and Third Party Intermediaries, Search Engines;
Support Best Price Guarantees on Brand Web Sites
|MCLEAN, VA (April 29, 2004) – Strategic alliances
and partnerships between hoteliers and third party intermediaries and search
engines were suggested by hotel industry executives during The Hospitality
Sales & Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI) second Hotel
Internet Marketing Strategy Conference.
At the same time, conference participants agreed that hotels should protect themselves by offering “Best Price Guarantees” through their brand Web sites.
Adding fuel to this hot-button subject, HSMAI and Smith Travel Research released results of the first-ever Internet marketing metrics survey, revealing that hotel brand Web sites drive the majority of Internet business for the 34 hotel chains that participated in the study.
The event, titled “Balancing Defensive and Offensive Online Marketing Strategies,” took place in New York City last week, leaving hospitality professionals with valuable insight into top executive strategies and a more defined direction of the future of Internet marketing in this exciting industry. In each of the interactive sessions during the event, an impressive, versatile line-up of panelists held discussions highlighting some of today’s hottest industry topics.
The conference’s opening keynote featured some of the most prominent
executives in the hospitality industry. The moderator of the CEO panel
discussion was Henry H. Harteveldt, vice president, Travel Research, Forrester
Research, and the panelists were: Jay Witzel, president and CEO, Carlson
Hotels Worldwide; Thomas J. Corcoran, Jr., president and CEO, FelCor Lodging
Trust; and Thomas W. LaTour, Chairman & CEO, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Group Incorporated. The topic of the discussion was one of the biggest
concerns of the industry right now – an insight into the hoteliers’ view
and relationship with intermediaries. Some of the key viewpoints that were
The second group of panelists featured a mixture of brand, intermediary
and search engine industry leaders discussing how current online marketing
techniques can be leveraged to add value to the consumer and promote the
brand to increase revenue. With Harteveldt continuing as the moderator,
the panelists included: Sarah Jellen, Expedia; Jane Butler, Google; Jens
Thraenhart, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts; and Brian Barth, SideStep. This
session featured the following highlights:
The next session featured defensive strategies for protecting hotel
company brands. Bill Carroll, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor, School
of Hotel Administration, Cornell University was the moderator, and the
panelists consisted of the following industry professionals: Gino Giovannelli,
Carlson Companies; Euan Mitchell, Thistle Hotels; Jim Zito, Affinia Hospitality;
and DJ Vallauri, Prime Hospitality. Highlights of this session included:
Henry Harteveldt presented the trends in Search Marketing and Online Trademark Protection, reminding the audience that hotels used to be operations-focused, while today marketing and distribution is leading the business. “Hoteliers must find a way of promoting the value of the experience as it relates to your property,” Harteveldt advised. “Your prices should be the lowest available, but should also be present on third party Web sites,” he concluded.
During the conference’s final panel discussion, offensive strategies
of brand protection were featured. Susan Black, partner, Black & Wright
Group, led the discussions of the following panelists: Mara Hannula, Marriott
International; Michael Hayward, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts; Ashwin
Kamlani, Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts; and Emily Schubert, Travelocity.
To end the day’s presentations, the first-ever hotel Internet marketing metrics survey, by HSMAI and Smith Travel Research was presented by Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and & CEO of HSMAI. A total of 34 branded hotel chains, representing nearly 1.2 million rooms, participated in the survey, which reviewed 2002 data against 2003 results of all online reservations by brands, third party sites and GDS sites. Highlights of the preliminary findings are as follows:
Development of the Hotel Internet Marketing Strategy Conference and the metrics survey were overseen by the Hotel Internet Marketing Committee, which was organized in 2003 by HSMAI. The committee is now expanding to other industry segments, including cruise Internet marketing, with a committee chaired by Gino Giovannelli, vice president, e-Business Solutions, Carlson Companies.
These and other committees to be developed have oversight from a new HSMAI Travel Internet Marketing Advisory Board, which is chaired by Jens Thraenhart, director of Internet strategy, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Thraenhart is also founder and co-chair of the Hotel Internet Marketing Committee.
The advisory board will include the chairs of each committee plus leading industry consultants and thought leaders on Internet marketing.
The mission of the advisory board is to increase awareness of issues, opportunities and trends as it relates to Internet marketing and distribution in the travel and hospitality industry and to develop and recommend standards and ethical guidelines for the Internet as a travel and hospitality marketing medium.
For more information, please visit www.hotelinternetmarketing.org.
HSMAI is an international organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, while operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and sales and marketing management disciplines. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising nearly 7,000 members from 35 countries and 60 chapters worldwide.
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|Also See||Hotel Branded Web Sites Capture 75% of Internet Reservations, Third Party and GDS Sites Share the Remaining 25% / HSMAI and Smith Travel Research Survey / April 2004|
|HSMAI Internet Marketing Committee Formed; Hotel Company Internet Executives Unite to Increase Awareness of Issues and Practices Relating to Internet Marketing / Aug 2003|