HSMAI Perspective: The Power of Connections

If there is one thing we are seeing in a post pandemic landscape, it is that people are being more selective about the events they go to, and expectations for those events are higher than ever. HSMAI is very proud of the fact that a record number of attendees chose Commercial Strategy Week 2023 in Toronto to be the event to attend. From June 26 to 29, we had nearly 1,000 industry professionals come together to participate in a series of collocated events that included The Marketing Strategy Conference, HSMAI ROC Americas, and several Executive Roundtables.

Throughout this exciting week, attendees told me how happy they were to meet face-to-face. They made the most of every networking, discussion, and education opportunity. There’s an energy that comes from being in the room with your peers, and I received so much positive feedback about the power of connections:

  • More than twenty hotel brands and management companies brought ten or more delegates to the Marketing Strategy Conference and ROC. Many of their team members are virtual, so attending this event together gave them a chance to “connect” while leveraging the content and discussions at the industry events.
  • The attendees at the six executive roundtables we hosted had one common thread in all the evaluations: they love the opportunity to “connect” with their peer groups.
  • This year we had corporate or regional marketing and revenue teams represented from 145 unique hotel brands, management companies, or ownership groups. Again, the evaluations reflected the importance of “connecting” with industry peers to compare emerging trends, sharing insights, and simply network.
  • We celebrated the recognition of numerous awards winners. It was heartwarming to see the individuals and former work colleagues who attended the respective celebrations to pay tribute to recipients who they had worked with in years past.
  • HSMAI’s social media impressions and engagement during the week and the week after hit record highs as attendees posted and shared pictures of “connecting” with friends and colleagues and unsolicited positive testimonials about the events of the week.

The connections we saw and experienced during Commercial Strategy Week closely align with some of the key themes we presented in this year’s HSMAI Foundation State of Talent report. I enjoyed seeing how so many of these themes were clearly deployed by companies who sent associates to Commercial Strategy Week:

  • Mental health, safety, and wellbeing are essential – the opportunity to attend an industry event like Commercial Strategy Week provides a well-deserved break from the usual work routine – and industry professionals typically return from industry events refreshed and ready to dive back in to work.
  • Corporate culture and values matter – a corporate culture that values engagement in industry events is one that will develop loyalty among their team members.
  • Commercial strategy accelerates – we had more titles than ever with the word “commercial” in them. Clearly this trend is continuing to evolve in a way where commercial leadership oversees the revenue generating and customer effacing functions like sales, marketing, revenue management, loyalty, and distribution. As we learned at the fall 2022 Curate Executive Insights Forum, it has been proven statistically that companies with a commercial-centric culture will sustain revenue and profit premiums.
  • Collaboration is crucial – industry conferences foster collaboration between hotel companies but also between hotel companies and partners. Partners who supported the event had the opportunity to connect with current and potential customers to talk about collaboration that will grow business for hotels.
  • Development, reskilling, and upskilling gain importance – the fact that 80% of this year’s attendees of the Marketing Strategy Conference and ROC attended BOTH conferences clearly illustrates that the blurring of the historical silos is happening.

We hope to connect with you next year, so save the date! Put HSMAI’s 2024 Commercial Strategy Week, June 24-27, on your company calendar and leverage the education, the insights, and (of course) the connections.

Categories: Revenue Management
Insight Type: Articles