Hospitality Marketing Tips & Stories

Top Floor is a weekly podcast with tangible tips and excellent stories from the experts and characters who elevate hospitality. Host and elevator operator Susan Barry explores the idea that everything is marketing in the hotel business.

  • 14 | Loser Buys Dinner
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    November 30, 2021

    14 | Loser Buys Dinner

    Like many in hospitality, Teague Hunter tried — and failed — to leave the business for another industry early in his career. After being drawn back in, Teague has set records and helped lead the way back to recovery through his show, Teague Talks, and his company’s annual conference. Susan discusses working with family and dodging bullets with the CEO of Hunter Hotel Advisors.

  • 13 | Canned Good Centerpieces
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    November 23, 2021

    13 | Canned Good Centerpieces

    Entertaining is a way of life for Jana Robinson, from singing her way through each morning to creating dynamic events with plenty of compelling content. Jana has produced happenings for President Obama and Real Housewives, but her passion lies in giving back. Susan and Jana talk about the energy difference between live and virtual events, how to shop for the planner in your life, and the joys of being a Gemini.

  • 12 | This is Not the Norm
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    November 16, 2021

    12 | This is Not the Norm

    Adele Gutman danced her way through performing arts high school before feeling the pull of hospitality, courtesy of a destination spa trip with her mom. Adele found a home at the Library Hotel Collection, where she led its New York portfolio to a truly odds-defying 15 years at the top of the TripAdvisor charts. Susan and Adele talk about the ins and outs of managing a hotel’s reputation by making small but continuous improvements to reduce friction in the guest experience.

  • 11 | Swedish Pastry Dreams
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    November 9, 2021

    11 | Swedish Pastry Dreams

    Although she still dreams of the Swedish pastries from her first job, Tracy Judge has both feet firmly planted in the realities of the modern events business. Tracy’s journey as a freelance economy platform entrepreneur has led her to explore how the soft skills planners cultivated in live events can smooth the way and soothe the anxieties of a shift to virtual and hybrid meetings. Susan learns about how Tracy evolved her company to meet real-time needs and tripled her community along the way.

  • 10 | Literally a Strip Search
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    November 2, 2021

    10 | Literally a Strip Search

    Jay Schwartz was not interested in starving as an artist, so he transformed his fine arts degree into a career in graphic design and brand strategy. Exploring piles of mud, silvery blue waves, and a Scarface-mountain of casino chips, Jay uses a sense of place — and lots and lots of pictures — to craft the guest experience. Jay and Susan talk about branding hotels and restaurants along every point in the guest journey and how the pandemic was the best thing to happen to QR codes.

  • 09 | Three Giants and a Spy
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    October 26, 2021

    09 | Three Giants and a Spy

    After a de facto international tour of the hotel business, Christoph Hütter is on a mission to transform the focus of revenue management from gatekeeping to uncovering opportunities. Christoph believes that the pandemic has permanently changed the hotel business for the better, and he places creativity high on the list of skills that hoteliers should cultivate for future success. Christoph and Susan delve into how commercial teams can work together to create more profitable hotels.

  • 08 | King Sheet Parachute
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    October 19, 2021

    08 | King Sheet Parachute

    Justin Genzlinger graduated from Cucumber Chef to CEO of his family’s hospitality company by climbing the corporate ladder one milk crate at a time. After stints as a broken glass entrepreneur and a financial services consultant, Justin now promotes his portfolio of mostly historic hotels by staying rooted in a sense of place. Justin and Susan talk about how telling stories can help independent hotels stand apart in a crowded landscape.

  • 07 | Space Flea Exorcism
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    October 12, 2021

    07 | Space Flea Exorcism

    Chris Daly is happy to work barefoot, but he does not recommend baring your hotel’s soul during a time of crisis. With a family history in hospitality and a secret life as a music critic, Chris has handled more disasters, crises, murders, and fires than a season of Law and Order. Chris gives Susan some pointers about how hospitality businesses can handle sticky situations and what to include in a hotel’s crisis communications plan.

  • 06 | Dog Show Flight Delay
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    October 5, 2021

    06 | Dog Show Flight Delay

    Kendra Plummer did not grow up with pets, but she did grow up dreaming of owning a boutique hotel in Barbados. When she realized that the path to hotel ownership was not lined with front desk shifts, Kendra left operations for acquisitions, doing math and kicking assets. Susan hears about what it takes to become a hotel investor and how Kendra is tackling the wealth gap for women and people of color.

  • 05 | Kind of a Surreal Moment
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    September 28, 2021

    05 | Kind of a Surreal Moment

    After two broken legs cut his professional racing career short, Cory Falter turned his love of art into a career helping hotels and restaurants tell their stories. Cory’s evolution from ink aficionado to digital designer led him to explore the revenue possibilities of technology. Susan learns about Cory’s idea for increasing a hotel guests’ lifetime value by establishing relationships built on trust and extreme transparency.

  • 04 | Don’t Wanna Be Pitch-Slapped
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    September 21, 2021

    04 | Don’t Wanna Be Pitch-Slapped

    Tammy Gillis doesn’t want to be pitch-slapped, and she doesn’t think your customers want that either. A self-described lost soul in her youth, Tammy found herself and her calling in hotel sales. Susan learns how Tammy suggests hoteliers approach the recovery and how salespeople should pursue business conversations to make a positive impact.

  • 03 | Dude, Calm Down
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    September 14, 2021

    03 | Dude, Calm Down

    Calvin Tilokee’s first meme was printed out and hung on his office door.  Since then, he’s created @revparblems, a hospitality comedy account on Instagram with 20,000 followers.  Susan learns how Calvin navigates the highs and lows of being the funniest account on Instagram and helps hotels with social media through his company, RevPar Media.

  • 02 | We’re NOT Idiots
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    September 14, 2021

    02 | We’re NOT Idiots

    In the course of her hotel career, Kate Burda learned the business inside and out, from Minneapolis to Miami. Along the way, she figured out that the sound and fury of the hotel business could truly signify something by focusing on a traveler’s point of inspiration vs. a hotel’s product offering. Susan learns how Kate’s company helps hotels and other businesses ignite the connections between financial performance goals and sales and marketing strategies.

  • 01 | Gas Station Menu Drop
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    September 14, 2021

    01 | Gas Station Menu Drop

    As a teenager, Cat Meek took any restaurant job that would have her, working her way to becoming a certified sommelier and manager of a “very fahhncy” restaurant. Over romantic dates spent writing the business plan for a future fine dining establishment, she met and married her husband, who was conveniently also a chef. Susan learns how Cat built a multi-unit restaurant empire by making the guests part of the story.

  • 00 | My Not-So-Secret Mission
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    September 8, 2021

    00 | My Not-So-Secret Mission

    Susan Barry started her hospitality career sleeping in her car between parties as an off-premise caterer. Since then, she’s worked with hundreds of hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality companies to improve commercial strategy performance, gathering a bevy of wild experiences and crazy stories along the way. Top Floor explores how hospitality businesses can tell their stories, with expert tips and entertaining tales from engaging guests.

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