Sales and Marketing Executives Talk Strategy, Structure and Talent Best Practices

Compensation, competition and the convergence of sales, marketing, and revenue optimization — these are some of the hot topics discussed during HSMAI’s recent Hotel Management Company Sales and Marketing Executive Virtual Roundtable. Hotel management companies in attendance included: Athena Hospitality Group, Atlific Hotels, Claremont Companies, Coraltree Hospitality, Donohoe Hospitality Services, Kessler, Makr Hospitality, Marcus Hotels and Resorts, Parks Hospitality Group, Prism Hotels & Resorts, Remington Hotels, Sage Hospitality Group, Vista Host Hotels, and ZMC Hotels. The group also discussed talent best practices as well as other relevant themes impacting them today.

Talent Best Practices

The sales and marketing executives identified the following best practices related to developing, retaining, and attracting commercial talent:

  • Development
  • Setting weekly and monthly goals
  • Allowing the team to develop organically
  • Creating new roles for DOSM and having training and certifications before area DOSM promotion
  • Using the onboarding process to outline what success looks like for team members
  • Retention
  • Closing the office early on Fridays to reset
  • Training and corporate support from leadership; providing resources, empathy, and understanding of the team and their individual goals
  • Creating resources such as a reference guide that can assist new hires
  • Recruitment
  • Using recruiters for efficiencies
  • Being creative (i.e., use lodging and meals as part of compensation plan)
  • Favoring attitude over aptitude
  • Looking at talent in other industries
  • Implementing apprenticeships
  • Considering a hybrid approach to the work schedule

Strategy and Structure

Roundtable participants were also surveyed on various topics related to strategy and structure. The following provides their insights on post-COVID structural changes, convergence within the disciplines, and more.

  • What type of changes have you made in your structure in this post-COVID landscape?
    • Clustering some sales roles
    • Larger marketing and revenue management teams
    • DOSMs taking on regional assignments
    • Adjusting free sell dates
    • Centralized accounting
    • Moved from individual to group goals
  • What’s different in direct selling YTD 2022?
    • Closing is much faster
    • Very small booking windows
    • Virtual selling
    • Turnover in key accounts
    • Pipelines for future business are not optimal
  • What changes, if any, have you made as a result of “convergence” in sales, marketing, and revenue optimization?
    • Total alignment of goals and incentives; no separate goals by division
    • Improving sales acumen of revenue management and using data
    • Greater cadence in communication for commercial teams
    • Hiring a commercial team leader
    • Designing hybrid roles
  • How are you navigating a competitive market that is saturated with a single parent brand?
    • Making it seamless to work with us
    • Carving out a niche
    • Properly qualifying
    • Differentiating the team
    • Controlling our own digital marketing


When it comes to talent and staffing, roundtable participants discussed the health and wellness of their team as well as compensation.

  • How are you generally dealing with salary expectations today?
    • Ensuring we are adjusting base competitively
    • Aligning growth in ADR/revenue with growth in salary
    • Sharing positions between hotels to reduce the burden for each
    • Using agencies in lieu of staff positions
    • Raising incentives instead of base salary
    • Getting creative with PTO
  • What’s a best practice for managing the health and wellness of your team?
    • More frequent check-ins
    • Providing flexible hours and encouraging them to take PTO
    • Helping manage when emails are sent (not on weekends or evenings)
    • Eliminating red tape and unnecessary meetings/reports
    • Listening, being flexible and showing empathy

Regardless of the size and portfolio mix of a hotel management company, it was clear that talent recruitment, retention, and development is high on everyone’s mind, with the health and well-being of all associates being top of mind. The other common denominator is the need for identifying structural changes within organizations to adapt to the post-COVID landscape and customer preferences.

HSMAI periodically hosts invitation-only peer-to-peer roundtables for qualifying sales, marketing, revenue, digital, distribution, and commercial executives from brands, hotel management companies, and ownership groups to discuss emerging issues and trends impacting them, their companies, and their teams. To confirm your eligibility to participate or explore partnership opportunities for any of these roundtables, email

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles