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2021 2021

Hotel DOSM
Checklist

Lay the foundation for success in 2021.

Year in and year out, we get the opportunity to help truly world-class DOSMs turbo-charge their marketing programs. What sets these hotel sales and marketing giants apart from the rest? Plenty! But the one thing that unites them is how they prioritize going into the new year. Want to take a page out of their book and lay the groundwork for a successful new year?

Here are the ten priorities of talented DOSMs heading into the new year.
1. Getting revenue management and marketing in the same room. And keeping them there.

Like any successful relationship, if you’re not the one actively trying to make it work, then you’re likely part of the problem. Successful DOSMs will tell you to stop waiting for someone else to bridge the gap between RM and marketing, lead the charge. 

After all, the gap between rev management and marketing typically falls into one of three categories: communication, education and collaboration. Once you identify where the gap is, closing it is surprisingly simple. 

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Here are a few ways DOSMs are proactively closing the gap between RM and marketing.
Demand Collaboration
Demand Collaboration

Get revenue management and marketing in all the same meetings. Vendor calls. Agency calls. Everything. When teams learn together, they start to build that collaborative muscle and eventually it becomes second nature. 

Goal Setting
Goal Setting

Demand clear goals from revenue management and demand equally clear strategy from marketing on how they’re going to help achieve those goals. Meetings should never end without everyone in the room agreeing on the goals and the KPIs. 

Ongoing Education
Ongoing Education

Marketing should train revenue management on the marketing tools and channels they employ. And vice-versa. How can anyone make a truly informed decision without knowing all the options available to them?

2. Getting each segment the resources and the budget they deserve.

Large scale hotels and resorts could be running up to six different businesses. Think about that for one second: A hotel, a restaurant, a wedding venue, meeting space, a golf course, a spa. That’s not just an abundance of revenue opportunity, it’s an abundance of work. To do this right, they need to build a comprehensive strategy around each segment. That means a dedicated budget, website, media, etc…

Here are some of the tough questions DOSMs ask themselves each year.

  • How do my customers differ by segment? How are they finding us? Have the tools they use to find us changed significantly?
  • Do I understand my compset by segment? Do I know them by name? What are we doing to differentiate ourselves from them and vice-versa?
  • What are my highest performing marketing channels by segment? Is Google the right channel for meetings and weddings? Or should I be using facebook, programmatic media, etc... ?
  • What are my goals by segment? And how am I measuring the success of each?

3. Mastering Metasearch & the OTAs.

Who manages your relationship with the OTAs? Is it marketing? Revenue management? The truth is that the OTAs cross disciplines. Both revenue management and marketing need to have an intimate relationship with the possibilities (and the limitations) of these channels.

Great DOSMs understand these nuances. Here are a few to consider:

  • Funding metasearch is critical to reducing OTA commissions. Once you’ve signed up on the OTAs, your best chance at winning back some of those commissions is through metasearch.
  • The photography on your OTA is of critical importance. Marketing should treat the OTAs like a second website and get final approval on imagery and content.

  • The OTAs aren’t all bad. And OTA ads don’t always conflict with your book direct strategy. Paid advertising tools on Tripadvisor and Expedia allow hoteliers to attract new users in impactful ways. Next to Google, they’re a hotel’s top producers.
  • It’s a revenue management decision to list with the OTAs. But it’s both marketing and revenue management’s job to understand the advertising opportunities (and there are a few). The OTAs should not be managed in a vacuum.

4. Prioritizing the sales team.

Maybe marketing can’t pick up the phone and cold call leads, but they can certainly work to reduce the burden on their sales team. Much beloved DOSMs put their sales team first. And the results speak for themselves.

Here are a few ways hotel DOSMs reduce the burden on their sales team.

Sales Collateral
Sales Collateral

Make sure they are working with top shelf sales material. Whether it’s wedding photogr aphy or a great catering brochure, your sales team deserves the best chance they can get at closing the deal. Don’t let them down with subpar sales collateral. 

Nurturing Campaigns
Nurturing Campaigns

Help them follow up with leads. The toughest job in sales is following up with leads that go cold. Help your sales team out with lead nurturing campaigns that target cold leads or keep warm leads warm while your sales team chases them down. 

Drive Direct
Drive Direct

Your website can do more than put heads in beds. It’s also how you attract new weddings, meetings and group business. Great DOSMs know they can no longer rely on 3rd parties alone. They need to own their direct channel for every segment. 

5. Staying laser focused on the metrics that matter

You can make a career out of chasing bad data, but Great DOSMs lead the pack in always returning to the big picture metrics. Experienced DOSMs will tell you not to get sidetracked by those secondary (often-misleading) metrics. Instead, stay focused on the metrics that matter. 

Here are a few.

F&B & Spa
F&B & Spa

Total marketing cost per key conversion (i.e. reservation, call, map or menu view).

Leisure Transient
Leisure Transient

 Total marketing cost per booking.

Meetings & Weddings
Meetings & Weddings

Total marketing cost per event. 

Golf
Golf

Total marketing cost per tee-time reservation. 

6. Getting their story straight.

Not everyone is a storyteller, but difference-making DOSMs know they’ve got to own their hotel’s story through every step of the consumer journey. Put yourself in the shoes of an average consumer and give yourself a touchpoint analysis.

  • What does a consumer see the first time they see you on Tripadvisor or Expedia?
  • What does a consumer see the first time they do a search on google?
  • What’s that first image on the homepage of your website? What about that headline?
  • What images do they see when they go to instagram and facebook?

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Are these touch points contradictory? Complimentary? These channels on their own might seem small, but add them all together and it’s the sum total of the impression your digital presence has on a consumer.

7. Staying Practical When it Comes To Social Content

Can you believe it’s been over a decade since social media first emerged as a tool to be leveraged by hotels? By now experience has taught the battle-fatigued DOSM one simple truth. Social media can be practical and it can be very, very wasteful.

Here are a few common mistakes to correct in 2021.

  • Spending more on posting content than on the advertising to propel that content.
  • Focusing too much on fans and followers and not enough on the travelers actively shopping your hotel right now.
  • Focusing on talking and not enough on listening.
  • Spending more on social media than on your higher revenue segments: such as meetings and weddings.

8. Keeping an eye on those SERPs.

SEO for hospitality is different from any other industry. For instance, a user has a totally different experience when they search for a hotel versus when they search for a lawn mower. It’s the same for hotel segments. Someone searching for a wedding venue has a completely different search experience than someone searching for a spa. And the search for meeting space differs from the search for a restaurant. You get the idea.

Understanding the nuances of the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) sets great DOSMs apart. And prevents them from chasing unrealistic strategies.

What do they know about the SERPs that give them such a competitive advantage?
one
one

Without a paid strategy, you’re leaving tons of revenue on the table. And that’s true for every segment: leisure, weddings, meetings, F&B. 

two
two

Dominating for your brand on the SERPs helps you keep OTA commissions at bay. That’s money in the bank. 

three
three

Google’s metasearch engine accounts for the majority of all metasearch.

four
four

Google Hotel Finder puts Google in the OTA business, big time. And traditional brand and non-brand search are starting to play second fiddle to metasearch.

9. Getting back to basics with their product.

All the marketing in the world can’t help if you have an inferior product. Great DOSMs refuse to settle for an inferior product or a property that won’t get out of its own way.

  • Be honest about where your product sits in relation to your compset.
  • Has your product adapted to changing market conditions?
  • Listen to your sales team. They’re talking to the market every single day.
  • You can’t fix your product alone or all at once. Try to get 1% better every single day.
  • Assign a product ambassador who is responsible for improving key areas of your product and providing updates.

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10. Never losing sight of their compset.

It’s truly amazing what you can learn about your own hotel by looking at your compset. Forcing yourself to study, compare and contrast your property against three or four of your biggest competitors is the quickest path to self-discovery. Knowing how you differ helps you differentiate your product in the marketplace. Knowing where you are weak and where they are strong is your marketing department’s competitive advantage.

When you shop your compset, try to answer these questions:

  • What kind of google ads are they running?
  • What’s their approach to social media?
  • What kind of website do they have?
  • How are they differentiating themselves?
    What’s their UVP - universal value proposition.
  • Do they have aggressive segment based marketing strategies for meetings, weddings, F&B?
  • Are they holding rate or slashing prices?
  • What is their special offer strategy?

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