Raw Fancy Pumpkin

Embrace the Weird

Now that it’s Halloween, it seems only fitting that we discuss holidays and what they can do to boost revenues for your hotels. In the past, I’ve talked about what you can do to create excitement around the mainstay holidays – at least in a North American sense these include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Father and Mother’s Day, Easter, Memorial/Victoria Day, Independence/Canada Day, Labor Day and, as of today, Halloween. While it may be a tad late to execute a plan for that last holiday, I’d highly suggest you get a plan together for some or all of the other ones. But these common holidays raise a profound marketing question: if every hotel is working on some form of promotion or event for these abovementioned celebrations, how do you stand apart? It’s like when you are at a Halloween party, having slaved for hours over your unique …

Larry MogelonskyEmbrace the Weird
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Where Have the Real Hotel Marketers Gone?

In my role as hotel industry consultant, marketer and blogger, I am often asked to provide advice to hoteliers and suppliers. One such call came in recently. The call’s nature provides a keen insight into the current state of hospitality marketing. The call was from an advertising agency that was tasked with the requirement of building a traditional media plan for this hotel chain. The amount was in the multimillions of dollars, not small change given the meager amounts spent these days. I was asked—pro bono, I might add—to see if I could give any recommendations. My first questions were simple. Who is the target customer for this advertising? What was the message the ads were going to convey? And what were the goals or metrics for the campaign? The response to my simple questions nearly floored me, and I quote: “(Chain name deleted) needs to demonstrate that they have …

Larry MogelonskyWhere Have the Real Hotel Marketers Gone?
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A Personal Autograph at The Algonquin St. Andrews

As a child, I spent my summers in Saint John, New Brunswick. The highlight of my family’s 10-week stay was a 90-minute car ride south to St. Andrews by the Sea on the Bay of Fundy, where the grand Algonquin Resort beckoned (no relation to the Algonquin Hotel in New York City). For the 99% of readers who have never visited or heard of this property, the Algonquin was a Fairmont property of historic proportions. A visit to the property just after its 100th anniversary in the 1990s was less than inspiring, though. Old and faded, it reminded me of the scenes from “The Grand Budapest Hotel” depicting a luxurious property’s fall from grace after years of neglect. While a new, lavish wing was added, the main building was tired at best. Less than a decade ago, New Castle Hotels & Resorts (based out of Shelton, Connecticut) took on the …

Larry MogelonskyA Personal Autograph at The Algonquin St. Andrews
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A P&G Canary in the Coal Mine?

I read with interest, the recent news that Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies, was eliminating about 100 brands (the actual number in the press varies). A foremost leader in branding and the place where I learned the ropes in marketing, this is fascinating news, for me at least. The cited rationale for this decision was that it would allow them to focus on their major businesses (Tide, Pampers, Gillette etc.) and, ultimately, lead to an increase in profitability. The stock market responded promptly and positively to the announcement, with shares instantly popping a few percentage points in value. This made me wonder about our hotel industry. It seems that every time I turn the page or click through an online hospitality editorial, one of the leading hotel corporations is launching another new brand. While on a different scale, would it make sense for …

Larry MogelonskyA P&G Canary in the Coal Mine?
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Gray is the New Green, Part 8: Keeping Up With the Joneses

Let’s look ahead at some generational trends. Most apparent, Baby Boomers are starting to retire en masse, and Millennials are coming of age. While a lot of our focus is on how to instill a sense of brand loyalty amongst the new tech-savvy demographics, there is still a lot of money pooled in the current reigning champions. But it’s not as if we can just snap our fingers and all the Boomers will enter retirement with loads of ample cash ready to spend on hotels and resorts all over the world. The transition is gradual. While we are experiencing the beginnings of this changeover as the first glut of post-war births (1945-1950) reaches the prime retirement age of 65, we must keep in mind that the technical definition of the Baby Boomer generation encapsulates the years from 1945 to 1965. The latter half of this (1954-1965) is often categorized separately …

Larry MogelonskyGray is the New Green, Part 8: Keeping Up With the Joneses
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Enhancing A Loyalty Program With Gamification

The Web and software world has embraced “gamification” during the past few years as websites and mobile apps find ever-craftier ways to incorporate gaming mechanics into their platforms. The goal is simple: heighten consumer interaction by making the platform more exciting. It’s something video games do especially well. By capitalizing upon our desire for instant gratification, these systems can go from amusing to addictive. When was the last time you heard a loyalty program described as addictive? Certainly, in the hotel industry, probably never. Most of the time, these programs are supplemental to emotional consumer drivers: Guests select a hotel brand with the loyalty program seldom acting as the primary reason for continued brand affinity. In this sense, they are afterthoughts and rarely take center stage with the product. Part of the problem is that the hotel landscape is saturated with loyalty programs; it’s almost mandatory that every property be …

Larry MogelonskyEnhancing A Loyalty Program With Gamification
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The Hotel Art Scene – Building Communities and SEO

It goes without saying that a big marketing topic these days is search engine optimization, or SEO. We’re all looking for ways to increase website visibility and countless articles have pointed steadfastly to heightened exposure amongst neighborhood businesses or community organizations as a highly workable strategy. Indeed, the Google algorithms are set up to look for these local connections and give priority to businesses with the most local activity. But if everyone is going after the same thing, how do you differentiate yourself? My solution: specific and dedicated strategy. And the approach today is to increase SEO by becoming a patron of the local art scene. Unless you operate a quaint 15-room B&B, you’ll likely have a little extra space around the property for a new piece of art or two. You might decide to leave, for example, a hallway alcove – complete with neutral gray-painted walls – blank and …

Larry MogelonskyThe Hotel Art Scene – Building Communities and SEO
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Catering to the Nutraceutical Market

We are what we eat. What we eat affects our emotions, our energy levels, our immune systems, our physical strength, how quickly we age and even how intelligent we are. New dietary research continues to reaffirm these correlations and people the world over are slowly waking up to the fact that feeding the body high octane fuel is a lifestyle choice with astounding benefits. However, eating perfectly is not (yet) an exact science and as such, there isn’t one universally proven method of boosting one’s health via certain eats. Case in point: look at the plethora of what’s currently trending – vegetarianism, veganism, raw foodism, pescetarianism, the paleo diet, the slow carb diet, gluten-free eating and so on. Trends Keep Changing A decade ago, dairy was great for you; now it’s chock full of bad sugars, allergens and hormones. Fat used to be the enemy, now it’s carbs. Unless you …

Larry MogelonskyCatering to the Nutraceutical Market
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10 Tips To Build A Unique Selling Proposition

Central to building your property’s awareness and sales generation is its “voice” or unique selling proposition. Specific to the hospitality industry, a USP is defined as the single most identifiable benefit a property can give to consumers. With endless distractions and screen bombardment, you have at best five to 10 seconds, or one short phrase, to impress a prospective guest—not much time to communicate the full extent of your brand value. But this should be enough for you to get across one clear idea or selling point. From a marketer’s point of view, an ironclad USP makes our job so much easier, as it will help determine all subsequent priorities and logistics. Contrary to what you might think, by consigning us to work within the mold or theme of a proscribed USP, it frees our minds to think up bolder, creative and more aggressive promotional placements. If you don’t concisely …

Larry Mogelonsky10 Tips To Build A Unique Selling Proposition