Evolve Your Sales and Marketing Processes, or Die.
By Ewa Kossakowska
Friday, 14th June 2013
20 Tips to build innovation into your hotel's sales and marketing processes;

It's easy to agree that innovation has to be at the heart of all that we do. Think for a moment about your individual customers and market segments at this time last year. What has changed? Is it large or small scale? And is this change for the better, or for the worse? Have you been able to respond with different and more relevant sales & marketing processes?

Over the past 10 years we've been using tools such as hoteldoctorTM to deliver custom-made advice to clients to help them implement innovative solutions. Our belief is that any business that does not evolve to meet changing market conditions dies, and deserves to.

There are many hotels that have cost a fortune to build and are standing with empty rooms and unused tables. In many cases, if not all, a primary cause is the lack of innovative thinking and action. Recognize the problem?

If you do, then here are some ideas you might want to think about:

Trends and behaviors:

1. How completely do you know the real expectations of your guests and clients?
2. How deeply do you know the trends in each market segment?
3. Are you thoroughly familiar with the purchasing behavior of your existing and prospective guests and clients?
4. What do you know about the 'travel journey model' of your guests?
5. Are they looking for overnight lodging as part of something else, or are they looking for a memorable experience in its own right?

Awareness and market development:

1. Are you intensively involved in implementing systems that track in real-time the results of your sales & marketing programs?
2. How thoroughly do you understand the competition and market environment?
3. Are you using the most appropriate distribution channels to generate business?
4. Are yield & revenue management tasks completed on a daily basis?
5. Are you proactive with all social media, developing a strategy for each channel?
6. Are your sales & marketing costs monitored on a regular basis?
7. Have you defined which sales & marketing costs should earn a return and are you tracking sales & marketing project profit and loss accounts, e.g. weddings, daily?

Management and motivation:

1. Do you have the right management team and are you measuring their performance regularly?
2. Are you developing and implementing SOPs on a regular basis?
3. Do you employ talented, well-trained, dedicated and service-orientated staff?
4. Are you prepared, with your staff, to provide excellent service to the hotel's guest and clients?
5. Are your behaviors honest, full of the confidence and authentic?
6. Are you on time with responses and willing to be proactive on a daily basis, not only during occasional sales blitzes?
7. Do you conduct audits and "health checks" of the hotel's departments on a regular basis?
8. And the last, but not the least, the final question: how have you as an individual improved internal and external communication in the last month?

4Hoteliers Image LibraryInnovative actions create value through new services, new products, or new experiences. But innovation is not the same as improvement; improvement only concerns existing solutions. Innovation is closer to invention - discovering the unknown. There is a room for innovative actions in every organization. Every innovation needs a leader. Innovation requires time.

Hotel Management should be a generator of innovative actions by building its own awareness and that of employees. Not everyone is able to act innovatively and you should reward quickly and publicly those individuals whose personal traits deliver measurable innovation to the business.

I recommend becoming a guest in your hotel first. If you can feel the emotion your guest experiences from sitting down to breakfast, having a good night's sleep, riding the elevator, crossing the lobby, then and only then will you equip yourself to innovate with the most appropriate products and services.

If you want help in being more innovative, generating new revenues and improving profits at your property, ask professional advisors (with extensive experience in managing hotels), for an independent view of your business.

At Hotel Solutions Partnership, innovation is in our DNA. Products like hoteldoctorTM can help hotels survive in an ever volatile environment. As I said before, hotel businesses need to evolve to meet changing market conditions or die. It's as simple as that.

Ewa Kossakowska, Vice President, EMEA

Ewa provides consultancy to hotels and tourism and travel-related companies in the following areas: sales and marketing expertise to pre-opening and existing hotels, revenue management and pricing strategy, reservation channel management, PR and advertising, market study and research for planned hotels, website analysis aimed at increasing the ratio of bookers to lookers, operational quality and departmental audits in sales and marketing, sales and marketing action plans to increase revenues from corporate, MICE and leisure segments, collaboration with TPIs, BTAs, tour operators and travel agents, business plans for hotels, advising on tourism and destination marketing strategies.

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