At HSMAI’s Chief Marketing Officer Executive Roundtable at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan last week, we asked participants — senior marketing executives working for hotel brands, management companies, ownership groups, and partners — to tell us what trends have surprised them in the last year or two. Here are 10 that they identified:
- Change: The speed of change hasn’t leveled out or slowed in the past year — in fact it has only increased. That pace is creating challenges in terms of training the next generation of talent.
- Voice: How do we as marketers who have relied on visuals to make our brands resonate, do that through voice interface? What does your brand sound like?
- Predictive analytics: It’s moving very quickly. We can now figure out down to a two- or three-hour window when someone is 95-percent likely to book.
- Experiences: What’s defining the next generation of travelers is the fact that they want to spend their disposal income on experiences rather than things. We’re spending a lot of time focusing on that at the property level — so we’re messaging once-in-a-lifetime experiences rather than the tangible product.
- Understanding data: We can’t inform a strategic marketing campaign if we don’t understand the data. That allows us to distribute content in a smart way.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Not only is it something we should be doing at our hotels, it is definitely a reason why people choose to stay with us.
- Customer centricity: The marketplace has gotten so crowded, it’s very important to differentiate what matters most to the customer.
- Talent: We continue to have issues finding talent that can deal with the intensity of the environment, the perishable nature of our industry, and — looking at 2020 — being prepared for a downturn.
- Economy: We’ve experienced slowed growth, which people confuse with a downturn, but we haven’t experienced that yet. So much of our economy is driven by customer sentiment that it’s surprising we haven’t seen a downturn yet.
The session was sponsored by Expedia Group Media Solutions. Hotel companies represented at the Roundtable included AccorHotels; Aqua-Aston Hospitality; Associated Luxury Hotels; Auberge Resorts Collection; Best Western Hotels & Resorts; Extended Stay America; Karisma Hotels & Resorts; Marcus Hotels & Resorts; Marriott International; Omni Hotels & Resorts; Outrigger Hotel Group; Radisson; Red Roof Inn; Trump Hotels; Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. HSMAI brings together Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Digital Marketing Officers, Chief Sales Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, and Hotel Management Company Sales & Marketing Executives through the year.