Sometimes, ignorance is not bliss.
In hotel marketing, having outdated assumptions or incorrect information can cost your hotels millions in lost revenue… and perhaps even cost you your job. So we’ve put together a quick list of 5 current myths we see being perpetuated in the hotel marketing world:
Myth #1: OTA Revenue Has No Cost
We placed this at the top of our list because it couldn’t be any further from the truth. With commissions ranging 15-30% for each reservation, OTAs are the most expensive distribution channel you have. But, it’s easy to miss. After all, OTAs send you money, not the other way around. However, remember that OTAs are taking out your expense BEFORE they send your hotel a check. Meaning, you never see how much they are taking out of your room revenue.
Remind yourself of that each time you get money from your OTAs partners. They are not cost-free. And too many hotel marketers have no idea how much their OTA revenues actually cost.
Myth # 2: Your Flag Provides All Your Marketing Needs
Your brand’s marketing team is servicing hundreds of hotels (often in the same city!) and providing the same tools to all of its properties. Think about that – every hotel in their family is getting the same marketing templates, the same access to the loyalty database, the same website and reservation system.
Whether you are a seaside property in Santa Monica, a mountain resort in Breckenridge, or an urban high-rise in Seattle, every property is given the same assets to market their property, regardless of target market or unique facets.
And, if you have a period of need or want to target a specific segment with a customized campaign? Your far away brand team is often unable to deploy an effective campaign that captures the unique essence of your property in a reasonable amount of time.
Smart hoteliers have wrestled back the marketing responsibility. Read “Why Are So Many Flagged Hotels Taking Marketing Into Their Own Hands?” to find out if it’s time for your hotel to augment your brand’s marketing efforts.
Myth # 3: Your Competition is Dumb
On the contrary – your competition is brilliant. After all, YOU are someone’s competition… and you’re not dumb!
Always assume they are one step ahead of you and are always working on new ways to entice guests and group business away from your property. Marketing tools and knowledge are open to everyone, and just because your comp set didn’t put up much of a fight before, doesn’t mean that they couldn’t turn things around any day now.
There’s never a good time for hotel marketers to sit back smugly and relax, assuming the competition is too far behind to catch up. Never stop hustling.
Myth #4: Dropping Rates Solves Everything
We see the appeal of this one, but don’t fall into the trap. It comes down to the economics of supply and demand, a concept that even some revenue managers may not fully understand. Leverage business intelligence tools that can now look at future demand. This will allow you to hold rate in order to keep price integrity versus what the market is doing. We also suggest to only consider qualified (fenced) discounts and opaque channels during need periods, if you need to lower rates. This way, the lower rates are not announced to your entire target market, just a select group.
There is always another hotel that is more than willing to go even lower to undercut you. Instead of hastily changing your pricing strategy, increase your perceived value to guests. Research your comp set’s guest experience, paying close attention to what’s missing. Then offer services and local experiences that no other property in your city offers. Position your hotel as higher value and a property that is worth paying more to stay at.
Myth # 5: Your Hotel Will Be the #1 Ranked Hotel by Google
Think of everything you know about SEO, then throw it out the window. Every year, Google makes changes that massively impact how easily a hotel can rank #1 in a Google search for their destination name.
It is extremely difficult to get on the first page and virtually impossible to conquer the OTAs as the first or second listing at the top of the results page. Check out this example of the organic search results for “hotels in Miami,” the first 6 are for metasearch and OTA portals:
Making matters worse, those same behemoths are also usurping rankings for your own hotel name itself!
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Here are ways hotels can still get discovered within the confines of this new SEO landscape.