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HSMAI Holds First Hotel Management Company Marketing Executive Roundtable

  • 11.09.09
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) hosted its first Hotel Management Company Marketing Executive Roundtable this October in Washington, D.C.

The group discussed the latest industry trends and top challenges, as identified in a pre-roundtable attendee survey, and shared case studies and best practices for moving forward in 2010.

“Hotel management company marketing executives are under immense pressure to produce revenue and innovate in this unstable economy,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “This roundtable offered a timely venue to share best practices and tools among some of the industry’s top executives.” 

Maureen Callahan, vice president of marketing for Destination Hotels & Resorts and a member of HSMAI’s America’s Board, kicked off the discussion with a forecast of industry trends for 2010.

“Members are seeing pockets of success and working harder than ever to achieve them,” said Callahan. “Although most members will end the year 2009 down 16 to 20 percent, some are in a modest growth mode projecting zero to three percent RevPar ‘growth in 2010.’”

In a pre-roundtable survey, attendees identified the three top issues currently impacting their companies: growing revenue in a declining market; staying positive and motivating teams; and managing owner asset manager expectations.  These three issues formed the basis of the roundtable discussion, with attendees sharing key learnings and case studies about how they addressed these concerns.

Brian Tkac, vice president of marketing and revenue at Hostmark, shared a case study on how the company doubled its annual spend in the Internet marketing space, developing a comprehensive strategy that netted a 25 percent return on investment in a down economy. 

The discussion led to ideas agreed upon by the group, including:

  • Developing packages that provide high value concessions.
  • Shopping salespeople and training them on specifically what is uncovered.
  • Adding cross-company referral systems and ad hoc incentive programs.
  • Redeploying sales team into growth areas and emerging markets.

Callahan also talked about staying positive and motivating team members, focusing on reigniting recession-battered morale.

“In order to transcend in 2010 it is important to think positive and put your game face on,” said Callahan. “Keep clear, consistent and constant communication to and from all levels of management and make sure to keep sales staff trained on new ideas and approaches to selling.”

The group agreed that helping teams get out of the office, reinforcing the positives and being visionary were keys to leading their teams through the uncertain economic climate.

The entire group discussed best practices for educating owners and managing owner expectations, including agreeing on benchmarks for success and making sure expectations are aligned from the beginning. In addition, the executives agreed that educating owners on their jobs as marketers was an area where they all should excel. 

Nearly 200 hotels were represented by the management companies in attendance. Roundtable participants included:

  • Maureen Callahan, Destination Hotels & Resorts
  • Joel Carver, CSM Lodging
  • Elizabeth Cimino, Growth Properties
  • Rose Genovese, Denihan Hospitality
  • Mike Pratt, Magnolia Hotels
  • Alison Rubin, B.F. Saul Company Hotel Division
  • Brian Tkac, Hostmark
  • Hector Torres, Capital Hotels & Suites

The roundtable program was sponsored, in part, by Newmarket International.

HSMAI is a hospitality industry source for knowledge, community and recognition for leaders committed to professional development, sales growth, revenue optimization, marketing and branding. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become an industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, and bringing together customers and members at annual events, including HSMAI's Affordable Meetings®. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Interested parties can join HSMAI's social networking communities on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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