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NEW YORK CITY-”It’s no secret that the industry is going through tough times,” pointed out moderator Maria Wood, editor of GlobeSt.com’s hotel page, in setting up a question to experts convened for the latest in GlobeSt.com’s webinar series. Even so, the panelists chose not to dwell on the challenges facing the hospitality sector but instead to dole out a plethora of recommendations for surmounting those obstacles. The strategy they advocated in Wednesday’s webinar, “Hotel P & L Scorecard–How to Up Revenues in Down Times,” might be summed up as: think outside the box and look everywhere for opportunities to bolster the top line.

Along with focusing on getting more people through your hotel’s front door, look at getting more from the people who come through that door, said Dana Ciraldo, SVP of Hodges Ward Elliott. That means taking advantage of upselling opportunities from the moment a guest shows up to check in. Robert Winchester, president and COO of Waterford Hotel Group, said it’s important to promote the idea that all associates at a property can play a part in boosting sales.

Efforts to boost revenue in a sagging travel market need to begin long before that guest shows up at the front desk, and panelists advised creativity in marketing strategies. “We’re finding that people are very value-conscious” and therefore go for package offers in a big way, said Frederick Cerrone, president and CEO of Hotel Equities. These should be disseminated via the Web as widely as possible.

Social media now have a place in the marketing toolbox of hotel operators, judging by the 75% of webinar poll respondents who said their properties have Facebook accounts. Ralph Thiergart, VP of franchise services at Choice Hotels International, said his company is committed to keeping up with where potential customers are. Although Winchester said it’s not certain whether the business generated via social media can be measured yet, he added that these web sites do build general awareness.

Panelists had mixed views of the importance of cutting rates to generate traffic. Winchester said it’s an inevitable byproduct of supply and demand, while COO Patrick Lupsha of Davidson Hotel Co. expressed concern that lower rates could become the new norm.

Replays of the event are available through Jan. 13, 2010 by clicking here:https://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=registration.jsp&eventid=166024&sessionid=1&key=D56AE445E4B2D16997E839C845B09C94&sourcepage=register.

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