Hospitality and the SRQ Marketplace

Key demographic and local trends affecting hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants and golf courses in the Suncoast and SRQ marketplace

Florida continues to experience growth across both the general population and the inflow of travelers. Enterprise Florida reported a growth in the state population of around 2.0% in recent years. VisitFlorida reports that travelers into Florida from all global destinations increased 2.5% for 1Q17 compared to the same period the previous year, reaching 31.1 million visitors.

Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties are no exception to this. ESRI’s analysis showed these counties experiencing a total population growth rate of 7.3%, 6.0%, and 5.0%, respectively, from 2010 to 2016. Further to this point, Metrostudy reports that Sarasota County experienced 23.4% growth in housing starts when comparing 1Q17 to 4Q16. Manatee county experienced a decrease of 0.2% in the same metric.

Other cities within this area also reported meaningful population growth. The Herald-Tribune recently reported that the city of Sarasota experienced 2.5% growth from 2015 to 2016 based upon Census Bureau data, while Bradenton was at 2.3% and North Port at 3.3%. Each of these areas has a different demographic makeup and understanding the local hospitality industry supply, population and demographic data at the county level shows metrics that should be of interest when planning for future marketing activities.

Local Hospitality Industry Supply Levels

County

Hotels Full Service Restaurants Limited Service Restaurants

Golf Clubs

Manatee

130

552 332

43

Sarasota

192

836 479

51

Charlotte

48

290 209

20

Source: Enterprise Florida

However, most of us understand that these numbers are changing and sometimes rapidly. Hotel room inventory in the city of Sarasota will be changing significantly during the next 12 to 18 months. It may also be worth mentioning that while these numbers are close and directional, they are not perfect due to how business types are categorized within the data.

Reviewing the population of the area allows us to compare it to inventory levels for each hospitality segment.

Local Consumer Demographics

County

Population Median Age Households Households 50k +

% Households 50k +

Manatee

346,511

47.0 144,760 70,802

48.9%

Sarasota

402,055

55.1 185,183 93,276

50.4%

Charlotte

167,940

58.0 77,379 34,679

44.8%

Source: Enterprise Florida

Ratios: Population Per Supply

County

Population/ Hotel Population/ Restaurant

Population/
Golf Club

Manatee

2,665

392

8,058

Sarasota

2,094

306

7,883

Charlotte

3,499

337

8,397

While the above table has a reasonable amount of consistency across each county, the data at the city level is much more disparate with significant variations in the ratios from city to city. These calculations lead owners to ask if they are getting a fair share of the population and its extended sphere of influence to visit a specific location. Completing this analysis properly, requires the addition of inbound fly and drive travel activity to be included. Combining these data sources creates a baseline of volume that should be achievable for a given location and promotes a better understanding of the ebbs and flows from which marketing programs may influence revenues.

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Buying Marketing Technology & Services

There are numerous possible categories with regard to analyzing and evaluating marketing services and technologies as it pertains to your business. While only a subset of these may be a priority for any specific need within your marketing team, the coverage is important. It allows solutions to be identified that meet your objectives and requirements.

As a result there are two primary considerations. First, is understanding the core needs for you, including your unique set of business requirements and combining this with a thorough understanding of what’s possible from available solutions in the marketplace. Second, is evaluating technologies against your unique needs and accelerating your time from the identification of a marketing need to implementation, while improving the probability of success.

When embarking on a project, it is always important to review possibilities with respect to building and buying the set of solutions that enable you to get from point A to point B. This may entail complementing your internal resources with any of a number of potential resources or simply getting a better understanding of your options.

What are the benefits of hiring a company for their marketing services or marketing technology? There are many potential benefits, but here are a few:

  • You are hiring passion and people who excel at what they do
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  • Depending upon the maturity of the solution, you may get more capability than performing the same work or building the same technology yourself

In addition to general and detailed capabilities and the standard considerations associated with buying this type of service or technology, a few of the categories a buyer could consider are:

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These and many other categories enable you to easily evaluate the technologies and services most suitable to your company’s needs while taking into account those potential marketing and technology capabilities best aligned to your strategic objectives.

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Roadblocks to Successful Marketing Campaigns

What are marketing campaigns without roadblocks? We just do what we can to go around them, remove them, satiate their needs or mitigate their corresponding risks. When considering new marketing opportunities, these hurdles may consist of examples such as lack of budget, inaccurate data or misaligned objectives with the selected marketing tactics (see Demand Gen Report).

If a budget issue, it could be a lack of the necessary budget for any of the required MPTT resources of money, people, time or technology. If the issue is the amount of allocated funds for a project, then understanding what people or committees are responsible for approval of budget items plays a role, but building a well constructed business case is the real need, depending upon the level of rigor required for a given decision. If the limited resource is people to either complete the work or manage it going forward, then finding qualified personnel is the priority whether it is in the form of reallocation of existing people, the addition of new staff or external resources from agencies or consultants.

When dealing with data, it may be incomplete, out of date or even insufficient for the task at hand. Thankfully, there are many data sources and technologies to improve these situations. It’s possible to implement these data sources to supplement a marketing campaign, ensure compliance or even use it as a primary source to build an initiative for a new market segment or new product launch.

Time is yet another story. How does a company manufacture time that doesn’t exist? Short of turning back the clock, this seems to be a fruitless effort on the surface. However, with standard changes such as adding or sharing resources and an ounce of creativity, you will be on your way to finding alternatives that get more done in less time.

If technology appears to be the hurdle, you may find that multiple MPTT issues exist and may be solved by the ingenuity of solutions. As a general rule of thumb, technology today is easier to install, implement, integrate and manage in many respects. This is the result of cloud based solutions, vendor ecosystems, APIs as well as data interchange standards. Of course, that statement is not without exception. Lastly, technology has to do what you need it to do, even if it comes in a slightly different form than you originally had in mind.

And finally, because an extraordinary number of solutions exist in the marketplace today, companies have the luxury of finding marketing services and technologies that align well with their specific corporate objectives. As an example, if an organization places emphasis on sustainability for its own products, finding solution providers that do the same could be a great fit with their goals as corporate citizens within their industry or the world as a whole.

Regardless of the people responsible, either someone or a group has a fiduciary responsibility to make investments that will align with the criteria important to the company and marketing effort. While you may not understand all aspects of this reality due to your position or role, it makes sense to minimize the risk and maximize the reward for the marketing effort, doesn’t it? Whether you are a marketer, consultant or agency, you have to determine what part you play in these decisions. Furthermore, you need to understand the level of due diligence that is necessary to create the best chance that the investment being pursued will generate the intended results. If your company has decided that a purchase of technology must meet certain criteria, align with one or more corporate strategies or even meet certain compliance restrictions, then these become guidelines for getting to a solution whether you build, buy or lease it. The list of possibilities is long and distinguished, but determine what is imperative to you, the team, the organization, customers and shareholders as appropriate. Additionally, seeking the assistance of a trusted, competent resource for guidance is always a beneficial approach.