Mr. Grossman

Social Media & Relationship Marketing

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:

SEPTEMBER: Hotel Group Meetings: Demand is Trending Up

Mike May

Millennials, Zika, Brexit, elections, the economy, mega-mergers…every quarter brings a newsflash du jour. Hotel professionals need a genie to tell them what to ignore and what requires their action. This article summarizes the most relevant trends affecting group meetings – along with tips from corporate meeting planners on what hotels can do to help their group customers succeed, and help you improve a hotel’s group meeting business. Read about the importance of authentic local experiences, unique venues, event apps, and negotiations with buyers. READ MORE

Paul Van Deventer

In the U.S. alone, the meeting and event industry drives $280 billion in annual economic impact. To add perspective, that’s more than air transportation, the motion picture industry or spectator sports. Additionally, the industry generates a massive amount of taxes, with $88 billion generated at the state, federal and local level last year; taxes that help our communities pay for services, build schools, fix roads and maintain parks. The Meetings Mean Business (MMB) Coalition—an industry advocacy group of which MPI is a part—has been conducting video interviews with top executives at major companies to find out just how important meetings and events are to their bottom line. READ MORE

Brian Bullock

Last year, millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. They also may be history’s most fickle generation. Two-thirds of millennials plan to leave their current organizations by 2020, according to a recent survey by Deloitte. Additionally, 44 percent said they would leave their current employers within the next two years if given the choice. So it’s not surprising that businesses are adjusting everything – from office space to company culture to the way business is conducted – to cater to millennial wants and needs. Companies have recognized that attracting and retaining top talent from this burgeoning generation is no joke. READ MORE

Michael Dominguez

As the meetings market has fully recovered from the 2008 recession, this industry expansion has given all the players in the meetings market some unique circumstances that have not been collectively experienced before at any one given time. If this was a social media relationship, we would have to list it as “it’s complicated”! First the good! We are experiencing record demand in North America that has set records now for 3 consecutive years. What is most encouraging is that there is not a particular scale of hotel that is leading this growth, but rather all segments are showing record strength. READ MORE

Coming Up In The October Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Revenue Management: Measuring All Hotel Revenue Streams
Revenue Management is a dynamic and ever-evolving profession and its role is becoming increasingly influential within hotel operations. In some ways, the revenue manager's office is now the functional hub in a hotel. Primarily this is due to the fact that everything a revenue manager does affect every other department. Originally revenue managers based their forecasting and pricing strategies on a Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) model and some traditional hotels still do. But other more innovative companies have recently adopted a Gross Operating Profit per Available Room (GOPPAR) model which measures performance across all hotel revenue streams. This metric considers revenue from all the profit centers in a hotel - restaurants, bars, spas, conference/groups, golf courses, gaming, etc. - in order to determine the real gross operating profit per room. By fully understanding and appreciating the profit margins in all these areas, as well as knowing the demand for each one during peak or slow periods, the revenue manager can forecast and price rooms more accurately, effectively and profitably. In addition, this information can be shared with general managers, sales managers, controllers, and owners so that they are all aware of and involved in forecasting and pricing strategies. One consequence of a revenue manager's increasing value in hotel operations is a current shortage of talent in this field. Some hotels are being forced to co-source or out-source this specialized function and in the meantime, some university administrators are looking more closely at developing a revenue management curriculum as a strategy for helping the hospitality industry close this gap. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address these significant developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.