larry@lma.net) is the president and founder of LMA Communications Inc., a, full-service communications agency focused on the hospitality industry. Larry is also the developer of Inn at a Glance hospitality software. As a recognized expert in marketing services, his experience encompasses Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Hotels & Resorts, as well as numerous independent properties throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Larry is a registered professional engineer, and received his MBA from McMaster University.

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook or contact him by email.

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It’s About Product Positioning And Not All About Price!

I talk to Sales Managers at hotels on almost a daily basis and one of their most commonly asked questions is “What will it take for us to win this piece of business?”

“Well you can lower the rate to $99, give me a 1 per 20 comp, waive the attrition, and throw in the Presidential Suite for me and the family for the week!”

OK, let’s get serious and break down the question to its simplest form.

“What will it take” are four words that should send a chill up the spine of every customer who is posed the question.  Why?  Because it’s “old school inside the box sales 101”.  It’s “let’s go down the price path” which gives you and the customer nothing more to discuss than price point.

Now close your eyes…take a deep breath…exhale…and repeat this sentence…“What do I need to know that will allow us to provide you with the best deal possible?”  Now open your eyes.  See, you feel much better now don’t you?

“What do I need to know” are words that say “I need to find out what you’re really looking for so I can best position and offer that’s a win-win”. 

You see it’s about product positioning and not all about price.  Here are some thoughts that will help you to position your product and close more deals.

Find attributes about your hotel that your customer can hang his hat on.  You need to find deliverables that inspire, motivate, and encourage the customer to seriously consider you as a candidate for the short list or a contract.  Remember that “price” is only one part of the equation.  If your hotel can’t stand up and deliver after the contract is signed, price means nothing.

Here is how Boca Raton Resort positions their resort…”Designed by legendary architect Addison Mizner (I don’t have a clue who this guy is), Boca Raton Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection (that’s selling sizzle) has reigned as an icon of elegance for more than 80 years (that’s staying power, reliability and consistency).  Today, the resort remains faithful to its glamorous past (here’s the hook), but radiates a vibrant new energy (not a musty 80-year old resort on the beach) and offers infinite amenities to provide each guest with the perfect getaway” (there’s something here for everyone). 

If you’re the ABC Airport Hotel, you still have attributes that are particular to your market niche IF you take the time to look for them with a new attitude.

Let us examine an analytic model of competitive market equilibrium in the presence of switching costs?  But seriously you need to understand your competitive set and the perceived “switching cost” for a customer.  Switching costs or switching barriers are terms used in microeconomics, strategic management, and marketing to describe any impediment to a customer’s changing of suppliers.  This is essentially what you are dealing with every time you sell against your competitive set.

Reinvent the customer experience.  There are so many things that have changed in this world over the past 12 months and those changes have directly or indirectly impacted both you and your prospective customer.  What’s important to your customer today may not be the same thing that was important to him 12 months ago.  Look for those signs, rethink the customer experience, and take advantage of it.

Position your product relative to the market leader in your competitive set.  Publicly or to prospective customers, always put your hotel on the same level as the market leader in your competitive set.  It elevates your hotel in terms of customer perception and allows you to sell without the need to “look over your shoulder”.

Find support for your hotel in and outside of your four walls.  Right now there is a customer checking out at your front desk who can attest to the great experience that he had while attending a meeting at your hotel.  Are you in your office pushing paper or out polling a potential army of supporters?  It’s actually kind of a fun exercise especially if you can find someone who is not rushing out the door to catch his next flight.

Can Hoteliers Overlook Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing will become a hard channel for hoteliers to ignore in the wake of Google and Apple’s big-money acquisitions.

The iPhone manufacturer bought mobile advertising network Quattro Wireless earlier this week in a deal worth $275 million while the search engine giant purchased AdMob in 2009 for $750 million.

As a consequence of these deals, mobile marketing – particularly mobile search and display ads – is becoming an increasingly powerful medium which hoteliers can no longer overlook.

Are Hotels Blowing Leads?

Michael Ferree, Account Director with Geary Interactive, published an interesting article entitled “How marketers are blowing lead management” on today’s iMedia Connection website. 

Ferree suggests that a study performed by lead management software company Leads360 exposed a number of important facts about performance-marketing and lead management. One important statistic shows that converting a lead is 57 percent lead quality and 43 percent an efficient sales process.  One without the other is not the answer.

So how does this apply to the hospitality industry?  Prospective customers are shopping for a hotel and in many cases they are truly undecided about which hotel best addresses their needs, and they need help deciding. 

All of the major OTAs offer robust hotel information on their websites but don’t give a telephone number where a prospective customer can speak to a hotel representative.  When we placed a random call to a local full-service hotel (their site provided an 888 number which was associated with a call center) there was no one available to take our call and we were prompted to leave a message. 

Call abandoned, blown lead.

The goal is to speak to a prospective customer while they’re interested in being assisted and can potentially be converted into a booking.  Contact speed and professional staff are the two most important factors in managing this initial contact.  A minute later, or in our case three minutes later, a customer will lose interest and give their business to your competitor.

Is The Hotel Industry Prepared For The Tech That Will Carry THEM Forward?

According to panelists at last month’s Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association annual meeting, future technological advances will need more and more flexibility to handle the demands of hotel owners, operators and guests.

Where have pundits like Vegas.com’s Howard Lefkowitz and Expedia’s Pamela Keenan Fritz been for the past two years and why are they grappling about issues such as “standardization” when this industry lags two to three years behind the TECHNOLOGY curve?

As per Lefkowitz, “We have to look at the whole experience differently from a consumer perspective then look at existing systems and figure out to use those systems a different way.  It’s about figuring out a way to work them together to get out of this commoditization issue.”   

Howard, wake up and smell the coffee.  It’s not about standardization, just yet, it’s about embracing and implementing new technologies and simply giving the customer what he expects and deserves. 

There is a lot of noise out there and it sounds good to your prospective customers IF you can sing their tune and not yours.