How to create global sales without having a global sales department

It was new, it was cool, but it was not doing well. Staypineapple’s The Loop hotel had to overcome major difficulties in Chicago.

Text: Laura Myers // FOTOS: Hotel The Loop

StayPineapple’s The Loop hotel is one of the more unusual hotel options in Chicago … or should we say eclectic, distinctive, hip? Guests can hop on a free yellow cruiser bike to explore town, are encouraged to sleep naked in individual European-style duvets and can even bring along their dogs (dog bed and water bowl provided in room). It is a hip, modern boutique hotel set in a building that combines historic charm with modern amenities.

A National Historic Landmark

The Loop hotel is actually located in The Loop, Chicago‘s financial and entertainment district. The 1895 building is a National Historic Landmark. In fact, Al Capone‘s dentist was located in the building! Historians still suspect that the dentist office was a facade for Capone’s unsavory dealings. Obviously, such a location provides the perfect jumping off spot for exploring downtown Chicago. In the Loop and with the Theatre District just steps away, business and leisure visitors can take full advantage of all the city has to offer.

So far, so good. However, when StayPineapple hotel group entered the Midwest market with The Alise Chicago (later renamed as The Loop) in December 2015, it faced the challenge of being a newcomer with little brand recognition.

Lucrative Relationship

„The first few months in 2016 were tough”, recalls Mailene Ogalino-Cline, National Account Sales Manager at StayPineapple, a hospitality group with properties on the West Coast and in Boston. „We had just opened. Guests were assuming they were staying at a hotel run by the previous hotel group occupying the building. We did not have the name recognition and were getting a lot of OTA guests. Numbers were not what we had wanted them to be”, she explains.

By entering the HRS Marketplace, their system for the negotiation of company rates gave The Loop excellent access to national and international groups and corporate clients – many of which turned into repeat customers. HRS Marketplace offered exposure to global players at a fraction of the time that would have been necessary to initiate and establish these lucrative relationships by following conventional marketing routes. The Loop Chicago has since developed a solid business client share of 80 percent and the group business is very promising.

The Global Sales department named HRS

Mailene Ogalino-Cline values the extra business HRS Marketplace has provided. Gaining a foothold in this new market, high quality leads and the custom-tailored approach make HRS Marketplace a useful tool to increase the hotel’s presence nationally and internationally. The numbers show 50 percent of RFPs resulted in actual bookings and a 12 to 15 percent revenue increase that can be attributed to HRS Marketplace leads.

Ogalino-Cline adds: “Having HRS as our partner we now have an international presence; like our very own ‘Global Sales department’. We have the opportunity to to participate in tenders from corporations and have gained access to several of those companies.”  HRS Marketplace managed to get the property on the map. “What we get from HRS Marketplace are not blind marketing leads. We have received qualified leads that have ended up producing a conversion rate of 50 Percent! I am still amazed at what we have achieved!”

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