BtoB

Rise of independents, demand for technology bring opportunities

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Clayton Reid understands the hospitality industry like few others, having helped hotels and other hospitality businesses market to their target audiences-as well as vendors win b-to-b contracts with hotels-for more than 20 years. Reid currently serves as president and managing partner of Kansas City, Mo.-based global ad agency MMG Worldwide, which boasts a longstanding travel and hospitality practice.

BtoB: What are the biggest opportunities for vendors looking to break into the hotel industry?

Reid: The hotel industry has been focused on technology infrastructure and investment for the last three years. Capital resources are being spent by both branded and independent hotels to be sure they are part of the Internet distribution system, as well as in providing technology upgrades for their guests.

Branded hotels are being asked increasingly to comply with central franchise standards, and thus often demand that vendors deal with the brands first to gain access to individual properties. On the other hand, the growth of independent hotels has offered a new opportunity for vendors nimble enough to work at the unit level.

BtoB: What are the best tactics to reach and engage decision-makers in this market?

Reid: An integrated approach is the best way to approach the market. For larger, more national suppliers, a vertical advertising campaign should be complemented with online media and promotion, as well as direct and public relations programs. For smaller, more local vendors, using local search marketing, high-impact direct sales and sales support often leads to face-to-face presentations.

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