The Expert: Weather the Storm with Sales & Marketing

As the housing crisis, the credit crunch and high commodity prices leave fewer discretionary dollars for travel, how can hospitality companies continue to survive and even thrive? Smart sales and marketing strategies can be an important part of the answer.Companies willing to consider fundamental changes from the practices of the past are most likely to succeed, according to a Deloitte report, “Weathering the Economic Storm: How Hospitality Companies Can Thrive in Challenging Times.”During a period of cost cutting, an increased focus on sales and marketing can seem counterintuitive. However, Deloitte suggests that effective sales and marketing offers perhaps the best opportunity to improve both the expense and revenue sides of the ledger. They recommend the following key actions (full text of the report):1. Optimize performance management capabilities.2. Improve spend effectiveness across sales and marketing channels.3. Reevaluate customer segments and touch points.4. Focus loyalty programs on value.Behringer Harvard has found that periods of economic downturn can provide a hotel’s management staff with the opportunity and incentive to revitalize itself. When combined with responsible operational changes, strategic investments in sales and marketing can help resort properties become even stronger attractions for a previously underrepresented demographic.For example, our Hawks Cay resort has been a popular destination for conferences and business events. But in today’s challenging economy, it’s common sense that South Florida residents with tight budgets for vacations or getaways are more likely to opt for a local escape. For this reason, we’re aggressively marketing our Hawks Cay resort as the perfect prescription for that scenario.By integrating the objectives and resources of the organization with the needs and opportunities of the marketplace, your organization could capture more customers and emerge stronger for having weathered the storm.