|March 2006 - “Turn, turn, turn”: That’s how the old Byrd’s
and so chants the Biblical verse that has reminded generations that
come into being and pass away, everything with a season for growth,
As spring approaches, it’s not a bad time to remind ourselves
industry has experienced an amazing rebirth in the past couple of
to the heights of profitability and revenue-generation that most hotels
It’s also not a bad time to remember that the industry, like
is cyclical, and there will inevitably be tough times ahead. Maybe in a
year, maybe in five – the timing is not ours to know or understand.
From a marketing perspective, however, the lesson of the
“cyclicality” is clear: Now is the time to take the planning process,
a hotel or a brand, beyond the urge to grab the quick buck – though
no reason you cannot grab that, too! – and create a long-term marketing
strategy that fosters lasting impressions and loyalty in your customer,
a loyalty that will far outlive the fat wallet or padded expense
that currently permits him to stay with you.
From a marketing perspective, here a few simple ways to invest
to increase your long-term marketing strategy:
Create a plan – If you don’t have a comprehensive
for your hotel, now is the time to create one. I know, everybody today
is busy selling . . . but when the market slows down, everyone will
knocking on doors to generate any business at all! Take a step back,
with your internal sales and marketing team, or hire a consultant to
a long-term strategy for marketing you property, and include
planning for good times, as well as bad. Dollars to donuts, sooner or
you will be glad you did.
Talk to your customer – Congratulations, you
have lots of
guests! Listen to them. They will tell you things about your property
neither you nor a corporate manager could ever observe. Take whatever
mechanism you have, and utilize it to the fullest. Get their input on
physical property, as well as the service you provide and the way you
yourself. And do it now, while you have guests filling up your rooms
your hotel, for free, in a way that you could never do on your own.
Establish professional marketing relationships -
ever considered using an advertising firm, a PR firm, or a consultant
get things done that your professional staff cannot handle on its own?
If so, now may be the time to start some conversations. As your
is bustling, so (hopefully) is theirs. That means they can afford to
additional staff to service clients and (again, hopefully), you can
with a principal to understand fully what they have to offer. Meet
folks and create relationships. You may or may not need their help now,
but you will want to know who the “go-to” people are, when you do need
Yes, “turn, turn, turn.” Enjoy the ride. Be thankful for the plenty,
invest the overflow wisely.
Distinguish and differentiate your property, using
whatever tools are
available – Yes, with the economy strong and travel robust, anyone
can fill rooms, and most hotels can raise rates. But when a downturn
you will need to rely more than ever on the points of differentiation
set your hotel apart from the competition. Differentiation, however, is
cumulative, not immediate. You set yourself apart, when you create
unique impressions in a consumer’s mind over time. Start creating those
impressions now - so later, when you really need them, they will
be readily convertible into occupancy and rate.
Above all, think about strategic marketing when you think need
and it will pay off handsomely, when you need it most.