We had a chat with Tihana Baždar Gašljević, Head of Marketing at Marriott Hotels – Zagreb & Dubrovnik, one of our panellists at Best Stay 2019.

1. You currently work as Head of Marketing for three Marriott International Inc. properties in Croatia: Sheraton Zagreb, Sheraton Dubrovnik and The Westin Zagreb. How challenging is your job? Working as Head of Marketing for such renowned brands is both a challenge and a privilege. Marriott International Inc., with its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, has become the largest hotel management company, encompassing 30 brands, Sheraton and Westin being among them. It is a privilege to be at the „source“ of all relevant marketing and tourism trends and innovations and sometimes it is a challenge to overcome the ever popular marketing budget corrections while keeping and driving more traffic and creating and generating more brand and property value.

2. In your opinion, what are the travel trends that will drive the tourism industry? What can we expect in a few years? Tourism became digital some time ago and changed both consumer and supplier mindset. In the future, I would expect even further digitalisation from both sides: consumers will get more demanding, as they are becoming more used to feedback by a hotel in real-time (via chatbots, social media, etc.) and hotels will have to follow that trend and adjust in order to capture the desired market. The contact between the guest and the hotel, especially in terms of promotion, will become even more targeted… in a digital world, where everything is evaluated, monitored and even prejudged via digital audience first (for example, social profiles of hotels, websites, online promotions, guests’ feedback via various guest satisfaction platforms), hotels will have to accelerate their digital transformation in order to reach the guest, capture their attention for a second. On the other hand, guests will become more demanding, requiring the hotel feedback right away, but also very keen on keeping their privacy (their personal information such as email addresses) when it comes to accepting or receiving promotional material. How to target such a guest and convert her/him into a loyal customer will be a very big challenge.

3. What are your expectations from speaking at Best Stay? What are you looking forward to? I look forward to sharing my experiences with my colleagues and even more – look forward to hearing the latest experiences, trends, tips and tricks from them.

Get a chance to hear Tihana speak at Best Stay 2019, grab your ticket today – register here.