The extent to which the post-pandemic landscape has changed is largely determined by your vantage point. Some transformations have been dramatic and long-lasting. Others will succumb to human nature and relapse. How prevalent is mask wearing in your locality now?
One thing is certain: most hotels face significant challenges in terms of hiring and retaining talent. It is critical to have an optimal team structure not only to address changes in consumer behavior but also to respond to rapidly shifting demand.
My observations are as follows.
- Consumers have become more digitally savvy and expect connected product and service delivery.
- Social media usage has increased, but it has become more fragmented across generations and geographical areas.
- Attention spans have shrunk even more. You have half a second to captivate my attention with your video, tweet, or post. I might not make it past the six-second mark.
- I need immediate answers to my questions. My friends respond to me as soon as I ask them a question. So do Google, Alexa, and Siri.
- Online channels are generating more business. Is there potential for more, or do your past and existing contracts stand in the way?
- Hotel sales teams are still in charge of offline business, and their size and costs do not correspond to their revenue contribution.
- Online distribution is delegated to a junior team member who is struggling to optimize business in the face of rate competition from offline channels.
- Revenue management talent has been difficult to find, and their role appears to be shifting from optimizing incoming revenue to being responsible for the overall topline.
- The owners have been so cash-strapped by the pandemic that they do not want to make any upfront marketing investments.
- Many tools and services used to optimize sales, marketing, and distribution have been phased out, and hotels do not have enough qualified team members to manage everything that is required.
- The traditional public relations team has made the transition to social media, but they are having difficulty establishing and engaging a community of followers.
What can hotels do?
Because your objectives are to generate profits, satisfy guests, and be a responsible business, these objectives can serve as guiding principles.
How big should your (offline) sales team be in comparison to your distribution/digital marketing/revenue management teams? That depends on your online versus offline profitability.
Should you have a public relations or social media team? It is the latter if you do the majority of your business online. If your local community or target audience consumes more traditional news media, the public relations team is the way to go.
A smart revenue optimizer who can interpret ever-changing demand patterns could be in charge. The same thing can also be done by an experienced sales, marketing, or distribution professional who is in charge of demand generation and optimization. Many hotels are waking up to appointing a commercial head to bring all the functions from marketing to retention together.
The commercial team structure can be any of the following permutations and combinations:
Sales & Marketing Head
The issues surrounding marketing investment in advertising and personnel are a little more complicated. Many properties outsource this or are supported by their brand/chain. Hotels can have marketing teams, especially digital marketing teams, on staff, and they should know how to use these resources well no matter where they are.
What is clear is that the hotels that kept their marketing teams and quickly increased their advertising and marketing spending are making the most progress right now.
If you're wondering why some hotels have much higher occupancy and RevPar than yours, the answer could be that they're doing most of the above correctly. .
If nothing has changed in the commercial team structure of your hotel, you have assumed that the pandemic has not caused any changes in guest behavior or market dynamics. Continue if that is your experience. If not, it is time to reconsider all of the changes brought about by COVID-19 and experiment with a new team structure and team member levels.
What issues are currently plaguing your sales, marketing, and distribution functions?