Concierge Services and Consulting: Hospitality, Tourism and Resort Development Where No Request Is Unrealizable Strategic Planning Business Plans Brand Management Marketing Communications Market Research Market DevelopmentJoseph A. Sobin, CTC/CTIE/M. URPPrincipal ,Concierge Services and Consulting
ABOUT: Joseph Sobin CTC/CTIE, principal of Concierge Services and Consulting hasthe insight and experience needed to assist in meeting your goals and objectives foryour company. In the ever-changing zeitgeist of Hospitality, Tourism and Resort Devel-opment, Joseph and his associates understand bigger is not always better. Their“boutique” business approach reflects this. Over 50% of client inquiries are referred toothers for whom Joseph believes would provide better services for the client’s goals.Selectivity is not elitist, it is being true to one’s capabilities.The aspirations of an owner, operator, CEO and stakeholder are truly individual. Yetwith appropriate planning, implementation and monitoring, goals and objectives canbe met and usually exceeded to our client’s satisfaction. Our mantra is “We exceedyour expectations, anything less and we have not realized our fullest potential.”About Joseph Sobin: With Dual Masters Degree’s in Urban and Regional Planning withan emphasis in Resort Planning Development and Strategic Marketing for the Hospital-ity and Tourism Industry, Certified Travel Counselor and Destination Specialist Designa-tions coupled with 15 plus years in travel, tourism, hospitality and real estate marketingconsultancy, Joseph and his team deliver tangible, practical results for their clients.Their work is on-time, compelling, and professional. Joseph also holds real estate bro-kerage licenses in the states of Colorado and New York.Joseph writes a Travel Industry Column for Examiner.com and is a frequent guest lec-turer concerning Marketing and Public Relations at New York University’s Tisch Schoolof Hospitality, Tourism and Sports ManagementJoseph and his associates specialize in the deluxe, luxury and green market niche util-izing an extensive network of travel, tourism, hospitality and real estate professionalsworldwide.What can Concierge Services and Consulting do for you?
STRATEGIC PLANNING: From initial concept to final execution, the process can be along and arduous. Strategic Planning is considered the foundation of all that is to come.While each client’s wishes are unique, we believe the process should include at minimumthe following: Mission, Objective, Situational Analysis, Strategy Formation, Implementationand Control. Yet we also understand such a model may require various tweaks and revi-sions in today’s rapidly changing competitive marketplace.Who/What Do We Admire: Sony Corporation Why: Many of us own an Ipod/MP3 Player and a DVD player. While the technology advancements are astound- ing, we look back in history as a foundation. The Sony Walkman was the first true portable audio op- tion. The Betamax was the technological breakthrough concerning the recording and playback of video in one’s home.BUSINESS PLANNING: Whether from scratch or from atemplate, the business plan is in one simple word “Guidance”.We believe the Business Plan is not a static document; insteadit is a Process, ever evolving. The Process is a system that iscontinuous, systematic and comprehensive. It involves theentire entity, produces effective decision making and exe-cutes those decisions in a Strategic Plan.We believe a good Business Plan also measures the quantifi-able relationship between Expectations and Performance- it evaluates your Company’sprogress or lack thereof. A Business Plan’s goal is to create the future for your company-being proactive versus reactive in relationship to your market niche.Who/What Do We Admire: The SWOT AnalysisWhy: A most simplistic and yet elegant approach to business planning. We actually be-lieve the SWOT Analysis is an integral foundation of the business plan and a cost-effectiveoption when embarking on the business planning process.
BRAND MANAGEMENT: Is the development of a promise, making that promise andmaintaining it. It means defining, positioning anddelivering the brand. Brand management whichcan encompass many processes is to “createand sustain”. A strong brand differentiates yourproduct from the competitors and relatedbranding makes customers committed to yourbusiness.Who/What Do We Admire: Four SeasonsWhy: What developed from a low-end motel inToronto has become the worldwide descriptorfor service, luxury and location within the hospitality industry. Regardless of the physical struc-ture, The Four Seasons moniker exudes recognition as the international leader concerningluxury transient accommodations from urban centers to remote resorts and options betweenthese two extremes all while adhering to the principals demanded by the founder. MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS: Within Hospitality, Tourism and Resorts Develop- ment the requirement to develop strategies to im- prove brand image and brand awareness is acute. The important aspect of spreading brand awareness and brand image is through communi- cation. Companies must establish a communica- tion channel to attract the new client yet also to retain existing clients which in this day and age due to the democratization of communications may be your finest proponent and advocate. This communication is not restricted just to your cli- ents but also stakeholders in your network from the regional airport to the publication on the otherside of the world. Communication is achieved through advertisement, sales promotion, pub-lic relations, direct and interactive marketing. Yet, monitoring, analysis and strategic involve-ment are paramount when implementing a marketing communications plan.Who/What Do We Admire: Edelman WorldwideWhy: Edelman continues to retain its stature as the largest independently owned Public Rela-tions firm worldwide. We admire their tenacity in an industry which is hyper-competitive witha take no prisoners approach to competition. We admire Edelman for their involvement withsmaller regional firms as well as their ability to straddle the fine-line between old and newmedia and be successful on both sides of this fine line which continues to smear.
MARKET RESEARCH: is essential for strategic market planning and decision making. Ithelps an entity in identifying what are the market opportunities and constraints, in develop-ing and implementing market strategies, and inevaluating the effectiveness of marketing plans.Who/What Do We Admire: AppleWhy: They are risk-takers and they do not solely relyon market research. While we are enamored by thesuccess of the Ipod, we forget the foundation for theimplementation of truly personal portable audio wasintroduced by the Sony Walkman. We also gloss overmany failures of Apple including the Newton (the firsthand-held PDA) and The Lisa.However, from mistakes and missteps come success.If Apple solely relied on market research, they wouldmost likely be out of business. Why? Because within Apple’s corporate DNA is a futurist; de-veloping products we did not know we needed i.e. The Apple Iphone.Market Research can advise and provide a course for future activities yet it cannot neces-sarily tell us what the client desires if they do not know themselves. BRAND MANAGEMENT: This proc- ess is effective for developing all types of business, and delivers business growth via new products or services to existing customers, existing products or services to new clients or new products or services to new customers.Who/What Do We Admire: Starwood Aloft BrandsWhy: While most hoteliers provide segmented brandingbased in rack rates, Starwood moved towards instinct.Acknowledging rack rates disparity between brands inthe middle-market was dissolving, Starwood decidedto pursue branding based on lifestyle. Once the do-main of boutique entities i.e. Ian Schrager, Mondrianand others, Starwood brought the concepts of cool,hip, stylish and in-demand from the city-center to MainStreet via their Aloft Brand. Now one can enjoy theAloft lifestyle in the suburban plains just south of DenverInternational Airport.
-CASE STUDIES- As a wise sage once advised concerning his stock broker “Past performance is not indicative of future returns”. We could not agree more. However we do believe experience, knowledge and dedication are attributes one should demand in their choice of a marketing consultant. Following is a sampling of “case-studies” in which Joseph Sobin was a principal contact and decision-maker. Each client and their challenges was truly unique. For some, their desired return on investment would have to be immediate, for others the legacy of their planning, execution and longevity was paramount.DUTCHESS COUNTY, NEW YORK:This bucolic hamlet north of New York Cityrealized its market share of vacationers wasshrinking. Past generations visited DutchessCounty to escape the congestion of NewYork City. In Fall the “leaf peepers” come bythe bus-load. Yet their average vacation cli-ent was entering their twilight years and thenext generation of vacationers were headingto points east along the ocean and bay wa-terfronts.Desire: A marketing plan to attract the nextgeneration of vacationers.Solution: An actionable marketing plan whichincluded the following:Active Lifestyle: Rebranding as an outdoor lifestyle destination from mountain biking alonghistorical railroad tracks to water sports on the Hudson River.Culture: Dia:Beacon, an adaptive reuse of a former industrial building now housing a collec-tion of monumental art installations and shows highlighting post WWII contemporary art.Culinary: As the home of the Culinary Institute of America, beyond gourmand dining, one ofthe birthplaces of the farm-to-table movement.Access: With easy access via commuter rail, a car is not needed. The vast majority of NewYork City residents do not own a car and rentals can be cost prohibitive.PR: A proactive PR strategy targeting regional and local publications down to the neighbor-hood level with tailor-made pitches corresponding to specific demographic groups includ-ing families with young children, the GLBT Community and others.
SOUTH AMERICAN DESTINATION: The client, a South American county al-ready provides all the infrastructure to capture the ever increasing tourism trade. Airportsand service providers are on par with their 1st World competitors. Airlift is excellent withfeeder routes and airline alliances. Ground operators are professional; vetted by the na-tional tourism office and visas are not required for leisure travel.Desire: The Government Tourism Office wished to advance theirrecognition in the marketplace and diversify their visitor demo-graphic beyond the “Adventure Traveler”.Solution: A two-prong approach to capture a mature, affluent andluxury-oriented demographic.Travel Agent Event: Cocktail and dinner events for travel agentswere held in cities with non--stop air-lift . During cocktails and post-dessert, a South American Marketplace was offered with receptiveoperators as the merchants. Small keepsakes were provided as wellas the opportunity to converse and network.Client-Direct Event: The country sponsored a cocktail party for collectors at the annualLatin American Art Auction, attracting an affluent and highly educated international au-dience at a well-respected auction house.As guests viewed the art and artifacts on display for the upcoming auction, informationwas provided concerning the destination and the opportunity to visit the origin of manyof the artworks on display.TRIUMPH MOUNTAIN PROPERTIES (aka Peak), VAIL CO: The largest single-mountain ski resort on the continent, Vail caters to an affluent clientele attracted to theregion and the apres ski options including culture, spa and dining.Our client, Peak Properties is the dominant property management and rental operationconcerning luxury mountainside and in-town chalets within Vail and neighboring BeaverCreek. Desire: To attract deluxe clients from the United King- dom and Continental Europe. In general clients from Europe and the UK spend an average 13 nights in the Vail Valley versus 4.5 nights for the visitor from North America. Solution: With our PR contacts, we implemented out- reach to The International Herald Tribute and influen- cers (local specialty sport and department stores, tour operators, luxury travel agents i.e. Select Travel of Stockholm with offices in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Oslo and London) on the Continent advising of the non- stop service from London and Frankfurt to Denver with connections to Eagle County, CO. .
MAHARASHTA (TOURISM) INDIA: The Maharashta State of India as a destina-tion is eclipsed by its urban capital, Mumbai (formally Bombay). As with many clients, TheState of Maharashta desired to increase inbound tourism from the United States, consideredan affluent generator of tourism capital coupled with a planned increase of air-lift betweenthe two countries. Issue: Well known for its major urban destination, Mum- bai (formally Bom- bay), client wished to attract attention to the many other tourism opportuni- ties within the State.Solution: FAM Opportunity with travel writers and bloggers on the Deecan Odyssey, the“Blue Train” of India. Coordinated with Air India to obtain attractively priced business-classair tickets for participants. Bloggers communicated directly from the train and tourism sites.Press mentions in various publications spanning a diverse demographic from the young ad-venture-oriented traveler to the mature leisure and culture client desiring the finest in Indianhospitality and service were the result as well as a continued uptick in positive media expo-sure as measured by column inches.THE SOCIETY (LUXURYREALESTATE.COM): Developed as a marketing plat-form for vacation villas, chalets and homes, the niche entity provided access to pre-vettedand professionally managed vacation rental inventory. At its pinnacle The Society offeredmarketing support for thousands of luxury and deluxe vacation rentals worldwide prior tothe development of the more generic owner-centric sites including VRBO, Flip-Key andHomeAway. Recently, The Society was acquired by LuxuryRealEstate.com.Issue: Due to limited start-up capital, the marketing and PR budget necessitated an orienta-tion to social media and Internet.Solution: A major Internet presence using SEO andOrganic Key-Word Searches. While database man-agement was outsourced, Concierge Services andConsulting provided copy-writing, monitoring and PRservices for the main Society website including blogs,descriptions, reviews, tips for travelers, educationconcerning the vacation rental process and moni-toring.In addition, debut at The Luxury Travel Expo in LasVegas coupled with a direct e-mail campaign to targeted travel agents with an affluentclient-base. Concierge Services developed a dedicated travel agent portal and liaison,FAM opportunities and continued direct communication.
BREAKTHROUGH TRAVEL: The consolidator airline ticket industry literally operatesin the shadows. Developed to provide competitively priced 1st and Business Class airlinetickets via the travel agent community, most entities have operated via “Word of Mouth”and limited advertising in trade publications.Issue: Breakthrough Travel, a subsidiary of anexisting consolidator wished to increase mar-ket share by attracting the next generation oftravel agents, many “home-based” and Inter-net savvy.Solution: Concierge Services conceived andcreated a website and associated brandingreminiscent of the golden age of travel whenCaesar salads were tossed in the aisle and ser-vice was presented with a smile. Flying ,darewe say, was an enjoyable experience. Graph-ics and text font evoke the era of flying as aluxury experience beyond traveling from PointA to B.In addition Concierge Services and Consulting implemented, provided content and moni-toring of social media sites for Breakthough Travel including blog posts, tweets and variedbusiness pages to attract the next generation of luxury travelers to experience service infront of the curtain.CARIBBEAN ISLAND DESTINATION: With heavy airlift and density along the North-east corridor the islands of the Caribbean, while each is unique are in mortal combat forthe leisure vacation spend. With the exception of Puerto Rico and the United States VirginIslands, the islands all require passport for entry. Thus, the desire to cater to a more affluentand educated audience.Issue: Competition from neighboring islands, many which have developed earlier with lar- ger inventory of rooms, vacation rentals and non-stop air. In addition the destination is one of the furthest Caribbean islands from the continental United States. Solution: Sponsorship of traffic reports in AM radio. In the New York Metropolitan area there are three AM stations including Bloomberg Radio which provide traffic re- ports every 10 minutes. We desired to pene- trate this market on days of inclement weather and delays as the traffic reports of- fer a captive and more affluent audience. “The latest traffic report was sponsored by ________, where at the present time is it 84 degrees and sunny. The only moisture in the
SOCIAL MEDIA:When I lecture to our next generation of marketing/PR professionals I open each lecturewith the following: “How many of you were on Facebook today?” 85% respond in the af-firmative. My next questions, “How many of you were on MySpace today?” Not one hand israised and my response, “MySpace was The Facebook of a decade ago”.Social Media is an ever changing landscape. While it is important for an entity to have asocial media presence, it is not the “Like” status or “Fans”, social media must engage yourclient and build a trusting relationship and offer an opportunity to communicate.In the deluxe and luxury marketplace, Social Media should be considered an adjunct toany integrated marketing and public relations campaign. While the deluxe and luxury sec-tors have been “back-benchers” concerning social media, the finest and most creativehave used social media as an extension of their branding and reputation.A few luxury and deluxe brands we feel have hit the mark with social media include:Louis Vuitton: Using their web presence as a “display case” for theirbrand. The site does NOT discount or provide specials. The display,their product line sans embellishment is provided to entice, intrigue,reinforce the brand and the desire to obtain via their boutiques andselective retail outlets. Calvin Klein: Using flash media to extend their “luxury lifestyle” image. The visually appealing advertisements sell us aspiration to this world of perfect bodies, clothing from undergarments to outerwear all in a clean, uncluttered presence, luxury distilled to its core elements, yet mixed with intrigue and anonymity. Fairmont Hotels: Engaging their fans and followers with unique opportunities. From luxury urban sanctuaries to exclusive resorts or game reserves, The Fairmont Brand, while not a “household brand” enjoys a dedicated client-base to which Fairmont com-municates via various channels yet always retaining the hallmark of luxury,the personal-touch.The above entities have engaged social media to increase their brand awareness yet havealso been selective concerning their presence. Social media messaging is no different fromtraditional advertising and public relations, you desire to have your message reach andresonate with your target audience. Anything less is a waste of time,capital and may inflict negative connotations concerning your brand.Whether it is blog posts, search-engine optimization, twitter feeds, RSS, hash tags, analytics,site design, copy-writing, content management, updates, reputation enhancement &response, Concierge Services and Consulting is here to assist.
PUBLIC RELATIONS:The practice or profession of establishing, maintaining, or improving a favorable relation-ship between and institution or a person and the public.Yet the reality is a good PR professional is a “storyteller”. Their traits include the compositionof the story, what is of interest or as some would advise, “newsworthy”, analysis of theproper placement and finally audience acceptance.Even in this era of newspapers written for an 8th grade reading level and stories distilled to140 characters or less, telling the story is as important as ever.While a picture may be worth 1000 words, a good story can attract the client. Yet what isthe story? Where should it be placed? Who would be interested? Are advertorials effec-tive? What is PRNewswire? And how does one translate column inches into advertisementvalue?
PUBLIC RELATIONS: the business of induc- INFLUENCER: MARKET- the capacity oring the public to have understanding for and power of per- ING: the actgoodwill toward a person, firm, or institution; sons or things or process ofalso : the degree of understanding and goodwill. to be a com- selling or pur- pelling force on or produce chasing in aSOCIAL MEDIA: forms of electronic communica- effects on the market b : thetion (as Web sites for social networking and actions, behav-microblogging) through which users create online process or ior, opinions,communities to share information, ideas, personal etc., of technique ofmessages, and other content (as videos). others. promoting, selling, andWORD OF MOUTH: oral communication; especially : oral distributing aoften inadvertent publicity. product or Service. Joseph A. Sobin, CTC/CTIE/M. URP Principal ,Concierge Services and Consulting New York Denver 230 Central Park South 191 University Boulevard #380 New York, NY 10019 Denver, CO 80206 Phone: 1+303-377-2275 / 1+212-445-0709 Skype: Joseph.Sobin E-mail: MtnTravel@aol.com