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Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International

Social media and customer satisfaction in the forefront of the industry

A content-rich agenda focusing on innovations in sales leadership, e-commerce for sales and marketers, a “voice of the customer” panel discussion, and a special report on “Social Media and Travel” is planned for…

A content-rich agenda focusing on innovations in sales leadership, e-commerce for sales and marketers, a “voice of the customer” panel discussion, and a special report on “Social Media and Travel” is planned for the first annual Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Hotel Sales Strategy Conference on Sept. 4, 2007. Held at the convention center in Washington, D.C. from noon to 5 pm, the half-day debut event will take place one day prior to HSMAI¢s Affordable Meetings® National trade show.

“This creates an exciting opportunity for hotel staff attending HSMAI¢s Affordable Meetings® National and allows them to further benefit from even greater educational programming that is highly targeted and specialized,” states Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.

“Voice of the Customer”

This session provides a spirited discussion with meeting professionals representing corporate, association, third-party and government accounts, and a dialogue about the trends, changes and developments they see emerging in their respective niches. Featuring a special “What Planners Wish Sales People Would Do” segment and Q&A, this session will provide valuable insights into what your customers want and what they see on the horizon, all before you hit the trade show floor.

“Social Media and Travel”

Attendees will be the first to hear the outcomes of a landmark report about the hottest topic in hospitality sales and marketing today: social media. Discussing the many online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives related to travel will be the report¢s authors, Cindy Estis Green, managing partner of The Estis Group, and Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the Travel Industry Association of America. Together they will present the outcomes of the compelling original research, as well as suggestions for implementation specific to hospitality sales and marketing professionals. The official release of this report, The Travel Marketer¢s Guide to Social Media and Social Networking, will take place at the conference and attendees will be the first to receive a copy. For more information on this publication, go to www.hsmaipublications.com.

Capitalizing upon the information presented in the “Social Media and Travel” session, a panel of professionals “in the trenches” of social media will share secrets and insights for its use as a sales and marketing tool, as well as predictions for dynamic future applications.

“E-Commerce for Hospitality Sales and Marketers”

The focus of this session will be the synthesis of online marketing and sales efforts, teaching innovative ways to both create awareness of hotel properties and meeting facilities and to turn that interest into reservations and revenue. Quality content, visual appeal, effective navigation, and search engine placements are just the beginning of this discussion, and will include concrete examples of what you can start doing immediately to improve your online sales and marketing tactics. Whether your property directly controls its online marketing or is part of a larger brand effort, this session will present concrete examples of ways to capitalize upon the Internet to improve your bottom line.

“Finding Talent”

In today¢s economy, what you have to sell is only as good as who you have selling it, and finding the best sales and marketing staff for your company is as important as any of the amenities you offer guests. Bart Berkey, director of talent acquisition, sales and marketing for Ritz-Carlton Hotels, and a former director of sales and marketing for Ritz-Carlton, will share valuable insight into how to best attract and hire the industry¢s top notch performers.

“Innovations in Sales Leadership”

All the knowledge in the world won¢t matter if you can¢t lead a team to success. This final session packs a punch, and will impact the skills and techniques that are needed in order to be an effective sales and marketing leader. You¢ll learn innovative perspectives on team transformations and ways to adopt and implement a new sales culture, leading to improved performance and increased revenue.

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