January 28, 2010
On February 7, 2010, there will be a Super Bowl in Miami, FL. Every hotel room and corporate apartment is going to be booked, and not just by the 75,540 attendees who will be flocking to the stadium. There are also the cheerleaders, the high school dance teams, the Super Bowl Half Time Show performers, not to mention the NFL Teams themselves. And on top of that, every local restaurant, bar, and performance venue will be bringing in entertainment of their own, hoping to capture some of that extra business.
Here’s the catch: Any stay less than 7 months in Florida gets hit with the sales tax. And there’s something else you should be aware of… Although there are local corporate providers in Tampa (See SCH’s Tampa page), your best bet once you’ve exhausted this resource is the private owner. However, beware: Florida is facing the highest rate of foreclosure of any state in the US, at 18.81% as of last March. Which means two things:
1.) Many, many private owners are looking to rent out their second home to corporate housing.
2.) Be extra careful whom you rent from, so that your tenants don’t end up getting locked out of their apartment by the bank.
Here are some options for marketing your corporate apartment:
1.) Auction it off on eBay.
2.) Craig’s List. In this case, it’s not a bargain hunter’s paradise.
3.) Shop Corporate Housing.
January 8, 2010
Many states offer film incentives now, which can be lucrative to the corporate housing industry.
When British Columbia and in particular Vancouver offer huge tax incentives for filmmakers to move their business there, the money followed.
Now it seems like every state in the union is trying to get a piece of the pie. Michigan has had substantial success with landing new film contracts. SAG, or the the Screen Actors Guild, lists film incentives by state. If you want to get a step ahead of the ball, you may want to check out their website and figure out which states are offering the biggest incentives this year.
It isn’t just actors that land work in these states. The carpentry business will also see demand, and in our case, the corporate housing industry gets slammed with requests.
LA 411 and New York 411 both offer comprehensive lists of hotels, however there aren’t many providers listed. If you do business on either coast it might be worthwhile to list there.
The Michigan Film Office offers a list of corporate housing providers in the area. If you’re able to find corporate housing in Alaska, the Alaska Film Office has a list of accommodations as well.
One enterprising Michigan provider has even named themselves Film Crew Homes and seem to specialize only in film industry bookings.
There’s also the opportunity to house the film industry on a short-term basis during major film festivals such as South by Southwest, or Sundance. Sundance Accommodations Office should be able to offer some suggestions.
If you go on any production company forum, you realize that people in the film industry have long memories for people and events. Make a good impression, and you may end up criss-crossing the country with future productions.
December 31, 2009
Tweets can be a useful way of managing your online reputation, as well as minimizing damage during a crisis.
There’s been a lot of buzz (or should I say chirps?) on The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal’s Small Business sections about using twitter to expand sales and marketing efforts.
All of the articles emphasize that Twitter can, to quote the Times, “shorten the emotional distance between businesses and their customers.” Many small businesses are hiring out the project or hiring consultants to train them. Of the two, the latter option seems more viable in the long run as it is really the owner/employees who need to be making that connection with their customers.
I think what’s most important to corporate housing providers is that Twitter can minimize the damage during a crisis. So if, say, there’s damage to the water main of an apartment complex where you have several units or more, you can connect with all of the residents at once through the use of Twitter. You can also monitor what’s being said about your business and respond to the individual tweets. For now, this can be very time consuming for business owners to do, however, all of this could change shortly Twitter is developing business apps that can streamline the process and make it more efficient, and the products should be out shortly.
December 21, 2009
McGraw-Hill Research analyzed the performance of 600 companies during the recession that lasted in the early eighties. The study went from 1980-1985, and showed the B2B firms that either kept their advertising budget static or increased their advertising during the recession averaged higher sales growth both during the recession and for the three years following the recession. If you’re thinking about eliminating or cutting your corporate housing advertising budget this year, here are four questions you may want to ask yourself:
1. What is my Share of Voice? What is my Share of Market? The term Share of Voice, as defined by the SEO Glossay Online, “refers to the relative exposure of an advertiser within a defined market sector over a period of time.” The Share of Voice and the Share of Market exist as a ratio such that, when SOV is greater than SOM, the market share will most likely increase over the next year. This is key in a recession because, as Advertising Age magazine writes, “Recessions offer what may be unprecedented opportunities to market in an environment of relatively less noise, as others cut back.” Because everyone is cutting back on their share of voice, it becomes easier for small providers to be heard, and to increase their share of market.
2. Who are our economy-priced competitors? Win back your clients from extended stay hotels. When it comes to choosing economy-priced brands in a time of recession, how many consumers are really happy with their new brands? What is the barrier to purchase? Chances are it’s not price, it’s value. And that’s where advertising during a recession comes into play. After all, allocating money to advertising helps to build your brand identity and reinforce the value that you are offering your clients.
3. How can I adjust my product portfolio? Harvard Business Week writes, “Marketers must reforecast demand for each item in their product lines as consumers trade down to models that stress good value, such as cars with fewer options. Tough times favor multi-purpose goods over specialized products, and weaker items in product lines should be pruned.” How does this translate to the corporate housing industry? You can quote units with economical furniture packages, and you can promote rather than just offer two twin beds in a bedroom.
4. Who are my existing customers? Try not to be all things to all people. You have a niche, a brand identity that is different from every other provider out there. Reward the loyalty of your existing customer base by offering them discounts for longevity and repeat business. By doing this you will not only garner their business, but you can also put into action a system of getting referrals as well.
Cutting your advertising budget is a risky proposition. Smarter marketing is what’s needed. Think of how Proctor and Gamble survived the Great Depression (Ivory Soap) or how Wal-Mart dominates the retail scene during a recession. Shop Corporate Housing can help increase your share of voice and reach your targeted customer base. For more information, call 727-331-6261.
November 20, 2009
Discounting your services can be addictive.
“Price-off deals are a drug. Ask a drug-addicted brand manager what happened to his share of the market after the delirium of the deal subsided. He will change the subject. Ask him if the deal increased his profit. Again he will change the subject.”
from Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy, of the great advertising firm Ogilvy and Mather, describes price-off deals as a drug because the competition in the marketplace often becomes addicted to seeing who can undercut their neighbor in price. Once the frenzy has subsided, and a new standard has been set for what the price will be, what is left? According to Ogilvy, there will be less share of the market and less profit. In this economy, it may be tempting to undercut the competition in price but ultimately this is not a good idea. Once the new standard is set, it becomes more difficult to profit from the enterprise.
“The time has come to sound an alarm, to warn manufacturers what is going to happen to their brands if they spend so much on deals that there is no money left for advertising to build their brand. Deals don’t build the kind of indestructible image which is the only thing that can make your brand part of the fabric of life.”
(from Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy)
What’s most important during a recession is not to cut your advertising budget. As tempting as it may be, recessions are the time to build your brand. It’s true that there may be a price correction as the industry adjusts to what the market will bear. But do not get bogged down in trying to get ahead of your neighbor by lowering your prices alone. What’s better is to build the perceived value of your brand, so that at any price your company seems like the better bargain.
October 27, 2009
On the blog Social Media Explorer, guest blogger Jeremy Epstein recently made the assertion that cultivating one raving fan of your company was worth cultivating 445 people. What I’d like to talk about today is word-of-mouth marketing and how it can be applied to social media marketing concepts. (more…)
October 26, 2009
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ U.S. Regional Office wrote an online appeal to suppliers and industry leaders to become Regional Champions for the organization. One of the advantages to volunteering is that you become first in line to know special information about the association and about business travel in general. It is also a good idea to attend their trade show or educational events.
October 22, 2009
In his many books Robert Cialdini explores the relationship between science and persuasion. One theory he touches on is that of reciprocity.
The question is, how do you convince a client to go with your corporate housing company again based on the theory of reciprocity?
If it’s a large corporate client that you’re trying to land, such as IBM, you could go so far as to offer them a free night’s stay, so that they can see how your product and service is better than your competitor’s.
If it’s a traveling individual, such as a traveling nurse or a consultant, leaving a gift basket of food on the dining room table goes a long way. Oftentimes these people are arriving in new territory, sometimes late in the afternoon, and after unpacking all of their things they simply want to stay in and make dinner for themselves. Why not provide them with their first meal?
October 16, 2009
Providers take note: Business Travel News Online maintains a Black Book as a free resource for corporate travelers and human resource professionals to download. The Black Book has a special category for corporate housing, and there are a dozen or so providers listed already. The magazine has an excellent Google rank for the keywords “business travel” and seems to have a broad reach in terms of audience. It would be a good idea to list in their Black Book and see what business it drums up.
October 9, 2009
Joe Girard is in the Guinness Book of World Records for selling 1, 425 cars in 1973 alone. In his book, How to Sell Anything to Anybody, he describes what he calls “birddogs” as a simple referral process between himself and people to whom he has sold cars. He offers a small reward in exchange for a referral to his office. (more…)