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Utilizing Promotions to Drive SalesContact us Marketing & Sales Tips

By: Joyce Hayne

Mix up your marketing by trying new promotions to gain a prospect’s attention, create awareness, encourage a trial, promote loyalty, or get referrals. Following are some ideas you can add to your marketing strategies to generate sales.


  • Host a brown bag lunch at your client’s office to thank them for their business and share tips on industry trends.
  • Sponsor a coffee break at a prospect’s office to meet all the decision makers in the company.
  • Plan an Open House at your office that may coincide with your company’s anniversary or the launch of a new product. Hold it after work and serve wine and cheese.
  • Network at hospitality events to meet new contacts and your existing clients. Attend the HOST 2012 reception that is held on Sunday night of this Vancouver conference held each November, and go to the AHLA conference held in April in Alberta. Go to Vancouver AM events and ask one of your hotel clients to take you to SKAL to get referrals to his colleagues.
  • Show your support for the industry by attending events held by the BC Hospitality Foundation and meet new industry contacts.


  • There are lots of opportunities for shelf talkers and tags in private liquor stores to promote your products.
  • Tent cards on counters or tabletops in pubs or restaurants work very well to push products.
  • Help private liquor stores set up displays to showcase your products at the end of aisles or other high profile locations.
  • To remind prospects of your service each day, get danglers that can hang off their monitors.
  • Give prospects and clients educational posters to be hung up in the back of the house with tips for their employees.


  • Tape a sales rep giving a demonstration of a product and put it on YouTube.
  • Show housekeepers how to properly maintain their laundry equipment.
  • Give demos at trade shows to engage prospects with your products.


  • Attend industry shows targeted at the hospitality industry like Host 2012 in BC and the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Trade Show in Alberta.
  • Attend business showcase events put on by your local Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade.
  • Invite clients to your booth before the show .
  • Make appointments with prospects to meet you at your booth where they can see your products, but be sure you have a colleague to deal with other people coming to your booth at that time.
  • Put a note on your email signature to visit you at Booth X at the show.
  • Mail invitations to your prospects and clients.
  • Ensure everyone working the booth uses a qualifier sheet with key qualifying questions that need to be answered by each person coming into your booth.
  • Hold a contest at your booth to collect business cards. Have blank cards available for people who don’t have cards.
  • Write a letter template to customize and send out to prospects after the show.
  • Read our other article on trade show etiquette.


  • Select useable items as giveaways that connect to your company.
  • You can select inexpensive items for a show and more costly items for long-term clients.
  • Ensure the items maintain your company’s image.
  • Keep your logo discreet, particularly on clothing.
  • There are hundreds of options, but some useful items include magnets, pocket knives, USB sticks, beverage bottles, wallets, blankets, hand or golf towels, paper weights, insulated cooler bags, flashlights, emergency kits, wine openers, wine chillers, and wine glasses.


  • Contests are a great way to get new leads by grabbing the attention of new prospects.
  • Partner with a non-competitive company that is targeting the same industry that you are to offer a prize for a big contest, if you don’t have a suitable product to give out as a prize.
  • Promote the contest with a wide variety of media to get the most traction possible.


  • If someone can try your product before they make a commitment to buy a large quantity, you can reduce their risk of utilizing a new supplier.
  • Conduct tastings of liquor products at private liquor stores.
  • Give sample packs of products like laundry chemicals, coffee or food.
  • If you sell linens, give a hand towel or pillow for your prospect to try.


  • Surprise a client by giving them a gift certificate for a coffee to thank them for their business.
  • Give a gift card from a department store for a client’s birthday or anniversary to drive loyalty.


  • Try to utilize value-adds in your coupons vs. discounting your product or service.
  • Coupons for free samples work well or add a small product with a large purchase.
  • Coupons are great for tracking the success of a direct marketing campaign.


  • Join industry associations such as the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association, BC Hotel Association, and the Alliance of Beverage Licensees to showcase your company as a key supplier to that industry.
  • Select members to call and send an introductory letter either before or after the call. Set a goal of qualifying 5-10 a week so you’ll have an ongoing list of prospects to work.
  • Send articles of value to these prospects by mail or email to position yourself as an expert in their industry.

Select a number of these sales promotions to add into your marketing plan, and then watch your marketshare in the hospitality industry grow.