Hospitality & Travel – Hotel Cuatro Reyes (Buenos Aires, Argentina)Gastón Käufer Barbé
by Gastón Käufer Barbé
Problem Statement / Initial Situation
At the beginning of 2013, I accepted a challenging professional job in the midst of an unfavorable context in which uncertainty regarding increasing costs and sales volume had been seriously affected by both internal and external issues.
Due to national economic activity in decrease (increase in costs and prices “fixed” by the Market, mainly), the Hotel began to notice that its main sales channel (80% corporate) began to reduce its consumption in hospitality and in events. This decrease caused a strong impact, mainly at the level of revenue and occupancy, which made it clear that the marketing strategy should be reformulated.
Internally, I also came across some decisions that further complicated the situation, mainly in matters related to pricing, sales channel management, customer relations, guest relations, and cost management.
Once the key internal information was compiled, I designed the market research and marketing strategy that would mark my style as Commercial and Marketing Manager of the Hotel Cuatro Reyes, between 2013 and mid-2016. At the time when the research began, the Hotel had an average occupancy equivalent to 50% of the market average and the revenue level was in decline with the last quarter showing a very negative balance.
Research Development and Strategy
The research sought to identify the variables and key aspects of the market situation and the behavior of consumers both in relation to the context and to the offer in that product category.
The techniques used were, mainly, in-depth interviews, focus groups, business cases, and secondary information, which allowed me to have a much deeper knowledge regarding:
- The composition and size of the market and the characteristics of the competition.
- The trends impacting the industry, mainly in that segment, and the demand of consumers in that context.
- The consumer of 3 and 4 stars hotels and the frequent guests of the hotel.
- The purchase variables in each sales channel.
- The characteristics of each type of consumer according to the sales channel (corporate, traditional agency, and online) and what they expect from the service.
- The purchase process and the aspects decision-makers consider and affect their purchase decision.
- The behavior of users in online communities and social networks.
- Profiling the types of consumers of the product (Customer Personas).
Once the research was completed, I was able to not only develop the appropriate strategy towards all sales channels, increasing revenue as a result, but also to reduce costs by making areas more efficient and outsourcing certain functions.
Two years after conducting the research and implementing the strategy, we had managed to overcome the market’s average occupancy (70%) and the revenue level increased by more than 100% achieving a profitability level between 20% and 25%.
Also, we close deals with several important companies such as Booking or Despegar as well as solidifying and expanding agreements with traditional national and foreign agencies. On a marketing level, we had positioned the hotel as the pet-friendly accommodation of Buenos Aires and we reached an agreement with Grupo Crónica, one of the largest mass media corporations in the country.
It was thanks to all this work that in October 2015 the Argentine Marketing Association awarded us the prestigious Mercurio Award for the results and achievements.