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Silmiya Hendricks is director sales and marketing at Lucknam Park. Over eighteen years in the luxury hotel sector in the UK, Middle East and Asia, she started her career from the grassroots as a guest relations officer, rising to her current position at Lucknam Park.

What does your day to day role consist of?

A typical day would include meeting with the team, discussing new products and any special promotions. Analysing social media and our digital marketing channels in order to look at what steps we need to take. Often speaking to industry partners, working with our PR company and digital marketing agency. I also get myself familiarised with who is staying in the hotel over the upcoming days/weeks and any key events we have coming up within our spa, cookery school, equestrian centre or two restaurants. Once a week I will meet with the revenue generating departments to look at potential promotions and finalise strategies. 

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What are you priorities and how do you determine this? 

To determine our priorities for 2019, it was important to look at what we have been achieving in the previous year and review overall performance. For example, the first of the Lucknam Park cottages opened in 2017 and has shown good occupancy results. This has lead us to the development of more cottages that will be opening during 2019/2020 and will be a key marketing focus. We will also be researching any new ways to promote our two restaurants, Restaurant Hywel Jones and The Brasserie, and any of our upcoming dining events. Following the popularity of our first ‘Purpose Retreat’ which focuses on mind and body well-being, we are looking to release more dates for later in the year. 

Do you set out a marketing plan for the year or strategise month by month? And how do you do this?

We have a yearly marketing plan; however, as we all know business trends often change! To allow for our more short-term needs, I have weekly meetings with my marketing/sales executives as well as monthly strategy meetings to set out key goals for the upcoming quarter. 

How do you work together with management at the hotel?

I regularly meet with revenue generating departments to strategise and look at their individual need periods. We also would finalise special promotions well in advance to allow for maximum marketing exposure. It’s all about team work and having clear communication in order to deliver excellent service throughout the customer journey. If we are on the same page as a team, it is much easier to relay a clear, consistent message to the guests.  

How do you use data to your advantage?

I love analysing data! We use google analytics to review our trends on the website, google searches, social media and the traffic via our third parties. We use the hotel PMS to analyse stay patterns and regular visitors. None of the packages/breaks are put together without spending time analysing the return on investment. Our audiences are tactically targeted to get the maximum return. 

What KPIs do you work to?

RevPAR, net operating profit, gross operating profit, guest satisfaction, staff turnover.  

What should be the key aims of a marketing department within any hotel?

Brand integrity is of course really important. It’s key when setting out long term strategies, to plan in a smart way, reviewing the business gain with time put in. As plan A might not always work, be ready with a plan B and do not lose heart. Focus on earned media and don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising. Your marketing should tell a story/deliver a significant message that will be relatable to your target audience. The ultimate goal will be to gain more trust to keep hold of your existing clients as well as continuously increasing your brand awareness to attract new business. 

Katie Scott is sales and marketing manager at Rockliffe Hall. She joined the pre-opening team at Rockliffe Hall as a bright-eyed graduate in 2009 and has been involved in developing the luxury brand of the resort since its conception, using a variety of marketing methods to promote the multi-award winning resort on a regional, national and international level.

What does your day to day role consist of?

Working in a multi-facet resort such as Rockliffe Hall, the day-to-day role of marketing can be incredibly varied, with so many key areas to focus on from weddings to leisure stays, and golf to the corporate events market. My role is overseeing the marketing programmes and delivery for each of these key product areas, identifying target markets, opportunities, developing campaigns and evaluating results.

What are your priorities and how do you determine this?

Working in a fast-paced environment it can be challenging at times to identify key priorities. I always try to align my priorities with the needs of the business and work very closely with the Revenue and Sales teams to ensure we are all working on the same page (and towards the same goals).  We use dashboards, KPIs and reports to keep check on progress against our plan. 

Do you set out a marketing plan for the year or strategise month by month? And how do you do this?

A mixture of both. It can be easy to lose sight of long-term goals and focus on the day to day operations in the world of hotels, so each year we take time out of the business to evaluate our sales and marketing strategy and to set new objectives and plans for the year ahead, based around our key marketing programmes. We then plan a monthly calendar and schedule to deliver the plan, and hold weekly and monthly communication meetings to ensure we are on track. This allows us to be flexible to adapt our strategy should the need arise. We involve key managers in this process, to ensure everyone is bought in to the plan, and supporting the activity within their own departments. Communication is key!   

How do you work together with management at the hotel?

Communication between marketing and the other functions of the resort is critical to success, and to ongoing brand development. The operations teams spend time with our guests first hand, so are a great source of ideas and feedback of what works, and what doesn’t. I work very closely with finance, revenue and sales. 

What is the split of online / offline work?

We have invested a significant amount of resource in to our digital marketing programmes recently, particularly as Rockliffe Hall is no longer featured on online travel agents (OTAs). Social media, video content and the world of bloggers and influencers has grown so much over the past few years we have also found ourselves investing a lot more time in to these channels. Traditional print marketing still has a place, although we have invested less in traditional marketing over the past few months. Despite this we still produce traditional brochures, Rockliffe magazines and printed materials to showcase the resort.

What KPIs do you work to?

We have overall marketing and business objectives, and set KPIs for each of our core marketing channels – social media, PR, website, email marketing and rate programme performance for example. Data is so instant these days it is easy to track ongoing campaign KPIs at a glance.   

Tags : advicehotelsLucknam ParkmarketingRockliffe Hall
Zoe Monk

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