Hotel Sales Marketing: What Makes a Good Marketing Manager?

Congratulations! Your hotel business has grown thanks to your hard work, careful planning, and targeted hotel sales marketing efforts. However, you find marketing is taking up a larger and larger chunk of each day. You decide to hand off this task to someone who can concentrate all their energy into this time-intensive task.

 

First Steps

You may be tempted to “hire from within”—simply assigning these duties to an existing staff member—but is this the best move? A good marketing manager needs a variety of skills, not least of which is multitasking. The following list of specialized skills for a good marketing manager will help you select the right person for this job, whether he or she is already on your staff, or you reach out to hire someone new.

  • Objectivity

Do you know why customers choose your hotel? Well, yes, of course you do. The combination of service, price point, and location, right? You provide these features and the customers come. But have you directly asked customers what factors went into their choice? This is valuable information you might be missing out on. A good marketing manager will ask hard questions like these—what you did right, what could be better, what was a turnoff—to not only bring customers back, but attract more of the ones you want.

  • An Eye for New Marketing Opportunities

In addition to keeping the hotel’s web site polished and up-to-the-minute, a marketing manager should be up on the latest trends in online and real-time marketing. That means maintaining a lively, interactive presence on a variety of social media and review sites. Plus, this marketing expert should develop new and creative ways to maintain an active role in the local community, like sponsoring a high school team or hosting “pop-up” venues for local crafters, designers, and food vendors to showcase their talents.

  • Networking Ability

All hotels have periods where occupancy rates traditionally dip. A good marketing manager will need to come up with innovative ways to boost occupancy without lowering standards for your target customer. This is where the ability to effectively network with other local businesses could make the difference. Is your hotel traditionally a busy mecca for summer tourists? Bring in new winter guests with a weekend of gourmet food and wine tastings provided by nearby restaurants and wineries. Are meeting rooms going empty during the business conference off-season? Open them for short-term use by local businesses, clubs, or charity organizations.

  • Humility

A good marketing manager doesn’t forget that every last member of the staff is the face of the hotel and can make or break a customer’s experience. Never overlook the fact that staff members can be an excellent source of ideas not only to improve service, but to make a customer’s stay one-of-a-kind. In a good way.

 

Hotel sales marketing doesn’t have to be a big mystery. Smart eHotels™ can help clear the way. Contact us today!

4 Tips for Developing an Effective Hotel Marketing Plan Strategy

When is the best time to develop your hotel marketing plan? Ideally, before you throw open the doors for the first time. You want to ensure every customer who comes through those doors is your target customer.

Developing a hotel marketing plan is critical to success, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. By recognizing that each hotel is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all hotel marketing plan, you’ll be able to create the best plan for your hotel—and easily adjust it as needed. Let’s start from the beginning.

Tip #1: Establish Your Goals

First, look at the reasons your hotel might pop up on a traveler’s radar. Your hotel may be in:

  • A city that’s home to several corporate headquarters.
  • A winter ski resort area.
  • A summer beach mecca.

Customers who travel to these locations typically have expectations about what kind of experience they’ll have at the hotels. Your goal is at least to meet those expectations, and ideally, to exceed them.

Another goal should include hiring great staff for your hotel. Every staff member your customer encounters has the ability to make or break the best of marketing plans.

In addition, it seems obvious, but if staying in business means you need to maintain, say, 90 percent occupancy rate during peak season and 70 percent in the off-season, write this down as part of the plan. If your goal is to become the top-rated facility of its kind in the area, write that down.

Tip #2: List Your Assets

What about your facility will draw target customers through your doors? At the top of every hotel marketing plan’s asset list is “location,” followed by amenities such as free WiFi, fitness equipment, food availability, and shuttle service.

Obviously, a vacationer headed for the beach isn’t going to book at a ski resort. But business meeting planners? The reasons they’re looking at facilities in a certain location are more subtle. For every meeting planner looking for a central, easy-to-access hotel, there’s another one looking for an out-of-the-way hotel free from urban or peak-season distractions.

Also consider what your hotel has—or could have—that could be a booking booster for off-peak times. The addition of a few conference-friendly amenities could more than pay for themselves in an increase in business conference bookings.

Tip #3: Ponder Possible Allies

With a little creativity, you can partner with other seemingly non-related businesses and organizations in the area to amp up your hotel marketing efforts. Offer to host a local chamber of commerce or travel and tourism board meeting. Brainstorm with area arts foundations or sports teams to combine advertising campaigns. Look ahead at what annual festivals are coming up and become a sponsor. When a traveling professional show comes to town, host an opening-night event and barter performer rooming for advertising space in the printed program.

Tip #4: Utilize Your Staff’s Knowledge

Remember that your staff members have lives outside the hotel. A great way to personalize your hotel’s social media marketing efforts is to encourage employees to write blog posts about hobbies that could attract like-minded enthusiasts to your hotel’s web site.

For example, a staff member who rides a motorcycle could blog about great roads to ride in the area. Another employee with kids could write about kid-friendly destinations and events nearby. A history buff could talk about the best places in the region to hunt for antiques. Have a foodie on board? Have her write about the area’s hidden culinary treasures.

With an eye open to the possibilities right in your hotel’s backyard, the options for creating a custom hotel marketing plan are endless.

For Further Ideas

Let SmarteHotels.com be your hotel marketing plan partner. Contact us today!

Yield Management Pricing 101: Good Data

Good yield management pricing requires good data—mountains of data, sometimes an overwhelming amount of data. How do you figure out which sets of data are the most relevant to your hotel’s success? Sure, you could track how sheet thread count affects repeat customer business, but is that the kind of micro-data you want to spend time tracking?

When deciding what data sets are worth your time, start at the top: the market. How does your hotel compare to its competitors? These days you can find out through a data collecting service like Smith Travel Research. There you can select a set (or multiple sets) of comparable hotels in your market region and track statistics like:

  • Occupancy rate
  • ADR – average amount of income per paid occupied room
  • RevPAR – revenue per available room (note how this is different from ADR)

These numbers alone won’t tell the whole yield management pricing story. Each facility in your competitive set is unique, and there are myriad “x” factors that figure into why one hotel’s occupancy rate is higher than that of another—staff friendliness, age and condition of the facility, amenities, food and beverage quality, surrounding attractions, etc. That’s why it’s not a good use of your time as a manager to stay glued to a screen full of statistics.

For example, knowing that another hotel’s per-night occupancy rate is higher than yours doesn’t necessarily tell you why. Here is where you may choose to dig a little deeper into the data to figure out what kind of value a competitor is offering that you aren’t.

Is their per-seat food and beverage revenue higher than yours? The intangible answer: their food is better quality, their operating hours are more convenient, or food is offered at a price that makes guests want to stay on hotel grounds rather than drive to a different restaurant. Do more of their customers use the spa or workout amenities than yours? The intangible answer: the hotel spends more to update and maintain the equipment.

As you can see, any change in lower-level data—right down to sheet thread count—can affect the higher-level “big data.” This is where customer feedback can help you focus on small improvements that ultimately add up to a healthier bottom line.

Need guidance on effective yield management pricing data mining? We have the tools! Contact us today.