In an increasingly aggressive marketplace, standing out in the luxury crowd is becoming more of a challenge for independent hotels – particularly when there are more of them now than ever before. The 2018 PwC Hotels Forecast predicts slower growth of around 0.3% for London in 2019, with Brexit-related uncertainty, deceleration in general UK economic growth, and increased room supply all adding to the mix.
Given these increased pressures and competition, it is more pertinent than ever to be able to differentiate from your peers and to leverage your contacts and networks for business opportunities. These can be provided by specialist sales and marketing representation.
However, engaging with a representation consultant isn’t quite as automatic a decision as you might initially believe. Working with an experienced representative is a very important step to consider as part of a hotel’s wider marketing strategy, and for the relationship to be a success, care must be taken to select the right agency and or individual person. To achieve the best possible results, they must also become a trusted extension of the hotel’s senior leadership team.
The service provided can then be aligned to your goals, as your representative builds lasting partnerships and generates transformative campaigns that drive increased sales activity, growth and revenue. They will work closely alongside your existing hotel staff, along the way leveraging their extensive network, their deep customer understanding, and their detailed awareness of the many factors that influence the travel and wider hospitality industry.
Significant competitive advantage can be gained from bespoke, specialist in-market expertise – as long as the time is right, the objectives are clear, and the representative’s skills and experience are properly matched with the hotel’s needs.
Before we examine the right time to seek specialist representation, let’s take a look at some of the key benefits.
Benefits of representation
- Unrivalled support
The best representation works in open partnership with the hotel, and will result in unrivalled personalised support that provides solutions to complex marketing issues, along with well-directed sales activity that makes the most of opportunities. From your representative’s extensive and well-chosen professional network, you will also gain access to the right people at the right time.
Take care in selecting a well-networked partner with the appropriate skills and experience, and treat them as a valued member of your senior team.
- Honesty is the best policy
When it comes to the complex business of bespoke hotel sales and marketing, honesty is a key component of success. Open communication between your senior team and your representative is vital to making the most of this relationship.
Through an open and honest communication environment, your representative will liaise effectively with your team and can provide objective, fact-based feedback, unencumbered by the internal pressure and politics that often come with employee status.
- Value for money
The right representation can result in exceptional value for money, particularly when compared with the cost of a full-time senior staff member. Employment costs including sickness and holiday pay as well as benefits compensation are removed, leaving your hotel free to budget only for the customised level of service required and thus provided.
Clearly, there are many advantages to engaging with a sales and marketing representation professional. Now we need to understand exactly when is the right – and for that matter, the wrong! – time for an independent hotel to engage professional sales and marketing representation.
When the time is right…
…the reasons tend to be cost or resource led. For example, if employing a full-time team member in a key market is established as the best business option, yet to do so would be prohibitive in terms of cost, working with a representative will ensure experienced senior-level support within a controlled budget.
Maximising a newly-identified feeder market is another area in which tailored representation can bring considerable gains. After all, you may not be willing or able to bear the significant financial burden associated with opening a new office, not to mention the spiralling travel costs to a key feeder market.
When the time is wrong…
…it is usually because a hotel or venue is not sure exactly where a specialist’s skills, contacts and experience would be best placed. It could also be the case that you already have global sales or in-market support, that is not being utilised in the most appropriate way.
If you are clear about the opportunities available to you, then a skilled, well-informed and well-networked representative will ensure they are effectively maximised.
If you are unsure, some specialists will be able to conduct in-depth market research on your behalf, then help you devise marketing and promotional activity that will increase awareness of your hotel and meet the needs of your target customer base.
Is representation the right choice for your hotel?
If so, then you’ve come to the right place at the right time!
@luxurylondonguy was founded specifically to address the everyday sales and marketing challenges faced by independent hotels. Globally connected, we can demonstrate a wealth of experience in sales and marketing, gained in a number of leading hotels around the world.
We work with extensive understanding of the luxury hospitality industry, and have established lasting relationships with key contacts, so that we can provide a range of specifically tailored solutions for independent hotels.
Our tailored services cover in-market support, in-depth research and S.M.A.R.T. commercial strategy development, along with sales and service training and bespoke consultancy – all based upon the unique aspects that matter the most to each individual client.
We work in close and honest partnership with our clients and partners, attending networking events on their behalf, and creating lasting connections with their customers and clients.
To find out more about the representation services we provide and if we are right for your hotel, please contact us – and in the meantime, don’t forget to follow us for regular industry insights and information.