December 9, 2019

Tisch Center Course Spotlight: New Media and Distribution

New Media and Distribution is a course in the MS Hospitality Industry studies, offered at the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, in the Brand Strategy and Revenue Management concentrations. Professor Simon Bradley tells us about his background and the course in this post.

What is your background? 

Born and educated in the UK, I graduated from the University of Bristol with a History major and followed this with Tourism Management and Chartered Institute of Marketing Graduate diplomas. I am a senior marketing leader with over 25 years of client-side experience in North America, Europe and Latin America. I currently run a New York based consultancy focusing on brand strategy, marketing implementation and building marketing organizations and I work with clients across many sectors including travel, entertainment, professional services, finance and publishing. My most recent position was with The Madison Square Garden Company, where I was Senior Vice-President of Marketing Strategy and Consumer Engagement, leading brands as diverse as the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers and the Radio City Rockettes. Before that, I was Vice President of Marketing at Virgin Atlantic Airways, leading all marketing in North America for five years. I was responsible for developing brand strategy, campaign execution, digital and CRM. During my time at Virgin, I oversaw many new product and route launches in the US and Canada and led a team that executed several highly successful brand activations including ‘Union Jack Square’, the ‘No Ordinary Park Bench’ and ‘Business is an Adventure’. Earlier in my career, I also held a number of senior positions at VisitBritain, the organization responsible for marketing Britain for leisure and business travel. I led multinational teams in the UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Brazil, and Mexico. 

At the Tisch Center, you teach the New Media and Distribution course. What are the objectives of the course?

This course is focused around the methods used by hospitality and travel organizations to manage traditional and electronic distribution channels and exploit emerging marketing channels to generate sales. In this course, subjects we cover include: management of third-party distribution platforms; supplier direct online strategies; search engine marketing; the impact of social media; mobile technologies; customer relationship management; analytics and emerging digital technologies in the travel space.

Why are you interested in this specific topic and why do you think it is important? 

I have been in the travel industry all my career and it is a vibrant, exciting and very challenging industry. The huge amount of disruption going on in the industry, driven by technology, has made it a challenge for anyone in the business to reach and engage with their customers to build relationships. For anyone going into the hospitality or tourism industry, it’s important to understand the principles of how to ensure their company succeeds in this challenging time. For me, this course topic is an essential part of learning the business of the travel industry and understanding how you reach your customers. 

What types of projects will students take on in this course? 

We have a few assignments that are topic specific, but the big project is an online marketing distribution plan which students have to develop for a travel business of their choosing. I ask students to put themselves in the shoes of the marketing and distribution director of the company they choose and present their thoughts of how they can maximize the opportunities whether that be through social media, OTAs, or big data. The output of the project is a presentation and a paper. Students are usually really creative in choosing which companies they decide to create a marketing distribution for. I have had students choose international businesses or fictional businesses they created on their own.

What impact do you hope to have on your students through this course?

My goal is for students to leave the course with a toolbox for how to succeed in this industry. Each week I try to give them a different tool to put in their toolbox. My overall ambition in doing that is to make them inspired and confident about going into the world of digitally enabled travel and distribution, knowing that they can succeed! 

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