Question for Our Hotel Marketing Expert Panel

What are the essential skills and characteristics that hotels should look for when recruiting for Marketing leadership roles? What advice can you offer to hotels in this position? 

Industry Expert Panel

Our Industry Expert Panel exists out of professionals within the hospitality & travel Industry. They have comprehensive and detailed knowledge, experience in practice or management and are forward-thinking. They are answering questions about the state of the industry. They share their insights on topics like revenue management, marketing, operations, technology and discuss the latest trends.

Adele Gutman
Adele GutmanCulture and Guest Experience Expert, Hospitality Reputation Marketing Podcast

“Here are five related things I look for:

  1. I am looking for someone with a true passion and commitment to our mission and a fit for our culture. For me, marketing is not separate from guest experience, operations, sales, revenue, etc. They are fingers of the same hand and only have power when they are coordinated.
  2. I’m looking for someone who already has learned from their experiences and loves to continue learning. How will they continue to monitor what’s working and what’s not so they can modify and grow? How do they fill their own bucket when it comes to knowledge, inspiration, and opportunity? How are they linked to the newest trends and opportunities in the industry? I love to see someone who finds the work fun and has an insatiable curiosity for discovering problems and creative solutions.
  3. I’m looking for givers and nurturers. What’s their personal leadership philosophy? How do they plan to support and grow our teams, our guests, our owners, and their fellow leaders?
  4. I’m looking for someone who has talent and sets high standards and aspirations for themselves and their work. Then you know they will manage themselves to a great degree and inspire the rest of the team to do their best work as well.
  5. Lastly, just like anyone in the hospitality business, I like to see that special spark of positive energy and the desire to serve, please, and be helpful to others, not because they are paid to do it, but because it feels so good to do it.

That’s hospitality!”

Max Starkov
Max StarkovAdjunct Professor Hospitality Technology, New York University

“There is ONLY one top skill required for hotel marketers: proficiency in digital marketing. Not in print brochures and collateral, or print ads and direct mail. Why? The average travel consumer today spends almost 7 hours on digital media per day vs 20 minutes on print media (newspapers and magazines). Overall, consumers spend more time with digital media than with TV, radio and print media combined (Reference: Hootsuite).

In the U.S alone, US adults will spend 13:12 per day with media in 2022. Of this total, 60.5% will be spent on digital media in 2022, and that share will increase to 63.7% by 2023 (Reference: eMarketer).”

Tamie Matthews
Tamie MatthewsRevenue, Sales & Marketing Consultant, RevenYou

“When filling a marketing role, I am looking for the following:

  1. Lifelong learner: my staff member must enjoy and embrace the speed with which technology is changing. They need to be excited to enrol in yet another training course to learn and then implement change within the business
  2. Problem solvers: if issues arise, they should come to me with solutions to fix them
  3. Changemakers: can they identify an issue, problem solve, create a plan and then ensure buy-in by all parties concerned
  4. Knowledge: marketing is more than Facebook and Instagram. When I ask them to outline the beginnings of a plan to grow my hotel’s business, I want to hear more than social media
  5. Interpersonal skills: you need to sell your plan, can they do that?
  6. Analytics: marketing plans rely on data, can they analyse the numbers and come up with a plan to improve the results
  7. Enthusiasm: let’s make change happen

Yes, I look at their specific marketing skills but I can train them. They can do a course, but the above-listed characteristics are either there or they’re not; I cannot train that in anyone.”

Jacopo Focaroli
Jacopo FocaroliCEO & Founder, The Host

“Beyond the “lead by example and ability to delegate” kind of thing, the leader should keep curiosity and creativity alive to intercept the new trends in the industry along with sticking to the harsh reality of data. I cannot stress that enough; every strategy or campaign must be tracked, measured, and replaced when needed or praised when successful.

I’ll highlight a sore point here. In my experience, the Marketing team tended to have such a self-important attitude that made it look like a team of “chosen ones” detached from the other departments: this lack of communication not only led to genuine antipathy, but it was first and foremost counter-productive.

Total awareness of what the marketing team is doing (what is their impact on sales, brand image, guest loyalty?) and letting the rest of the company be on the same page are pivotal tasks for a Marketing leader today.”

Nicole Sideris
Nicole SiderisFounder & Prinicipal Consultant, X Hospitality

“For the marketing activities to be successfully executed it is imperative that the person understands the hotel’s concept. If the identity of the property and what it stands for is “clouded” then the deliverables may not be well received. The person must fit in with the style and culture of the property, after all, they are marketing it to a wider audience. Today, more than ever, this role needs to be creative, adaptable, and digitally-focused with an ability to think well beyond the square.”

Luminita Mardale
Luminita MardaleDirector of Marketing and Business Development, Vienna House

“The top 5 skills and characteristics that I would look out for when recruiting a marketing position are:

  1. Strong communication skills – being able to communicate through a variety of different channels
  2. Confidence – involves a lot of networking and interacting with a variety of people
  3. Creativity and Future Vision
  4. Attention to detail
  5. Showing Initiative”

Grazia Dell'Aquila
Grazia Dell'AquilaHospitality Consultant, IAMGRAZIA

“To answer this question, we must first consider the meaning of marketing which is all the strategies and actions that take a new brand from its conception to its introduction and promotion in the market. Therefore, being a marketing leader means playing an important role in helping the brand to promote and sell its products to customers. When recruiting for marketing leadership, hotels should look for:

  • Creative people: because creativity leads to a unique idea, different from the usual way of seeing things.
  • Flexible people: flexible leaders respond to uncertain circumstances, adapting to changes as they come. They can revise their plans and overcome challenges, while still capable of achieving their goals.
  • Analytical people: analytical leaders find solutions to problems; solutions based upon the available evidence.
  • Communicative people with the ability to motivate people, helping them to improve their performance and work together towards a shared objective.

With flexibility, creativity, analytical skills and communication skills, the hotel can achieve great results with great marketing leaders.”

Stephanie Smith
Stephanie SmithFounder, Cogwheel Marketing

“The number one skill is the desire (and capacity) to learn. There are so many disciplines within marketing and you need to decide if you want a specialist or a generalist. Is this role going to do the button-pushing and execution or j