The Importance of Marketing in the Hospitality IndustryPosted January 15, 2016 | By Tricia Hussung
In any business, a solid marketing strategy is critical to building a brand, attracting new customers and maintaining loyalty. The hospitality industry is no different. Because customer loyalty is key, marketing managers and executives devote a lot of time and resources to building brand awareness and creating ongoing, interconnected campaigns. These marketing efforts usually include both print and digital collateral that target former guests while also attracting new clientele. However, this particular industry has a unique set of challenges that must be overcome. Understanding the importance of marketing in the hospitality industry can help you get ahead and stand out in the competitive job market.
Hospitality sales are different from consumer goods sales because marketers must sell tangible as well as intangible products. In many cases this means that they are marketing services rather than goods, and success hinges on creating the right feeling in the consumer. For example, a resort will want to cultivate a relaxing, fun atmosphere that is recognizable to customers and inspires those same feelings in the consumer.
Because the hospitality industry is mostly made up of tourism and other experiential services, a consistent brand identity is also very important. Marketers want to ensure that brand recognition exists so that customers will use their services again and again. Repeat customers bring in a sizeable portion of revenue, so marketing strategy must be split between maintaining relationships with past customers while seeking out new ones.
Strategies for Success
Companies in the hospitality industry use various methods to develop and maintain an effective marketing plan. The following are some of the general strategies that marketers use for brand success.
Customers choose hotels and other hospitality services for a variety of reasons. From location to facilities and perks, companies have to be sure that they’re providing what buyers are looking for. The role of marketers is to identify what factors make customers choose a particular hospitality service, and this requires extensive research. By speaking to current and former guests, monitoring customer reviews on websites, reviewing industry data and more, marketing professionals learn what makes a hospitality service stand out, as well as how it can be improved.
If potential customers don’t know about a service, they can’t purchase it. That’s where brand awareness comes in. Marketers make sure information on hotels, resorts and restaurants is easy to find and up-to-date. They can do this by buying ad space on relevant travel sites, creating an engaging website and collaborating with other, noncompeting hospitality services in the same market.
Another smart strategy for attracting customers is to run promotions during certain times of the year, usually when business is slower. Introducing incentives and offering incentives are just some of the ways that marketing professionals achieve this. Have you purchased a Groupon for a spa weekend? That’s promotion at work.
To ensure high levels of repeat business, good customer relationships are vital. Not only do repeat customers usually promote a service through word-of-mouth and social media, but they also create a stable revenue base. One way to build relationships is through customer loyalty programs, which reward customers who regularly use a particular hospitality service.
The following texts can give you a more in-depth look at how marketing works in the hospitality industry. From customer service to branding, these are valuable resources that you can apply to your hospitality and tourism career at any stage.
- Hospitality Marketing Management by Robert D. Reid and David C. Bojanic: This title is a great starting point for learning about marketing’s role in the hospitality industry. It includes information on Internet marketing, marketing technology, international business and more. It focuses on the practical applications of marketing theory, giving you the tools you need to create successful marketing campaigns for all types of hospitality business.
- Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism by Philip R. Cotler: This book takes an innovative approach to discussing the major marketing decisions that hospitality managers face in today’s global marketplace. It provides exercises to help you gain experience, while including updated material on social networking, database marketing and more.
- Hospitality Branding by Chekitan S. Dev: This title suggests that building a viable brand is the key to success in the hospitality industry. It posits that brand should drive marketing strategy as the chief means of attracting customers. This book is research-based and combines cutting-edge trends with a look into the future of hospitality marketing as an industry.
- The New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli: This book is focused on creating a “legendary” customer experience based on the practices used by the Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel company. It teaches you how to meet all the needs of customers and introduces a variety of useful strategies for success.
- Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by The Disney Institute: This title shows you how to exceed customer expectations, rather than simply meeting them. It takes you through Disney’s approach to customer service. You’ll benefit from 25 years of business program experience and learn how to adapt the Disney approach to your own organization and career.
Hospitality Management at Concordia
The best way to begin your career in hospitality management is with the right education. Because marketing plays such an important role in the industry, it is important to choose a program that provides a strong background of business and marketing courses. The online Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management at Concordia University, St. Paul offers courses in marketing, customer service and management, meaning you’ll get the practical skills you need to succeed. Whether you are interested in the travel, leisure, hospitality or tourism sector, our program prepares you to become an effective supervisor and manager in areas such as the following:
- Local and international attractions
- Tourism centers
No matter where you want your hospitality career to take you, get started with us at Concordia.