Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Training Seminars
Marketing to Changes in Consumer Behavior – 
It’s No Longer ‘One Size Fits All’



March 24, 2010 - Fasten your seatbelts -- a lot has changed in consumer behavior in all market segments during the past 18 months!  As Chris Anderson predicted in his article ‘The Long Tail’, consumers will fracture into ‘niches’ based upon their special interests and behavior.  In this era of the customer in control, this becomes more pronounced as customers demand travel experiences tailored to the changes in their behaviors and desires as consumers.

Generic marketing approaches to a single undifferentiated list will see diminishing returns especially if it is based solely on rate.   If hotels are finding that email blasts are getting persistently lower open rates, it is this ‘one size fits all’ mentality based on rate alone. If there is one lesson that the recovery in the luxury sector can teach all hotel marketers, it is that low rates are not the issue, it is the experience of a ‘value perception’ that the consumer is looking for.  

“As of early March, the battered sector is reporting 7.2% more bookings for the upcoming second quarter in the top 25 markets vs. the April-June period in 2008, according to travel market research firm Rubicon. But rooms at Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont and Four Seasons are also dramatically cheaper. The luxury average daily rate is down 22% to $312 from $399 two years ago, Rubicon says.”  (USA Today, 3/13/2010).  If rates are still driving in the luxury sector at $312, there is a consumer that is willing to pay more for an experience than the recent ‘race to the bottom’ of rate cutting would suggest.

Mobile Marketing:  Customers are receiving information differently than in the past.  If hotel eblasts are not ‘mobile friendly’, they are often deleted as the mobile format is very different and HTML often does not appear well on smart phones.  “Mobile users demand mobile sites that download fast, provide short and concise textual content with no fluff, minimalistic visual content, and navigation that is straight to the point.” (HeBS, Hotel Online, 08-09-09) Want to make your messages more mobile friendly?  

Reformat text -You should always offer a text option as an alternative to HTML for all readers. Mobile platforms will show 20 to 40 characters in 12 to 15 lines per screen,
Rethink tracking URLs Same goes for URLs… your text version may need some hand-tweaking in order to render better on all platforms. 
Be brief. Messages over a certain size -- even as small as 12KB -- risk being cut off halfway through. 
The Socially Conscious Consumer:  From sustainability to devoting time to ‘doing good’ during both leisure travel and business meetings is a trend that is here to stay.  This consumer also wants to do business with companies that are ‘doing good’.   Many hotel companies are offering leisure and business groups the opportunity to ‘do good’ during their stays.  Ritz Carlton and Rock Resorts offer leisure travelers options that allow them to participate in projects that are socially valuable or that contribute to the environment.  

Several companies, including Sage Hospitality, offer discounts to acknowledge customers that give back to their communities.   
Resorts are offering socially conscious team building activities for groups, such as planting trees or other environmental projects.  
Immediacy – in the moment!  The ‘immediacy’ customer has a short attention span! Social networks are important in maintaining awareness of the hotel to the ‘immediacy’ customer.  Hoot Suite, among other apps, allows you to post across Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn as well as Word Press blogs.   It also has numerous other apps to allow for monitoring and tracking. FREE!  The ‘immediacy’ customer will turn to social networks for current info and offers by a hotel before going to the web site to make a reservation.  The reservation engine has to be fast and easy to use or they will lose patience and move on. 

User Generated Content will gain warp speed -- hotels will need to listen 24/7 to what the customer says about them on all channels and respond at the same speed.   Customers are still using ‘search’ to locate and make decisions on properties.  With the addition of Twitter comments and reviews to search results, the consumer can get immediate feedback and hotels need to respond quickly.  This applies to the good things that the customer is saying as well as the issues they are having. Immediacy is a tool not only to resolve issues but to appeal to more customers.  Tweetbeep is a Twitter app that tracks mentions of specific keyword on Twitter then emails it to you.   In addition to the reputation management tools like Avalon Reports, Hotel Chatter, etc, Social Mention is a free tool that performs like Google Alerts but across all social media platforms.  Trip Advisor is still the gold standard and also appears on search results as well as having a mobile app so the reviews are immediate, in the moment and instantly available to the consumer making a decision.

The ‘Customized’ Customer.  People want to buy but don’t want to be sold – the consumer is clearly in control across all segments.  The customer wants to customize their own experience from leisure to a business trip, individuals and groups.  Those hotels that accommodate this trend gain not only gain loyalty but the potential for incremental revenue!  

  • Multiple choice leisure packages.  Build your own packages can include choice of spa treatments, attraction tickets, room service meals, breakfast – imagination is the only thing required!  This allows the guest to build their own experience based upon the ‘niche’ they prefer.  A Las Vegas hotel package offered over Thanksgiving allowed guests to choose to have their Thanksgiving dinner catered to their room with several options for menu choices.  
  • Multiple Choice for Meeting Planners.  Meeting planners are under a great deal of pressure to assure that their meetings are productive and cost effective.  This is not going to change soon and may become the new normal.    By allowing them options for their meetings they can ‘customize’ the meeting experience to fit their company’s expectations.  One independent hotel offers meeting planners five choices of amenities such as upgraded breaks, free or discounted AV, etc.  from which they can select three for their meeting.  Another hotel offers a $1,000 voucher that the planner can use for any part of their stay or to upgrade breaks, meals, add on a reception, etc.  The cost to the hotel – between $250 and $350 depending on the option chosen.
With the customer firmly in control for the foreseeable future, hotel revenue managers, marketers and sales professionals will have to deliver what the customer is looking for on their terms or risk being ‘deleted’!  

Let’s have a conversation about the challenges facing hotel sales professionals.  Shoot me an email at and I will send you an invitation to join my Platinum Group on i-Meet!  

Carol Verret Consulting and Training delivers sales training with an edge and measurable results as well as revenue management training that drives incremental revenue and market share.  She also provides consulting services in these areas.  She has provided keynotes and seminars both nationally and internationally to hotels, management companies and related associations as well as having articles published in national and international publications.  Check her out on the web site, the www.hotelsalesblog and on LinkedIn and Twitter.   She can be reached at (303) 618-4065 or at

Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
Web Site:
Also See: Outrageous! The Cure for the Post Recession Blues! / Carol Verret / March 2010
The Reset Button --- Innovation for Hotel Sales in 2010! / Carol Verret / February 2010
4 Changes in Consumer Behavior & The Revenue Opportunities for Hotels / Carol Verret / January 2010
Recession Lessons:  What Will Drive Hotel Sales & Revenue Management in 2010 / December 2009
4 Post Recession Shifts  in the Hotel Sales Environment; What You Need to Know for Success in 2010 / Carol Verret
The 20% Solution to Increased Market Share and Revenue / Carol Verret / October 2009
Managing Revenue by Market Segment – The Recovery Challenge for Sales and Revenue Managers / Carol Verret / September 2009
The Mindset of the 2010 Business Plan – Survival Mode or Recovery Mode? / Carol Verret / August 2009
The New 'Tipping Points' in the Planners Decision Process - You May be Surprised! / Carol Verret / June 2009
The New Normal – What Does the New Normal Look Like for Hotel Sales and Revenue Management / Carol Verret / May 2009
The New Hotel Sales and Revenue Management Metrics - This Could save Your Job! / Carol Verret / April 2009
Back to Hotel Sales Basics: The Basics Have Changed Big Time!  / Carol verret / March 2009
Stimulate Hotel Revenue -- The Economic Stimulus Package Opportunities / Carol Verret / February 2009
2009 The Game Changer for Innovation in Hotel Sales Processes / Carol Verret / January 2009
Contrarian Strategies for Hotel Sales Departments to Thrive in an Economic Downturn / Carol Verret / December 2008
‘Selling Into’ a Bad Economy – Overcoming Fear and Stealing Share / Carol Verret / October 2008
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – Accelerated Sense of Urgency/ Carol Verret / September 2008
The Challenges and Opportunities for Independent and Boutique Hotels in a Difficult Economy / Carol Verret / August 2008
The Science of Hotel Sales* – The Benchmarking Imperative for Success in a Difficult Economy / Carol Verret / July 2008
Marketing & Revenue Management Plan 2009 - Succeeding in a Difficult Year / Carol Verret / July 2008
Tactics to Drive Business in a ‘Not So Hot’ Summer / Carol Verret / May 2008
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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