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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Proximity Marketing

When you really consider the meaning of proximity and marketing as a combination, a traditional marketer must begin laughing profusely. It was only the advent of the phone and then the web that made us have anything other than close proximity marketing as our primary marketing approach. As electronic commerce options advanced, the digital divide was created and enabled us to talk to each other without ever talking to each other. As a marketer, you must ask yourself what is best for your brand. What messages should travel from the mouth to the ear and what messages should be delivered via one or more technologies?

Today, proximity marketing may still involve a person talking to a person. AT&T’s commercials are a case study in what I call “person to person proximity marketing” (said with tongue in cheek). However, most people talking about proximity marketing are relying either in their minds or literally upon multiple technologies to make it happen. Various combinations of mobile phones, operating systems, data, communication signals and IoT devices create a partially invisible network of digital plasma carrying information about the nearby devices and presumably their owners.

The practical applications of these conceptual and real solutions are many. They are able to be more informed if the information exists and access to it is permitted. They are able to match a given marketing promotion to a prospective customer as the person enters a proximity-based sphere of influence. These promotional offers may be for a core product, an upsell opportunity, a coupon, part of a loyalty program, an event action or may simply improve a customer experience. They could even be combined with the human element and shared with a prospect if an employee deems it appropriate. However this technique may positively influence your marketing results, I look forward to discussing it with you in the near future.

Sources:

2016 State of Marketing”, Salesforce Research, Undisclosed. Web. April 14, 2016.

Proximity Marketing“, Wikipedia, November 2, 2015. Web. April 14, 2016.

Data Security Considerations from FTC v. Wyndham

The world of ECommerce brought about a new paradigm of managing the digital footprint of today’s electronic transactions. Companies and Solution Providers are both faced with defining security as it relates to the data being exchanged with customers and implementing the proper protection for this information. However, the question of risk or lack thereof was usually a consideration.

What has Changed? – The result of FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corporation reinforces the teeth implied by the FTC Act. It clearly holds companies accountable for not only defining privacy policies and terms of service agreements, but requires those companies to adhere to them. While Wyndham was not fined, they are being held accountable by the FTC to uphold assurances they make within their own privacy policy.

According to the FTC, this is where Wyndham misjudged the implementation of their security practices. While it is easy to look at the situation in wonder, the reality is that companies make statements in these policies, but consistently have risks that may cause them to fall short in the actual implementation. The more global a business, the more intricacies may exist. This shows the level of responsibility that the FTC requires regarding how businesses and technologies must protect consumers for all transactions regardless of channel. Given that managing data and its security is a rather dynamic task sometimes fraught with obstacles, it requires a certain amount of diligence.

A Marketer’s Perspective – This should create a moment of pause for most companies that manage customer transactions containing customer and credit card information, whether through a Point of Sale, ECommerce enabled Website, Payment Solution or other technologies that are potential requirements for efficiently transacting business via multiple channels. The needs of each corporation are different and the appropriate people within them should seek guidance from qualified resources to understand if this affects their specific sales and marketing efforts or the products and services they provide to the marketplace.

As a guideline, a business may want to contemplate the following questions:

  • What impact does managing this data have within my business?
  • Are we protecting the data of our customers to the extent necessary?
  • What systems may affect compliance with our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service?
  • What additional technologies will enable us to efficiently manage this data?

Real Applications – Any technology that facilitates a touch point with customers presents an opportunity for transactions to occur and data to be exchanged. Mobile devices, computers and kiosks are just a few examples of solutions that capture this information. The POS, ECommerce, Payment and custom software solutions all may play a role in capturing, organizing and protecting the customer in compliance with a privacy policy and regulation. The bottom line is that this information has a lifecycle and responsibilities that go along with it during that time.

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