Have you been tasked with crafting a marketing plan for a hotel? Is it your first time dealing with such a responsibility? If so, you may want to consider reading onward. I spent a large part of my 15+ year hospitality career preparing marketing plans. Thus, I am quite familiar with the process. I am also more than willing to provide the basics on how to get started. With that said, the first job that you’ll need to complete is a marketing audit. It is comprised of several components. Here’s a passing glance at each one:
The first component of a hospitality marketing audit involves conducting an in-depth analysis of your hotel’s internal and external features. I’d suggest looking at the macro aspects of the property and then working your way inward. Some of the external items to take into account are the perceived age of the property, ease of access and the appearance of the surrounding community. Internal factors to take into consideration are the condition of the hotel’s furnishings, the square footage of the property’s living space, the actual age of the property’s operational systems and staff behavior.
The second component of the audit is comprised of a full-on analysis of the hotel’s direct and indirect competition. Examples of direct competitors would be hotels that fall within the same category as your own (i.e. extended stay, full-service and limited). Indirect competitors, on the other hand, include such things as short-term apartment rentals, time shares and hostels.
Once you’ve identified all of the businesses that fall within those two categories, you’ll need to scrutinize each one and compare them to your property. When I worked in hospitality sales and marketing, some of the factors that I would routinely compare with my properties were room rates, the availability of assorted amenities and delivery systems (i.e. reservation procedures and vendors). I’d also calculate the property’s market and fair share as well as RevPar.
Just in case you are unaware, a hotel’s market share is calculated by dividing the number of room nights sold by your property in a given period into the total number of room nights sold in a given area. The fair share, on the other hand, is calculated by dividing the rooms available at your property into the area’s overall room availability. RevPar is determined by taking your property’s overall revenue and dividing it into the number of rentable rooms for a given period.
Some of the data needed to make the calculations will come from your hotel’s accounting and rooms divisions. As for the total number of rooms available and sold in a particular area, those figures are often available from a region’s convention and visitor’s bureau or chamber of commerce. If they don’t have it or there aren’t such facilities in your area, you’ll need to obtain the information through other means. Other means that I have used in the past include befriending the staff of rival hotels and counting cars in parking lots.
Lastly, your marketing audit will need to contain a situational analysis that includes three elements. Those elements are an activity analysis, an occupancy analysis and a marketplace analysis. The activity and occupancy portions of the analysis consist of examining your hotel’s operating statistics over time (i.e. occupancy rate, average daily rate, profits and losses). When examining such figures, I’d recommend going back three to five years, if at all possible. Doing so will give you a better understanding of the property’s inherent, seasonal fluctuations. The marketplace analysis involves examining the controlled and uncontrollable elements typically found within the hospitality marketing mix (i.e. consumer behavior and regulatory concerns). Once you have all of those tasks complete, your audit may be used to create the balance of your hotel’s overall marketing plan.
Source: Personal Experience
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