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Recap of HSMAI’s California Chapter Educational Conference 

Hospitality Marketers Learn How to Capitalize on New Guest Expectations During Growth

Los Angeles, Calif. (October 27, 2010) – As the country slowly crawls back from the recession, the California travel industry is experiencing an increase in demand from leisure, corporate and group business. But today’s traveler, having traveled less, closer to home or not at all over the past two years  has become accustomed to value-oriented deals, discounts and more flexible pricing.  
How should a hotel or resort position itself to take advantage of this “new” customer demand?  Nearly 100 professionals attended the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s California chapters’ annual conference on Sept. 24, to focus on how to maximize profits in a deal-centric environment.  Some of the panels included information on the breakdown of California’s current travel market, Internet marketing, personal branding and closing sales.
 
Hospitality directors, managers, marketing and sales staff was in attendance to invest their time in learning techniques to increase their business in the current economic environment.    HSMAI offered the following panelists and presentations:
 
Barbara SanFilippo - Winning Sales Strategies
SanFilippo, an accomplished author and sales consultant’s advice is to “fish where your fish swim.” Because consumers get their information in “ponds,” deliver your message where your customer spends their time: join their industry associations and attend their industry events.
 
Tami Carlisle - Regional Business Development/ Milestone Internet Marketing
Carlisle reinforced today’s travel consumer’s shopping patterns and preferences: user-generated reviews, followed by user-generated photos, are the two most influential factors in moving a consumer to purchase. The recession, demise of the traditional news industry and rise in digital publishing has moved travelers to use online resources to find the best travel values and content.
 
Gary Hernbroth - Personal Branding
Hernbroth offered expert advice on what a person should do to maintain a positive perception of themselves and their business, especially because personal and professional information cannot be segregated online and anyone searching online for information on a person or business can find it.  “Don’t do anything that your mother wouldn’t want to see” said Hernbroth. Other tips were to know your clientele and “everything” is relevant, clothes, body language and mannerisms.
 
John Severrini, President & CEO of CalTIA and Caroline Betteta, President & CEO of CA Travel & Tourism Commission
Two industry veterans, Severrini and Betteta, presented the outlook of California’s travel industry and what is being done to capitalize on business in 2011.  2010 has seen a 3 percent growth in visitors and 5 percent growth in consumer spending. They identified the biggest trends for 2011:  Sustainable Tourism; Customization; Transconsumerism; Blur between Business and Leisure; Geotourism; and Value. The critical issues facing California tourism are: International Facilitation of Visa Waiver; AIG Fallout; Arizona Boycott; and Travel Promotion Act and they proceeded to discuss the state’s tourism promotions and initiatives planned for 2011, including “Find Yourself Here” tagline, use of celebrities and increasing user-generated content on CTTC’s highly interactive website.
 
Revenue Management Panel, Kelly Karfgin-TGI Global, Gary McLin-Rim Hospitality, Jessica Rivera-CRME Regional Director, Scott Roby-Tarsadia hotels and Tara Stangel-Expedia.com
This panel of experts discussed in detail how to increase revenue for hotels and businesses.  The panel concluded that social media, online presence and destination awareness are  must haves for any successful venture, but a watchful eye must be kept as to who is representing your business.  
 
Pam Jordan, Master Connections on "Closing Techniques"
Jordan concluded the conference with an exciting presentation on sales and pitching techniques.  “The secret to the climb is passion,” said Jordan, referring to having passion for the service or product you represent.  Jordan emphasized the importance of a relationship between the salesperson and a client and while online sources are important for closing leisure business, 95 percent of people she surveyed indicated that a face-to-face meeting was critical to closing other types of business.
 
ABOUT HSMAI:              
HSMAI is a global 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, as well as connecting its members with customers. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprised of nearly 7,000 members from 35 countries and chapters worldwide. HSMAI’s Americas Region, headquartered in McLean, VA, consists of 38 chapters in three countries. HSMAI's European Region, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, consists of five national chapters in Europe. The Asia Pacific Region is under development. The HSMAI Foundation was established in 1983 to serve as the research and educational arm of HSMAI. For more information visit, www.hsmailax.org, or follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/hsmailax and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hsmailax.
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Contact: 

Karen Gee-Mcauley/Ben Wyche
BLAZE PR
(310) 395-5050
Kgee.mcauley@blazepr.com / bwyche@blazepr.com

 

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Also See: Recap: More than 2,000 Meeting, Event and Hospitality Industry Professionals Attend HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings® National Exhibition and Conference in Washington D.C./ September 2010

HSMAI S 20th Annual Affordable Meetings® National Event Caps Successful Year of Making Connections / September 2009
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