In our work with industry leading distributed brands, we are witnessing a clear prioritization to integrate solutions across the organization to streamline, and save time and money while impacting top and bottom line growth.
The leadership teams within the hospitality brands we work with have a keen focus on these objectives; drive out inefficiencies while increasing effectiveness. While each departmental leader may have objectives that tie back to their own departmental key initiatives, one thing is clear; they welcome help unifying the organization to bring consistency and process management that makes it easier to do business at the national and local levels, while reducing costs, labor hours and improving supply chain, operations, training and marketing.
For Supply Chain and Operations, historically, challenges have revolved around the best pricing relative to producing, shipping and housing marketing materials. Traditionally, marketing is looking for quality and brand control and place a premium on the ability to provide distributed locations with easy access to customizable materials. Training can’t be left behind. Training departments are continually updating documents for the back of the house. They need the ability to print on demand and ship to local markets, or be able to push national training programs at the national level.
To compound these difficulties, marketers now work in an environment where CMOs, CPOs and CFOs are working closer than ever before to measure each step of the process, resulting in an increased need for reporting and continuous improvement methodologies.
Managed marketing services providers, like DataSource, provide hotel and hospitality organizations distributed marketing management solutions that work across their organization to solve real budget and labor challenges. Below, we have outlined six must haves for hospitality brands looking to make holistic improvements across the organization using a managed marketing services provider.
Managed Marketing Services Providers Must Provide Six Key Elements:
Print Production ManagementManagers and marketing officers at hotel chains around the country rely on print materials for a variety of reasons, including signage, paperwork for guests, onboarding materials for new employees and more. When taking into account that there may be tens, hundreds or even thousands of locations in a franchise, two things become clear. First, how costly printing can be and how important quality control is, given the volume across the organization. Second, the cost and quality issues that are often associated with using an on-location printer or utilizing a local vendor. Print production management, handled by a managed marketing solutions provider with sourcing and marketing technology functionality, can strengthen quality and brand control while eliminating the “rogue print” at the local level and reducing costs of labor and print. Costs are eliminated in a few ways. One, the service provider should be able to unify print across the brand, increasing volume of buys, and driving down direct costs. Second, print is consolidated and shipped from a centralized location, increasing contents of the box, and reducing fulfillment and freight fees. Third, but certainly not the last, is that best in class managed service providers will also offer several features to drive out labor costs across marketing, supply chain and finance. DataSource has witnessed tremendous cost savings on annual programs for hospitality brands by doing just this.
Proactive Inventory ManagementTired of counting? Busy local managers and marketers are frequently removed from their core responsibilities when tasked with monitoring inventory and re-ordering. Many times, the individuals are told to re-order only when something is completely out of stock. This leaves the organization without any collateral for an extended period of time, causing crucial events or marketing opportunities to be missed. A managed marketing solutions provider should be adept at placing inventory alerts based upon parameters set by the enterprise level, and simplify re-ordering so it can be done with a few clicks of the mouse!
Print on DemandAfter discussing points one and two above, it becomes clear that franchisee hospitality organizations can also benefit from a managed services provider that can also offer Print on Demand (POD). POD further enables speed to market for marketing and training materials, and further reduces the local market tendency to print at the local level. POD also provides the national chain the ability to change materials often, reducing the reliance on inventory, reducing the cost of obsolescence and holding fees. These savings can be passed along to the local franchisee, reducing their cost of goods ordered.
Accurate, On-Time Kitting and FulfillmentHotel chains frequently send out marketing and training "push" promotions to the franchisees. Without an experienced, professional managed services provider, these materials are often not produced in a nicely kitted box by their current supplier. They may even be hand-assembled by local managers or marketers who have other important items on the to-do list. In addition to the time required to assemble, there are challenges presented in terms of quality control, unclear instructions for the local recipient and high costs of shipping to the customer. A strong managed marketing solutions provider should not only seamlessly handle the kitting and fulfillment for these packages, they should also have the ability to house, report on and track them through the brand supply chain.
Branded Merchandise IntegrationHotel management and sales individuals frequently attend local events, such as conferences or tradeshows, to get in front of businesses and decision makers who may want to use the hotel in the future. As well, hotel guests like promotional items, and you want your brand in their hands! In fact, according to the 2014 Impressions Study conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute, “nearly six in seven (85%) recipients of promotional products could identify the advertisers on the promotional items they owned.“ For these reasons, there is generally an arsenal of branded merchandise, or promotional items, that must be available for the local market. You know what we’re talking about – from hotel soaps and pens to tradeshow materials like USB ports, and golf accessories. Similar to the example above, a strong managed marketing solutions provider can produce, ship and track these products, which ultimately reduces shipping and production costs (again, through consolidation and a multi-bid process) and can provide incremental ROI for moving to the managed services provider.
Local Marketing ExecutionA “one size fits all” approach rarely, if ever, works for brands with many locations. Hotels often utilize regional marketing campaigns that target individuals in their market. For example, a promotional flyer for a hotel stay in Miami in mid-February is going to look considerably different than one in Green Bay! Additionally, Loyalty Programs, which have become increasingly popular in the hotel and hospitality industry, may require this level of local targeting. A managed marketing solutions provider allows local marketers to take enterprise level direction, but customize for their specific region and audience.
If you are a CMO or CFO at a major hotel franchise, and you made your way to and through this post, you may be considering a managed marketing services provider for the first time, or you may be looking to make a switch. While this post centers on hospitality brands, the same can be said of restaurant, retail, and distributed sales organizations. We encourage you to reach out. Or, have a look at some of the white papers on these topics you may also find useful. Until then, enjoy your day and happy marketing!