Friday the 13th is here, and while people are feverishly avoiding ladders, staying out of the way of black cats and tightly securing every mirror around, the hotel industry has their eyes on other dangers. Here are three terrifying things that are making hotel marketers anxious right now:
1. Frighteningly Low Budgets to Accomplish Marketing Targets
A thin marketing budget is a common cause for anxiety for hotel marketers. We all know how much money and staff hours are required to achieve the lofty targets owners expect. However, more and more owners and GMs are shortchanging their marketing teams, believing that social media is "free" or that there are an abundance of cheap and no-cost marketing tools that can be leveraged to reap big profits.
You need to do your part to inform your management team about the exact investment needed to produce a specific ROI. When they ask you how much to allocate to the marketing budget for the next year, don’t hastily spit out an arbitrary figure or leave the number open to negotiations. Instead, be specific about what your goals are and what amount of funds, resources and staff will get you there.
2. Peaking Occupancy and ADRs
The inevitable is here, and a cause for celebration is now slowly turning into a reason for concern. After a steady climb, hotel industry economists are declaring that occupancies and ADRs are soon expected to peak. And, what goes up, must come down.
CBRE stated in a recent report that while national occupancies and ADRs are seeing all-time highs and expected to peak this year, local markets are starting to show the signs of growing competition with new hotel product and an increasing number of Airbnb units.
In addition, while the rising levels of inflation and employment benefit hotel demand, bringing occupancy to such lofty numbers, this will also burden hoteliers with higher prices to pay for labor, goods and services.
3. A Scary Reliance on OTAs
We all know the pain and pleasure of the bookings that come from OTAs. They rescue you during slow periods, consistently fill rooms and bring new travelers through your doors. But it all comes at the price of outrageous commissions, shrouded customer details and the low possibility of repeat business. Most hoteliers decide to swallow their pride (and their profits!) and accept the situation as it stands. Is it any wonder then that the industry finds it difficult to kick its OTA addiction?
However, we’re here to remind you that you don’t have to succumb to this dire situation or walk away from OTA bookings altogether. Remember, there are smart ways to combat and neutralize OTAs, while optimizing your hotel booking system and hotel website design to drive direct bookings.
First, find out how much each it costs your hotel to attain each OTA reservation (marketing cost per booking). Compare that to how much you’re allocating to other channels that could pull in direct business. Then, give OTA guests a reason to share their email addresses with you. Offer to email their bill or entice them to sign up for future offers. OTA reliance is an issue almost all hotels deal with, however this doesn’t give you an excuse to surrender to lost revenue.