In the last of our four-part series on avoiding common hotel sales marketing blunders, let’s look at a few loose ends that, left dangling, could trip you up on the way to success.
Once you’ve executed your careful, step-by-step plan, don’t make the fatal mistake of failing to give your salespeople the tools to bring your goals to fruition. That means doing more than planting them in front of a phone or a computer screen and waiting for the customers to come.
The website is your primary sales tool, of course, but it’s not the only one you’ll need. As much as possible, conference and event planners like to experience the venue as their clients will.
- Create a video channel on youtube.com or vimeo.com and post walk-throughs of the hotel from an event planner’s point of view. Include clips of successful events that have already taken place.
- Hire a professional photographer to provide high quality images for the website and printed brochures.
- Don’t forget to provide optimal electronic formats of videos and images for smart phones, tablets, and laptops.
- Hold occasional tasting events to show potential customers the level of food quality they can expect from your own facility’s kitchens or from local caters, winemakers, and brewmasters.
- Invest in the same kind of technology your customers are using. Does your typical customer use a smartphone or tablet? Your sales team should have them, too. Your reward will be a faster, nimbler process that requires less paper to keep everyone on the same page.
Ignoring the i-Everything Generation
Social media is pretty much the king of the cyber world—ignore it at your peril. Whatever happens at your hotel, whether good or bad, will be talked about online—sometimes while the success or the disaster is still happening.
Social media has the potential to expose glaring flaws in your hotel from top to bottom, from facilities to the faces behind the front desk. It’s important that maintenance staff responds promptly to service requests, or photos of a less-than-clean room or malfunctioning toilet can and will wind up on travelocity.com. Front desk staff must be “bomb proof” – that is, unfailingly patient, efficient, and polite. This is where constant attention to staff training will save your social media bacon.
Yes, that’s right – staff training can be considered a part of your overall hotel sales marketing plan.
Forgetting To Trust The Process
There are two big revenue management mistakes hotel managers are prone to make. One is forgetting to decrease discount offers when room bookings rise. The other is forgetting to trust your marketing efforts and historical data to hold true during economic downturns. The temptation is to slash prices when times get hard and reservations dip, but that’s when you most need to hold the line.
Room pricing is definitely not a set-it-and-forget-it task. It’s something you must keep an eye on constantly and tweak as a variety of market forces apply pressure. Just don’t forget where that fine line lies between attracting new customers and devaluing your product.
Sending Your Marketing Money Down a Black Hole
All your careful planning and budgeting will come to nothing if you don’t track your return on investment (ROI). It’s easy to detect an increase in web site visits and number of reservations, but these days there are ways to tease out more detailed data that will allow you to track customer response from, for example, an email click-through to the money that customer spent at your hotel. If the prospect of dealing with this level of detail gives you a headache, keep in mind that even high-level information – the kind that gives you data to compare month by month or from one quarter to the next – will tell you whether your marketing strategy is worth the time and money.
You’ve got bright ideas for your hotel sales marketing plan. SmarteHotels.com can help them shine. Contact us today!