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Current travel environment, economy are biggest worries, HSMAI survey says

While the economic outlook is generally improving in the marketplace, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International’s membership survey of its 7,000 members—released today—reveals the “Top 10 Issues of Concern” facing sales and marketing executives and staff, with the No. 1 issue being the current travel environment and the economy.

The annual HSMAI survey asked members for their top three concerns facing their profession as well as the industry at large. “It was interesting to note that in most cases, the top issues facing the sales and marketing profession and the industry at large were the same, reflecting the last two years of uncertainty in the travel, hospitality and tourism arena,” noted Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.

“We expect to see some of these concerns and issues eased over the next few months as recent reports indicate a steadily improving economy and environment for the hospitality and travel industry and in particular for business travel,” Gilbert added.

According to the survey, the top 10 issues facing sales and marketing executives in 2004 are:

  1. 1. Current economic situation: The current travel environment, the economy, cancellations due to cutback of participation, airport travel, airlines, declining or flat demand, and the consumer’s reluctance to travel.

  2. 2. Increased competition: Maintaining and recapturing market share, and competing with major brands.

  3. 3. Finding new contacts and qualified leads: Developing new contacts and new business, finding qualified leads, and prospecting, as well as finding and booking new business and increasing customer database and sales.

  4. 4. The whole issue of pricing: Price resistance, rate integrity and discounting skills, along with booking off-season and off-days.

  5. 5. Reduced budgets: Budget constraints and limited resources as well as marketing products with a low budget.

  6. 6. Impact of the Internet: Concerns with price integrity, Internet marketing and competing with discount Web sites.

  7. 7. Time poverty: This plus time to sell versus administrative work.

  8. 8. Building awareness: Creating visibility, positioning, product acceptances, and business development.

  9. 9. Making money: Building revenues, yield management and higher occupancy rates.

  10. 10. Recruiting and motivating salespeople: Recruiting, training and employee retention.

  11. HSMAI is an organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, while operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and sales and marketing management disciplines. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprised of nearly 7,000 members from 35 countries and 60 chapters worldwide.

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