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Evert Schuele during his presentation about the 3 C’s at HSMAI Europe ROC / Sales Leader Forum. Photo: Cam Harle

Views from:
HSMAI Europe Commercial Strategy Week

Industry professionals from all over Europe attended the HSMAI Europe’s Commercial Strategy Week to gain valuable insights on revenue optimisation, leadership skills and marketing/sales strategies. We caught up with Evert Schuele – Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at HRG Hotels to get his insights on some of the important ‘takeaways ‘and call-to -actions for members.

# Go back to basics of the Marketing 5 P’s, Porter’s Five Forces and review your marketing plans to ensure relevance

We are all living and working in uncertain and volatile times – so it’s critical the industry recognises that the requirements and expectations of the customer have changed since the pandemic.

There is a need for sales and marketing teams to go ‘back to basics’ and ensure their marketing strategy and plans – the 5 P’s (price, product, place, people and promotion) are still relevant to maximise all the possible new business opportunities.

# Ensure your brand is truly embracing all the possible digital marketing strategies and technology and departments are working together

As the HSMAI Europe 2021 Awards showed, there are some truly innovative technology brands who are ready to support the industry and make our commercial objectives more effective. It is perhaps fair to say that historically the industry has been reticent to adopt technology. Whilst many more are now developing their digital marketing strategies – the industry needs to be doing far more and taking a deep dive into how it can use technology. One of the critical takeaways and something I will be acting on – in my role as Chair of the HSMAI Region Europe Sales Advisory Board – is to develop a digital sales toolbox which will be available to all members should they need guidance.

Other important insights from the events included the need for all different departments to work together around the digital marketing strategies and for sales teams to get further training on what technology is available and how it can improve their day-to-day objectives in a true cross-commercial collaboration effort.

# Customers expect the ‘personal experience’ so ensure your brand is using the right communication channels

Personalisation is a term many of us have heard of – but now we (the industry) need to be walking the talk. Sales and Marketing teams need to be factoring the ‘personal touch’ with all communication; both to existing and new B2B and B2C customers. Recent research from McKinsey revealed that those buying b2B services from hotels will now go on as many as 10 different channels before making their decision – it’s vital brands are adopting an ‘omni-channel marketing strategy’ to ensure the content is distributed in the right way and on the right forum. It won’t be enough to simply to send the monthly newsletter and hope for the best. Every single customer touchpoint has an opportunity to be optimised.

To support the personalisation drive, the industry needs to recognise that consumers are willing to share data about their preferences and “opt in” to ‘cookie’ requests, if there are value added services and the experience they receive will be enhanced. Some brands are taking this to a new level by offering special subscription clubs (paid for by guests) to ensure the bespoke customer journey.

# Plan now in case of another Covid wave in Quarter 4 2022

According to research discussed by many partners during the week from STR and OT Insights, there is fearful anticipation of another potential Covid wave in Quarter 4 2022. This is being amplified by rising inflation, food and energy costs.

It is critical that the industry plans now – what does this mean in practical terms? Brands should be doing everything to ensure that the guest experience and the service levels in the summertime are impeccable. This is about providing truly memorable and enjoyable experience so that guests will WANT to return, post a possible Covid-wave.

Some brands during the previous lean Lockdown adapted well and they pivoted to domestic only business; those living near their properties and /or based in the country. For brands looking at this approach, this is about making sure your website is easy to find and navigate for bookings, planning now with any promotional activity and ensuring that you get the right pricing point.

# The industry needs to listen to the young leaders and those entering the industry

The issue about attracting and retaining more to the industry is a perennial one. The views that the members of the HSMAI Europe Student Council provided during the week were invaluable. All of those that spoke are clearly emotionally attached to the industry, but we need to recognise that the views of the young leaders of today and tomorrow are important and can play a critical part in shaping the modern era of hospitality.

About HSMAI Europe
HSMAI – Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International – is a global organization founded in the US in 1927. HSMAI Region Europe is the European arm of the organisation. HSMAI Europe aims to be a key influencer, pioneer and the go-to industry resource for professional development, commercial strategies and sustainability in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry.

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