Marketing Plans Must Be a "Living Being"
They Cannot Sit On Shelves!
|by John Hogan, MBA CHA MHS, June 2004
One of the hardest things to do in a hotel is to turns goals into reality. Too often, those goals may be thought of and discussed, but not written down or acted on. When they are written down, it is as a memo or perhaps as the introduction to a marketing plan, but with no or inadequate preparations to make those goals become reality.
Caring hotel owners, managers and sales managers at every size hotel and brand share the goal of satisfying guests. Many have ideas on how to accomplish that profitably, but then they do not create the road map on how to convert those goals into fact. Without a workable, measurable plan, the hotel will likely fail to reach its true potential. Doing only the “same old things” will at best yield some mirror of the past and the increased competition is not “staying the same.”
Budgets are created to provide a projection of income and expenses so there are “no unexpected surprises.” Marketing plans are created to make sure that there is a “master plan “to meet those budgets, yet most of us have all seen detailed plans that sit on a shelf somewhere for up to several months at a time. Someone may then decide to “see where we are in the plan,” but usually at that point some of those “unpleasant, unexpected surprises” have already been discovered. If business levels are acceptable, the plan may be declared a winner, and stay on the shelf until time to plan next year. If business is poor, the previous manager is too often blamed for inadequate planning and no further discussion is held on the execution of the plan.
Sales activities, marketing plans and financial budgets all require regular attention, monitoring and tweaking. While all may forecast twelve months of anticipated volumes and activities, the market changes almost monthly and someone must review, respond and follow-up to those changes.
Below are some critical steps to make marketing
and sales plans work:
Valleys can be identified and action steps set into motion to fill those holes much faster. In other words, the plan remains “alive” and responsive to the changing market.
Marketing and sales plans are only effective if managers, owners and sales staff view the process as living and important. Regular reviews of tactics that do and do not work are essential to long-term success.
These questions are offered to stimulate discussion about the way we do business. There is not necessarily only one “correct” answer – the reason for this section of the column is to promote an awareness of how we might all improve our operations.
Contact me at 602-957-5810 or John.Hogan@bestwestern.com
anytime and remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication or of Best Western International. A variation of this article can be found in LESSONS FROM THE FIELD.
John Hogan, MBA CHA MHS is the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for Best Western International, the world’s largest hotel chain. Best Western International has more than 4,200 hotels in more than 80 countries and is one of the worlds most established and recognized hotel brands, founded in 1946 in California.
He serves on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity including the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the AAHOA Education and eCommerce Committee and is the Best Western liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his ongoing involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program.
He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from the University of Northern Washington. His professional experience includes over 30 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis. He is a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), a Master Hotel Supplier (MHS) and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism. He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.
John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor for 20 years, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independents hotels. Prior to joining Best Western International in spring of 2000, he was the principal in an independent training & consulting group for more than 12 years serving associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness. He has conducted an estimated 3,000 workshops and seminars in his career to date.
He has published more than 175 articles & columns on the hotel industry and is co-author (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available on from HSMAI www.hsmai.org and other industry sources.
He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and is finalizing work on his Ph. D. which includes a 2nd book – The Top 100 People who Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.
Director, Education & Cultural Diversity
Best Western International -
THE WORLD'S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN®
6201 N. 24th Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85016-2023
"...we all need a regular dose of common sense "
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