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Destination Marketing 101: Take Care of Mom


May 31, 2004

By John R. Hendrie, CEO, Hospitality Performance, Inc.

Fact:  The greatest influence on where the vacationing family will stay, dine, recreate and shop is the Mother.

Fact:  Destination Markets have yet to discover how to successfully “manipulate” (the nice way) the Mother to optimize the Family Vacation and the fortunes of the Business Community.

Strategy:  Determine the needs of the Mother and deliver like crazy.

Where to start the Brainstorming?

I am reminded of the memorable Madeleine Kahn Character in Mel Brooks’, “Blazing Saddles”, who lamented, “I’m tired, too tired to be inspired”.  With the frantic pace of families nowadays, Mothers work, raise children, and provide nurture, love, attention and time, amongst many other “duties”.  Theirs’ is the hardest task of all – compelling, fulfilling, agonizing and encompassing.  Therefore, they arrive at their Destination usually exhausted by the trip and their daily lot.

But, this does not mean that Mothers do not have expectations, their “agenda”.  They do want their family to have fun, to fully experience that week or two away from the mundane. They do wish their Husband to relax, enjoy some recreation, reconnect with the children, who need to be entertained, in order to keep high energy challenged and complaints minimized.  So, reasonable activities for these family members is requisite.  Inventory what you offer and partner with others to fill activity voids. 

Naturally, your brochure rack should be filled at all times.  Videos and Computer Games are excellent for down time.

Mothers also expect certain standards to be practiced wherever she and the family visit.  Having maintained her own home, she fully anticipates attention to Cleanliness (actually, now, someone else is responsible – what a pleasure).  She must feel safe and secure, whether in a guest room, riding the Ferris Wheel, or merely browsing the Stores.  Additionally, “creature comforts” and the physical condition of the environments she visits must be up to snuff.  She does not want to see stains, rips, scratches or peeling paint.  These bring back sad memories. Mothers anticipate a high level of service – attitude, courtesy, attentiveness, performance.  This is, of course, an excellent example for the children, plus good, honest money has exchanged hands.

Her experience must be fresh, painless and satisfying in terms of  expectations.  These needs translate directly to your commitment to a Quality Operation where you have delivered an acceptable Product/Service.  By the way, Mothers pay attention to Seals of Approval.

Lastly, Mothers need special attention; they need to be spoiled, pampered, catered, comforted and pleasured.  They typically do not trumpet their personal needs, which sometimes creates intrigue.  But, remember the detail and how effective the small touches can be: a telephone call to the room after check-in, a flower on the pillow or the restaurant table, unusual amenities (beyond regular soap and shampoo), personalized services at your Spa, or special invitations to neighboring Retail Stores.  Also, with good Guest History Data that you have “mined”, you can anticipate their needs in advance.  

These strategic efforts demonstrate your compliments to her influence, which is indeed great.

By John R. Hendrie, CEO
Hospitality Performance, Inc.

Also See: Service Unions Combine, Presenting Huge Challenge to Hospitality Industry / John R. Hendrie / March 2004
What Value Quality? Most Hospitality Operators Use the Term “Quality” In their Advertising. What Exactly Does that Mean? / John R. Hendrie / April 2004

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