To the uninitiated, hotel sales and marketing are the same thing. However, as a former hospitality Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, I can tell you that they are vastly different. Each discipline serves a particular function and must be in harmony with one another. Thus, I suspect that harmonious relationship is what confuses many outsiders. With that said, I thought that I would run through the basic differences between the two. Here they are:
A hotel’s marketing department is responsible for researching and analyzing the business environment. I’ll give you an example that may put that concept into perspective for you. When I worked for a hospitality group, I was tasked with researching the viability of potential, new locations. That task included conducting an in-depth analysis of such things as the area’s road traffic volume, property values, availability of qualified talent, crime rates and nearby competition. That information was later compared to the previous research that I had completed on the hotel’s target markets. If the two meshed well together, the project was often a “go.”
A hotel’s marketing manager is also required to know the difference between long-term trends and short-term fads within the marketplace. He or she must then translate that information into a highly effective and efficient set of strategies designed to increase both long and short term, profit growth. These strategies are connected to all aspects of the business, including front-line, customer service training initiatives and capital improvement schedules.
A hotel’s sales force, on the other hand, is tasked with executing some of the strategies established by the marketing division. For example, a marketing plan’s effectiveness is often measured by a series of financial benchmarks. The sales department is responsible for meeting or exceeding those benchmarks and reporting their experiences to the hotel’s marketing department. That information is then utilized by the marketing department to make adjustments to the hotel’s strategies as needed.
Marrying the Two
Given how the two disciplines are interrelated, it is not uncommon for one person to be tasked with overseeing and driving each division. That was what my job entailed. I was responsible for all the sales and marketing efforts of multiple properties. I found the situation ideal because it reduced the chain of command, thereby making it easier to quickly address emerging opportunities and threats. Not all hotels, however, adopt such a business model. Some hotels separate the two divisions, which increases response time. It also has the potential to alienate the two fractions and invite the breakdown of essential discourse.
Source: Personal Experience
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