As people consume more and more data online and on different devices it has become increasingly important that individuals at hotel level understand what is happening in this medium.
Right now for most independent or small hotels this is handled by a third party or someone at the hotel who knows about this area and is trying things out. At Brand level there is always an off-property support team available to run campaigns and execute on ideas. One of main issue I experienced is that the knowledge of the off property team does not get transferred to the team at the hotel.
This lack of expertise leads to misunderstanding and not taking full advantage of what is available to you.
Here Are Some Of The Benefits of Online Marketing:
•Online Marketing which includes SEO, CPC, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing & Web Optimization: These areas are very different from each other but they all have one common goal, generate direct business.
•Reduces cost of bookings: As these tactics direct the visitor to the hotel and combined with a optimized site and booking process leads to better conversion and low cost of bookings.
•It is a long term revenue management strategy for building business: These tactics when applied & optimized correctly lead to long term direct business gain.
•Leverages your assets:Tactics like Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing & Web Optimization takes your existing database, followers and site visitors and get business out of them. You don’t have to keep looking for new business all the time. You get more out of your existing following.
•It helps you fail faster:You can easily deploy a tactic and measure the ROI very quickly. If the tactic doesn’t work you stop pursuing it and move on to something else.
•You can measure EVERYTHING: Any tactic on any channel can be measured. This helps in developing a data driven organization rather than a faith based organization.
Things you should know and expect:
•It involves areas where on property expertise typically does not exist.As this is an area which has really evolved in the last few years and it is very fast moving the adoption rate among hotels is slow but more and more people are realizing the importance of it.
•We are not spending money on training Revenue Managers in this area and most of the progress is happening because of the individuals have to learn about it and work with what they know.
•It requires a change of mindset: Things that work in print media do not transfer directly to online media. You have to be willing to test and try new things. Leverage your assets like your website, email database and test things.
•You are working with a 3rd party:OTA’s get most of the attention here but make no mistake this one of the most important channel and if you are not able to get the best work out of them then it will be a high cost and low return channel. It is just like any client vendor relationship.
•You may not know what works online:Since it is an area that is so new you may not understand which tactic to try. What works? What doesn’t? This is why we need to spend money in developing some expertise In-House.
•Understanding online behaviour should be one of the focuses of your Revenue Manager: Why? It will help them in understanding how site traffic flows, what a distraction is in the booking process and what helps convert lookers into bookers.
The focus should be on providing training to your Revenue Manager on Internet Marketing so they can deploy direct booking strategies and when working with a 3rd party firm Internet Marketing firm then they are able to hold them accountable.
How are you learning about this channel?
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