7 Must-Read Books for Hospitality Marketing & Sales Directors

Whether you’re by the pool or lounging around the house after putting in hours at the hotel, most likely you’ll reach for your favorite book. This summer, skip your usual mystery or romance novel for a book that will power up your hotel marketing and sales techniques, while also boosting your industry expertise.

With sales and marketing moving at lightening speed, the most successful hoteliers are the most well-informed hoteliers. After all, the hotel and meetings industry is constantly re-inventing itself with new technology and trends. It’s vital to your career, and your hotel, to stay on top of it all.

So, power up the Kindle and get in your industry education with these fascinating reads:

Planner Pet Peeves by Shanna Suckow

It can often seem like meeting planners and hoteliers come from totally different planets, says Suckow, a corporate meeting planner since 1992. She surmises that meeting planners are from Saturn – walled up, protected and hard to reach. While venue and hotel suppliers come from Venus, “all about love me, love my property,” Suckow jokes.

In this book, Suckow works to bridge the disconnect between hoteliers and planners. In this engaging, humorous and interactive presentation, she reveals how meeting planners really think, how they act, and how they make buying decisions today. She also unveils planners’ biggest pet peeves and the best ways to improve your relationship with them.

Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience by Jonathan M. Tisch and Karl Weber

Chairman of Loews Hotels Jonathan Tisch shares his industry tips on catering to today’s internet-fed, savvy travelers and hotel guests. In the book, he discusses strategies for optimizing the guest experience and how to turn fickle customers into returning guests.

He argues that consumers today are harder to please then years prior. Instead of wishing you could turn back the clock, he advocates for getting back to the basics. Using both industry and non-industry examples, he showcases that it is personal, one-on-one connections, regardless of room rate, that impact the customer’s experience and your hotel’s success.

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by The Disney Institute

If there is any one who knows how to make their guests feel like royalty, it’s Disney. Written by author Ted Kinni, this book unveils the Disney way of delivering magic to your guests. The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida sees a consistent 70% return customer rate.

How does a business that “started with a mouse” now have 175,000 cast members from around the globe working for them, while exceeding customers’ expectations on such a grand scale?  Here, you’ll find out that the famed Disney Magic is both an art and science and how Disney raises the bar with every guest touchpoint.

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi

People come across as many 5,000 marketing and personal messages a day.  And, as consumers, they are in total control of how and when they buy, and can choose to ignore your hotel’s marketing attempts. So, how can you get these customers to pay attention?

Pulizzi, a content marketing expert, will show you step-by-step how your hotel can pull in more bookings and group business by creating content that is so relevant, so helpful, so valuable and compelling that travelers and meeting planners can’t do without it. In a both easy-to-grasp and entertaining presentation, he asserts that your hotel should consider itself a media company that should be producing stories – via your website, a hotel and venue blog, and social media – as a poignant and helpful way to connect to your clients and guests.

Without Reservations: How A Family Root Beer Stand Grew Into a Global Hotel Company by J.W. Bill Marriott, Jr

Part biography, part business education, this book tells the story behind Marriott International, which started as a family-owned and –run root beer stand and how it turned into a behemoth global brand. Hotel icon J.W. Bill Marriott, Jr candidly shares the hospitality and success secrets he learned from his father, J. Willard Marriott, Sr, who was Marriott’s founder and original CEO.

In between lessons of how to reach the pinnacle of your profession, Marriott, Jr. weaves in personal stories of the impact of 9/11, his three heart attacks and the decision to name a non-family member as CEO.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott

In a world when new marketing tools and technology are invented everyday and disruption is commonplace, what does it take for a hospitality marketing professional to be successful? Scott peels back the assumptions about the Web, arguing that the Internet today is less about tech, more about people.

He outlines non-traditional, maverick ways to access and engage your hotel’s audience and how to leverage new media forums and channels to take your hotel’s stories directly to market. Some lessons he dishes out include ‘you are what you publish’ and ‘customers want participation, not propaganda’, along with examples and case studies from a diverse spread of industries.

Contagious by Jonah Berger

What causes some marketing campaigns to get a lot of shares, while others remain sadly invisible? It’s all about what triggers a ‘physiological arousal’ enough to get someone to forward one of your links. Berger, a assistant professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, provides solid insight into what can make a marketing idea, a commercial, a product or even a video, infectious.

He subscribes to the idea of stickiness and says that sticky products and ideas tend to be unexpected, simple, and credible. Also important is an emotional pull and a standout story line. He asserts that six principles can determine if something will go viral, including usefulness, social currency and high visibility.

Written by Junvi Ola.