Interview-Mark Podolski, Director Of Sales & Marketing, Pacific Palms

Interview-Mark Podolski, Director Of Sales & Marketing, Pacific Palms

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  2. Type the responses of the interviewee (third person view) in paragraph format (5 sentences = 1 paragraph). If you submit a single sentence for each question, your assignment will NOT be accepted
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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I have been in hotel sales and marketing for 38 years, working for various chain and independent hotel companies including Marriott/Starwood/Ritz-Carlton/Destination Hotels & Resorts/Sheraton and with Visit Anaheim CVB.

How long have you been the Director of Sales & Marketing at Pacific Palms?

Eight and a half years.

What is your favorite part of being the Director of Sales & Marketing at Pacific Palms?

The variety of daily interactions with clients, training and brainstorming strategy with sales-catering-conference service-revenue staff, marketing and interacting with the entire hotel team.

What is a typical workday like for you?

Crazy to the max…There is never enough time to execute on all of the sales/marketing/service ideas and needs.

How do you cater to foreign markets at Pacific Palms?

We have multiple service offerings, multiple language speaking staff, translated communications, meal options, etc to make foreign visitors comfortable.

What strategies do you employ in marketing your property internationally?

The Chinese segment is the largest of the foreign markets. Normally, a strong partnership with LA based tour operators who promote our resort to travel agencies abroad is the most important effort. Taking great care of current guests helps spread the word about our hotel as they return home from vacations.

From which countries do you see a significant number of travelers?

The largest is China, but also South Korea, the Philippines, India, Europe, Mexico/Latin America.

What challenges have you encountered in marketing your property internationally and engaging foreign markets?

As an independent property, our brand is not as well-known as large chains and we don’t have the distribution channels and global staff to promote around the world.  We rely partially on our membership with LATCB, Visit Anaheim and Preferred Hotels & Resorts to gain exposure.

What advice do you have for those interested in entering hotel sales & marketing?

Hotel Sales & Marketing career options are a fantastic option for those willing to work hard, travel, grow leadership and communication skills and interact with large teams.  They can be achieved either with relevant college education or by progressing from hourly positions in a hotel.

 Pacific palm resort, as a well-known resort in Southern California, has 650 acres. The resort has the fabulous fireside dining overlooking a celebration lake, spa and fitness center, and a legendary industry Hills Golf Club featuring the Ike and the Babe championship courses. In addition, the hotel has 292 guestrooms and suites which are beautifully decorated and spacious, equipped with sunny balconies and delicate furnishings, coffee and WIFI are also provided. Moreover, the convenient location where near four main airports and interstate makes going to enjoy the selected restaurants and Bars much more easier. Rooms in the pacific Palm resort provide brunch and refreshment in the lounge. You would like to enjoy the beautiful scenery through the french  sash of the guest room, having panoramic views continuous mountains. When it comes to room equipments, 40-inch flat screen TV and user-friendly workstation ergonomic chairs should be mentioned.

By the way, you might be curious about how does this tremendous property operate everyday? Are there any secrets of success in this well-known hotel? Today, let’s walk into the kingdom of Pacific palm, and make an interview with the sales and marketing manager Mark Podolski.

Mark Podolski has been in hotel industry for 38 years, he started work in hotel industry in 1980. His very first job was sales manager when he graduated from Penn State University; the whole time he has been a manager. For this job, there different positions one can grow into, everyone may come from different background. Mark took a most common way, he started from a sales manager, then change his title from low to high by accumulating time and experience. His motivation of study and persistence help him become unique in this industry.

As a manager, there’s never enough time. Manager needs to drive every part of the hotel to be as busy as possible and to get the biggest profit. During the workday, he bounces around to talk to people operating different areas, and bring up about what they will sell, how will they tell people, how will they market in. For the sales side, they have a whole big team that people all have their own territories such as northeast, west, and northeast. And these people are trying to get one big part of business, for instances, conferences. They figure out the companies who is going to have national meeting or national sales exhibition, then get in front of them and persuade them to have their services. When the contracts are signed, the customer managers will get touch with the customers and figure out all the detail, and go to find more business. Mark described his job as guiding sales people, developing marketing, help all the different things in the hotel to have good sales, services and marketing points. He supposed that as a sales manager, training people, guiding them, helping them to be successful and creating markets is of great importance. These aspects will enhance popularity of the hotel and make more profit.

Every sword has two slides, as a seasoned hotel manager, Mark gave us objective analysis about nowadays Pacific palm resort. On the one hand, they provides many irreplaceable amenities, luxury sports, championship golf course, diversified restaurants and event space. As is known to us, many limited-service hotel only have a small restaurant, however, in Pacific palm, customer could enjoy various and fancy cuisines in two different restaurants. Space must be one of most attractive points when people concern about hotel, Pacific palm has 293 guest rooms and suites. Normally, a hotel may have 20 thousand square feet of function space, Pacific palm is almost 2.5 times of them. With event space, they build up big ballrooms and lots of entertainment rooms, and they have a spa shop and a golf shop in the lobby. The resort is all inclusive, you can enjoy varieties of entertainments without leaving. On the other hand, there are some weaknesses of the resort. First, the resort is not priced as resort because it is not around water, as a affordable resort, it is priced close to a regular hotel. Second, the hotel has a very long history which means the decoration is too old for some people. Therefore, the manager also mentioned that if the money is not the object, the technology of the hotel is the first thing he wants to improve. Last but not the least, their location is the strength but also the weakness. It is located in the center of the four airports, but not close to anything such as beaches or oceans.

A great story we got from the manager is about the service. There was a group of people, around 30 of them; each of them had their own room. They wanted a late check-out on Saturday, just one hour from 12pm to 1pm. The hotel tried to say yes whenever they could and usually it works out, but it wasn’t good for this Saturday because that was the Saturday before Halloween and the hotel was really busy. The hotel agreed to some customers, the front desk gave them the little check-in packet with a key and a room number. The front desk had to create new keys that were reprogrammed so people could get back in if they walked in at 12:30 or 1. When the hotel gave the cards back to the customers, there is no name so they do not know which rooms these keys belongs to. With names on the key, if you leave it somewhere by mistake, people will know which room to go to, so what we should have done is not writing the names but giving them the room list with the names so that they didn’t have to call out.

There are some pieces of advices Mark would like to give to students who want to work in the hotel industry. The hotel industry is pretty interesting and exciting, what you can become is unlimited, it is based on your style and performances. People notice you when you are great. Hotel industry is one of the least degreed, if you don’t get a hotel degree, you can also start now, opportunity is great. Try to get into the well-communicated, upbeat and friendly group. Whenever you are, please get more transformable skills to be flexible in your life.

In our opinions, there are some suggestions to improve the revenue of the hotel. First of all, as is said, the segment of market decides the competitor of a hotel. Though the hotel has some weakness in the locations, is not near beaches or ocean, the company can pay more attention to chain development, and find more convenient place to build up chain hotel. Pacific palm has good fame; the customers in other areas must be anticipated to have a Pacific palm around them. Secondly, the company should realize the importance of fashion, luxury decoration is attractive, but the products should be diversity, thus can seize the eyes of customer, I suggest the company add more fashionable featured in the hotel equipments. Last but not the least, recruiting more young staff, this will allow young blood get involved into management of the resort. On one hand, it will provide the hotel with more vitality. One the other hand, update of management with could give the staff more opportunities to claim and ensure the turnover of the hotel.

In conclusion, after this interview, we learned that little steps lead to great distances. No matter in which industry, performance, ambition, and persistence are the base of to be unique and successful. Teamwork is also a core factor of prosperity, the collaboration and specialization of each part of company, make the final selected products, wise guidance and high-quality accomplishment are neither dispensable.