Marketing and Sales in the Hotel Industry
Marketing and sales are important areas within the hospitality industry as they directly correlate to the profitability of a business. The Marketing and Sales team is responsible for maximising a hotel’s revenue by developing strategies and business plans to increase revenue. The team is tasked with making profits from business verticals such as room occupancy, event spaces, leisure facilities, restaurants, etc.
Many organisations within the sector have one team to cover both functions of marketing and sales. However, some hotels may have separate teams handling the two functions. The Marketing and Sales team can be directly employed by a specific hotel, or be employed by the corporate office of a large group that has a chain of hotels. This means that you may be required to either work in a corporate office, or at the hotel premises. It is a demanding job, and requires you to have a number of different skills to be effective in the role.
The activities of a member of the Marketing and Sales team will depend on the structure of the organisation, however, the following are the core functions of hotel marketing. Experience in all four areas is important if you are to move up the ladder in this field.
- Brand Advertising/Marketing – developing marketing strategies and plans, liaising with advertising agencies, developing media schedules and execution of marketing campaigns.
- PR and Communications – content creation, managing social media channels, coordinating with media for editorial coverage, cultivating relationships with key opinion leaders and influencers, handling crisis communications.
- E-commerce – developing and executing online marketing/advertising plans, managing website, driving online bookings and promotions, working closely with digital marketing agency.
- Activations and Events – developing activities and events to showcase the property and all its services, successfully planning and executing events, managing guest lists.
Larger hotel chains will have separate jobs for each of these functions, but smaller hotels may require one employee to undertake all responsibilities.
Many hotels in Sri Lanka do not focus greatly on above the line (ATL) marketing, but the focus on online marketing is increasing rapidly.
- Online Marketing Executive
- Brand Executive
- Content or PR Executive
- Activations Executive
- Sales Executive
- Head of PR
- Head of Brand
- Head of Activations
- Head of Digital Marketing
- Head of Sales
- Chief Marketing Officer
- Chief Commercial Officer
When it comes to academic and professional credentials, fundamental marketing qualifications such as a marketing diploma, degree or a CIM qualification is an excellent start. Furthermore, an online marketing qualification, such as those offered by Google, are also important. You must have a sound foundational knowledge of marketing to begin a career in this field. You will gain a lot more knowledge with experience and exposure, and this will be instrumental in preparing you for more senior roles.
Apart from marketing knowledge, it will also help a great deal to have industry knowledge. What this means is that if you are hoping to work in the marketing department at a hotel, you first need to know how hotels operate. A three-month stint in a non-marketing operation in the hospitality industry will give you knowledge and insights, which will help you be a better marketer.
Furthermore, having advertising experience can be hugely advantageous when developing and executing marketing and branding strategies. If you are serious about moving up the ladder in a hotel marketing career, get some experience working at an advertising agency and learn about the best channels to communicate with your audience, how to plan your budgets, and how to develop creative concepts and strategies that attract customers.
Some experience and knowledge in destination marketing will also be beneficial. If you are part of the Marketing and Sales team at a hotel, you will have to sell an experience, not just a room; you have to sell the destination, not just your property.
- Creative thinking
- Planning and budgeting skills
- Communication and networking skills
- Industry awareness
- Destination marketing
- Being a team player
You can begin your career as a junior level executive with a diploma or degree in marketing. On-the-job experience, coupled with self learning (online learning) will take you to the next level. Your performance and capabilities in terms of creativity, campaign and strategy development and successful execution will directly impact your career progression. Furthermore, since this is generally a team effort, your skills in working with others, taking initiative, etc. will also affect your progress.
You can apply for a job in marketing by responding to a job vacancy ad or through a contact. For a junior level position, you may be interviewed by the Head of Marketing and the HR Manager. They will want to know about your experience working in the field, and your passion for hospitality. They will be interested to know your ideas for marketing and promoting the hotel to potential guests, so it would be good to do some research and be prepared. You may be expected to complete a short-term training period working in a non-marketing role, to ensure that you are well versed in the operations of the hotel. You may be expected to work extended hours, especially when promotions, events and campaigns are running.
Marketing roles are generally corporate roles, however there may be certain instances where larger hotels have a marketing position based at the hotel/s itself. Those who work at the hotel may be entitled to service charge. Salaries in this field range from about Rs. 40,000 to 45,000, but can go up significantly as you climb the ladder to more senior positions.