Digital Marketing Solutions

Smart Hotelier’s 2015 Top 10 Digital Marketing Resolutions - By Max Starkov and Mariana Safer

Today’s hotelier has a world of opportunities available to help them increase direct online bookings and revenues. Technology developments such as Responsive Website Design, Dynamic Content Personalization, Dynamic Rate Marketing, Reservation Abandonment Prevention techniques and more mean that as an industry we are not only more effectively reaching our target segments, we are improving the user experience and conversions on our websites. Yet with all this opportunity there comes a sense of confusion on where to begin, and reaching the guest throughout their travel research and purchasing journey can feel like an insurmountable task.
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Smart Hoteliers 2015 Top 10 Digital Marketing Resolution

HeBS digital Today’s hotelier has a world of opportunities available to help them increase direct online bookings and revenues. Technology developments such as Responsive Website Design, Dynamic Content Personalization, Dynamic Rate Marketing, Reservation Abandonment Prevention techniques and more mean that as an industry we are not only more effectively reaching our target segments, we are improving the user experience and conversions on our websites. Yet with all this opportunity there comes a sense of confusion on where to begin, and reaching the guest throughout their travel research and purchasing journey can feel like an insurmountable task.

In this year’s Top 10 Digital Marketing Resolutions, presented by HeBS Digital for the 15th consecutive year, we provide an action plan to follow during 2015. Created to help alleviate the complexity of our industry’s most recent innovations, this action plan will help you concentrate on what’s most important: engaging your key customer segments and increasing direct online conversions and revenues!  

Join us as we bring these resolutions to life in the ‘Smart Hotelier’s 2015 Top 10 Digital Marketing Resolutions’ webinar on Wednesday, January 14 at 2-3pm EST (11am-12pm PST). Click here to register.

1. I believe that 2015 will be the Year of Dynamic Content Personalization and will personalize the visual, textual and promotional content on my property website to meet the interests and preferences of my website visitors.

Situation:

Since the dawn of hotel digital marketing, hotel websites have served the same content to all site visitors regardless of their preferences, demographics, and even geographic location. Every website visitor is served the exact same textual and visual content as well as promotional content in the form of special offers, packages, opening slides, marketing messages, promo tiles, and more.

Dynamic Content Personalization involves the development of a Website Content Personalization Strategy and the use of ‘Personalization CMS Technology’ that delivers unique and relevant textual, visual and promotional content to site visitors based on their demographics, location, website pathing behavior, past booking history, guest preferences, reward program affiliation or affiliation to a particular customer segment (transient corporate travel, leisure travel, family travel planner, corporate meeting planner, SMERF group planner, wedding planner, social event planner, etc.).

Why should you customize your website’s content to the visitor? The more relevant (read custom, dynamic) content you deliver to your website visitor, the higher the level of engagement, conversions and revenues. The more your website can resonate with user preferences and purchasing behavior, the higher the conversions you’ll see on the website. HeBS Digital’s experience with hotel client websites as well as case studies from other companies shows that personalizing content, promotions and user experiences on websites results in uplifts in E-commerce sales as high as forty percent!

Today, the technology to personalize content to your property’s website visitors is far more reachable than ever before and hoteliers should take full advantage in 2015.

Action Steps:

Hotels have the ‘home field’ advantage: they know better than anyone else who their most important customer segments and key feeder markets are. They also know who is coming to their hotel website and should be personalizing content according to this data.

To begin with, hoteliers should start with devising a Content Personalization Strategy. Which customer segments need to be targeted to increase engagements and conversions? Which feeder markets need special attention? Which customer demographics are of special interest to the property?

The results of such a comprehensive business analysis should identify which website visitors would benefit most from personalized, relevant content delivery and are most likely to book an offer personalized to their preferences or needs. There are so many opportunities to personalize website content, including customer segment affiliation (ex. business vs. leisure travelers vs. group planners), geo-targeting: Domestic and foreign feeder markets, first-time vs. repeat visitors, reward program members vs. non-members, etc.

What type of personalized content works best and is a great place to start? Over the years, we have found that geo-targeting personalized visual and promotional content definitely works and that targeting the property’s key feeder markets is of utmost importance to any hotel marketer. Travelers residing in different feeder markets exhibit different travel planning and purchasing behavior. For example, in the case of a Florida resort, summer months are dominated by drive-in guests from in-state or neighboring states as well as foreign vacationers. Winter months are dominated by fly-in guests from the Northeast, Latin America and Canada. Dynamic content personalization based on geo-targeting is the logical first step for this type of resort, and will benefit the property in the form of higher conversions and incremental revenues from those key feeder markets.

Ways to personalize content include: Custom-designed opening promo slides in the website’s main image window, customized marketing messages in the main image window and Featured Special promo tiles on the Home Page, and/or a landing page specifically designed for the targeted user group. Content creation could be a very involved process:  From new photography and designing a new page layout (ex. corporate vs. leisure travel Home page design), to copywriting and landing page creation, etc. Therefore we suggest keeping it simple in the initial phase and launching a geo-targeted campaign with personalized opening promo slides, marketing messages and promo tiles.

Along with devising their Content Personalization Strategy, hoteliers must upgrade their websites with dynamic content personalization-enabled CMS technology.

Read more about How Dynamic Content Personalization Maximizes Website Revenues and Increases Customer Loyalty.

2. I will embrace Dynamic Rate Marketing and integrate real-time rates and availability into my marketing messages because I know this will dramatically increase campaign effectiveness, boost conversion rates, and increase direct online bookings.  

Situation:

For more than a hundred years, hotel marketers have used two traditional direct-response advertising techniques: lead-in rate (“Our weekend rate starts from $199”) or a less than credible rate range (“Our Holiday Rates are $199-$399”). You can see the same “Rate range” and “Rate from” approach in a print ad from the early 1900s as well as in today’s Google AdWords. Unfortunately, in this fast, interconnected and multi-device world we live in, travel consumers no longer buy into promotions featuring less-than-truthful lead rates or rate ranges.

Today’s always-connected traveler demands instantaneous hotel information with real-time pricing and resents any type of “bait and switch” price promotions. Dynamic Rate Marketing (DRM), a next-generation direct-response marketing category, allows real-time hotel inventory availability and pricing to be inserted in various marketing initiatives including meta search, banner advertising via the top travel ad networks, retargeting, Google Adwords and email marketing.

Dynamic Rate Marketing has tremendous value proposition to both the travel consumer and hotelier. By combining online advertising and marketing campaigns with real-time hotel inventory availability and pricing, hoteliers can satisfy travelers’ demands for instant and truthful hotel pricing information, as well as respond in real time to changing market conditions and comp set behavior. Advertised rates in ad campaigns (banners, meta search, email, etc.) change automatically when the hotel changes their rates in the PMS or CRS.

Action Steps:

Dynamic rate promotions on the hotel website (desktop, mobile, tablet) should be a priority. Across the HeBS Digital client portfolio, for over two years dynamic “Smart Rate Promos” have created a shortcut to the booking process by displaying real-time rates and availability as a prominent promo tile on the hotel website. On the desktop website, this DRM initiative can solve weekend or weekday occupancy needs. On the mobile site this product is perfect for encouraging last minute travelers to book for tonight or this weekend. Case in point: Smart Rate Promos double mobile website bookings for our clients!  

A quick and easy way to start integrating Dynamic Rate Marketing into your marketing strategy is to launch meta search marketing campaigns on TripAdvisor and Google Hotel Finder. Meta search has been around for a while now and has proven to be an excellent tool to shift share away from the OTAs to the direct online channel for many hoteliers. The next step should be to launch banners featuring your property’s real-time availability and rates on Top Travel Ad Networks. HeBS Digital clients that utilize this type of dynamic rate banner advertising enjoy healthy returns of 15 to 1 and higher.

Retargeting via the Google Display Network (GDN), which reaches over 60% of Internet users, is the logical next step. Taking this a step further and utilizing dynamic rate banners with concrete hotel rates and promotions on the GDN dramatically increases conversions and generates excellent ROIs.

Dynamic rate email marketing should then come next. This type of email marketing allows the hotel’s promoted rate to change dynamically every time the user opens the email in their email box to reflect any rate changes in the property PMS or CRS. 

Read more about Dynamic Rate Marketing – Hotelier’s Powerful New Weapon to Shift Share from the OTAs.

3. I know that Multichannel Marketing is essential to reach customers throughout their travel planning and booking journey. 

Situation:

The average consumer goes through various different touch points and uses multiple devices when planning and booking a trip. According to Google, the average length in days before a purchase is 24, and average site visits before the purchase is 21.6. Keeping the consumer engaged and reaching them multiple times throughout their journey (through which you will also be competing with the OTAs, other hotel websites, and more) requires using multiple channels to tell your hotel’s story.

Action Steps:

Begin planning your multichannel campaign by determining the business-needs of your property. Do you need to fill rooms at the last minute because a group cancelled? Does your sales team need help booking meetings and events? Are your weekends booked solid, with weekdays much less so? Once you have determined your property’s business needs, the next step is to develop a theme for your campaign, followed by laying out which initiatives you will use to promote your campaign (your website, paid search, SEO, email marketing, social media, retargeting, etc.).

Resist the temptation to launch campaigns and analyze their results in silos. By looking at the campaign results in their entirety, you will have a much more accurate idea of how the campaign performed and see how different marketing initiatives worked together to drive bookings.

4. I will not be intimidated by the OTAs and will keep my property’s Direct Online Channel strategies at the forefront of my marketing efforts.

Situation:

We have often heard hoteliers complain they are powerless and too under-funded to “fight the fight” with the OTAs. While it is true that OTAs have deep pockets and spend billions on digital marketing efforts, any property should realize they can outsmart and outspend any OTA on their property alone.

For example, last year Expedia spent $1.2 billion on “pure” online advertising across its 260,000 contracted hotels. This amounts to a mere $4,615 per property per year or less than $385/month. Expedia.com and its affiliated websites were visited by 60 million visitors per month i.e. 230 visitors on average per contracted hotel. Compare this to the average full-service or boutique hotel’s advertising spend of $7,500 -$10,000 per month and property website traffic of 10,000 plus visitors per month! Any hotel, on its own, can achieve much more online exposure for its products and services, as well as much better engagement of the online travel consumer audiences relevant to the property.

Action Steps:

For years the OTAs have been bragging about their Big Data - gigantic amounts of data about their website users and user browsing and purchasing behavior. At the same time the OTAs have relatively “small data” about hotel guest on-property behavior such as stay preferences, dining and activity purchasing habits while on property.  This is a huge advantage hoteliers have yet to effectively exploit. Launching a comprehensive CRM program, including a simple Reward Program targeting and rewarding repeat guests, as well as budgeting for a robust direct online channel strategy can shift the pendulum away from the OTAs.

Hoteliers also have another distinct “hidden” competitive advantage over the OTAs: they know their property, their hotel product, their customers, and their destination better than any OTA. This also goes for branded hotels: branded hotels should not leave all of their digital marketing in the hands of the brand alone, and should develop a digital marketing strategy to “own” their destination and their destiny as a whole. Every hotelier should realize they can do much better than that. They should “own” their property’s online presence and dominate their destination! 

5. I will not underspend in digital marketing and will budget appropriately, making smart investments in my digital assets and the right mix of direct response digital marketing campaigns.

Situation

Underspending in digital marketing has been a problem in our industry for years. Last year, hotels and resorts in the U.S. spent less than 1/3 of their marketing dollars on digital advertising. Inertia from the past and a lack of understanding that travel consumers have migrated to online, social and mobile channels are the main reasons some hoteliers continue to rely on offline advertising formats.

Hoteliers should be spending a minimum of 4% of their total room revenue on advertising/marketing efforts, of which minimum 75% should be spent on digital marketing. How can we justify such a high percentage going to digital? In 2015, over 50% of hotel rooms will be booked online, including 45% transient and at least 5%-10% of group roomnights. According to Google, even higher numbers of travel consumers plan their trips online: 74% of leisure travelers and 77% of business travelers use the Internet for travel planning. It only makes sense to put more money where your consumer is.

Action Steps

Maximizing revenues from your property website and shifting share from the OTAs requires a dual focus: smart investments in your digital assets and the right mix of direct response digital marketing campaigns.

Your 2015 digital marketing budget should be organized into two categories: 

Direct Response Digital Marketing Campaigns: Line items that drive high revenues for hospitality companies such as SEM, SEO, Email Marketing, Meta search Marketing, Social Media, and Website Conversion Enhancements are all considered direct response marketing initiatives. When taking into account the actual budget allocated to each initiative, HeBS Digital recommends taking a Year-Round and Seasonal/Business-Needs focused approach.

  • Year-Round: Certain digital marketing initiatives are proven revenue generators and deserve a significant portion of the budget allocated to them year-round. This includes SEM/paid search, SEO, Email Marketing, Meta search, Dynamic Rate Marketing on the top travel networks, and more.
  • Seasonal & Business-Need Focused: This portion of the budget takes into account a property’s seasonality as well as specific business-needs such as how to target specific high value segments (i.e. meeting planners, family travelers, etc.) or fill rooms after a group cancellation. The Seasonal & Business Needs focused budget should remain flexible as the year progresses. Many initiatives in the year-round budget may overlap here, however they will be organized into a multi-channel campaign that promotes one cohesive message throughout multiple channels. 
Digital Assets, Website Revenue Optimization Consulting+ Strategy & Operations: These line items provide the necessary foundation for digital marketing success. This includes a website that accommodates consumer behavior on the three screens (desktop, mobile, tablet), your Content Management System, website revenue optimization consulting and strategy, web analytics, and cloud hosting.

This budgeting strategy covers all the digital marketing, technology and asset management line items that you’ll need to maximize direct online revenues, address specific property business needs throughout 2015, and meet all of your property’s website design, consulting and technology needs.

Click here to read “The Smart Hotelier’s Guide to 2015 Digital Marketing Budget Planning.”

6. I will not be a “Headline Reader” and jump at the latest fad I read or hear about. I will take the time to learn the fundamentals of online distribution and digital marketing, and make sure I’m taking advantage of tried and true revenue-generating strategies.

Situation:

Every day, the industry press is full of claims about the “the next big thing” to save hotel distribution – from social media to flash sale sites and last-minute sales mobile sites. Some in the industry tried very hard to turn social media into a distribution channel, didn’t they? Living Social? Groupon? Or to embrace the mobile channel as some sort of a “hotel perishable inventory disposal” channel. HotelTonight.com, anyone?

It can be tempting to jump on a trend or fad because of a convincing boast or pseudo-case study that makes an initiative sound like the answer to every hotelier’s prayers. “Oh, we have to be on this new site, we have to try that new service! I just read about this and it looks very promising!”

These “headliners” never take the time to learn the fundamentals and best practices in online distribution and digital marketing. They jump from headline to headline and base their online channel presence on random hot topics and news stories in the media. In the meantime, their property website is 5 years old, SEO hasn't been considered since the website launch, the last promotional emailer was sent this time last year, etc. Responsive design? SEM? GDN retargeting? Meta search marketing? Dynamic content personalization? Dynamic rate marketing? How do you spell that?

Action Steps:

Start by focusing on the fundamentals: Technology and marketing initiatives that achieve one single goal of driving direct online bookings and leads. This includes many initiatives that sound “old fashioned” but generate the bulk of the property-direct revenues: website re-design and optimization, SEO and SEM/paid search, email marketing, customer segment marketing, direct-response banner advertising, etc., as well as newer initiatives such as dynamic rate marketing, meta search, dynamic content personalization, multichannel campaigns, interactive applications  and highly-focused display targeting and retargeting.

Digital advancements such as Dynamic Rate Marketing are turning predominantly branding initiatives into direct-response and revenue-producing initiatives, driving initiatives such as banner advertising higher up the purchase funnel.

Have you budgeted enough to cover the fundamentals? Every hotel digital marketing budget must make room for those initiatives that are proven to drive high ROIs.  Not investing in these initiatives will damage the hotel’s bottom line, and with so many affordable options there is no excuse.

Has the property website been upgraded to responsive or adaptive design? Advancements in technology and smarter targeting capabilities this year are helping hoteliers to achieve higher ROIs through their own website.

Educate co-workers, management and hotel owners to look at the web as the most critical and fastest growing revenue stream for the property and to invest in the right initiatives that will grow the direct online channel.

7. Since Search Engines are Still King of Direct Online Distribution, I will not underestimate their impact and will allocate funds appropriately when it comes to my SEM and SEO budgets. 

Situation:

In spite of all the new and trendy digital marketing initiatives and formats that overwhelm hoteliers nowadays, the reliable good old search engines generate over half of website revenue on hotel websites  which is often forgotten when it comes to SEM/paid search and SEO budget planning.

Are the search engines going away? Think about it! Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve;” he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today, on average, human knowledge doubles every 13 months. But it doesn’t stop there! According to IBM, the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.

Who will manage this stupendous amount of human knowledge? Google, of course, the “librarian of the Universe.”

Devices and marketing channels will change, Google will keep evolving but ultimately someone has to store, make sense of, summarize and present to online travel consumers relevant and up-to-date information in a very palatable, easy-to-use fashion. Google is best positioned to do that. Search is not going anywhere, just evolving and moving to the next level.

We’ve inherited many hotel clients from other agencies who come to us convinced the search engines are no longer a viable revenue channel, which has caused their website revenues and group leads to plummet and property-direct bookings overall to suffer.

Action Steps:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):  Every year, Google’s algorithm changes more than 500 times.  A property website is “never done with SEO” as illustrated by our recent article “SEO is a Journey, Not a Destination: How to Implement an Ongoing SEO Strategy and Maximize Website Revenue.”

Hotel websites have to keep up with high new standards imposed by the search engines who demand fresh, unique, engaging and deep relevant content and must meet the standards of ‘”Editorial Quality” mandated by the Hummingbird update.  It is imperative that your website copy and SEO is up to par with the latest best practices and industry standards to ensure the best possible performance for your site and to be rewarded with high search engine rankings. This includes continuously creating new content around the unique, local experience that represents your property. SEO must also align with SEM/Paid Search campaigns for higher Quality Index of campaigns and stronger ROIs.

Did you know that sixty-two percent of the results on Google show different results on mobile devices compared to desktop and that 27 percent of websites are misconfigured for smartphone searches (BrightEdge)? Optimizing for the three screens (desktop, mobile and tablet) is another important factor to consider.

In 2015, SEO’s recommended share of the digital marketing budget is 8%-10%. Partner with a hospitality-focused SEO firm who combines in-house professional copywriting with expert SEO services as demanded by the search engines. Please read “The Top 10 Questions Hoteliers Should Be Asking Their SEO Vendor.”

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Paid search is one of the highest drivers of direct online channel revenues, which is why we recommend hoteliers dedicate at least 20%-25% of the annual digital marketing budget in 2015 to paid search. The increasing complexity of managing paid search campaigns, new targeting opportunities, reaching people on multiple devices and increased competition from the OTAs, however, has resulted in the need to commit greater amounts of time and budget dollars to achieve high returns. Read The Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Paid Search Vendor to make sure you are taking all of these variables into account.

7. Investing in my property website to maximize revenue from the three screens (desktop, mobile, tablet) is paramount to the very existence of my property. Coupled with a robust, well-funded digital marketing strategy, this will allow me to improve my property’s bottom line and leave the comp set in the dust.  

Situation:

In this post-recession environment, many hoteliers are realizing their property website is not up to par with 2015, let alone 2014 standards. Much has changed over the past 5 years. Travel consumer behavior is now strongly influenced by social media and the rapid shift from predominantly desktop to mobile and tablet in terms of customer engagement and booking behavior has effected everything from website design to all forms of hotel digital marketing campaigns.

This year, the massive shift from desktop to mobile and tablet devices continued its rigorous pace and now nearly half of website visitors and over 40% of page views are generated from non-desktop devices (mobile and tablet). At least 20% of bookings and room nights came from tablets and mobile devices (not counting voice reservations originating from the mobile channel) in the first three quarters of this year. According to Google, 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially, many in the same day.

A property website must incorporate the right balance of excellent design, state-of-the-art digital technology, a merchandising strategy, and engaging visual and textual content, all while providing an optimum user experience from top to bottom on every device (desktop, mobile and tablet). This type of website will result in a boost in conversions and revenues from the direct online channel.

Action Steps:

“Fixing” the hotel website remains of paramount importance to hoteliers in 2015. Anything you do online today – from social media and mobile to paid search and banner advertising to email marketing – leads back to the hotel website.

How can you know your website is due for an upgrade? If your property website is two or more years old, does not offer responsive or adaptive design, does not support dynamic content personalization or dynamic rate marketing, or does not have state-of-the- art merchandising and reservation abandonment prevention capabilities, then it is time to make the upgrade.

Where do you start? If, after reviewing the questions above, you decide it’s time to upgrade your website then leaving (or creating) room in the budget for this important initiative is the logical first step. The second step should be deciding on whether to go with Responsive Website Design (RWD) or Adaptive Web Design (AWD, also known as Responsive Design on Server Side/RESS), the two prevailing website design approaches for meeting the needs of our multi-screen device world. Choose Full Responsive Design for simpler and “thinner content” (15-25 page) websites, and Adaptive Web Design for more upscale properties and/or complex websites with deeper content. Adaptive Web Design allows a property to fully accommodate the user on each device (desktop, mobile and tablet) and is recommended for any website offering more than 25 pages. Click here to read more on which option to choose for your property website.

The third step is to choose a partner with extensive website design and development expertise that includes the use of either Full Responsive Design (RWD) or Adaptive Design/RESS and who utilizes a Content Management System (CMS) specifically designed to accommodate both design approaches. The CMS should also support all of the innovative capabilities described above such as dynamic content personalization, one-to-one-marketing and enhanced merchandising functionality. Please read The Top 10 Questions Hoteliers Should Be Asking Their Website Design Vendor.

8. Speaking of providing the best user experience and maximizing revenue from the three screens, I will utilize a next generation Content Management System (CMS) that allows me to achieve this, allow for unlimited content control of my website, and enable my property to take full advantage of next-generation capabilities such as content personalization and complete merchandising capabilities.

Situation:

When re-designing their property websites, many hoteliers find themselves engrossed in the aesthetics of the new website: background colors, fonts to use, etc. They completely ignore the most important side of the website upgrade process: the back-end CMS technology and its capabilities. As a result, the new website ends up only marginally improved from the previous version and lacks the technology needed to boost reservations and drive direct online channel revenues in this increasingly competitive digital marketplace.

Simple things such as adding new content or landing pages, changing site navigation, and creating new promo tiles or updating specials and packages are not in their power. Options such as being able to manage website content on the three screens (desktop, mobile, tablet), dynamic content personalization on the property website, reservation abandonment technologies, and advanced merchandising strategies are not even in the development pipeline. 

Action Steps:

The degree that CMS technology can negatively affect revenues on the property website is often underestimated by hoteliers. First, a hotel’s inability to make their own changes to their website results in thousands of dollars of maintenance fees a year.

Additionally, only a CMS built for the hospitality industry addresses the need to be able to manage content on the three screens, offers ways to prevent abandoned bookings, provides enhanced merchandising capabilities that promote hotel specials and packages throughout the website, personalizes content for the website visitor, and more.  Making the investment in CMS technology that powers your website should be considered as important as the website itself.

Choose a CMS technology, similar to HeBS Digital’s award-winning smartCMS, that empowers you to seamlessly manage your website presence on the three screens via a single dashboard, engage users like never before and maximize revenues from the direct online channel. Choose a CMS that enables your website to offer dynamic content personalization to fit the interests and preferences of website visitors and provides one-to-one marketing capabilities to drastically increase conversion rates and revenues. Your CMS should also feature a deep integration with the CRM and CRS to improve guest recognition and merchandising.

When upgrading your website, make sure to include cloud hosting and Content Delivery Network (CDN) which allows for lightning-speed page downloads, optimizes user experience and conversions on the site, and improves search engine rankings.

Read more about what optimum features and capabilities your future property website’s CMS technology should provide.

9. I know my property needs a strong digital marketing strategy and high revenue-generating website that drives direct online bookings, as well as an action plan to help my property lessen its dependence on the OTAs. I realize all of this is dependent on choosing my digital marketing partner wisely. 

Situation:

It’s challenging to find a good digital marketing partner these days. As more and more companies join the market as ‘experts in hotel website design and digital marketing,’ hoteliers are faced with a difficult decision. With serious revenues at stake, there are important factors to consider when deciding on whom to partner with, or whether or not to stay with your current agency.

Many hoteliers find themselves stuck in a rut with their hotel digital marketing partner. They don’t feel like their partner understands their property’s business needs, the last proactive idea came through months ago, campaign revenues have stagnated, and the analysis put into reporting is non-existent. With over half of all hotel transactions made online, hoteliers have no choice but to work with a partner that will ensure their online presence is ahead of the curve. 

Action Steps:

Every hotelier should hold their partner to the highest standards. A property’s digital marketing partner should become an extension of the hotel company’s team, work towards common goals and objectives, and provide solutions to business needs.  This partner should also continuously bring forth new ideas, the latest best practices, and technology developments. A property should never have to think to itself, “I wish my hotel digital marketing partner could do that for my hotel.”

Please read “The Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Digital Marketing Partner” which will help you determine if your existing vendor is a true partner, whether they “deserve” to have you as a client, and to vet new potential partners.

We hope you have enjoyed the 2015 Top Ten Digital Marketing Resolutions and will adopt them in your digital marketing plans this year. It’s time to take your property’s direct online channel presence to new heights and successes! 

About the Authors and HeBS Digital

Max Starkov is President & CEO and Mariana Mechoso Safer is Senior Vice President of Marketing at HeBS Digital, the hospitality industry’s leading full-service digital technology and marketing firm (www.HeBSDigital.com).

HeBS Digital has pioneered many of the best practices in hospitality digital technology and marketing, and direct online channel best practices and strategies. The firm has won over 260 prestigious industry awards for its digital technology, including its proprietary MetaSearch Gateway, digital marketing and website design. These awards include numerous Adrian Awards, Davey Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, IAC Awards, and others.

A diverse client portfolio of hospitality clients: restaurants to major hotel brands, luxury and boutique hotel chains, resorts and casinos, hotel management companies, franchisees and independents, and CVBs are benefiting from HeBS Digital’s direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise. Contact HeBS Digital’s consultants at (212) 752-8186 or success@hebsdigital.com.



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