Highlights from the National Hotel Marketing Conference

Energy was high at last week’s National Hotel Marketing Conference after a two-year gap and, despite ongoing challenges, it was clear we all love what we do.  The fantastic range of speakers shared their insights, and the chatter was all about the future.  Here we share some of our Spa PR  highlights:

Tracey with Carly & Chloe from Carden Park Hotel

  1. Find the vipers in your business

Best Western’s Andrew Denton MBE explained how in marketing it is never good to play safe, settle or get comfortable.  It’s only when you unleash your inner underdogs that you spot opportunities.  During COVID, Best Western turned their hotels to hospitals and their people went above and beyond to support this.


  1. Pre-arrival emails have best open rates

Thomas Landen from hotel CRM and marketing software, Revinate gave some fascinating statistics and interestingly explained that the UK review scores are always less than the rest of the world!  He also explained the importance of email sequencing and how pre-arrival emails have the best open rates at 70% followed by birthday emails at 69%.


  1. 11 months booking time for weddings

Alison Hargreaves from Guides for Brides revealed that there has been a 20% uplift in weddings for this year and next but demands and expectations from couples have changed.  There’s a tendency for smaller weddings but they are not necessarily spending less.  The experiential element has become more important ie cocktail hours.  Couples who would normally have chosen to get married abroad are looking for a similar experience in the UK. Sustainability is also important for 61% and £16,000 the average spend on weddings before rooms.


  1. Create desire

The very charismatic Elliott Wakefield, group marketing director at Alexander Hotels talked about their campaign to bring out the unique elements of their hotels and locations to develop a sense of place. Their campaign for Barnett Hill centred around it’s location in the Surrey Hills through  ‘Fall for the Surrey Hills’.  Packages were developed including ebike hire, autumn picnics and local produce gift’.  For The Great Fosters Estate they created a partnership with nearby Nyetimber and held a pool day experience (the Royal Riviera) and with Silent Pool – the Silent Pool Gin Garden with bespoke cocktails.  These gave people reasons to stay longer and return.


  1. Welcome Cyclists

There are 1.23 million overnight stays by cycling tourists in the UK each year!  Epic Road Rides, Claire Dewey gave an insightful talk about attracting cyclists to your hotel as this is a market not to ignore. There are 3 ingredients to bear in mind: 1. Understanding of what cyclists need – don’t put up with them but positively welcome them!  2. Location – is your hotel close to fantastic riding routes.  3. Services – secure storage is a necessity and added extras will attract them ie wash room, bike tools, basic products for sales.