Introduction to Hospitality Marketing Strategy
The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Roselin Manawis, this chapter is titled “Benchmarking Hospitality.” In it, Carmie De Leon, the Vice President of Healthway, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in benchmarking hospitality.
Healthcare should start even when you’re healthy
If there’s anything that stays relevant, no matter the situation, it’s health. When people get sick or feel that something is amiss with their wellbeing, they go to hospitals and clinics to see a medical professional.
On that front, Carmie De Leon, Vice President for Sales and Marketing for Healthway and General Manager for Healthway Corporate Clinics, said they want to make health as attractive and accessible for the people.
Healthway put up clinics in shopping malls to make it more convenient for patients to stay healthy. Instead of people going to the doctor, Healthway’s marketing message flips it around and brings healthcare to them.
“Unlike other hospitals or clinics that wait for sick people, we talk to healthy people, encouraging them to stay healthy and take charge of their health,” De Leon said.
To encourage people and show they have nothing to fear, De Leon and her team came up with ways to incentivize the act of getting a check-up, changing the way the check-ups were framed. “We give them some rewards for staying healthy,” she said. Some of the rewards they give them to make executive check-ups sexier are free overnight stays at hotels, gym memberships, and other perks. When they introduced this concept, De Leon could tell their plan was a success as she saw people were coming in more excited for the check-up.
She also saw them visit other clinics with their families, which was another sign of the incentive program’s effectiveness. “These people in corporate, they’re the influencers of their families and colleagues,” she explained. “So when the employees visit Healthway for their executive check ups and have very good experience afterwards, they will bring in their families. This is also how we promote our brand.”
Most people know Healthway for being one of the preferred clinic chains in the country, having clinics in major shopping malls that are visited by all kinds of people. “By putting up clinics in shopping malls, where people are, we want them to make health a lifestyle, so after hearing the mass, or shopping, they see the doctor as well,” De Leon said.
In addition to promoting healthcare to the general public, De Leon also has special programs for those on the corporate level. Healthway’s corporate clinics also aim to bring the healthy lifestyle to their clients―even hopefully bring the same habits back home.
Healthway, as a thought leader, collaborates with key companies and reputable organizations to bring healthcare to different businesses, particularly through their executive check-ups and corporate clinic management.
Other ways De Leon markets the Healthway brand is through wellness education. She and her team invest in promoting educational programs and making healthcare more accessible for all. Partnered with their vast network of clinics, Healthway’s marketing team hopes to encourage more people not necessarily to visit the clinic, but to embrace the Sleep, Eating Right, Exercise, and De-stressing (SEED) Lifestyle and take care of themselves better.
Their main education program is what De Leon calls Wellness on Wheels (WOW), which has been turned to Wellness on Web since roadshows are discouraged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a program where De Leon herself is one of the most sought-after speakers. The whole roster of speakers go to different companies and local communities campaigning the promises of good health.
A campaign that De Leon would say is closest to her heart is what she personally introduced as the SEED lifestyle; this lifestyle aims to guide people on how to better live their lives by watching how they sleep, eat, exercise, and destress. “It’s very close to my heart because it feels so right,” she said. “Promoting fitness and positivity through lectures and activities have been some of my favorite advocacies.”
De Leon is very much in love with what she does. She came up with more talks after the SEED lifestyle because she herself wants to promote good health. As a marketer for Healthway, a healthcare company, she also has to be conscious of how her health looks to others. “I committed to be part of that campaign so I can be reminded at all times―it compels me to live a healthier life. As a marketer, I should practice what I preach, so I become more credible and convincing.”
Sometimes, however, no matter what campaign or strategy De Leon and her team come up with, there will still be issues. Some people will not believe them at first, not wanting to invest in their health until it’s too late. “We can only do so much. We can only be consistent with our efforts and let them make the decision themselves,” she pointed out. Other times, there will be miscommunication from their end towards their customers. “That’s why, I tell marketing, it’s not enough to release a memo, our posters cannot do the talking even if it contains very compelling visuals and messages. We have to have people’s buy-in, the people in clinics are co- champions as they will be the ones to reinforce the campaign. The idea must ultimately be transformed as revenue.”
Regardless of all the issues they have faced and might continue to face, De Leon still believes in experiments and innovations. De Leon believes in making Healthway the benchmark for hospitality, and she knows how to make that happen―they have to be creative and dynamic. She said, “We have to reshape the way people think about health, the way we market, and the way we position our products and services.”
In their industry, marketing doesn’t have the biggest budget, so it becomes a challenge to see what works and what doesn’t. This becomes harder when they have to keep up with the ever-changing needs of people based on the situation. To do so, they have to constantly keep their eyes and ears on the ground; they have to listen closely to their customers and understand their needs. It’s okay if they make mistakes; it’s how quickly they adapt that matters.
For example, while many cities remain in quarantine, Healthway clinics have remained open with stringent triage system to keep all clinics clean, safe and COVID-free, and have introduced tele-medicine, repurposed one clinic to be a chemotherapy infusion center, and launched home services to cater to the needs of people. Webinars are also becoming a more common way to connect as they try to continue educating people even if they can’t go out.
“We explore and fail fast―if something isn’t working, we take it out, and by doing that we grow with our partners,” she said. “So it’s about challenging the norm, evolving and growing with them and to do that, we just have to be there to listen and understand.
Recently, with the launching of the new Healthway brand under Ayala Corporation, Healthway is now the strongest clinic chain with over 100 primary, specialty, and corporate clinics; widest product assortment; heftier database of doctors, and corporate clients.
“After all, this is my most exciting year and the focus is more on value-added services, launching integrated products and projects in synergy with the other AC Health companies. At the end of the day, our gauge is when customers step in, give us a ‘wow!’ for the delightful experience and visit us again with families and talk about us to friends and officemates.”
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