Best Practices for Hospitality Marketing Professionals

By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

HSMAI hosted a Chief Marketing Officer Virtual Roundtable on March 31 that focused on the impact that COVID-19 is having on hotel marketing. In addition to discussing key indicators they are using to track how the hospitality industry is doing, CMO participants shared their best practices, lessons learned, and ideas for preparing to accelerate as quickly as possible. Here are four of their suggestions, presented in their own words:


  • “There seems to be a race to the bottom. How can we set everything so aggressively we can survive the next few months? But you also have to keep in mind coming back out. I’m interested to see how companies manage through that. I imagine if you let everyone go, when you decide to bring them back, there’s a process that won’t be very efficient and you may not have an engaged group to help you recover quickly.”
  • “If we’re going to cut off our nose to spite our face right now, we have to be ahead of the recovery with our planning and strategy and building and implementation. If we start to cut our teams too aggressively, we’re not going to be out in front of it.”
  • “Hotels that dropped rate in previous downturns were the slowest to recover, so we are working to make sure owners and managers know they should hold rate and help them understand that undercutting everyone isn’t going to help them in the long run.”
  • “We’re trying to maintain a hyper focus on our customers and understand where they are emotionally. We want to understand what consumers need from us. We’re hoping this approach will take us through the long term and we will be there when they are ready to purchase again.”


  • “We have close engagement with our ownership groups, since they’re funding a lot of the efforts. We’ve been very close in forecasting with them, so they’re prepared and feel engaged with us and we can get our teams back in place.”
  • “We’re making sure management and ownership are aligned. It allows you to make tough decisions and gives you support when reopening. Engaging with folks really helps.”


  • “I think this is a world where we’re going to have to reinvent. We’re focusing on capabilities that have value and efficiencies. A lot of it is around automation.”
  • “We’re treating it as if we’re a new company and questioning everything. When we open back up, it’s not going to be the same as we were before. We have this opportunity to rethink everything going forward.”
  • “The importance of knowing who your key players are. That way you can understand what your team is going to look like. It’s making me stop and rethink a lot of roles and where those roles sit within the organization.”
  • “We’re looking at this as an opportunity to reemerge differently by accelerating some capital projects, and we plan to come out of it in a stronger position.”


  • “In China, they were in the process of closing for three weeks. We’re still in that three-week period. Then they went through four weeks of being closed, but eventually after that four-week period, they started opening again and most are open now. So, we could be opening back up around mid-May, but April is going to be really tough.”
  • “We’ve had the benefit of seeing the China strategy. It’s provided some calmness, because we can anticipate what things are going to look like.”

For additional information, insights, and tools, visit HSMAI’s Global Coronavirus Resources page.


Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles, Best Practices