Sales & Marketing
Donna Brokowski
Henry  Woodman
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Virtual Reality - What You Need to Know and How it Relates to Mobile Booking
  • The booking shift to mobile in the travel industry raises questions on how marketers can adjust their strategies to reach a mobile audience. This in conjunction with quickly evolving virtual reality technology opens doors for travel marketers to make an impact and get ahead of their competition. Using VR to enhance mobile websites, apps and advertising can increase mobile bookings and raise brand awareness and credibility. Read on...

Sapna Mehta Mangal
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Embracing a New Frontier to Hotel Marketing
  • The 21st century discerning digital native traveler can be clearly characterized as hyper connected, better informed, and technology savvy. In this “Age of I” hotel brands need to gain a competitive edge by taking heed of these guests and making them feel interconnected. The next frontier is undoubtedly clear and real. This write up will focus on three marketing trends that need attention and if executed can be of grave value to any hotel businesses’ marketing efforts. Mobile marketing platforms, predictive analytics strategies and contextual marketing tactics are new hotel marketing frontiers. Hoteliers cannot lose sight of these in the next decade. Read on...

H. Stuart Foster
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Demographics Are Dead: Now What?
  • Like never before, marketers are competing for attention. Snapchat Spectacles, Instagram Stories, 360-degree videos and Facebook Live are all helping fill consumers’ free time. So, as marketers, how do we use all the data now available to figure out how to get the right stories out on social media, smartphones, tablets and other channels? And how do we make our content interesting enough to compete with the fad du jour occupying people’s minds? I challenge myself and my team to think about three key means to earn attention in today’s marketplace. Read on...

Akshay Ramanathan
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Utilizing an Effective Technology Stack to Transform the Guest Experience
  • While the distribution reach of OTAs is extensive, their effectiveness and value are increasingly questionable. Hotels are provided assurances that their products will reach an end consumer, but this comes at a hefty cost. Technology provides an avenue to dramatically lower that cost of customer acquisition, and hotels must realize that there are more options available than ever before to help them to take ownership of and maintain control over their guests' experience. Developing and maintaining an effective technology stack plays a critical role in that process. The “tech stack” as it is often described refers to the myriad of hardware and software that work together to manage various aspects of the hotel business. Hotels that place greater emphasis on understanding the variety of applications available to them, how they work together, and how to use them more effectively, will be better positioned to win business directly from the guest. Read on...

DJ  Vallauri
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Do You In-House, or Outsource Your Hotel's Social Media Marketing?
  • In October of last year, Pepsico started shaking things up with their digital marketing strategy. They decided to take the social media portion of their digital marketing in-house for the Pepsi brand. There was a lot of buzz about it -- questioning whether this was a smart move. Outside of the tremendous resources needed to have an in-house agency focused solely on social media, the concept of what Pepsi was doing intrigued me. In fairness and full disclosure, I work with a digital marketing agency for the hospitality industry. Read on...

Tara K. Gorman
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Branded Residential Projects and Emergence Into the Hotel Market
  • Branded residential projects offer all the comforts of “home” with the luxury, prestige and high level of services offered at a hotel. This is not as easy as it may appear at first blush and savvy developers are jumping into the branded residential sector with an eye toward high level design and quality, as well as, a keen sense of what the potential purchaser is ultimately seeking. The key to a successful branded residential project is the integration of the hotel services and amenities with the security and privacy of residential living. If done well, this can be quite profitable for the developer as the branded residential real estate market is on the upswing with enhanced sales velocity over unbranded residential real estate by 20 – 30%, especially in emerging markets. This article will take an in-depth view at branded residential reality and recent reemergence of branded residential reality. Read on...

Jeffrey Hirsch
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Why Qualitative Research is Essential for the Hotel Business
  • The hospitality industry is swimming with data. Torrents of data are churned out daily from traditional marketing research, social media, email and rating apps such as Yelp. We all prefer to may fact-based decisions, but unfortunately, there are times when the facts simply don't matter. Perceptions, no matter irrationally formed, are always more important when it comes to brand choice, particularly in the hospitality business. Making a hotel reservation is far more than a simple transaction, and often relies far less on reason than emotion. That’s why qualitative research must have a place in hospitality brand’s marketing mix. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Have You Met HENRY Yet?
  • No consumer characteristic exists in isolation. They exist in various profiles which the marketing industry calls lifestyle segments. In other words, knowing your DINKS, SINKS, and HENRYS will help you keep heads on your beds. In this article, we are concentrating on HENRYS – those High Earners, Not Rich Yet folks. Specifically, smart hoteliers will hit bullseyes in 4-Ss – Status, Service, Story, Smarts – with this market. The takeaway for every hotel brand will be this: HENRYs are important and have the potential to drive your revenues. The key to capturing and keeping this market is finding the sweet-spot between class and mass. And as you see, I’m a firm believer in hotels not looking to other hotels for ideas. Rather, look outside the industry for ideas that can be adapted and incorporated into your story and experience. Read on...

Aron Ezra
  • Sales & Marketing
  • The Rise of Gamification Across the Hospitality World
  • Gamification, the use of game-like elements to make promotions, loyalty programs and staff training more engaging, is experiencing a resurgence in the hospitality industry. After initial missteps, hotels are using a new breed of games to boost their customers’ spend per visit, increase market share and motivate their staff. Not only does gamification open a world of possibilities for making the industry more profitable and productive, it makes the guest and employee experience more fun. By focusing on the brand new metric of “enjoyability,” hospitality companies are tapping into a rich new source of data, differentiating their brand in a crowded field, and driving extraordinary results. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Marketing's Four Aces
  • Developing a positioning strategy may seem like a daunting task. After all, there are countless how-to books written about it. Industry magazines are awash with articles about how this hotel did it or that hotel did it. And then there are the presentations at industry conferences, corporate meetings, seminars, webinars, ad infinitum. Not to mention the many consultants out there. All of these sources are valuable and can provide significant insights into marketing your hotel. But the sheer numbers of resources that are available make the whole thing seem mind boggling and complicated. It’s not. It’s not because there are basically four – and only four -- positioning strategies any hotel can adopt. Think of them as your marketing’s Four Strategic Aces. In this article, you’ll read about the four different strategies and why your hotel should adopt only one. Read on...

Maite Vélez-Couto
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Using Influencers Effectively Gives Hotels a Strategic Advantage
  • Effectively communicating brand messages to current and future guests remains an essential business strategy for any hotel. More and more, companies are turning to influencers to reach a broader audience and help boost sales. But not every brand or hotel has mastered the complexity of these partnerships nor are they really sure how to best measure their success. Although there are three basic elements to influencer engagement – plan, research and measure – the key is in the nuances. Read on...

Bonnie Knutson
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Marketing's Three Legged Stool
  • This article is designed to help anyone in the hotel industry answer the challenge of hotel marketing in the 21st Century. It is built on my belief [1] that marketers have overly complicated the marketing process, [2] that marketing is dynamic, constantly evolving to meet the changing needs, wants, and expectations of people and organizations, and [3] that the reasoning behind the AMA’s newly revised definition is right on target. In it, you’ll read about the three legs that are necessary to support the marketing milk stool for hotels in this increasingly fragmented and competitive global environment. Read on...

Laurence Bernstein
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Refreshing, Re-articulating, Re-branding or What? Fixing the Tired Brand
  • Just when we thought the “branding” fetish of hotel owners and operators had retreated into the back-reaches of the mind, replaced by design fetishes or mobile fetishes or OTA neuroses – just when we though we’d wrestled the branding beast to the ground – just when we thought we had branded all that could be branded (and sub-branded, co-branded, extended, and the rest), the wretched word reappears, wrapped in the disguise of “re”. Re-brand; re-fresh, re-position, re-frame, re-articulate, re-contextualize – an entire universe of “do-it-again-branding” to confuse, confound, and just plain con hotel owners, operators and marketers. The reason is not complicated: branding is an ongoing process, and as tastes competitive environment changes, so must the hotel’s brand change. The question is: how much does the brand need to change, and how profound does the change have to be. In other words, is a re-brand, re-positioning, refreshing, re-articulation or re-what? In this article we look at the differences between the re’s and when which is appropriate. Read on...

Laurence Bernstein
  • Sales & Marketing
  • The Art of the Brand Story
  • Fundamentally, the difference between a “Good Brand” and a “Great Brand” is the ability of the organization, through its products, people and communications to engage on an emotional level. “Good Brands”, and most successful brands are good brands, deliver promised services consistently and achieve high satisfaction ratings. “Great Brands” do exactly the same thing, but achieve off-the-charts satisfaction ratings because they have connected at a deeper level. On a more prosaic level, a visit to the marketing and revenue management teams “Good Brand Inc.” is an immersion into complaints about OTAs and commodity pricing pressures (discounts); a visit to the same group at “Great Brand Inc.” is an eye opening exposure to sustained margins, direct bookings, and eye-watering occupancy figures! Read on...

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OCTOBER: Revenue Management: Technology and Big Data

Steve  Van

Do you have a catering assistant whose first question each morning is Did we sell out? or What was our occupancy and ADR last night? What about a front office associate who is so hungry to earn the perfect sell incentive that every time she works the 3:00 to 11:00 shift and the hotel has just a few rooms left to sell, you can count on the fact that you are going to end up with a perfect sell? If so, you may have just found your next revenue manager! Read on...

Will Song

Airbnb is less than a decade old, but it has already begun to make waves in the travel industry. The online marketplace where individuals can list their apartments or rooms for guests to book has been able to secure a surprisingly stable foothold for itself. This has caused some hoteliers to worry that there’s a new competitor in the market with the potential to not only take away market share but drive prices down lower than ever. Let’s take a closer look at how Airbnb fits into the industry right now and then walk through the steps of the ways your hotel revenue management strategy can be adapted to the age of Airbnb. Read on...

Brian Bolf

Revenue management tends to be one of the most challenging hospitality disciplines to define, particularly due to the constant evolution of technology. Advancements in data processing, information technology, and artificial intelligence provide our industry with expanded opportunities to reach, connect, and learn from our guests. Ultimately, the primary goals of revenue management remain constant as the ever-evolving hospitality industry matures. We must keep these fundamentals top of mind, while proactively planning for the tighter targets that lay ahead. That said, how can we embrace these innovations, operate under constricted parameters, and learn from the practices used today to achieve our same goals moving forward? Read on...

Sanjay  Nagalia

Every year, it seems as though the hospitality industry faces more competition, new opportunities to leverage their data, and difficult organizational challenges to overcome to remain competitive in a hypercompetitive marketplace. The popularity of the sharing economy, dominating OTAs and a growing generation of often-puzzling consumers all give pause to hotels as they strategize for a more profitable future. Hotels have been feeling the heat from OTA competition for several years, causing many organizations to double down on their efforts to drive more direct bookings. Revamped loyalty programs, refined marketing campaigns and improvements to brand websites have all become primary focuses for hotel brands looking to turn the tables on their online competition. Read on...

Coming Up In The November Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive
If there is one dominant trend in the field of hotel architecture and design, it’s that travelers are demanding authentic, immersive and interactive experiences. This is especially true for Millennials but Baby Boomers are seeking out meaningful experiences as well. As a result, the development of immersive travel experiences - winery resorts, culinary resorts, resorts geared toward specific sports enthusiasts - will continue to expand. Another kind of immersive experience is an urban resort – one that provides all the elements you'd expect in a luxury resort, but urbanized. The urban resort hotel is designed as a staging area where the city itself provides all the amenities, and the hotel functions as a kind of sophisticated concierge service. Another trend is a re-thinking of the hotel lobby, which has evolved into an active social hub with flexible spaces for work and play, featuring cafe?s, bars, libraries, computer stations, game rooms, and more. The goal is to make this area as interactive as possible and to bring people together, making the space less of a traditional hotel lobby and more of a contemporary gathering place. This emphasis on the lobby has also had an associated effect on the size of hotel rooms – they are getting smaller. Since most activities are designed to take place in the lobby, there is less time spent in rooms which justifies their smaller design. Finally, the wellness and ecology movements are also having a major impact on design. The industry is actively adopting standards so that new structures are not only environmentally sustainable, but also promote optimum health and well- being for the travelers who will inhabit them. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.