By John Jimenez, CHSP, Vice President of E-Commerce, Noble Investment Group, and member of HSMAI’s Marketing Advisory Board
The new year is the perfect time to start fresh with new strategies for success. As 2020 drew to a close, members of HSMAI’s Marketing Advisory Board (MAB) shared their best tips, tricks, and tactics for a successful 2021 during their monthly call. I presented some suggestions that I found to be the most helpful, while other members also shared some of their advice. Here are some of their suggestions for making the most of the new year.
MAB members shared apps, programs, and workflows that brought value not just to their professional lives but to their personal lives as well. As we have all spent — and continue to spend — much of our time on Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms, there are several different plugins or interfaces that can help make your presentations more engaging.
One such application is Mmhmm. It is a separate app that allows you to control the presentation flow in a more granular way, adding a level of engagement and giving you more control of your presentation. Instead of switching back and forth from sharing your desktop and letting everyone see each other, Mmhmm lets you present content and yourself at the same time, as well as make yourself bigger or smaller on the screen when you want people to pay more attention to you versus what you’re sharing.
A similar option is Prezi Video, which is a plugin that allows you to present a content layer on the video feed. Prezi has the advantage of being compatible with all systems, while Mmhmm only works with Mac.
On the personal side, MyFitnessPal is a helpful app for taking care of yourself. Recovery isn’t just about the hospitality market, it’s also how we are recovering ourselves and treating our mental and physical health. MyFitnessPal helps you count calories, as it has thousands of foods/calorie counts stored and also uses AI to estimate the calorie count of your food if you upload a photo. It’s a convenient and simple way to track your calories as it eliminates much of the guesswork.
Other MAB members recommended tracking your sleep patterns through Sleep Cycle and using Peloton to work out. “When the whole world has gone awry, it’s helpful to do something to take care of yourself at the end of the day,” one MAB member said. “Even if everything else is out of your control, you can control yourself. That mental progress has been extremely helpful as I pushed through 2020.”
A final helpful application is Notion, is a free-form, cloud-based database that allows you to design your notes however you want and access them from anywhere. You can take notes or screenshots of presentations and save them with the date to look back on later, and also collaborate and share your notes with anyone. One MAB member described Notion as “the love child of Apple Notes, OneNote, and Evernote.”
There are many simple hacks that can improve workflow and productivity. One of the most valuable is to make sure that your workspace is set up to support the level of production that you need. If you are constantly presenting and finding yourself on camera, then it’s valuable to upgrade your space.
A boom microphone will only pick up your voice when it’s pointing to you and will block out all the noise in your background, such as kids running around, or loud sounds you have no control over, such as a lawn mower outside.
A teleprompter can also be a game changer when it comes to giving speeches or presentations, allowing you to make eye contact with your audience. You can write up what you want to say in a Word document or on a PowerPoint deck, then post that to the teleprompter. One MAB member recommended downloading PromptSmart, a voice-activated teleprompter that tracks your voice and scrolls through your presentation file in real time.
Several MAB members mentioned that to help improve their concentration and retention, they increase the speed of YouTube videos, forcing them to pay closer attention to what is being said. Similarly, the Outread app teaches you to read more quickly by allowing you to designate a pace at which you’d like to read material that you save throughout the day and then making you digest the material at that pace.
As far as actual tactics related to marketing, one idea is to use the advertising platforms on streaming services such as Hulu and Spotify, which allow even small businesses to launch ads for as little as $500 per month. You can even target hyperlocal audiences by choosing specific ZIP codes and demographics, which is especially valuable because many travelers are sticking close to home. Hulu doesn’t allow you to include a link, but it is still a valuable way to build awareness, while Spotify offers the advantage of dropping a link into the ad, allowing you to track bookings.
Another suggestion is to build a tactical database that lets you to pool your knowledge with other specialists, quickly get critical pieces of information, and continue to develop your tactics as things evolve. Airtable is one such database platform, allowing you to upload information to find an appropriate marketing tactic whenever you need it. For example, if you need to target awareness for a specific demographic, you can filter the database to show those tactics that your company has agreed are important.