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Tactics to Drive Business in a ‘Not So Hot’ Summer

Web 2.0 Strategies for Hotel Sales
and Marketing
 

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May 13, 2008 - The forecasts for this summer are mixed but all agree on one thing – hotels will not be driving close to double digit REVPAR growth in summer 2008!  However, wherever there is gloom there are also opportunities for those able to identify them!

According to Travelocity, there are no big indicators of shrinking demand for travel. Travelers are looking for savings by booking packaged trips, looking for drive destinations, and even taking cruises that they can drive to, rather than fly. (Dallas Morning News, May 6, 2008)

On the other side of the forecast spectrum is a recent study by TIA as presented at the annual Travel Com Conference.  “The poison pill in the online travel environment is the slumping economy. If you’re not concerned that $4-a-gallon gas will affect your customers’ travel intentions, then focus on the fact that incomes are barely keeping up with inflation. Uncertainty in the economy puts stress on the travel industry - the cracks are already being felt as boomers expect to spend less on travel this coming year, and 62% of all survey participants feel the economy will worsen in the next year. This sort of self-fulfilling prophecy has a tendency to drive down consumer spending on big-ticket discretionary items such as travel. Residents across the U.S. expect to feel the pinch, except the Pacific states, which show a slight increase in optimism.” (As quoted in GroupTravelBlog, April 11, 2008) 

There are markets that will perform well and those that are impacted more by the economy and new rooms supply than others.  For most markets, it is simply too soon to tell how it will shake out in the end. 

It is probably not a good strategy to hold one’s breath and ‘wait and see’  -- it is a good strategy to be proactive and put plans in place as it is certain that consumers will be more price sensitive but also looking to feel that they received value for their summer travel experience. 

  • Dynamic Packages.  Put together leisure packages to increase the perceived value to the customer.  This does not necessarily mean lower room rates as packages ‘disguise’ the rate.  This can be as simple as including a ‘gas’ credit of a certain amount or as complex as partnering with attractions or other ‘hot’ services such as spas.  The opportunities for marketing these are plentiful – from the hotel’s web site to one of the Online Travel agencies. 
  • Appeal to the Local Market.  Travelers still want to treat themselves, even if it’s just a little bit, this summer.  They may not be taking that cross country road trip but they can drive across town or across the street.  Chances are they have never sampled the rooms, pool, spa or other amenities of their hometown hotels.  Make it easy – reach out to them! 
  • The Small Meetings Market. The summer may not be so hot but this market is ‘hot, hot, hot’! As many corporate and association meetings contract in size, this levels the playing field between smaller hotels and the large group houses, independents and franchises.  Anyone can play in this arena that has quality small meeting space.  The aggregate revenue in this market of meeting of 100 people and less is far greater than that for large meetings and the good news is, these meetings tend to have shorter lead times.   Maximize your presence to them through online RFP channels like StarCite. More on this ‘hot’ subject in a later article. 
  • The Social Group Market.   I know I have encouraged this before but the social small group market is one that many hotels have not exploited. Many franchises have special tools designed to allow these groups to book through the central reservation system.  Independents have opportunity in the online social group space though channels such as Travelocity, Groople and HotelPlanner.com and their own web site. Gain visibility on each of these by positioning the hotel and the amenities, sometimes more important than rate, geared to those that are preferred by social group.  Provide a community page for the group to share and collaborate on their trip.  Families will still have reunions and classmates will still have high school reunions this summer.
  • Mailings to Past Guests.  In a universe of email campaigns, mailings are now getting attention again as there are fewer organizations doing them.  Special offers to those guests that already know you and have used you in the past are cheaper faster to execute than many other campaigns you could do.  Postcards work well as the offer is apparent on outside of the mail piece – don’t ask them to open an envelope, they probably won’t. Direct the guest to make their reservation on the hotel web site. This allows the hotel to measure the effectiveness of a campaign in terms of web site traffic and a reservation made through the hotel’s web site is one of the cheapest reservation channels. 
For those of you who want of find opportunities, here are just a few suggestions.  It won’t be long before Marketing Plan and Budget season is upon us.  According to the most recent PKF study (Robert Mandelbaum, October 2007) hotels are spending less on marketing and merchandising.  It could be appropriate to beef up that marketing budget for 2008 as the clouds over the economy are not likely to clear soon! 

Watch for the Hotel Sales and Revenue Management 2.0 Book coming out in late summer!

Carol Verret And Associates Consulting and Training offers training services and consulting in the areas of sales, revenue management and customer service primarily but not exclusively to the hospitality industry. To find out more about the company click on www.carolverret.com. To contact Carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.  Visit www.hotelsalesblog.com.

copyright © Carol Verret, 2002-2003 -2004 -2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008


 
Contact:
Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
carol@carolverret.com
Web Site: http://www.carolverret.com/
Email: carol@carolverret.com
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Also See: All Marketers Are Liars - Web 2.0 Strategies for Hotel Sales and Marketing / Carol Verret / April 2008
Contingency Hotel Revenue Management Strategies 'I Will not Cut Prices'/ Carol Verret / March 2008
The Contingency Hotel Sales and Marketing Plan - Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst / Carol Verret / February 2008
Change is the Buzz – Rebooting Hotel Sales Activity at the Property Level / Carol Verret / January 2008
Habits of Highly Successful Revenue Managers Ramped Up for 2008 / Carol Verret / November 2007
Five Tips to Improving Hotel Customer Service with User Generated Reviews / Carol Verret / October 2007
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – A Seismic Shift in 2008! / Carol Verret / September 2007
GMs – How User Generated Review Sites Can Make you a Better Manager! / Carol Verret / September 2007
Web 2.0 and Hotel Sales Strategies for '08; What Are Your Clients Saying About You? / Carol Verret / August 2007
“It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow” -- Five Revenue Management Tactics for Independent Hotels / Carol Verett / June 2007
Developing New Hotel Business Using Client DNA / Carol Verret / May 2007
The Jigsaw Puzzle – The Fit of the Revenue Management and Internet Group Sales Pieces / Carol Verret / April 2007
Client DNA - The Gold Standard for New Business Development / Carol Verret / March 2007
The 'I Hate Cold Calls' Web Cast - The New Paradigm of Sales! / Carol Verret / February 2007
Hate Cold Calls? - Discover the New Paradigm of Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / January 2007
Issues in Hotel Sales Training - Metics for Success / Carol Verret / December 2006
Is the Party Over?; The Challenge of Decreasing Hotel Room Demand / Carol Verret / October 2006
The Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People Ramp Up for 2006! / Carol Verret / September 2006
Identifying the WIIFM Factor – The Essential of Hotel Sales Success / Carol Verret / August 2006
Revenue Management for Hotel GMs – What You Don’t Know Can Jump Up and Bite You! / Carol Verret / July 2006
Feeding the Revenue Elephant; Hotel Revenue Management / Summer 2006
The "Tipping Point" - Identifying the Touch Points in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / May 2006
The "Tipping Point" - Touch Points Make a Difference in Customer Service Training / Carol Verret / April 2006
Selling Up! Taking Group Room Revenue to a New Level / Carol Verret / February 2006
Revenue Management 2006; The Risks and Rewards / Carol Verret /January 2006 
Revenue Management and Group Sales - The Partnership Not the Disconnect / Carol Verret / November 2005
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People / Carol Verret / September 2005
Triple Witching Hour - The Marketing Plan, Revenue Management Strategy and RFPs for '06 / Carol Verret / August 2005
"Smile" is a Learned Behavior - Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret / July 2005
Revenue Management Systems -- Considerations for Evaluation / Carol Verret / June 2005
Disconnect -- Aligning the Revenue Management and Sales Strategies / Carol Verret / May 2005
Independent Hotels & Resorts; Ride the Wave or Float with the Tide? / Carol Verret / March 2005
Hospitality Sales Training Companies Reach Across the Competitive Playing Field to Combine Live Seminar Expertise with  the Convenience of the Internet / Carol Verret / January 2005
Revenue Management - The Challenge for Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / January 2005
Hotel Sales Departments -- Issues in Processes and Functionality / Carol Verret / November 2004
The GM'S Role in Revenue Management / Carol Verret / October 2004
Transforming the Hotel Sales Organization; Alignment with the New Realities of Sales / Carol Verret / August 2004
The Revenue Management Strategy - The Pre-Plan Marketing Plan / Carol Verret / July 2004
Hotel Revenue Management this Summer - a Game of Skill, Art and Most of All Nerves / Carol Verett / May 2004
What Do Meeting Planners Want? Hotel Sales Managers Want to Know! / Carol Verret / May 2004
Revenue Management -- The Integration of Revenue Drivers / Carol Verret / March 2004
CYBER SALES -- Hotel Sales in an Internet World is the New Reality / Carol Verret / February 2004
The New Realities of Hotel Sales - Focus on Revenue Generation / Carol Verret / January 2004
Hotel Sales -- Innovation in the Face of Limitations / Carol Verret / November 2003
The Good News & the Bad News; Improving Economy = New Hotel Development / Carol Verret / October 2003
Leadership - General Managers Managing the Sales Process / Carol Verret  / October 2003
When the Crystal Ball is Cloudy; Marketing Plans for 2004 / Carol Verret / July 2003
Partnership of Sales and Technology; Using Tech Tools to "Sell" the Hotels / Carol Verret  / July 2003
Back to the Basics? The Basics of Hotel Sales Have Changed! / May 2003
Creating Sales "HUNTERS": The Skill Sets Required in the New Hotel Sales Environment / April 2003
Heightened Security Requires New Strategies in Hotels Sales / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Mar 2003
Revenue Recovery - Building The ‘A’ Team in Sales / Carol Verret / January 2003
Contingency Marketing Plan – War In Iraq! / Carol Verret / November 2002
Playing the Rate Game - Positioning -- Positioning -- Positioning! / Carol Verret / October 2002
The Rate Game - Playing to Win / Carol Verret / October 2002
The Challenge of Marketing Independent Boutique Hotels / Carol Verett / August 2002
Hotel Sales in a Limited Service Environment - The Rules Have Changed / Carol Verett / August 2002
The General Manager’s Role in Sales -Chief Marketing Officer of the Hotel / Carol Verret / April 2002
100% Market Share Penetration is Not Good Enough / Carol Verett / January 2002
The Key to REVPAR Recovery –  New Business Development / Carol Verett / December  2001
Trash the 2002 Marketing Plan - And Just Start Over / Carol Verett / September 2001
How to Use Consultants Effectively –  A View From the Other Side  / Carol Verret / August 2001
How Soft Is Your Hotel's Economic Landing?  / Carol Verret / Aprl 2001
The ‘Value Proposition’: Marketing Yourself to Prospective Employees / Carol Verret / January 2001
Generation Y:  Motivating and Training a New Generation of Employees / Carol Verret / November  2000
Why Customer Service Seminars Don't Work / Carol Verret / October 2000
Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Sept 2000 
FAT, DUMB AND HAPPY – The Seasonal Boom and  Bust Cycle / Carol Verret / August 2000
Surf's Up - Ride the Wave or Miss the Boat -The Effective Use of Technology in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / July 2000 
Measuring Effectiveness of  Hotel Sales Departments / Carol Verret / June 2000
Hotel Sales Training - The Need for Immediate Results / Carol Verret/ May 2000



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