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A Guide for Hotels & Venues: Know your Return of Objectives from your Return on Investment and understand why they matter

  • Emma Cartmell
  • 15th November 2018

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Whilst I don’t want to be the one that mentions Christmas is coming, it is, and for many of us, that means budget setting for 2019 and where best to place our precious marketing spend. I recently presented to a group of hotel sales managers, keen to get the most from their exhibition opportunities, and I thought I would take you on a whistle-stop tour of that content.

In these challenging times, we all like to make sure that we are getting value for money. Face to face marketing activities, such as exhibitions, are a significant outlay but there are some things that you can do before, during and after, to make sure you are getting optimum bang for your buck and reap significant rewards. Let me introduce you to two friends of mine, Return of Objectives and Return on Investment, or ROO and ROI as I like to call them!

This is a good time to distinguish what the two terms mean and when and where you would use them. ROO is forward-looking based on determining what you want to achieve from your event. ROI is reflective and illustrates the value of the event to your company or organization, once you’ve worked out what it cost you in outlay (and don’t forget to include people’s time in this equation!). It’s also a useful tool to compare the effectiveness of your event against other marketing activities. It’s the preview and review of any face to face marketing activity.

First and foremost, set and communicate your objectives. These should link to your marketing plan, which in turn, should be built around your business plan:

  • Think about capacity for your venue
  • Think about seasonality and what that means in terms of beds
  • Think about peaks and troughs in your business calendar
  • Think about those lull weeks and how much more businesses you need to fill this
  • Think about lead times and critical drivers – if you want to achieve £20,000 of extra business, realistically how long will it take to achieve that
  • Critical Drivers are the things that need to happen before you make a sale: Making people aware of you, building a relationship, attending a site visit, giving you an enquiry, completing a request for proposal (RFP) – all these things should be measured and not just the final sales figure.

These are just examples, and I am sure that you can think of others that should be taken into consideration for your estimates.

Make your objectives measurable, what targets are you going to set and how will you measure success?

  • Are you looking at a percentage increase in enquiries?
  • Number of new contacts that should be nurtured
  • Number of enquiries generated
  • Then are you going to give yourself a time limit within that measure, how many enquiries in one month, 3 months or 6 months?


When you look at a return on objectives, this is beyond measuring what happens at your stand, and about the steps you need to take to achieve those objectives. It can be a more fluid measurement but is equally as important. Don’t be embarrassed to include personal measures here too, that talk about you as an individual and what you can do to improve your own personal brand.

Think about your objectives, beyond just your stand, and the steps you need to take to achieve your objectives, for example:

  • Are you looking to position yourself as a key partner or influencer in the industry? Do your research into what and who are currently trending
  • Do you want to build long-lasting relationships and remember the 7-hour rule?
  • Look at the wider team for this too, for example, is your sales team new, do they need to make an impact on a personal level, how can you create that introduction/exposure for them?
  • Are you wanting to position yourself as an expert or trusted advisor and what does that mean in terms of exposure, content, communication channels, networks and frequency?
  • How can you make an impact and stand out from the crowd?
  • What do you need to do to build momentum for a launch, how much lead time do you need for this, how much resource and what kind of frequency e.g. once per week, twice per week etc?)
  • What sort of volumes are you looking for, do you need high amounts of traffic for future campaigns?
  • Volume – do you need high amounts of traffic for future campaigns?
  • What about research? If you are thinking of a refurb, do you know what buyers are looking for? For example, white spaces, modern deco, high tech?
  • Number of enquiries, what are the critical drivers that I mentioned earlier?

Setting a return of objectives is a proactive approach and is a broader measure than generating sales leads alone. This is about building that nebulous quality of trust, and there is no speedy way to that other than investment, effort and time. Enjoy!

Emma x

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