Most hotel management companies are created by proven hotel executives who have cut their teeth leading profitable properties and now want to monetize their expertise with hotel owners and asset managers.
But what truly distinguishes a top HMC from a mediocre one?
How are the best HMCs deploying marketing tactics to attract more hotel owners, asset managers and investors?
We spoke with two industry leaders to find out:
Jeff Spaccio, former Regional Director of Sales for The Procaccianti Group and Pyramid Hotel Group (and currently our own DOSM-in-Residence at Tambourine)
Here’s what they had to say about the marketing practices of the most successful hotel management companies:
1. They Hold Their Marketing Teams Accountable
Asset managers and property owners no longer want to hear about “branding initiatives” or logo colors… they expect their hotel management firm’s marketing team to contribute to revenue in a measurable way, communicate in number-speak and be accountable for tangible results.
This includes revenue management execs, whose compensation programs prioritize gross revenues over profitability. Innovative hotel management firms are now motivating revenue managers to understand true channel costs and gravitate to lower cost sources of bookings.
“They should be well aware of the cost per booking,” Spaccio reiterated.
“Smart HMCs are rewarding revenue managers for generating revenues beyond the forecasted targets, but in the end, incentives are primarily driven by their ability to exceed profitability.”
But accountability also requires empowerment. Which is why Green believes you have to invest in the strength of the marketing team’s skills to optimize both profitability and performance.
“We over-index on sales/revenue management and e-commerce corporate support,” Green shared. “To be relentlessly granular you have to have the people and the time to dig deep.”
2. They Know Their Products and Markets
The best hotel management teams shun the one-size-fits all mentality. Instead, they analyze each property and its market dynamics to come up with creative solutions tailored to address the unique challenges that the property faces.
“Here, (at Chesapeake Hospitality) we always question the norm. Why does a hotel have to perform a certain way in a certain segment?“ Green said.
Spaccio also stressed the importance of understanding the property’s position in the marketplace compared to its comp set.
He recommends leveraging advanced business intelligence tools that allow you to analyze your competition and future demand.
“Truly understanding what your competition is doing at the ground level and focusing on your competitive advantages should remain a core mandatory.”
3. They Correlate Investments to Targets
The most successful HMCs take the time to get to know all of a hotel’s customer segments and provide innovative solutions to address each type of audience. Spaccio insists that smart hotel management firms always have a roadmap with a breakdown of exactly how much revenue they expect from each segment of the hotel’s business. This enables the firm to correlate its separate investments in marketing for leisure/transient, group, corporate and F&B.
The top HMCs understand that generic, aimless and ‘pretty’ marketing won’t cut it. Every marketing activity they create is built with the intention of drawing direct business from one or more of a hotel’s pre-defined guest segments.
4. They Work With Proven Vendors
If you want to be a trustworthy partner that drives profitability, you have to surround yourself with quality marketing partners as well.
“Partner with the best of the best in the hotel industry and hold them to your standards,“ Spaccio suggested. “You’ll only be successful if you set a high bar during your vetting process, whether you’re looking for a PMS, CRM or a hotel website design firm.”
Smart hotel management firms only work with hospitality marketing vendors and partners who have smart systems in place, proven successful in yielding above-market returns and a relentless determination for ROI that matches their own.
5. They Confront Owners About the Product
Profitable hotel ventures start with a good product. If a property is lacking in amenities, room quality or decor, smart HMCs are upfront with hotel owners about investing in improvements.
Otherwise, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle against all the other hotels that are investing in their properties and their future.
Plus, be prepared to fight for your share of that investment when hotel owners consider cutting costs in vital areas.
Spaccio explained: “Understand how to manage owners and guest expectations. There are two ways to be profitable at a hotel: driving top line revenue and cutting expenses at the bottom line. The top hotel management have the ability to push back on owners and effectively manage them if an owner is looking to cut an expense that will ultimately hurt the property.”
6. They Hire the Right People
The most successful hotel management companies are made up of visionary and exemplary staff at all levels, from the marketing coordinator to the DOSM. Ultimately, the talent in all of your ranks is what can set you apart from other hotel management companies.
“Hire the right energy,” Green recommended. “To differentiate among other hotel managers, you better have a very strong framework for success. This includes top talent – people who engage and inspire.”
“Then, consistently train them to win.”
There also needs to be a good balance of experience and innovation, Spaccio added. “Look for people who have the ability to multitask, analyze data and adopt ever-evolving new software platforms.”
“As hotel marketing moves more and more into the digital world, smart HMCs are hiring sophisticated hotel ecommerce managers and revenue managers to support their revenue projections,” Spaccio explained.
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com