United we are occupied
Hotel marketing companies have been known for the mantra of bringing great success to “your property”. Now they are increasingly grouping their members to facilitate exchanges and cross-marketing.
While hotel marketing companies have been known as collections of ‘like minded’ properties traditionally, their communication and measures today are more slanted towards distribution and marketing rather than the sharing of best practices.
In what points to a more mature industry, many companies now say that their members stand to gain a good deal of value from such exchanges and are demanding them more and more. What is new here is the fact that this cooperation is structured with key goals predefined and properties are only too eager to participate. Going beyond the staple forums these measures are now going on the ground.
Here's three methods that brands affiliated to hotel marketing companies use to better their prospects.
1. A market in exchange for my chef?
“For example, Imperial Hotel Tokyo sends staff to other Leading Hotels of the World hotels so that staff get exposure in other luxury hotels. In return, the host hotel gets an insight into what the Japanese luxury consumer wants thereby allowing them to serve that market better,” says Sowmyaragavan TE director, sales and marketing, India for Leading Hotels of
He explains that getting a better insight into a new market is often at the heart of such exchanges. “Hotels that find they are not getting a fair share of a certain market considering the city averages vis-a-vis a certain market also tend to opt for such exchanges,” he adds. For instance, for a hotel in a destination that is just starting to get Indian travellers, a small but key learning on the ground would be that you cannot serve dinner – no matter how sumptuous – at 5pm or 6pm because an Indian would not be able to even think about eating dinner at that time.
Yet another trend is specifically with regard to chefs. “There is a good amount of exchange of Michelin starred chefs of late as hotels begin to realise that these masters, each with certain delicacies to his name, would drive a good amount of traffic to their hotel,” Sowmyaragavan says. If the prime time television slots allotted to Master Chef and Top Chef are anything to go by, this strategy definitely has its roots in reality. SLH is currently working on one such exchange. “I know Viceroy Bali is investigating ‘chef swap’ opportunities at the moment and we are helping to facilitate this,” says Kerr.
Skill set sharing on the whole is popular as the people crunch gets stiffer. Hotel marketing companies are responding to this. “We will be launching a number of new training programs over the next six months and we will be asking our member hotels to participate and share their experiences,” says Jason Roderigues, marketing manager India, Discover the World Marketing which represents HotelREZ in India. Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) CEO Paul Kerr tells us that due to the very high standards of service offered at SLH hotels, staff members from their properties are in demand. “We are exploring the possibility of helping our hotels share talent at the moment. It’s in all our best interests to keep high quality staff within the SLH family,” he says. Leading Hotels of the World already has such programmes in place and Sowmyaragavan says that it has worked towards increasing service levels.