Newsflash: There are just four months left of 2016!
With Labor Day behind us, the dust has settled from your summer season and you’re just now beginning to think of the rest of the year ahead. Before you get swept up in end-of-year chaos and coming up with holiday hotel marketing campaigns, September is the opportune time to set the foundation for your success in 2017.
Get smart about planning ahead.
Here are five must-do tasks to ramp up for your 2017 revenue goals:
1. Evaluate the True Needs of Your Hotel’s Business Mix
We often see hotels that invest too much of their marketing focus and resources on attracting leisure business. Meanwhile, their corporate sales and group sales teams are left having to hastily create disjointed lead campaigns on their own. The biggest irony of this common situation is that a single corporate or group business contract promises hundreds of bookings and larger ancillary spending, while leisure marketing campaigns drive reservations one-by-one. Don’t ignore the biggest spenders. Instead, look at what your corporate sales’ and group sales’ goals are and create an integrated marketing strategy that aims to help them achieve those numbers, in addition to your leisure campaigns.
By now, your management or ownership team have met and begun to map out their revenue targetsfor 2017. If you haven’t already, ask them specifically what part of that revenue pie you and your hotel marketing team are responsible for. Don’t move forward on a budget without knowing exactly what goals your team is beholden to. Get as much clarification as you can, including how many room nights, booked meetings, corporate bookings, etc. should be attributed to your marketing efforts.
A common mistake hotel marketers make when creating a marketing budget is they simply just ask for the same amount as the current year. Here’s the problem: Your hotel owners will likely have an expectation for your team to do even better and to produce even more than this year. So, it makes no sense to ask for the same amount when now, you are being held accountable for achieving so much more!
3. Recruit New Salespeople to Replace Poor Performers
Now that we’re at the end of Q3 and heading into Q4, there’s less doubt as to which salespeople are your top players and which team members are not achieving their goals. If you’ve already invested in training and sales coaching but you're still not seeing any gains in the amount of groups booked by these poor performers, now’s the time to start looking at other potential sales people to take their place.
Competition for group business is fierce and you could possibly be missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in group revenue if some of your precious salespeople are missing their numbers. You need an ambitious, creative and smart sales team to drive your goals. And, everyone has to carry his/her weight – period.
4. Gather Guest Reviews to Support Your Budget Requests for Hotel Upgrades
Even the most brilliant hotel marketers can’t get away with putting lipstick on a pig. Despite your consistent and creative marketing efforts, your insightful decisions and your perfectly executed marketing campaigns, you won’t ever be as successful as you deserve if your hotel is crumbling, aging, and showing signs of decay and disarray. Fresh, new properties are popping over everywhere and delivering the exact experience that modern guests are looking for. So, your hotel owners can’t sit back on their past investments and expect to drive the same business with the same ol’ product. Upgrades are necessary, you just have to prove it.
Leverage past guest reviews to convince ownership and management that investments are urgent and imperative to effectively compete. Comb through your guest reviews and highlight complaints that come up most often and will most likely drive potential guests away (mold in the bathrooms, shades aren’t dark enough, ratty carpets, aged décor, etc).
5. Have an Open Dialogue With All Stakeholders About What’s Worked and Not Worked YTD
Marketing success doesn’t occur in a vacuum or behind closed doors of your marketing meetings. You need to have open discussions with your other departments of the property team to analyze the year with you and review where you saw your biggest success, where you tanked, what was the best use of marketing funds and where you can save.
And, don’t overlook your own front desk staff as a key source of information about your customers. They often have insightful direct feedback that could impact your marketing campaigns for the future.