Hospitality has reached its most complicated point ever. Though opportunities for branding and promotions are vast, the sheer number of available channels can be headache inducing, not to mention the array of strategies required to make any one of those channels really productive. In fact, forty-six percent of travel marketers say that determining where to allocate their ad budget across many different channels is one of their greatest challenges, while forty percent report that tracking attribution is a top challenge. With a few key tactics in place, though, your hospitality marketing department will be playing to a sold-out crowd in no time.
1). Harmonize Revenue Management, Reservations, Marketing
These three departments must be singing the same song. If revenue management has forecasts and marketing creates promotions, but the two are not sharing information, how can the right rates be promoted on the right channels? If the marketing team distributes promotions but the reservations team isn’t in the loop, how will reservations do the best job selling to that particular campaign, and how will marketing know the full extent of the promotion’s performance?
One reason so many organizations have yet to create a true revenue management focus in their culture is the limitations of their technology. When technology is not integrated in a way that allows departments to communicate with accurate real-time data, the process breaks down. Harmony is created by communication, and communication is made clearer through cohesive sales and marketing technologies. Unified teams of this nature yield more revenue—from 45% to 85%—and this makes everyone more successful.
2). Going Platinum: The Key Is (Integrated) Tracking
A rock star marketing team has access to an integrated system that will allow marketing campaigns to be tied back to bookings and revenue. This not only makes reservations’ sales more productive, it also gives marketing valuable feedback about campaign results. Tracking across both online and offline channels—i.e., voice channel, click-to-call, click-to-chat—results in robust information about how travelers navigate the purchase path. It’s important to prioritize the results that matter most to your company, and many areas need to be measured and considered within your strategy. Remember that what you track and how you collect the data can evolve over time.
3). The Drummer Plays Drums, The Bassist Plays Bass
Traditional marketing titles—like Marketing Coordinator, for instance—don’t reflect what the person actually does. Aligns titles with the team members’ responsibilities. Titles like Loyalty Builder, Content Engine, and Reputation Manager more clearly reflect a mission and keep marketers focused. Think through your goals then make them someone’s job.
4). Yoko Didn’t Break Up the Band: Importance of Communication Among Band Mates
The hospitality marketing team should be considered a social group, one that builds relationships with other departments in order to shape more successful marketing programs that align organizational goals. As well, they should communicate well with each other. Technology should support this but so should personality and company culture. Inconsistent brand experiences shatter confidence and undermine trust – so your team must work together seamlessly across all customer touch points. Think through what social collaboration tools may help, like Slack or Jive, and even consider opening up workspaces to encourage more face time.
5). Only the Rolling Stones Can Do Quality and Quantity
Especially given the increasingly complicated world of hospitality marketing, a rock star team will focus on quality over quantity. A 40-page marketing plan will be ineffective if it isn’t backed up with enough resources and time to support it, and honestly, those 40 pages are useless if the team isn’t referencing them regularly. (Look for a blog later in the year on how to outline marketing plans in a useful way.) Use historical guest booking and campaign information to create precise plans that are easily prioritized and executed. The plan should be your guiding light with a content and cadence calendar to support it.
6). Know Who’s In the Audience
One of the most important aspects of your marketing plan is to know your customer personas. Study up on your guests using your CRM data, and think outside the box for new ways to look at the trends it may contain. Ensure you use the data insights to personalize campaigns to past guests and to influence how you craft campaigns for prospective guests. Take it a step further and automate these personalized campaigns seasonally or throughout the year. With the power of data, you can make better use of your resources and be confident that your guest-centric content is delivered at the right time to the right person—with the right offer
Some rock stars get lucky with their big break. Most practice for endless hours fine-tuning until everything sounds just right. With technology to help guide and track the trial-and-error practice of hospitality marketing, you will see concrete evidence of the successful campaigns (and the less-than-successful ones) and find the path to more guests and higher revenue. By keeping everybody’s focus on the united picture instead of individual or sub-group priorities, you can develop synergies that are great for your guests and profitable for your business. After all, the only truly important view of your marketing efforts is the guest’s view.
 Mahmoud, Ahmed. Revenue Management: How to Make It Work Better for You in 2015. Revenue Your Hotel. October 2014.