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booking engine

20 Surprising Digital Marketing Stats Every Hotel Marketer Should Know

April 11, 2017 • By


We dug up these 20 digital marketing nuggets (across all industries) to help you benchmark your efforts and determine which efforts are worth while.

Hotel Email Marketing

Despite all the attention given to social media marketing and mobile marketing, email marketing still holds a place as one of the most successful online marketing platforms.

  1. Targeted emails sent to segmented lists generate 58% of all digital revenue (The Direct Marketing Association, 2015).
  2. 86% of consumers prefer companies that send promotional emails monthly, while only 15% would like to receive them daily (Statista, 2015).
  3. 48% of emails are opened using a smartphone (Movable Ink, 2015).

Learn More: 3 Quick Ways to Drive More Bookings from Hotel Email Campaigns

Hotel Digital Display Advertising

Display ads are one of the oldest forms of online hotel advertising. However, today’s audiences have a much different opinion and level of patience with certain digital ads. Here’s what you should know before putting together a plan for online advertising.

  1. 91% of consumers believe ads are more intrusive today than a couple of years ago (HubSpot, 2016).
  2. The average CTR of display ads is 0.06% (HubSpot).
  3. Retargeting campaigns can result in a high ROI (Retargeter). People subject to retargeting are 70% more likely to convert (Digital Information World).
  4. WPP's GroupM, a huge international ad buyer, forecasted that digital will likely account for 77% of total spend in 2017.
  5. Asked to name their number-one challenge, 15% of digital marketers said “meeting the expectations of the always-connected customer,” 14% chose “executing consistent campaigns that drive desired business outcomes” (i.e. leads or revenue) and 13% cited the proliferation of channels across paid, owned and earned media (B2B Marketing Insider).

Learn More: How Smart Are Your Hotel Ads? Hotels Squander Millions by Ignoring Their Best Prospects

Hotel Social Media Marketing

According to Hootsuite, 83% of Americans have a social media account. Social media has drastically changed how hotel brands interact and get in front of their target audiences. Here are some stats to keep in mind when putting together your hotel's social media strategy:

  1. When social media is part of their buyer’s journey, customers tend to convert at a 129% higher rate. They are also four times as likely to spend significantly more than those without a social component (Deloitte).
  2. 61% of companies that invested at least six hours each week in social media marketing saw an increase in their search engine rankings (Social Media Examiner, 2015).
  3. 59% of Instagram’s 500 million monthly users visit the app each day, including 35% who visit their accounts multiple times (Pew Research Center, 2015).

Learn More: How Guests’ Social Media Can Amplify Your Hotel Marketing Budget

Hotel Mobile Marketing

Consumers’ reliance on mobile devices increases each day, with smart phones seeping into almost each moment of their lives. So, optimizing your hotel marketing efforts for mobile should be one of your hotel’s top priorities.

  1. One-third of people say their smartphone is the primary device to access the internet (HubSpot, 2016).
  2. 61% of people are unlikely to return to a brand’s mobile site if they experienced a problem accessing it. On top of that, 40% will visit a competitor instead (McKinsey & Company).
  3. 31% of people say they open and read half of their emails on their mobile device (2015 State of Marketing Report). Meanwhile, about 80% of the time spent on social media sites happen on mobile devices (Marketing Land).
  4.   48% of people start any mobile research with a search engine, instead of an online app (Smart Insights, 2016).
  5.   More Google searches are made on mobile devices than on desktop computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan (Google, 2015).

Learn More: Is the iPhone Killing Your Hotel Revenue? Hotel SEO

As the rules for search engine optimization continue to morph each year, it’s more important than ever for hotels to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and techniques to increase their placement in an online search.

  1. According to 72% of marketers, the most effective SEO tactic is creating relevant content (Ascend2, 2015).

Learn More: The Painful Truth About Hotel Website SEO The Painful Truth About Hotel Website SEO Part 2

Hotel Content Marketing

Creating compelling destination and hotel content (blogs, videos, fun visitor guides, etc.) has the power to attract, engage and inform travelers and meeting planners, while also establishing your property as a unique experience provider.

  1. B2C companies that published more than 11 blog posts a month receive 4 times more leads than companies that only blogged 4-5 times a month (HubSpot, 2015).
  2. 43% of people say they skim, not thoroughly read, blog posts (HubSpot, 2016).
  3. Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3 times more than any other type of content (Mass Planner, 2015). (Source: HubSpot)

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Business, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

Video: Watch What Happens When OTA Users Actually Shop Online

March 21, 2017 • By

Everybody has theories about why so many people prefer to shop for hotels on OTAs… but have you ever actually seen them do it?

To find out why so many guests prefer booking hotel stays on an OTA instead of a hotel brand/direct website, we hired, a well-known website testing company that records unbiased (but demographically relevant) consumers while they search and book hotels online.

See for yourself!

Here are two videos of actual users (listen to their comments) as they shop for rooms on Expedia and then directly from the hotel's website:

Video 1: Click here to view. Participant using desktop computer. Male | 35–55 | United States | Income $100K–$150K+

Video 2: Click here to view. Participant using smartphone. Female | 35–55 | United States | Income $100K–$150K+

Here Are 3 Key Lessons to Take Away From These Two Customers' Experiences:

1. A Slow Booking Process Will Hurt Revenues

What we found reinforced a lot of what hotel marketers already know: guests think OTAs are easy-to-navigate and appreciated their simple process. In comparison, a hotel’s site was lengthier, not as intuitive and required too much information to complete a booking.

One user said, “Expedia was a lot easier and a quicker process to use. While the hotel’s website experience was not a bad one, it was more …’time-consuming,’ asked for more details. As a busy traveler, I would prefer to navigate through the check out process quickly.”

Consider this: It requires TWO steps to book a hotel on an OTA, inputting personal information and payment details.

To make the same reservation directly from the same hotel found on Expedia, the user had to navigate through SIX steps. This included asking the customer to select optional amenities like wine/champagne or flower arrangements, input a loyalty membership number, request a room preference and enter arrival and departure information.

2. Prominently Showcase Direct Booking Benefits

Your guests are not hotel industry insiders.

They don’t immediately understand why it’s best to book direct. So, it is up to you to tell them WHY they should. After all, once a customer discovers your property on an OTA, the next place they go is to your hotel’s direct website. So, give them legit reasons to book direct rather than returning to the OTA.

Make it obvious if you offer free Wifi, free parking, discounts at the spa and restaurant, or whatever other perks you offer guests REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY BOOK DIRECT OR NOT (sometimes, OTAs fail to showcase these perks)!

People have fleeting attention spans, so it’s important to make these benefits prominent and distinct, not buried in small letters or on an interior page of your hotel's website. Put them on the homepage and make them obvious in as many places as you can.

3. Automate Your Best Rate Guarantee

Besides usability, another OTA benefit that users really appreciated was seeing all the options in one place. These users enjoyed being able to see many hotels and pricing options from one site. 

This is yet another brilliant OTA tactic: Show your competition and their prices, so that customers aren’t tempted to leave your site to compare prices on their own.

Borrow this winning strategy by showing rates from various channels directly on your website. After all, guests don’t know that OTAs offer the same price for a room, nor are they aware of the concept of rate parity.

The best way to tackle this is to place your Best Rate Guarantee into your booking engine itself, where rates from OTAs are displayed alongside your own. Not only does this satisfy a guest’s desire to comparison shop, it proves that booking direct offers the best value.

While it’s easy to point fingers at OTAs for siphoning customers and bookings, let’s not forget who truly drives their success… the customers themselves.

It’s the customers who decide where to research room rates. It’s the customers who decide where to spend their money.

If anything, OTAs need to be credited for their marketing prowess. It’s only because of their careful attention to the user experience and customer preferences that customers are drawn to them in the first place.

 About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, OTA, Uncategorized

3 Fast, Fresh Lessons Hoteliers Can Learn From Dominos

March 14, 2017 • By

In a world of lightning-fast technology and constant industry disruption, one skill has risen as a top necessity for older companies to survive:


We’ll be the first to tell you that refusing to adapt and adhere to modern traveler tastes, behaviors and preferences will be the fastest road to failure.

We love seeing how some older companies in other industries own their responsibility to not only keep up with technology, but to embrace it as a product itself… and Dominos (yes, the pizza maker) is the perfect example of this.

How did this consumer-centric company “toss” aside their old ways, refuse to play it safe and innovate? A recent article in the Harvard Business Review talks about how Domino’s focused on innovation... and reveals a number of important lessons hoteliers can borrow:

1. Take Another Slice of Technology

Dominos in Action: Half of Dominos' headquarter office works on software and analytics. And, the company now proudly proclaims that they are just as much a technology company as a pizza company. This has transformed their customers’ ordering experience, giving them options to order by voice on the Domino app, by text or emoji and allowing them to track their delivery order.

Hotelier Lesson: Not only are your guests’ lives immersed in technology, but their guest experience with you is deeply affected by technology as well. And as millennials become the primary market audience, your ability to present a frictionless “technology experience” will affect your success. Can guests book easily on mobile? Can they order room service from an app or in-room iPad? Can they check in without standing in a line after a long flight?  What are you doing to use technology to remove friction from the booking and stay phases of customer interaction?

2. Your Ingredients Aren’t Tasty Enough

Dominos in Action: Instead of hiding behind inventive marketing, Dominos opted for transparency and some well-placed self-deprecation. When they engineered their comeback, their effort included ads that admitted their pizza wasn’t the best, even producing a commercial featuring customers comparing their pizza to cardboard.

This risky strategy worked in their favor, as it endeared customers and was the catalyst for the chain to reinvent all of their pizzas with better ingredients and an expanded menu that is now worthy of their customers' praise. They now credit their improved pizza product as the centerpiece for their successful rebound.

Hotelier Lesson: Here’s the universal truth: successful hotel marketing strategies start with a remarkable product. You can’t simply rely on marketing dollars to magically pull in more bookings. Too many hotels invest in clever, flashy campaigns, without making any significant improvements to their properties itself or investing in extraordinary experiences that will wow guests. Advertising should never receive blame for a hotel’s failure or credit for its success. No amount of marketing can overcome an inferior guest experience.

3. Refuse to Play it Safe

Dominos in Action: In order for Dominos to engineer such a triumphant comeback, it was essential to scrap their current marketing model and blaze into something totally different. They unleashed a series of innovative ways for customers to interact with the brand and order, including text- and emoji-enabled ordering, a new crowd-sourced delivery car design and an Uber-like pizza tracker that allows customers to track their pizza delivery. This positioned their 56-year-old company as a nimble, tech-enabled disruption machine, instead of the dinosaur they could have been if they had not taken any risks.

Hotelier Lesson: Most owners want to flip their assets reasonably quickly. Asset and management companies want to earn their fees and property-level folks want to keep their jobs... so many hotels are apathetic about innovation. They want to fly under the radar, quietly market their properties without fanfare and stay true to how things have always been done. These are prime examples of ‘omission bias’ (worrying more about the potential consequences of a bad move, rather than the dangers of apathy and inaction) and ‘loss aversion’ (playing to avoid losing, instead of playing to win).

Both of these principles do nothing but stifle your hotel’s creativity and innovation, which (as we stated earlier) is essential to survive in a world of increasing competition and non-stop disruption.

Lesson learned?

Doing nothing and continuing to market your property ‘as usual’ is the riskiest move of them all.

 About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Business, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

7 Signs Your Hotel Marketing is Out of Control

February 28, 2017 • By


It’s easy to see how things can go off course in hotel marketing.

With an array of channels, disparate vendors and multiple audience segments to manage, it’s inevitable that some things may fall through the cracks, questions will go unanswered and mistakes could quickly multiply.

The good news is that even if your hotel marketing is out of control from time to time, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost control.

You are still at the helm and can turn things around whenever you decide to acknowledge the wrong turns you’ve made and the missing pieces you overlooked.

Here are a few of the telltale signs that your hotel marketing might need a reality check… and how to turn things around:

1. You’re Clueless About How Much You Pay OTAs

Sooner or later, your owners or managers will ask you, “How much are these OTA bookings really costing us?” It’s a question that all hoteliers dread. Why? Because OTA commissions are often opaque. They generally pay a net rate to the hotel, after collecting their commission. Unfortunately, this means the fees being paid to OTAs will never show up as an expense on your P&L statements.

Not only do these invisible marketing expenses cost significantly more than direct bookings, they also pose a threat to your other marketing assets as well. When owners look at the budget to see which marketing costs to scale back on, the first thing on the chopping blocks are the expenses that are actually shown, even if they produce profitable bookings, such as your hotel website.

So hidden OTA costs are allowed to continue, while your other marketing investments are reduced. You should specifically examine and document how much each OTA booking costs vs the actual cost per booking of alternative channels.


2.  Too Many Vendors, Too Much Chaos

The more marketing vendors you work with, the more complications and chaos you can expect. Managing several, disconnected vendors to handle separate marketing functions, like advertising campaigns, hotel website design, email marketing or social media, can hurt you in several ways: First, you’re most likely paying more for each vendor’s separate services. You’re wasting time by managing and relaying messages from vendor to vendor. And, worst of all, no single vendor is held accountable for overall success. Instead, they likely point fingers at each other.   

The key is to consolidate.

Narrow down your marketing partners to those who you trust the most, who produce the best and those who can handle multiple critical functions.

3. You Can’t Measure Your Contributions

Hotel owners and managers expect their marketing teams to contribute to their revenue targets IN MEASURABLE WAYS. However, many hotel marketers still shy away from being accountable for any revenue responsibilities. Instead, they lavishly tout their “rebranding initiatives,” number of social media followers or new hotel photography.

This continued disregard for numerical evaluation will put you in a difficult position next year, when you attempt to request a larger marketing budget. Without measuring your success, owners and managers will be more apt to cut back on marketing expenses and staff, believing that your intangible branding results can be achieved with less.

To show how your marketing efforts are contributing to the hotel’s revenue, calculate your marketing cost per booking (MCPB). Use this figure to prove your team’s value and make sure you’re given the proper correlated amount of marketing funds next year. 4. You’re Unable (or Afraid) to Discuss Property Upgrades With Owners

For the past few years, major hotel brands have invested millions in revamping their current properties or launching new collections in response to the expectations of modern travelers. With so many of these new or freshly renovated/re-imagined properties vying for your guests’ attention, it’s more important than ever to keep up and stay competitive by offering remarkable experiences, aesthetics and amenities.

It’s vital that your ownership is on board to invest in the necessary renovations, redesigns and upgrades. Or else, don’t be surprised when guests pass you over for the newer kid on the block. No amount of creativity and provocative marketing can mask an aging and tired property.

Remind your ownership of that unavoidable reality in the nicest possible way.


5. You Fail at Rate Parity

We get it.

Managing rates can get complicated. Setting rates every day, for every room, on every channel can easily get overwhelming and confusing. And, not just for you, but your customers, as well. 

Maintaining rate and market parity is vital to your bottom line. If you and your revenue managers fall asleep at the wheel, you can bet you’ll quickly be surrendering revenue.

This is about diligently staying on top of all the channels, using the right automation tools and working with a conscientious revenue manager. Monitor your comp set’s rate strategy weekly to ensure you have market parity.

6. You Are Unable to Increase Meetings and Events Lead Flow Meetings and events are often a hotel’s game changer. And, you know that a single group’s spend on event venues, F&B, guest rooms and other ancillary services can quickly help you meet budget.

But, what if your group sales numbers remain stagnant, leads consistently go cold and sales calls fail to produce interest?

Something is wrong, but it’s nothing that you – a bold, brilliant and boundless hospitality leader – can’t fix. There are numerous ways to get in front of meeting planners, earn their trust and compete for and win their event contracts.

If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to freshen up your sales approach with new tactics. Some of our favorites include:

7. Your Guest Sentiment is Plummeting

Every hotel has their share of negative reviews. But, this doesn’t give you a hall pass to shrug them off. How a hotel decides to manage guest reviews will determine if that property shines or stumbles in the future.

Notice your TripAdvisor score declining or stagnating? This means your owners and management staff have largely ignored the golden nuggets of feedback that guests leave for them. Do guests express their irritation with the noisy air conditioners in the rooms? Are there several complaints about the lackluster breakfast buffet? Do guests often mention a rude staff member?

Frankly, if you receive the same complaint twice, that is already one time too many. Bad service, bad sleep, bad food options and a host of other things can essentially ruin a guest’s opinion of you and their decision whether or not to come back.

Consider your guests as your eyes and ears to the problems that are holding your hotel back. When something is broken, actually fix it. Don’t just promise to ‘look into it,’ then walk away.

 About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, OTA, Uncategorized

Is the iPhone Killing Your Hotel Revenue?

February 21, 2017 • By


Here’s what we all know by now:

The explosion of smartphone usage over the past few years has been staggering. And not just iPhones, but smartphones of other brands as well…

The Pew Research Center reports that 75% of Americans now own a smartphone and half the population own a tablet. Not only is usage increasing and technology getting more sophisticated, consumers are more reliant on their mobile devices. In fact, 9 out of 10 American consumers keep their smartphones within reach 24 hours a day.

This round-the-clock usage has also redefined the way people book travel. A recent Google report revealed that 77% of luxury travelers turn to their mobile devices for trip inspiration. And a whopping 55% then use their smartphones to book their stay!

As mobile usage propels forward, so should your response as a hotel marketer. Mobile updates, and the world’s response to them, mean that you can’t simply recycle and reuse last year’s mobile strategy. 2017 is a clean slate to keep pace with mobile’s rapid growth.

Here are 5 things you need to know to ride the mobile wave and amplify your mobile revenue this year:

1. Your Search Engine Results Depend on Mobile

For the first time ever, Google is now using your hotel’s mobile site as the primary source to rank your hotel’s website content and user experience, with your desktop version as a secondary site. This means your mobile hotel site is the first factor that goes into determining how well you rank in search engines. While you may have regarded your mobile experience as important in 2016, hotel search engine marketing via mobile is now downright vital to your hotel’s presence and profitability. Plus, as mobile search rises, so does the use of local search terms. This places more emphasis on local SEO and the need for your marketing team to create optimized content with tailored metadata that includes location.

2. Use Mobile PPC to Fill Last Minute Rooms

On-the-go travelers rely on their mobile devices to book last-minute hotel reservations (especially at urban/city hotels). Studies show that 58% of last-minute bookings were made from tablets and smartphones. In fact, the less time a traveler has to book a room, the more likely the reservation will be made on a smartphone. Capture this audience with targeted mobile PPC ad campaigns that tout promos and deals for last-minute travelers or those who are already on the road. Create enticing weekend offers targeting spontaneous travelers from your drive markets. Are you located near the airport? Then, create ads that promote specials for travelers stranded by cancelled or delayed flights. image23. It’s Still a Phone… It’s surprising how many businesses neglect to publish a phone number on their mobile sites, essentially blocking smartphone users from clicking to call and losing out on potential revenue. The first proof of your hotel’s guest service is being available and accessible when guests need you. Take a hint from the few successful travel apps out there, including Expedia and Hilton, and make it easy for smartphone users to find and utilize your phone number.  Even better, craft your hotel’s mobile experience to be more app-like, with a one-touch ‘click to call’ button – both on your mobile website and mobile booking engine. Just as with your desktop hotel website, there are potential hurdles and friction that could easily derail a direct booking in progress via a mobile device. If a guest has a question (which they all do), make it simple for them to reach out to your staff. If not, the visitor may lose patience and seek a room someplace else. 

4. Your Mobile Booking Engine is as Important as Your Mobile Website There is a dangerous “chasm” between your hotel’s mobile website and your booking engine, where potential guests can likely ‘fall off” if you’re not cautious. Slow load times and inconsistent colors/layouts between the mobile website and your mobile booking engine will increase abandonment. Worse yet, if your mobile booking engine fails to recognize the inherent limitations of small screens (and short attention spans) and fails to shorten and simplify the mobile booking process, attrition will surely grow.

5. Optimize for Various Screen Resolution Sizes 

Today, there are seemingly endless smartphone choices, with different designs, features and vitally important (but less obvious) to marketers – different screen resolutions. An iPhone 7 user will have a different experience than the Samsung Galaxy user.

If you notice high traffic to your mobile site, but low conversions and a high number of bounces, consider using a browser tool, such as Chrome’s INSPECT feature that allows you to preview how your hotel’s website appears using various screen resolutions sizes and multiple devices.

 About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Business, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

Finally…Our Top 3 Hotel Marketing Stories of the Year

December 29, 2016 • By
screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-4-05-01-pm Want good advice? Ask a crowd…. So that’s exactly what we did this week when we measured the number of readers of each of our hotel marketing blog posts in 2016. And the results are in… here are the top 3 stories of the year, based on the readership of thousands of hotel marketers just like you! #3: 10 things successful hotel Sales and Marketing Directors do every day screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-4-05-28-pm #2: Six sales & marketing metrics every hotel owner cares about screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-4-05-49-pm #1: Hotel marketing: 10 things that worked in 2016 image1

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Business, hospitality, hotel marketing, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

How To Find (And Keep) The Best Hotel Sales Talent Right Now

November 30, 2016 • By


Group and catering revenues often make or break your property’s P&L and determine whether you outperform your comp set.  Your sales team’s performance is often the key to winning… so you MUST have quality salespeople. While most hotels have found a way to stay competitive in the transient space (with proper revenue management and smart hotel marketing), gaining a competitive advantage on the group side requires an enhanced commitment to recruiting and retaining sales talent.

How to find and retain the best hotel sales talent right now:

We asked our own Jeff Spaccio, Tambourine’s DOSM-in-Residence, for advice on finding and retaining top sales talent. Jeff has 20 years experience with managing sales operations at more than 60 flagged properties, hotel management companies and independents.

Q: What is the biggest challenge hotels face right now in finding great sales talent?

A: One of the challenges DOSMs and their recruiters currently face in today’s job market is that Millennials—who typically make up the majority of a property’s salesforce—often prioritize life/work balance. This inhibits hoteliers’ efforts to recruit top performing talent because hotels still have a traditional work schedule compared to other companies, especially tech/web firms.

BIG changes must occur in the way hotels think about and treat millennial talent.  They want flexibility in hours, pay for performance, rapid promotions based on performance and liberation from old school rules.  Believe it or not, some hotels still require female employees to wear closed-toed shoes (even relaxed, resort style hotels).  And many still restrict access to social media networks and other sites that are necessary to do their job…it's crazy!   

Q: Where should hotels look for sales talent?

A: Currently, most hotels and HMG’s are using recruiting sites like, indeed, and their own internal career portals to find talent.  Some of the smart ones have begun to recruit on LinkedIn but not in a formal process.  As mentioned above, current hotel HRD’s (HR directors) are bogged down with paperwork, processing and putting out fires within the larger departments like housekeeping and front office operations. Hotels MUST make a change in HR in order to attract and retain new talent in sales (and all disciplines).  Generally, recruiting is left to the DOSM through networking and the traditional channels mentioned earlier.  Hotel DOSM’s are simply too busy to focus on the most important factor in their success… their team!

In my view, HRD’s need to be stripped of all administrative responsibilities as much as possible and hand them to a junior coordinator. They need to cultivate social networks on LinkedIn and Facebook where potential employees can find and communicate with them.  They need to be at job fairs and GETTING OUT INTO the community, actively pinpointing and recruiting the right people. 

Q: What characteristics do you look for in sales candidates?

A: Hotels must hire sales talent that can relate to younger and young-at- heart meeting planners.  This is largely related to technology.  Hotels are still an antiquated industry when it comes to technology. I have never seen a hotel sales team effectively using Skype. But our customers are on it.

Paper still exists in the hotel business for sales contracts and proposals (although it's slowly going away).  Tech-savvy employees are critical to the shift.

And of course… confidence, leadership and fearlessness are still key qualities of any good salesperson.

Q: What KPIs do you suggest DOSMs measure?

A: This is a good question and a tough one.  Like most businesses, salespeople are measured based on the revenue results that they bring to the organization, and this still remains the primary KPI in the hotel business.

You generally have 90 days after ramp up to make your numbers and then you are put on a PIP (performance improvement plan), after that you have another 90 days to meet agreed-upon expectations or you will go into a 30 day PIP and then “agree to move on” if the numbers aren’t met. Other factors DOSM’s can/should look at are the employee’s positive influence on the culture of the property, leads organically created and any deals in the pipeline near closing.

Q:  How many sales people does a property need based on its size/meeting space?

A: In general, always a DOSM and, if there is 5K or more of viable meeting space, a DOC.  Then typically, 1 group salesperson per 100 rooms, and 1 catering salesperson per 8k square feet. Hotels in corporate areas will have a transient – Business Travel Sales Manager and in leisure destinations will have a Leisure Transient Sales Manager.

The Org for a 300 room, 20k square foot property will be:

  • DOSM
  • DOC (CS) – Director of Catering and convention services
  • 3 group sales managers (reps)
  • 2 CM - Catering Managers
  • 2 CSMs - Convention services managers (operations focused)
  • 1 BT or LT sales manager
  • 1 Group Coordinator
  • 1 sales coordinator (admin)

Q: Why do most hotel sales people fail?

A: First, most commonly, because they are not attacking the correct market.

Most just need to focus on the proven markets that are working and throw away or get rid of dead leads that are wasting their time.

Second, because their leaders are being defocused by corporate nonsense. Typically in flagged properties, the inbound volume of leads is constant (usually a good problem to have) but 90% of them are not going to close.  Some sales leaders are worried about brand-monitored metrics of response time and follow up on non-viable leads to meet brand expectations.  A system needs to be put in place by the sales leader to fish where the fish are biting, resist “political” KPIs and keep their team focused on revenue!

Salespeople MUST treat their market like it’s their own business. Be organized and focus on their quota.

Q: What are the basic things that should be provided to each salesperson?

A: A viable market. All markets run hot and cold but there must be some fertility in a market.

On a practical level, a laptop and a smartphone (many hotels still have salespeople with desktops, which is silly), and continuing education, a HUGE issue for the industry especially with millennials. Hotels need to shift more investment into training.

And finally, a commitment to a “coaching culture”  is vital to success. The team must follow and believe in their leader.

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Business, Direct Bookings, Director of Sales and Marketing, DMO Sales, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Hotel Sales, Uncategorized

Friday Freebie: Create Urgency To Stimulate Bookings

November 18, 2016 • By


Welcome to the Friday Freebie! Each week we share one impactful hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue. 

This week’s freebie: Create a sense of urgency to compel people to book faster.

It’s a universal truth: Consumers are more inclined to buy when they feel they are about to miss out on a limited-time offer or a good deal. In fact, urgency creates a sense of scarcity, which is one of Robert Cialdini’s famed six principles of influence. OTAs and major retailers like Amazon have mastered the concept of urgency and implemented it into their own websites to drive people to purchase.

One of the simplest ways to create a sense of urgency and make people want to make quicker booking decisions is to incorporate urgent limitations into your hotel booking engine.

For example:

  • Only available to the first 30 guests
  • Only 5 suites remain for New Year’s weekend
  • 3 days left
  • Price only available through this Saturday
  • Or, incorporate a countdown clock to an expiration date

Get More: The Surprising Psychology Behind Successful Hotel Websites

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Business, Direct Bookings, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice

The Top 5 Myths In Hotel Marketing Right Now

November 15, 2016 • By


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, youimage2-2 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.

Direct Bookings, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, OTA

Friday Freebie: Give Guests Less Options, Not More

November 11, 2016 • By


Welcome to the Friday Freebie! Each week we share one impactful hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue. 

This week’s freebie: Give your guests less to choose from, not more.

Travelers today prefer simple transactions and are driven away by clutter, especially a clutter of choices. Studies show that when people are faced with too many options, they experience decision paralysis. Meaning, they delay making a decision and a purchase for days, weeks and months. Or worse, decide not to make a decision at all!

Go through your own booking process and evaluate how many times you require a guest to make a choice before they can move forward with the reservation. Are you asking them to choose from six various room types, forcing them to read each description thoroughly? Is your hotel offering too many upgrade or add-on options, like a bottle of champagne, flowers in the room, breakfast buffet, or a spa treatment?

Your good intentions (of giving guests exactly what they want) are anything but. Too many options are overwhelming and cause massive delays for guests who truly want simplicity and ease. Pare down on the choices and leave a clear and clean path to purchase.

Get More: Want More Bookings? Give Consumers Less to Choose From

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Booking Engine, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice