Results Are In!
Shared Ownership Trends Surveyed by Resort Trades
Elizabeth Saxe, GBG & Associates, Inc.
The results of the Resort Trades survey are in! Over 18,000 hospitality professionals were asked to participate in the CustomerCount© survey to ascertain their views and forecasts for 2011. The results indicate that, while many plan to spend more to bring in higher profits, they are comfortable with their budgets in areas such as business travel and trade organizations. Many surveyed also indicated that the resort industry is positioning itself to mend the reputation that trade in and transfer companies have left.
According to Tim Wilson, publisher of The Trades, this survey was intended to reach professionals “who influence decisions and outcomes at resorts in the areas of management, development, marketing, sales and finance.” Participants were surveyed in areas including revenue producing practices, Green initiatives and geographical and demographic trends.
Profitable Practices Could See Increased Budgets While the Purse Strings Are Tightened Elsewhere: Many indicated that their marketing budgets would be staying the same or increasing this year. 44% of professionals surveyed said that they planned on increasing their marketing budgets, while 46% said that those budgets would see no change.
In contrast, 54% said that their travel budgets would remain the same; showing that many see the value of increasing spending on marketing rather than business travel.
An even more surprising revelation? Less than half of companies said that they would maintain their current spending levels on trade organizations that offer trade shows, networking conventions and awards programs. In fact, a quarter of those surveyed told us that their trade show budget would decrease in 2011.
Social Networking; Not Everyone Is Doing it…Yet: Over half of the professionals surveyed told us that their company participates in social networking. The margin is not large though, with only 56% saying that they use social networking for their company. Of the 44% who do not use social media, 23% indicated that they intend to in the future.
For those who said that they will not increase (or even decrease) their marketing budgets for 2011, social networking should be an integral part of their marketing department. These free social sites allow direct access to a company’s target market where a company can share news, promotions and even address customer service issues directly. However, of those decreasing their marketing budgets, 75% said that they do not use social media nor do they intend to utilize social media in 2011.
The professionals who use social media told us that Facebook is the most used site, probably because there is a high level of consumer interaction on a personal level. Marketing and Sales Professionals see the value of Facebook interactions; all of the Marketing and Sales Professionals already using social media indicated that their company uses Facebook.
Not to be left out, LinkedIn and Twitter are used by 62% and 54% of professionals. Management professionals tend to utilize LinkedIn more than the others who were surveyed, however Marketing and Sales professionals still use the site for their businesses. LinkedIn is a great tool for many of these professionals because it is a professional social site, allowing those surveyed to connect with others in the industry on a professional level rather than a personal one.
Twitter, the least used social site, still ranks high with Marketing professionals. 100% of them use Twitter for their business. Twitter is great for marketing because a company can quickly disseminate information to those who choose to hear from the company.
Going Green: Sustainability is an ever increasing concern for the general public and could help boost a resort’s profits. Resort Developers, Mixed Use properties, Fractional properties and Homeowners Associations told us that they plan to focus on green and sustainable practices for their properties.
Green and sustainable practices could save costs in the long-run (cutting water usage, using energy efficient light bulbs, etc.) while bringing more environmentally conscious consumers to a property and increasing revenue.
Bettering Our Reputation: The industry has felt a negative impact from trade-in and transfer companies; only 18% said that they had not felt the negative reputation left by these companies. Luckily, the majority feel that the industry is heading in a direction to amend its reputation.
Respondents in almost every area of the industry feel that the industry is positioned to restore the negativity surrounding the industry. Among those that do not feel this way: 75% of marketing professionals, and all Fractional Resorts surveyed. However, they are in the minority. All-in-all the industry is ready and positioned to overcome the negativity.
The Resort Trades survey run throughout November, 2010. Participants were solicited by Email and online social networking sites and were directed to the CustomerCount survey questionnaire. Originally designed by Mobius Vendor Partners for a major client, the Online Feedback system, CustomerCount©, collects and measures customer feedback and can be designed, such as in this case, for other market measuring campaigns as well.
For more information about CustomerCount, visit www.customercount.com