ISHC - The International Society of Hospitality Consultants |

Applying Five Tenets of Sales and Marketing in These Tough Times | By David M. Brudney, ISHC

22 January 2010

We made it through the holidays celebrating responsibly—as those alcoholic beverage commercials remind us so well—but still with that dark cloud hanging overhead, that inescapable awareness that the industry’s tough times will no doubt carry over throughout 2010 and possibly beyond.

We know there will be more hotels heading toward foreclosure, more owners giving back the keys, more discounting, more hotels turning over room inventory to the online travel agencies, and perhaps even more cannibalism than we have ever experienced.

Smith Travel Research predicts 2010 will bring some “moderate improvement:” very slight growth in both supply and demand, overall declines in occupancy, and weakness in average daily rate—but not as bad as 2009. Randy Smith—attempting to give a positive spin—tells us that “less bad is the new good.”

It’s no wonder then why operators, owners and asset managers must be filled with anxiety over the outlook for business in 2010. Have expenses been reduced or eliminated altogether? Do we have the capital to spend how and where we must to remain competitive? How can we survive? Uncertainty as to the answers to those questions can lead to poor decisions—or worse yet, management paralysis.

Unfortunately, sales and marketing become victims whenever ownership and management hesitate or postpone making critical decisions out of fear of making wrong decisions. It is when times are the toughest that hotels must have real clarity and commitment from the owner and management on the direction and implementation of the sales and marketing agenda.

Here’s a checklist for owners, asset managers and operators of items that need to be top of mind with your sales and marketing operation:

I failed to comment on the importance of Web site enhancements and managing all of the Internet distribution channels, call centers, and CRM and sales and catering software. Although I will be addressing those and other topics in future columns, much has been written already by those more qualified than me. I would strongly recommend that you consider bringing in a specialist to assess the current status of your hotel’s overall electronic connectivity.

Should you find that help is needed in order to examine and evaluate these checklist items—if that expertise is not immediately available internally or within your brand or management company—help is available. Professional, independent, objective, client-tested specialists are out there and are ready and eager to serve.

One final piece of advice: No matter how many dollars you have allocated to spend on sales and marketing in 2010, make certain you spend those hard-earned dollars wisely. Replace funding those budget items that no longer yield the required results. Be sure to explore all the new possibilities to reach your target audience through optimizing your use of social media. And be sure to put the proper metrics in place in order to measure results.

David M. Brudney, ISHC, is a veteran hospitality sales and marketing professional concluding his fourth decade of service to the hospitality industry. Brudney advises lodging owners, lenders, asset managers and operators on hotel sales and marketing “best practices” and conducts reviews of hospitality (as well as other industry) sales and marketing operations throughout the U.S. and overseas. The principal of David Brudney & Associates of Carlsbad, CA, a sales and marketing consulting firm specializing in the hospitality industry since 1979, Brudney is a frequent lecturer, instructor and speaker. He is a charter member of International Society of Hospitality Consultants. Previously, Brudney held hospitality sales and marketing positions with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott.

The International Society of Hospitality Consultants, ISHC, is a professional society of 200 members in 22 countries who are leading consultants in the hospitality industry. The Society is dedicated to promoting the highest quality of professional consulting standards and practices for the hospitality industry. Membership is by invitation only. ISHC as an organization represents a one of a kind collection of experience and expertise in the hospitality industry. ISHC members have expertise in over 30 different specialty areas in the hospitality industry and collectively have experience with over 50 hotel companies and nearly 100 brands worldwide. Additionally, ISHC members represent numerous prominent independent hotels throughout the world. ISHC members' clients include domestic and international, public and private hotel owners and investors, many leading financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, food and beverage service firms, airlines, cruise lines, time share and vacation ownership companies, universities, state, national and international convention, hospitality travel and tourism bureaus.


David Brudney & Associates
2938A Luciernaga Street
USA - Carlsbad, CA 92009
Phone: 760-994-9266

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