Book Review: Revolutionary Hotel Marketing

Derek Taylor has been a thought leader on sales and marketing for many years, having started selling hotel space nearly 60 years ago.  He was the first modern-day sales manager for UK hotels. Later he became the first sales director to be promoted to the main board of a FTSE 100 with Grand Metropolitan. Over the last few decades, Derek has become a well-known figure as a hotel marketing consultant and, for a long period, was a visiting professor at the Universities of Surrey, Wales and Bournemouth – so it is fair to say that Derek is able to write from a position of sound experience and authority.

Derek’s new book – Revolutionary Hotel Marketing – is a thought provoking book that is relatively easy to read and enlightening. Is what Derek writes revolutionary? Maybe not but it is certainly a constructive view of what is important in selling and marketing for hotels.

 Derek’s view is that hotels are often too narrow in their thinking and that the point which is often missed in hotel marketing is that a hotel is not just up against competing hotels. It is also up against every other manufacturer who wants a share of the public’s disposable income. That competition has access to the finest advertising agencies and marketing professionals available and hotel companies are often not able to have budgets that can compete on the same scale. But hotels do need to compete effectively.

 In conversation, Derek positively noted that: We [The hotel industry] can beat them if we try hard enough; the £6 billion coming into the industry from Short Break Holidays is proof of that. I agree I was spending today’s equivalent of £10 million plus to compete effectively in 1970, but it still proves it can be done.” 

 “We have to take our marketing seriously though and at the moment we don’t. For example, the most expert practitioner in the kitchen is the head chef and he is in charge of the cooking. The most expert sales and marketing executive in the hotel should be the sales and marketing manager, but he/she isn’t in charge of sales and marketing; invariably its the general manager. That executive, in my experience, doesn’t have the original training, the careful detailed study of the science over the years, or the ability to spend enough time on the subject in running the hotel.”

 Derek’s words are on the mark as so many hotels around the country have the greatest stories to tell yet so often focus on either the wrong story or simply fail to communicate effectively. The book examines a number of case studies where operations have used the factors that make them stand apart to great effect. It is full of great insights and will leave the reader thinking more deeply about what needs to be considered and put in place.

On the back cover, Peter Lederer notes “The book reminds us that business strategy is about marketing strategy and marketing strategy is about people – start with the customer and work backwards”

 The hardback book is available from the Institute of Hospitality for only £20.

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