Hotel Marketing Association

HMA Spotlight on… Suzanne Cannon

Suzanne Cannon

Suzanne Cannon

In the latest of our Spotlight series, we meet Suzanne Cannon who is Head of Marketing for Amaris Hospitality and Jurys Inn

First off, Suzanne, tell us a bit about your history in hotels?

I joined what was then Jurys Doyle Hotel Group in the Summer of 2001 as a Marketing Assistant for the 4 star hotels. Within a couple of years I was promoted to Marketing Manager for the fledgling Jurys Inn brand and by 2006, I was appointed Marketing Manager for the Group, which at that point encompassed more than 45 hotels across 3, 4 and 5 star brackets.

The company was then taken private and I moved with the Jurys Inn business which, at that point, was expanding rapidly.

And tell us about your current role?

I am Head of Marketing for Amaris Hospitality. Amaris Hospitality is one of the UK and Ireland’s leading hotel investment and hospitality groups which brings together a unique portfolio of over 70 hotel assets and 7 brands, making us one of the largest hotel owners in the UK.

What type of hotels are they?

They are all well invested mid – market hotels. Amaris has spent over £100m over the past 3 years  transforming our portfolio.

What are your main responsibilities when it comes to your company’s marketing?

I head up a Marketing Department of 6 people who are all based in Dublin. All our Marketing is centralised. We are responsible for all online marketing – direct via and indirect via the various OTA channels. We also manage brand PR and Amaris corporate PR, direct marketing, brochures, sales material, customer research and brand development.

What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to digital marketing at present?

Without a doubt the dominance of OTA’s. With their vast budgets and developed technologies they are able to outbid hotels on their own brand terms and platforms like HPA and Instant Book are making it even easier for them to dominate the search landscape.

This is making it more and more difficult to create customer loyalty and drive direct bookings.

What is your most successful social media channel for the company and why?

Facebook. It has a vast, varied audience and you have the ability to set up a real community. It is also a great platform for getting guest feedback – good and bad. Twitter has its place but it tends to be more focused on quick queries – Where is your parking? etc…

What do you see being the biggest trend or new innovation in hotel marketing in the next 24 months?

The continued development of Google platforms will present ongoing challenges to smaller hotel groups, who will find it more difficult to compete with OTAs.

Data and personalisation offer real opportunities for hotels to really own their relationship with customers and I think that hotel companies who invest in these technologies will see the upside.

If I gave you £25,000 right now to spend on your marketing, what would you do with it?

That’s a really difficult one! I would say either website developments that allow for better personalisation or a large scale PR Campaign; we have had great success with these in the past, particularly with our Suvet!!

What are you currently steering clear of with regards marketing strategy or implementation?

At the moment, we are tentatively engaging in Meta platforms but it has been challenging on connectivity and cost of sale.

What does Jurys Inn/Amaris Hospitality have planned for the next 3 years?

We are planning a repositioning of the Jurys Inn brand and a supporting advertising campaign – watch this space…!

What is your career highlight to date?

Rebranding over 13 hotels to Jurys Inns, Hiltons, Doubletree by Hiltons and Hilton Garden Inns over the course of 12 months – challenging and exciting.

What advice would you give marketers considering joining the hotel industry?

Focus on digital marketing and try and get experience in other industries that have similar direct / indirect challenges – like insurance, for example.

Many thanks to Suzanne for sharing her experiences with us. Stay tuned to our Spotlight series as we enter into the Hotel Marketing Awards 2017 – we’ll be asking for plenty more tips, opinion and advice!

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