Hotelier Profile: Mark Podolski, Director of Sales & Marketing, Pacific Palms

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.