News for the Hospitality Executive
Even Smaller Hotels Must Plan Their Work and Work Their Plan
I just returned from teaching a class on sales and marketing to a representative group of franchisees, independent owners and GMs of U.S. properties with fewer than 200 rooms.
Although most of my consulting practice over the years has focused mostly on fullservice, upscale and heavy group-oriented hotels, I’ve always managed to keep an eye out for how business is conducted at the smaller properties.
Besides, when Karen and I travel on leisure trips and we’re not patronizing some historic small inn or a charming B&B, we very often stay at Holiday Inn Expresses, Hampton Inns and Best Westerns.
The sheer numbers alone demand my keeping current with these smaller hotels. According to AH&LA (excluding properties less than 15 rooms):
What surprised and alarmed me the most, however, was the lack of awareness, experience and even basic interest in topics such as marketing planning, marketing plans, direct sales in general, and neighborhood or backyard marketing in particular.
I came away with the impression this group thought marketing plans were something done only on Mars.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” – John Wooden
Marketing plans are an industry standard - - every successful hotel has a written/detailed marketing plan that is signed off on and used periodically throughout the year as a benchmark to help measure progress and make necessary revisions.
Given today’s market dynamics, larger hotels have begun replacing the traditional marketing plan with “strategic conversations” where an executive committee revisits marketing and sales activities weekly - - at times even daily and hourly - - making necessary and timely adjustments.
Despite the impact of online travel reviews and ratings, OTAs, and brand website booking pages, an argument can still be made that 80% of all hotel reservations are either made from - - or influenced by - - a 20-block or 20-mile radius of every hotel.
Successful hotels plan on how to penetrate that 20-block or 20-miles radius. And that requires a commitment to producing a detailed and measureable marketing plan.
This will require some work and effort on the part of the hotel, to be sure. Researching who the customers are is part of the market analysis component. Equally important is the product analysis and the competition analysis - - two pieces of any plan that enable owners and operators to understand and accept their property’s strength and weaknesses, and what differentiates their product from the competition.
One of the most important elements - - again, for those smaller hotels with less than 200 rooms - - is to put in writing and commit to a detailed plan for overall direct sales.
If a smaller hotel has no dedicated sales department, no staff member charged with direct sales responsibilities, then the GM or owner must assume that vital role.
Direct sales primary action steps include:
Direct sales is just one component of a sound marketing plan and must be fully integrated with other elements that include advertising, promotion, merchandising, pricing, distribution channels along with social media platforms, travel and trade shows and budgets, of course. But
I’ll stop at direct sales for now.
There are dozens of marketing plan samples online if your property does not have a formal plan or if you are interested in creating one. In addition, most franchise companies offer marketing plan templates to franchisees. Templates may also be found on my colleague John Hogan’s HospitalityEducators.com site. And experienced hospitality marketing consultants are available to help both in person and online.
Plan your work; work your plan. Measureable results will follow. And you will have more confidence along the way.
David M. Brudney is a charter member of International Society of Hospitality Consultants
can’t microwave marketing experience / David Brudney / July 2012
Selling Necessary with Meeting Demand Returning / David Brudney /
Successful Experiment With Hybrid Meetings / David Brudney / March
Leven Bullish on Las Vegas Group Demand / David Brudney / December
Forecast Bodes Well for U.S. Hoteliers / David Brudney / October
Search Producing Positive Results for Hoteliers / David Brudney /
Time to Revisit the Art of "Check-Building" and "Add-Ons" / David
Brudney / July 2011
Business Lost by Hotel Sales Department Interruptions and Lack of Focus
/ David Brudney / June 2011
Commitment to Excellence is Harry Mullikin’s Legacy / David Brudney
/ May 2011
Meetings: An Idea Whose Time Has Come / David Brudney / April 2011
Gen Hotel Sales Pros Hungry for Storytelling / David Brudney /
Works Best Upclose and Personal / David Brudney / February 2011
to Change: Hotel Sales Professionals New Year’s Checklist / David
Brudney / January 2011
Sales Professionals: Would You Buy What You Are Selling? / David
Brudney / December 2010
Planner Voices Concern over Demand Return / David Brudney /
|Value of Face-to-Face Meetings Resonates Even More Today / David Brudney / September 2010|
|Expect Hotels to Pare Back on Perks in 2011 While Implementing Modest Increases in Room Rates / David Brudney / September 2010|
|Good News for Meetings-Driven Resorts: Site Inspections and Bigger Group Bookings are Back! / David Brudney / August 2010|
|Kimpton Is Bullish on Fourth Quarter 2010 / David M. Brudney / June 2010|
|Landmark Decision by Arbitration Panel on Aviara Resort / David M. Brudney / April 2010|
|Group Business Comeback in the Cards / David M. Brudney / March 2010|
|Applying Five Tenets of Hotel Sales and Marketing in These Tough Times / David M. Brudney / January 2010|