How Hospitality Marketers Are Managing Post-Pandemic Business

By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

After a long 15 months, hotels are starting to welcome guests back at pre-pandemic levels. This is good news, but it brings its own set of challenges, which hospitality marketing executives shared during a virtual Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Executive Roundtable hosted by HSMAI on June 2.

Participating companies included Auberge Resorts Collection, Extended Stay America, IHG, Outrigger Hospitality Group, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Radisson, Rosewood Hotel Group, and Sonesta Hotels. Here are key takeaways from the discussion:


  • “I have to be honest; no one checks that information. No consumers actually are interested in our clean commitment. Then we also did a bunch of modeling on housekeeping. We assumed no one would want housekeeping because they didn’t want people coming into their rooms, and it turns out everybody wants housekeeping. Everybody is on a vacation, they’re here at a resort, and they actually want full housekeeping every day.”
  • “What we found is that having cleanliness and safety policies is so much just like checking a box. We all came out with our own branded things in the beginning of the pandemic to create a sense of security in guests, but we haven’t used that as outward-facing advertising messages as much. We still have the content in sales materials that people can reference, but it has never been an effective tool for differentiating or attracting more people into our funnel because I think it’s just something you had to check the box with, something that you have to have on your website.”
  • “We are very much focused on keeping our hosts safe. We haven’t had a single COVID case with any of our people. We’ve had guest issues, but we have had none with any of our hosts in 14 or 15 months. So, that’s been important. People wanted to come back to work. They felt like the company has done a good job keeping them safe and healthy. But essentially, the guests have not cared as much as we thought.”


  • “I have one client who launched a website several months ago on some new social channels. And just over the last several months, they’ve been saying their social sentiment really took a nosedive. It’s due to a lot of things. It’s rooms out of service or outlets closed or just the lack of having enough staff at the unit level that’s starting to impact this. And it is cause for concern, because you can find yourself in that position pretty quickly. We’re concerned about being able to recover from that drop and being able to optimize the recovery during the summer because of those issues.”
  • “Our Marketing Advisory Board has been talking about this quite a bit. Everyone is asking what the policies will be for Google and TripAdvisor and other review sites for being able to remove the kinds of reviews that impact your scoring over the long term, once we’re outside of the pandemic. And no one seems to have any news on what the review sites will do.”


  • “I think what can sometimes get lost in the fact that our financial performance was very good is that it was actually really hard to achieve that. My entire commercial team has been working harder than they ever have in their lives over the last 18 months. And there is just something about the collective fatigue of having to work harder than you ever have in your life in order to achieve the same level of revenue over a year and a half. People are exhausted.”
  • “The expectation of speed is at a record level. The expectation of volume and throughput of work is at a record level. And so, people are burnt out and tired, and that makes them more open to hearing what else is out there. For marketers, many of their skills are transferable, and they could easily find work at another company or in another industry.”
  • “As you furlough a lot of employees, it gives them some time to see what else is out there. I feel like that kicked off a cycle that we’re still feeling. The industry has a lot of long-tenured employees that have been around a long time. And I think this triggered this interest and need to explore what’s out there. Then you layer on top of that the impact of working remote and being on a screen all day from home, which has its benefits for many, but it is exhausting.”
  • “Those of us who have built a culture around being in the office together are now trying to figure out how to build a culture in a remote environment at home, and it’s just a different beast. And without that foundation, it makes it easier for people to think that something might be better somewhere else and go explore elsewhere.”

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles