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Navigate the marketing maze at the Independent Hotel Show 2014

Delegates
As sophistication in marketing techniques used within the hospitality sector increases, the boutique and independent hotelier is faced with an overwhelming choice of specialist and more generic tools to use to drive sales. But more choice does not exponentially align itself with more budget, and the independent hotelier increasingly faces the dilemma of how to set and spend their marketing budget effectively, whilst at the same time measuring a return on that investment.

The Independent Hotel Show 2014, taking place at Olympia West on October 21 & 22, is a two-day event targeted at independently minded hoteliers eager to build and grow their businesses. Visitor research conducted at the 2013 show highlighted marketing and communications strategy as one of the key topics that hoteliers were eager to gain knowledge and insight on. This year the show is increasing its focus in this area, with a packed seminar schedule covering topics such as the importance of social media, the influence of OTAs (Online Travel Agents) and TPIs (Third Party Intermediates), the benefits of brand building and the draw of experiential marketing.

Tackling some of the hottest topics in the industry, each session will provide valuable insight and advice from some of the country’s most respected hospitality and marketing experts, successful hoteliers and leading travel journalists.

Luke Perry, Event Director at the Independent Hotel Show says; “This year we’ve consulted with a range of marketing and communications specialists involved with the independent hotel sector to create an exhibition and seminar programme that really hits the mark when it comes to valuable and actionable advice. We also have some of the UK’s most inspirational hoteliers on hand, giving first-hand accounts of how they developed their marketing plans and the strategies they used to create hotel brands that have taken the country by storm.”

Dan Brod, co-owner of The Talbot Inn in Somerset and The Beckford Arms in Wiltshire is an independent hotelier who understands the importance of marketing when it comes to raising the profile of a hotel. The Talbot Inn, crowned the ‘Ultimate Hotel in the UK' by The Times is testament to his marketing prowess, and he currently acts as a consultant to other hotels, pubs and hospitality businesses looking to enhance their marketing plans through Bramley Consulting. Brod, who is a panellist on the seminar ‘Who am I? Think identity not brand’ taking place on the second day of the show adds; “A marketing plan is the summary of all communications to your customers, stating who you are, what you offer and why a guest should visit you. The communication starts before a customer books, through their actual stay and after they leave. But it is impossible to begin an effective plan until you know who you actually are. If you cannot succinctly answer this question, you cannot communicate to your customers coherently, and the customer experience will be at best confused, and at worst, harmful to your business. Last year The Talbot Inn, an 8 bedroom country inn, was The Sunday Times’ best hotel in the UK – this was, I think, because our identity rather than a brand was very clear and very genuine.  At this year’s Independent Hotel Show I will be sharing how we established an identity, how you know you are and what this means in terms of marketing plans.”

First-hand marketing and communications advice will also be available at the show from a range of experts, including James Lohan, CEO of Mr and Mrs Smith, Simon Rhatigan, Managing Director of Devonshire Hotels, Fiona Duncan, hotel critic at The Telegraph and Petra Clayton, Managing Director of Custard Communications.

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