HSMAI conferenceOnce again the annual Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Digital Marketing Conference in New York on February 22 proved insightful, inspiring and chock full of information. The variety of general and break-out sessions covered the topics we need to remain “on top of” our game to be successful in this continually evolving and fast-paced arena. And the spectrum of themes at the conference increases each year, which only proves that if directors of marketing need to ‘talk the talk’ they need to be able to surround themselves with experts to elevate the effort and ‘walk the walk’.

The messages were plentiful. Digital disruption in a digital world. Target marketing and creativity. Social media – organic and paid. Utilizing targeted key words. Identifying relevant and appropriate hashtags. Video, video, video and imagery. Branding and loyalty. Remembering that social media sites today are used as search engines too.

But wait, there’s more.

Understanding distribution. Reducing commission payouts. Keeping accommodation alternatives at bay. Increasing revenues while enhancing technology and marketing opportunities. Optimization of website, digital marketing and budgets. Going out on a limb and learning from mistakes. How do we ‘dial up’ Trip Advisor? How do we ‘dial down’ OTA payouts? Measuring and monitoring.

There is so much for a hotel marketer to know. A hospitality director of marketing today must possess a 10 on the curiosity quotient scale. The tenacious leader must know how to motivate the entire team, because innovation is now everyone’s responsibility.

The hotel director of sales and marketing must now have the skill set of a chief marketing officer, chief financial officer and chief information officer as he or she reviews the flow of data, analyzes the inputs and outputs and manoeuvres strategy along the way for optimal success.

Where will the data, technology and opportunities take us from here? Creative and strategic marketers stay alert. Your skill set will continue to grow.

By Leora Lanz

LHL Communications