Know where your customers are. Then meet them there.


As a hotel marketer, I can’t create demand. I can’t get people to stay at my hotel if they don’t want to visit our city. That was true before the pandemic. And it’s still true after.

The good news is that creating demand is not my job.

My job is to align my properties with what the market is demanding. That means I’ve got to know the tools and channels where potential guests are shopping right now.

It gets complicated because every property is different. And every market is different. Some tools work well for some property types in some markets and other tools work better for other property types in other markets.

There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter strategy. “One size fits all” really means “one size fits none.”

On top of that, tools and channels are constantly changing. Sometimes, that change is slow, like how Google Travel has evolved—little by little over the last five years.

Or it can happen overnight. COVID highlighted all the nuances surrounding consumer habits and sentiment. So many of the tools we relied on day-to-day just stopped working for us.

All that change has made this job very, very interesting over the last few years. We’ve all had to get reacquainted with tools we might have written off, stopped using, or haven’t looked at in a while.

I’ve had to lean on channels that I would have typically avoided, like the OTAs. The entire industry’s trying to reduce reliance on OTAs by trying to drive as much direct traffic as possible, but we can’t be stubborn.

When demand dries up from one channel, we have to pivot. But, where do we pivot?

As much as we may not want to and as much as it might go against our instinct and everything we were taught, we’ve got to go where the demand is—we’ve got to meet our customers where they are.

That’s been a really good lesson.

We can’t get stuck in the rut of routine. We can’t put all our eggs in one basket. We’ve got to test new channels and understand how to leverage them so that when demand dries up or we acquire new properties in difficult markets, we’ve got some alternative tools to lean on.

Chris Breisacher