How to Maintain Focus in Long-Running Marketing Programs in the Hotel and Hospitality Industry
A couple of weeks back I gave a presentation on a hotel and hospitality marketing program that I and my team have been engaged in for a period of time.
The objectives set out in our program were distinctly aggressive and called for a very high level of organizational effort in addition to intensive analysis and means of achieving internal motivation for the team to remain focused on the objectives.
These were the essential goals of the program:
- Increase rooms booking by 30%
- Increase leads from all channels by at least 33%
- Increase bookings through the online portal by 70%
Take special note of the last goal: increasing online booking by 70%
When these goals were unveiled, it was interesting to notice the reaction of the team members. While some looked determined to set out, there were many more who had looks of incredulity painted across their faces.
Effective and persistent communication is a critical component for any customer centered marketing program in the hospitality industry. Even more importantly, intra-team communication assumes a very central role when success of the program is dependent on the persistent execution of tactics and where past attempts have not delivered according to expectations.
To offer you the proper insights to this process, I will take you through our internal communication process. This is a process designed explicitly for purposes of maintaining production, fostering development of new ideas and motivating performance.
Monthly Recommendation Sets
When a sales and marketing team is involved in an ongoing program, it is important that monthly marketing recommendations be brought forward so as to help in generating and strengthening marketing approaches and ideas.
Just as well, communication is an important pillar in helping the team evaluate what has delivered results in the past and the topics as well as trends gaining traction in the marketplace.
Examples of Communication Approaches
As the program picked pace, we quickly realized that getting members to leverage the various marketing ideas would be a considerable challenge. With a torrent of emails being sent back and forth daily, it can be hard to keep track of the more important communications.
In order to ensure that the ideas were adopted seamlessly, we took some deliberate communication approaches as follows:
More Captivating lead Visuals and Expressive Graphics
We adopted communication approaches which had proved effective in reaching out to the public and implemented them for all our intra-team communication.
Ideas and Options in Place of Topics and Headlines
Instead of telling people to work on specific topics, we offer ideas based on certain keywords, industry themes and examples drawn from success stories from the past and in other industries. As such, the generation of the final ideas and creative elements stem from the tem members themselves.
Consistent Feedback on Effectiveness of Messaging Approaches
It was important to take a look at just how the ideas were adopted across the team and gather feedback from all the members.
Weekly Status Updates
It is true that getting a constant stream of emails can be tiring. However, it is essential to keep communicating information at regular intervals, provided that there is value to be gained from such communications.
These are some of the regular updates we developed to keep everyone in the loop about the program:
- Weekly program updates:- Offer every team member a look at the program activities and priorities.
- Industry news updates:- We offered a heads up whenever there were significant developments in the hospitality industry, especially when these developments had a direct bearing to the program objectives outlined.
- Season specific developments:- The hotel industry has season specific trends. We strived to keep all the members up to speed with the latest data and trends throughout the year.
Pre-scripted Updates and Suggestions for Social Media Distribution
These updates always lead with a catchy and brief synopsis of the topic being elaborated upon. It was encouraging to see that team members adopted the approach of leading with a graphic or visual as specified in the team’s monthly communication standard.
Monthly Training Sessions
Every month, our team would hold training discussions on a whole range of topics relevant to our marketing strategy. Trends particularly in digital marketing are changing all the time, and keeping up with new developments in key to any marketing team.
In order for such training programs to deliver the required impact in the hospitality industry, here are some ideas to put into practice:
Set up the dates of training well in advance. In our program, we always have a schedule covering an entire year.
- Suggestions and Feedback
Always ensure you get the feedback from participants and solicit for suggestions on improvement.
- Assignments and Volunteers
Making the trainees to be active in the actual program is imperative as the training happens. Set up activities which involve all the participants, letting the members feel part of the process.
Contests, Rewards/Awards and Recognition
To make any marketing program a success in the hotel and hospitality industry, it’s important to keep in mind that every accomplishment, whether big or small has a part to play in the overall strategy. As such, people who prove winners, no matter how insignificantly; need to be acknowledged and given a pat on the back.
In our own program, here is how we recognize the efforts and accomplishments of individual members:
- Internal communication highlighting successful campaigns
- Acknowledgement and denoting of any outstanding result and acknowledging influencers who have led to recognition of our brand
- Annual awards for winning promotions and the best lead generation campaigns
Did you Increase Online Bookings?
This was the question posed at the end of the presentation. Indeed, we exceeded the volume of guests booking for rooms directly on the online portal. We exceeded the target within 4 months and the figure keeps rising.
So was it necessary to set a figure of the target? Of course not. However, after reviewing the competition and trends in the hospitality sector, this was accepted as a reasonable target by the leadership team.
In the final analysis, it is not about having ambitious achievement targets. It is about resilience, planning and dedication to the cause.