The Evolution of Hotel Marketing.

For many years, Alex Gibson and I have shared the marketing lectern teaching students pursuing their MBA in Hospitality Management at the Institut de Management Hôtelier International (IHMI) at the École Supérieure des Sciences Economíques et Commerciales (ESSEC), one of Europe’s preeminent business schools, just outside Paris, France.

Evolve or Die
As part of my opening lecture, I always tell students; “Think differently. Constantly question, test ideas, seek proof. Put this to work in your career, and watch how you become renowned as an audacious, original hotel marketer.”

This is something I feel strongly about, believing that hospitality marketing must continually move forward and retool. Evolve or die.

One example I’m sharing this year at ESSEC is that marketing is evolving from the “4 P’s” that were drilled into our heads in marketing class at college—and the various marketing texts authored by Philip Kotler—to that of the “4 E’s.”

Product, the first “P,” has been replaced by Experience or Entertainment.

As hoteliers today, we are no longer simply selling rooms. We are selling entertainment and eliciting human reactions. From check-in, to the experience in the guest rooms, bars, restaurants, spas, and various other outlets.

If your guests don’t react to your team—bellmen to maids to waiters to massage therapists—the room, or a plate of food, you’ve failed. If they are smiling, surprised and/or taking pictures or video with their smart phones, you’ve succeeded. As hoteliers we don’t always focus on that reaction. When we do, the product gets better, along with word-of-mouth, TripAdvisor scores and social media hits.

I highly recommend that you take some time to rediscover and map out the full guest experience within your hotel or brand. Be a guest again. View it from this perspective and perhaps you will discover creative ways to enhance your guest experience.

Place is now Everywhere and/or Electronic. Develop your knowledge of new media and channels in the way a magician masters new techniques. Try new things—do something that doesn’t start with discounts and banner ads. Surprise and delight your audiences, followers, and viewers.

Price has become Exchange. Appreciate the value of things, not just the cost. Start by calculating the value of your customers, and what their attention, engagement and permission are worth to you.

Promotion has most certainly evolved into Evangelism. Find the passion and emotion in your brand. Inspire your guests and employees with that passion. Make them your Evangelists.

Ultimately, it’s the ideas, the ideas, the ideas. Make every waking moment be about innovation, fun, and authenticity, so you and your team can create something magical together at your hotel.

This is the very essence of hospitality marketing—Identifying consumer trends, and crafting programs that exceed guest expectations while providing a tangible opportunity to differentiate the organization, hotel or resort from the competition.

What consumer trends have you and your organization identified, and what programs have you introduced to take full advantage of the opportunity? I’d love to hear from you. Please share some of your evolutionary ideas.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 2:49 pm and is filed under Advice, Opinions . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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