Mr. Grossman

Social Media & PR

The Power of Partnerships: Productive Methods to Leveraging Like Brands

By Lanny Grossman, President, EM50 Communications

As resources become scarcer for marketing departments across various industries, marketers need to start finding more creative ways to reach target customers. Businesses need to now drive sales by building brand awareness with the constraints of markedly decreased budgets. This can be achieved through strategic promotional partnerships with non-competing, complementary brands looking to reach a similar audience. The "Power of We," as Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels, describes the practice, is essential to growing a business and maximizing marketing reach.

The first step in the process is to identify two things: what assets you have to leverage and what types of companies you would ideally like to work with in order to achieve your stated goals. Each party needs to bring something to the table in order for the partnership to be balanced and successful so you must determine what you have that can be of value not only to you but to somebody else in the absence of cash. It could be a database of qualified customers, hotel room nights or even meals at a restaurant. Once you identify what assets you have to work with, you then need to determine to whom it will be offered. When choosing potential promotional partners, it is important to select companies or brands that make sense; other operations that align with yours as far as target consumer but one that exists in another industry or non-competing manner to which you do business. I suggest making a 'Wish List' of potential partners by category - travel, retail, media, non-profit, credit cards, etc. - and then developing those strategic partnerships one at a time.

As mentioned above, in order for a partnership to be successful, it needs to be mutually beneficial. It is first advantageous to understand who their customers are, how their business functions and what programs have they implemented in the past to achieve similar results, if any.

Additionally, having an understanding of what your goals are, as well as the partners', is helpful to create the right program moving forward so both parties are successful. Is it simply an exercise in raising brand awareness? Are you trying to get people to attend an event? Is your potential partner trying to drive sales or raise their brand profile or both? Once all of these questions are answered you can develop the appropriate plan. Create a dialog between parties that shows the other side that you are truly interested in a positive outcome for both sides.

For example, if you operate a hotel and you are looking to raise your brand awareness and reach a new group of potential customers, first establish what your currency is going to be; which in most cases for a hotel is a number room nights. As an example, if your goal is to raise your name recognition across the country, you may partner with a national retail chain and offer them room nights as an incentive for their customers to purchase more in-store or to simply sign up online for a prize giveaway building each of your databases, which we will come to in a bit. So right away, you have created a balance between the partners. Retail partner X now has something of value to offer its customers, which in turn has the potential to build brand loyalty and/or drive sales for them (depending how the giveaway is structured). On the flip side, you get your name, logo and hopefully website in front of a plethora of new, targeted customers at a very minimal cost.

It's all about the database. One of the most successful scenarios of a marketing partnership is when two brands can come together and reach out to their respective customers with a cooperative message and/or offer. Keep this in mind as you develop any kind of online or offline business, since collecting customers' names and information will later equal a valuable currency both in your direct to consumer marketing efforts and also in your partnership possibilities. The first scenario we explored was an in-store promotional opportunity with a retail brand, but the more you can hone in on a targeted audience the better. Let's say you are a hotel chain with properties in Washington, DC and you want to increase your weekend business from within driving distance. You can look to partner with AAA(R) for example and extend a unique, exclusive offer to all AAA(R) members. AAA(R) can then communicate that information to members within a four hour drive from Washington, DC. Alternatively, you can reach out to all of your previous guests who live within driving distance as well with information on the benefits of AAA(R) including the exclusive offer you created. The benefits MUST flow in both directions.

Now that we have covered the mechanics of forming the partnership, it is essential to remember that the success relies upon not just the numbers of people but reaching the appropriate people for that particular partnership. Brand alliance is just as important, if not more important. If you are a luxury hotel, you are going to want to partner with brands or services that effectively reach the same level of customer you desire, such as any of the luxury retail brands like a Ferragamo or Neiman Marcus. If you are a mainstream, family resort chain, partnering with a Macy's or Six Flags may be more appropriate. By aligning yourself with recognizable and qualified brands, consumers that may not be familiar with your brand will now automatically associate the characteristics of your partner to you; something that can favorably effect your brand recognition as much as anything else. The old saying goes that you are only as good as the company you keep and that is certainly the case in partnership marketing.

Regardless of the industry, companies are fighting for consumer dollars more than ever and are open to new, creative ways at trying to get them. First, figure out what you want to achieve and how you can leverage your business to help a potential partner. Then, choose a desired partner and tell them why it is beneficial for them to work with you. Everybody wants to increase sales and reach more customers. All you need to do is find somebody as open minded as you are, with similar goals, to create a mutually beneficial relationship that minimizes cost and maximizes results. Promotional partnerships are a highly effective tool in achieving your marketing goals and driving additional business while leveraging your assets in the most efficient manner. Trade agreements between countries, airline alliances, affinity credit cards - these are all forms of partnerships created to leverage the brands' networks, customers, financial standing and name brands to further the rewards for each involved. Partnerships are the foundation of smart business expansion, growth and opportunity. Whether small, large, simple or complex, partnerships bring companies and people together to do great things.

Lanny Grossman specializrs in PR, luxury lifestyle marketing and consumer outreach. He began working with notable hotel properties such as the Waldorf=Astoria in New York and Le Byblos in Saint-Tropez, after which he became the Director of Public Relations for two of America’s famous restaurants, Tavern on the Green and the Russian Tea Room. More recently, Mr. Grossman was Director of Brand Communications for Small Luxury Hotels of the World, an international hotel consortium whose portfolio boasts over 450 of the finest hotels in more than 70 countries. Mr. Grossman can be contacted at 646 861 2801 or lanny@em50.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

APRIL: Guest Service: Customer Service is a Key Business Differentiator

Ayrlea A Manchester

: It is no big secret that ‘going green’ and sustainable practices within the hotel and lodging industry are slowly becoming more appealing and are now often a determining factor for travelers when they are selecting accommodation. In this day and age, acquiring a reputation for being an eradicator of the environment can truly be your demise. Hotels operating with green initiatives in place are on the right track and can undoubtedly have an advantage over their competitors. There are great social and economic benefits to be gained by implementing green initiatives, as well as the obvious benefits to the environment. These green programs, when applied and practiced correctly can be mutually beneficial and quite lucrative. READ MORE

Robert Allender

Every hotel on the planet has an energy story. A hotel’s energy story is what anyone who cares about things related to energy use can observe by looking at that hotel’s use of energy, and its attitude to energy related issues. Hotel decision-makers have a choice – they can ignore the hotel’s energy story and hope for the best, or they can manage it. READ MORE

Dina   Zemke

Initially suspected to be a passing fad, the sustainability movement now appears to be firmly entrenched in our customers’ expectations and is increasingly embedded in hospitality management. Since this is a highly visible element of business today, the question that hospitality programs have is how can we better prepare our students to meet the hospitality industry’s needs for future managers who can meet the need to provide sustainable business operations and service? READ MORE

Jan Peter Bergkvist

The awkward feeling we all have in the pits of our stomachs that something is fundamentally wrong with the way we run our planet is slowly moving up to our brains and increasingly we’re realizing that we all need to become part of the solution, instead of continuing to contribute to the problems of an unsustainable world. Welcome to Anthropocene; this oil-fired age where mankind has, during the last 150 years or so, initiated unstoppable systemic changes, changes which are already affecting us. Weather catastrophes as a result of climate change are on the increase; rates of cancer are higher than ever before and let’s not forget the negative effects on our collective reproductive ability, caused by the uncontrolled spread of hormone-disrupting and persistent chemicals. READ MORE

Coming Up In The May Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Hotel Sustainable Development: Responsible Decision-Making for the Near and Long-term
The subject of sustainability has gained considerable momentum in recent years. There has been an increasing awareness among hotel owners and investors regarding the environmental impacts of hotel development and operations, such that sustainability issues have now permeated nearly every aspect of the industry. Despite the lack of clear metrics which makes the issue difficult to quantify, there is a growing consensus about the definition of what sustainability is, and its essential importance in the everyday, decision-making process. Simply put, sustainability seeks to balance financial, social and environmental factors to facilitate responsible business decision-making over the near and long term. How those factors are balanced may differ from company to company, but there are several fundamental issues about which there is little dispute. First, sustainability has become an important factor when customers make a hotel selection. According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, 71% of travelers reported that they planned to choose hotels based on sustainability over the next year. Thus, hotels that are managed and operating sustainably have a considerable advantage over their competitors. Secondly, sustainability can be a profit center. The main emission sources of carbon footprint in the hotel industry are energy, heating and water. Thus, the reduction in consumption of those elements means that both the size of their carbon footprint and their costs go down, so it is a true win-win for both businesses and the environment. These are just some of the issues that will be examined in the May issue of the Hotel Business Review, which will report on how some hotels are integrating sustainability practices into their operations, and how their businesses are benefiting from them.