TONS of ideas!

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  • Brad Benton
    Post count: 148

    The following ideas are listed in alphabetical order, not order of importance.
    •   24-HOUR BUSINESS
    o   Any business that’s open 24-hours, i.e. hospitals, police, fire, etc., will need accommodations due to inclement weather.  Offer a “blizzard rate.”
    o   Place an ad in a small town newspaper within 1-5 hours of your hotel to attract visitors coming into the area to shop or spend the weekend in the “big city.”
    o   Hotels near airports can advertise a “park-n-fly” special
    o   Work with the local long-term parking companies
    •   BLITZ
    o   One of the best ways to kick-off your hotel’s weekend marketing initiative is to plan a blitz to local churches, funeral homes, travel agents, hospitals, schools, universities, etc. 
    o   Review the Homewood Suites Brand Marketing Tool Kit on HiltonNet.  
    o   Consider coop advertising in markets where and/or regions where there are more than one Homewood.
    o   Remember, the Homewood Suites brand offers matching funds for all approved ads. 
    •   CHAMBER / CVB
    o   Visit your local Chamber of Commerce
    o   Visit your local Visitor’s Bureau
    o   Place hotel brochures at your state’s Welcome Center Locations
    o   Be sure your hotel has a full stock of the following
    o   Business Cards
    o   Brochures
    o   Rack Cards
    o   Unlimited Budget brochures (, name: Budget, Password: 111111111 – 9 one’s)
    o   Sales collateral folder with photographs of your hotel
    o   One of the best lead sources is your hotel’s direct competitors.  
    o   Check the parking lot for company logos, vans, etc.  
    o   Check reader boards.  
    o   Have coffee in the lobby and look at luggage tags.  
    o   Spend the night at your competition and social with the other guests.  
    o   Get to know the front office team at your comp set and encourage your front desk associates to do the same.  Be sure to advise your team not to EVER give out any hotel specific account information! 
    o   One of the best lead sources is your hotel’s guests.
    o   Ask them at check-out, Suite Start breakfast and the Welcome Home reception for referrals.  
    o   Be sure the front desk is getting correct home addresses from each guest so you can contact them at a later date. 
    o   Contact the local film commission to see if any movies or TV shows are being filmed in your market. 
    o   Movies have a lot of business with the actors, production people and crews.
    o   Contact local theaters for visiting performers.
    o   Fraternities
    o   Sororities
    o   Mason/Shriners

    o   Contact local funeral homes / funeral directors to offer bereavement rates for out of town guests.
    o   Offer per diem (especially for 5+ night guests)
    o   Make sure you have a FEMA number ( or
    o   Contact any Homeland Security offices in your market
    o   Check local bases for relocation and temporary assignments
    o   Check for military reunions
    o   Wackenhut is a large vendor for the military and they have their own travel needs.
    o   Call the GM and/or DOS at a sister Homewood Suites hotel.  Ask them to share with your their best practices.
    o   Start with the HR dept.  They often recruit doctors and nurses from outside your city.
    o   Contact each cosmetic (volunteer) surgery department.  Many times patients need to stay in the area for a few days but are not admitted into the hospital (grocery shopping service is a plus for these guests).
    o   Contact the terminal units.  Many times families of terminally ill patients need long-term housing.
    o   Some hotel’s have Indian Reservations nearby.  Contact them for upcoming retreats.
    o   Contact their school board of directors for visitors into the area.
    o   Contact them to see if they have any entertainers coming into town.
    o   Contact them about any events they may be hosting that might draw visitors from other cities.
    o   Check for local Sheriff training in your market
    o   Family Reunions
    o   Contact local nursing homes to invite visiting family members to stay at your hotel. 
    •   PACKAGES
    o   Offer packages, i.e. ski packages, romance packages, shopping packages, spa packages, girl’s night out packages including manicures and pedicures, pizza and slumber party packages.
    •   RELIGIOUS 
    o   Contact synagogues in your market to ask them about upcoming Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.  Ask each group for a referral upon check out!
    o   Contact local churches for visiting pastors, retreats, youth groups, marriage retreats, etc.
    o   Real estate agents
    o   Relocation companies
    o   Moving & storage companies
    o   Teacher appreciation program.  Contact all the schools in your market and offer a special “teacher’s rate” for the month of XX
    o   Most universities have a list of preferred hotels on their web site.  Have your hotel listed
    o   Don’t forget to call on local trade schools
       Have a contest at the front desk for uncovering business at the competition.  
       Take pizza’s to your competitor’s when they are full and you’re not and ask them for referrals.  
       How do they market to weekend travelers?
    o   There are many levels to the sports market; pee-wee, youth, high school, collegiate, professional, etc.  Plus there are several different markets within the “sports” umbrella; football, hockey, gymnastics, bowling, softball, baseball, ice skating, soccer, volleyball, tennis, golf, karate/martial arts, racquetball, etc.  This is a goldmine for weekend room nights.
    o   Call on local coaches and athletic directors
    o   Soccer is sweeping the country.  To find a schedule of games and to get the names of visiting coaches and athletic directors, go to (American Youth Soccer Organization)
    o   Contact your local Sports Commission for upcoming events
    o   Develop a relationship with the people who work in the facilities that house these events, i.e. arena’s and event centers
    o   Target any recruiters, coaches, visiting teams, tournaments and their families.
    •   WEDDINGS
    o   Advertise in the wedding guide (be sure to check on-line wedding guides).  Both of these guides should send your hotel leads frequently.
    o   Check local newspapers for upcoming wedding announcements.  Send them a congratulations note along with an invitation to tour the hotel.
    o   Make sales calls on local churches, wedding chapels, synagogues, banquet halls, Botanical Gardens, country clubs and golf courses.
    o   Contact local wedding planners and ask for referrals.   
    o   If there is a large hotel or resort close by contact their sales office or catering office for referrals.  
    o   Participate in any wedding trade-shows in your market.

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