Dr. Laila Rach, facilitator of HSMAI’s ninth annual Chief Marketing Officer Executive Roundtable on Feb. 20, led off the program with a deceptively simple question for participants: “What one trend are you seeing this year that has surprised you?” For most participants, that meant talking about pain points and what’s keeping them up at night.
Here are 10 trends, concerns, and observations from the CMO Executive Roundtable:
- It’s difficult to build true loyalty among consumers. What will drive strong relationships with them — and how can we demonstrate loyalty to them?
- With unemployment at 4 percent or less, finding great talent takes longer than expected.
- The rise of voice-interface technology presents challenges and opportunities.
- We need to figure out how to appeal to younger customers — from Generation Z, who are bold travelers seeking new destinations, to Millennials, 25 percent of whom are living at home and not engaged with school or work.
- It’s surprising that major companies are still investing heavily in traditional advertising platforms — TV, radio, and print — while consumers are shifting to digital.
- People are the most connected they’ve ever been but also the most lonely. As a result, the hospitality industry is losing its sense of how to take care of a guest.
- The lack of reaction or response to industry disruptors like alternative accommodations is concerning.
- There are inconsistencies between how we say we treat customers and how we actually treat them — i.e., we’re platform-focused instead of customer-focused.
- We’re so focused on analytics and distribution that the product itself and the consumer experience are very traditional and not innovative. We don’t spend a lot of time on “the magic of connecting.”
- We get fooled into short-term decisions, which is wreaking havoc on establishing brands.
The session was sponsored by Expedia Media Solutions. Hotel companies represented at the Roundtable included Denihan Hospitality Group; Outrigger Hotel Group; AccorHotels; Marriott International; Two Roads Hospitality; Interstate Hotels & Resorts; Coast Hotels; RLHG; Best Western Hotels & Resorts; Red Roof Inn; Karisma Hotels & Resorts; KSL Resorts; Standard International/One Night; and Extended Stay America. HSMAI brings together Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Digital Marketing Officers, Chief Sales Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, and Hotel Management Company Sales & Marketing Executives through the year.