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Friday Freebie: Follow These Digital Breadcrumbs To Find Out What Guests Really Want

May 18, 2018

Follow These Digital Breadcrumbs To Find Out What Guests Really Want

Friday Freebie: What Guests Really WantWelcome 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: Travelers are already telling us what they want, what they’re excited about and what will draw them in. Just listen closely in the right places and embrace this data to improve your hotel product and overall marketing results. 

There’s no need to conduct a survey to find out what guests want. They’ve already revealed this information online. And, it’s readily available to you. 

You can easily discover what travelers are seeking in a hotel experience by listening and monitoring the right places:

  1. Use Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool to see what keywords visitors are searching for
  2. Monitor your social media posts and comments AND your compset’s
  3. Monitor your TripAdvisor reviews AND your compset’s
  4. Study your DMO’s research on regional visitors and their habits
  5. Comb through post-stay surveys

By keeping a close tab on this readily available data, you’ll be able to see both the threats and the opportunities for improving your hotel product and service experience. For instance:

  1. Do you get frequent complaints regarding a specific aspect of your hotel?
  2. Are travelers to your destination talking about a certain new attraction?
  3. Is there a spike in keyword searches for hotels near a certain neighborhood?
  4. What are the top activities and attractions near you (and how are you partnered with them)?
  5. These priceless digital breadcrumbs and golden nuggets of information will assist you in building a customer path straight to your door.

Get More: Hotel Marketers and Accidental Narcissists 


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 34th year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: You have one chance to make a good impression

May 4, 2018

A hotel marketing lesson from mom….

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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:

Mom was right.

Our moms are always dishing out sage advice. And, it turns out their quips hold a lot of hotel marketing wisdom. In honor of Mother’s Day and all our wonderful mothers out there, we’re celebrating one of our favorite mom quotes:

“You have one chance to make a good impression.”

And the valuable, hidden hotel and resort marketing message behind it?

Your words matter.

You have seconds to capture your customer’s attention and make an impression. EIGHT seconds, to be exact. Studies show that’s the average attention span in our age of streaming content and smartphones.

So, you have to get your message across – quick.

To entice, engage and convince within that tiny time frame, every word has to be intentional, poignant and clear the first time around. Or else, risk losing the customer who doesn’t have time to ‘get it’.

Don’t expect a second chance to repeat yourself.

Here’s how to write hotel copy that sells to today’s consumer::

  • Succinctly present your core value proposition on your hotel website homepage in a way that appeals to the emotional truth your property delivers (EX: “Create unforgettable family memories at ____ Resort.”)
  • Assume customers are going to scan, not read
  • Put your most important points at the beginning
  • Keep paragraphs short, about 2 sentences long
  • Use bullet points, subheads, bold or design elements to break up text
  • Leave plenty of white space

Get More: 7 Lessons Your Mom Taught You About Hotel Marketing


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: www.Tambourine.com

Are comments about your hotel falling on deaf ears?

May 1, 2018

Hotel social media monitoring needs to go way beyond Trip Advisor

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Hotels take reputation management seriously when it comes to guest feedback on TripAdvisor, but often underappreciate the need to closely monitor other social media channels.

This is a lost opportunity to gain short term insight and long-term goodwill.

Here are 3 reasons hotels need to prioritize social listening:

1. Instant karma

Social Media is a two-way communications channel; you can talk to guests, and guests can talk back. You can have a real conversation with an individual. Not so with TripAdvisor: By the time you respond, the damaging review may already have been posted.

Not to mention, social media trains consumers to expect an immediate response, and an already irritable customer can get more irritable if they don’t receive a response in an adequate amount of time. Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. It can often exacerbate the situation.

Most negative posters on hotel social media channels are still on the property when they post.

And they aren’t doing it for their own enjoyment, either: 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour, according to a study by Lithium. By monitoring and responding ASAP, hoteliers can potentially engage these dissatisfied guests during their stay—and win them over—before they turn their vitriol into permanent TripAdvisor or OTA reviews.

Another instant benefit of social listening for hotels is the ability to glean insight on guest experience and product/service issues— both positive and negative.

If your hotel makes the mistake of ignoring positive comments about your property, you’ve just lost out on valuable testimonials you can utilize, as well as gaining useful feedback and a chance to strengthen relationships with users. And if you ignore negative comments, you’ll damage your brand and foster negative social proof.

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Further, by listening to social media channels and acting quickly, hotels are often able to delight guests with unexpected surprises that create long-term loyalty and evangelism. These opportunities—which are fleeting and must be capitalized on almost immediately—can offer significant branding value, at minimal cost.

One company making tremendous strides to this end is Marriott, which has tasked its M Live team with constant monitoring of social channels, for the sake of surprising guests with enhanced service touches, like a free bottle of champagne delivered on-site for guests who got engaged while staying at a property.

2. Complete strangers are talking about you…

It’s not just your fan base that you have to worry about.

Non-fans and non-followers are talking about your brand too. It’s crucial to listen to these potential influencers as well.

Surprisingly, 96% of the users who discuss brands online don’t actually follow those brands’ profiles, according to a Brandwatch report.

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You can be reactive and ONLY monitor people who directly comment or tag your hotel’s Instagram “handle” (your actual Instagram account name) in a picture. You’ll receive a notification and you can respond accordingly.

But there are more proactive ways of monitoring ALL relevant sentiment on Instagram. By typing the generic name of your hotel (see illustration above) or property specific hashtags in the search bar, you can discover additional content that guests have posted about your prop.

If you don’t have the time or resources to monitor your hashtags and geo-
tags, Tools like Tout allow you to find and license the content with ease.

3. Discover (and celebrate) the evangelists

Hotel social media monitoring isn’t just about catching people bashing your hotel: It’s equally valuable when guests are celebrating their experiences on channels such as Instagram.

Over the last few years, storytelling and other forms of user-generated content (UGC) have become some of the most popular and cost-effective methods for hotel marketers looking to harness digital and social media and put more heads in beds.

capturing guest-generated social proof from The St Regis in San Francisco

An example of capturing guest-generated social proof from The St Regis in San Francisco

This is driven by a decline in consumer trust in advertising; instead, consumers now look to one another for credibility. UGC such as photos, videos, and posts about hotel experiences are viewed as more authentic and less sales-focused, so using that content to your advantage can offer tremendous benefits.

By monitoring things closely, you can locate and celebrate those brand ambassadors who are taking pictures of their property experience, allowing you to benefit from what is essentially free positive publicity.


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 34th year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: How to Uncover Guests’ Hidden Instagram Photos

April 27, 2018

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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: Your guests are creating FREE ultra-creative marketing content almost every day. Here’s how to uncover that treasure trove of evangelism!

Right now as you read this, a guest is documenting their stay at your property and posting it on Instagram for all their followers to see.

From breakfast in bed to epic balcony sunsets, these photos and videos are far more authentic, unique and imaginative than anything the most creative hotel marketer can come up with consistently. Plus, your guests’ posts carry more influence since they are authentic, not manufactured. This SOCIAL PROOF builds validation and inspires their followers to consider a stay. You can collect these posts and use them for future marketing collateral (with permission) or to repost on Instagram to your own audience.

In other words – Your guests’ Instagram posts are precious marketing gold. And, the goodies just keep flowing in. 

Only problem is that many of these photos and videos are ‘hidden.’ You’ll only be notified of a guest’s post if they happen to use your official Instagram account name, otherwise known as a ‘handle.’ So, if a user leaves that out, you may never see their post.

Unless, you get proactive.

Here are three easy and proactive ways to unearth guests’ Insta content:

  1. Search the generic name of your hotel. For example, the Grafton on Sunset (@graftononsunset), should search ‘grafton hotel’ or ‘hotel grafton’ to catch any posts where guests used those names.
  2. Search any property specific hashtags that a guest might have used instead of your handle, like #graftononsunset or #hotelgrafton
  3. Monitor your property geo-tags, an automatic label that is marked when a Instagram user posts from your location.

 

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Monitor these three methods daily to catch any timely content, as well as to catch any feedback or comments that guests make about their hotel experience.

Get More: Why Every Flagged Hotel Should be Rethinking Instagram


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: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Solving the latest hotel website curveball from Google

April 20, 2018

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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: 

Google’s new security standards could threaten your hotel’s website traffic. Here’s how to solve the problem:

In hopes of fostering a safer internet, Google has moved toward new security standards for its Chrome browser, which requires a significant update to hotel websites in order to achieve compliance.

Under the new specifications, Google now requires all websites that collect any type of personal data (i.e. forms, email addresses, credit card info, etc.) to migrate websites to HTTPS and upgrade their security technology in the form of “SSL Certificates,” or suffer the consequences.

Right now, that consequence is a security alert, which Chrome users see when they reach a web page that Google has deemed a “Non-Secure environment” when the mandated SSL certificate isn’t present. Considering roughly 60% of web surfers currently use Chrome, this is no matter to take lightly; it’s best to make the required changes as soon as possible, to ensure your site traffic isn’t at risk and/or potential guests being scared away.

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This may seem like a small detail, but it may have a huge impact on hotel website conversion rates. You don’t want to scare away customers with an unsecured website. Google has indicated that warnings may become even more pronounced in future browser updates.

You also don’t want your customers’ data being compromised because you failed to provide a secure setting. As recent data breaches among numerous major hotel companies have proven, hacks can cause extensive damage to brands and they erode consumer trust, which can be disastrous to the bottom line. Given those risks, taking the steps to comply with the SSL/HTTPS standard is a no-brainer.

The Solution:

The first step in meeting the standard is for hotel digital marketers to obtain an SSL Certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA). The certificate permits your website to communicate using encrypted, non-corruptible data, while also acting as a stamp of approval.

Many providers offer free SSL/TSL certificates; (Shameless plug: Tambourine provides SSL certificates for all clients included in our monthly service package).

With an approved certificate in place, the next steps are to conduct a full backup of your hotel website site, change all your internal links, check code libraries, update external links and create a 301 redirect. It’s also important to claim all four versions of your site URLs (HTTPS, HTTP, www. and non-www.) on Google Search Console Analytics, AdWords and other paid ads, plus social profiles and business citations. Since there are multiple complex steps, you definitely want your digital marketing team or external hotel digital marketing firm to handle this.


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: www.Tambourine.com

Bad Habits: 5 things hotel marketers should stop right now

April 17, 2018

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Usually, we offer insight on the hotel marketing tactics, tools and strategies you should adopt to drive more revenue to your hotel: add chat to your hotel website. Focus on this webpage as your SEO secret weapon. Try these tips on your mobile website, etc…

Today, we want to turn things around and recommend a few things NOT to do!

From our experience, here’s five negative habits inhibiting hotel marketers from reaching their full revenue-generating potential:

1) Using the wrong message to fight OTAs

Travelers aren’t as obsessed with low prices as you may believe. According to a recent JD Power & Associates’ North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, customers who booked on third-parties are more likely to face problems (like last-minute changes and canceled reservations) and be dissatisfied with their hotel experience. 

A common review from an unhappy OTA customer…

A common review from an unhappy OTA customer…

So, instead of using price to win back OTA customers, focus on a common fear: Fear of a ruined travel experience.

It’s no secret that OTAs have left thousands of travelers in the lurch with their cancellation policies and ability to change/reassign hotels at their own discretion.

So, use that your advantage. Remind customers that booking direct with your hotel is the SAFER option. Unlike OTAs, you have a staff that actually, truly cares about them and will do all that’s possible to avoid and quickly amend any issues.

2) Tolerating an Inferior Product

Not even the most creative hotel marketing strategies, sophisticated hotel booking engine, or targeted hotel ppc campaigns can compensate for a sloppy hotel experience. Just as the saying goes, “You can’t put lipstick on a pig,” you can’t cover the signs of your hotel’s frayed edges or lapses in service. Travelers are more sophisticated than ever and they’re well aware of their options, especially with so many shiny and new boutique hotels stealing their attention.

No amount of “lipstick” can cover up an aging, inadequate product

No amount of “lipstick” can cover up an aging, inadequate product

While you can’t decide what gets fixed and replaced, that shouldn’t stop you from diligently pointing out to your owners what guests are complaining about. Each year, leverage your guest reviews that show the shortcomings that are deterring guests and hindering revenue growth. Convince your owners that property upgrades and enhancements are urgent if they want to compete in today’s marketplace.

3) Working in a Silo

It’s a common scenario playing out in hotels across the globe:

Hotel marketing departments that don’t communicate, share resources or vital updates.

The result?

Marketers left in the dark about upcoming periods of weakness. Group sales managers with no leads. Revenue managers clueless about why marketing continues to target one audience (or date period) over another.

It’s time to end this disconnect.

Smart hotel marketers break down silos and work closely with sales and revenue management

Smart hotel marketers break down silos and work closely with sales and revenue management

Your entire hotel and its financial success depend on all three pillars of the sales & marketing platform working together in unison and towards the same revenue goals. One easy way to break down these silos is to schedule an all-team meeting every week. This meeting should include ALL associates, not just managers. Share your current priorities, upcoming projects, recent discoveries, ask for feedback and share resources.

This not only gives every team member access to what’s happening outside of their department, but it also fosters teamwork and enhances collaboration that results in success across all S&M departments.

4)  Ignoring the sales team

Meetings and events account for a major portion of your hotel’s revenue.

Yet, hotel marketers tend to solely focus on driving leisure business, leaving sales managers to generate their own group leads.

This is a dangerous habit, as more and more hotel owners and asset managers become less impressed with your branding initiatives or your hotel’s number of social media followers and more obsessed with how much you contribute to your property’s revenue.

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So start using your skills in digital marketing for hotels to champion the sales team’s efforts and drive group business. Smart hotel marketers do three fundamental things to support their sales teammates:

a.  Run campaigns that consistently engage the sales team’s high-value targets (HVTs) with relevant and entertaining content
b.  Deploy marketing automation tools to alert sales managers when HVTs are on the hotel website and what pages they are looking at…
c.  Optimize the meetings and events pages on the hotel direct website with ALL the resources meeting planners need… AND create compelling content showcasing your destination as an exciting locale for meetings and events attendees

5) Focusing on meaningless stats

Because the best hotel marketers know they’re only as good as their metrics, measurement and tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) are an ongoing commitment.

However, with more sophisticated technology comes more data.

While analytics are vital for doing what we do, we’re also burdened with an avalanche of irrelevant KPIs stealing our attention from the metrics that actually matter.

Don’t get dragged down trying to keep up with useless numbers, such as bounce rate, online page views and social media followers.

Instead of leaning on metrics that only sound impressive on paper, pay attention to the numbers that will actually measure your contribution to hotel revenues. Every day, you should be checking the KPIs that actually matter to your hotel’s owners and asset managers, including:

  1. MCPB (marketing cost per booking): Tracks the cost of each sales and marketing channel versus actual conversions. Try using this for OTA commissions as well… and see how that channel stacks up versus your other campaigns.
  2. DRR (direct revenue ratio): Measures percentage of online revenue from direct sources (your website) versus pricey third-party sources, like OTAs. If you’re not garnering 40 percent of your revenue from direct reservations, you still have work to do!
  3. Website conversion rate (from unique visitor to entrances into the booking environment): Converting a higher percentage of visitors into booking searches (or phone calls) is critical to reducing your cost of revenue and MCPB.
  4. Variance from revenue target: This metric showcases revenue goals versus actual results (by segment).

 


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: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Rate parity matters… but so does Promo Parity

April 13, 2018

Behold the Power of SPAC…

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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: Rate parity matters… but so does Promo Parity.

It’s not easy filling your hotel’s need periods. These low periods can break your annual budget. Avoid what many panicked hotel marketers do… “spray and pray” offers all over the digital landscape.

You need to be deliberate and focused.

Just like a general in charge of an army – you need to coordinate your operations and move your forces in unison.

This is why smart hotel marketers launch one promo across all channels simultaneously. We call this SPAC: Simultaneous Promotion Across All Channels.

Not only will your promo have the best chance of massive outreach and conversions, it also squashes any chance of confusion and skepticism in your market.

Think about it:

If Offer A is running on your Facebook page, Offer B is running on a 3rd-party channel and Offer C is running on your website, guests will be leery of what’s real or what’s current. Prospects will experience dissonance… enough to turn them away looking for another more consistent and mentally-calming hotel option. Consumers are uncomfortable with inconsistency.

Lesson: Consistency matters. Maintaining parity among your offers, not just rate, is vital to your bottom line.

Get More: Stop the Noise: The 10 Things That Matter to Hotel Marketers Right Now


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: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Want More Business/Corporate Transient? Try this.

March 30, 2018

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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: 

Start applying basic digital marketing tactics to enhance traction with the corporate/business transient segment.   

2018 is going to be a hot year for corporate travel.`

The Global Business Travel Association and Carlson Wagonlit Travel 2018 forecasts predict corporate travel spending will increase by 6.1 percent this year, up from the expected 2017 increase of 5.1 percent.

However, despite the growth, don’t expect corporate travelers to be drawn to your hotel on their own. You’ll need to sharpen your plan to attract their business.

Here are FOUR easy ways to grow your hotel’s business travel bookings in 2018:

  1. Make Your Business Benefits Obvious

According to a report by Concur and GBTA, 7 out of 10 travelers booked outside of their company’s channels at least once in 2017. So, even if you are a leisure property, it makes sense to showcase your business amenities thoroughly to this massive segment.

Create a page on your hotel website just for business travelers. Offer solutions and packages for corporate travelers, such as offering free early/late checkout, complimentary in-room WiFi, and complimentary breakfast.

  1. Send Only Targeted Email Campaigns to Corporate Travelers

Generic emails promoting resort services are not relevant to business road warriors. Instead, tout your airport shuttle, morning breakfast buffet, parking and nearby transportation options, business center, list of company headquarters in your area, ironing and laundry services, area eateries with grab-and-go options and your 24-hour fitness center.

      3. Optimize Your Website With Corporate Search Terms
Be deliberate with your hotel website content and write in terms that are relevant to corporate travelers. Create a business FAQ page that answers questions that business travelers are apt to ask. Highlight all of your amenities that are vital to corporate travel. Not only are you offering relevant content to this audience, it can be a magnet for SEO traffic.

      4. Create a “Bleisure offer”
Create an offer solely for business travelers that extends the corporate rate a few days before and after their reservation. Then, consider adding on simple perks during those extra days that address “bleisure needs such as complimentary breakfast, a late check-out, passes to a nearby gym (if your property doesn’t offer a fitness center) and a calendar of unique/authentic local events happening nearby.

Once the offer is created, use your CRM system to share the offer with all guests marked with corporate rate codes in your PMS before their stay. Include the offer in their pre-stay email, remind them at check-in and if possible… leave them a note during their stay.


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: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Feed Foodie Wanderlust

March 23, 2018

Feed Foodie Wanderlust: boost upscale/luxury bookings.

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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: Upscale and luxury hotel marketers know that consumers’ increasing fascination with food is a delicious path to profits! Tap into this growing trend by showcasing your unique F&B offerings and quintessential local food experiences. 

Lingering over great food and drink is considered one of the best parts of traveling. From splurge-worthy tasting menus to food tours, to local farmers markets. Foodie or not – modern travelers crave discovering a city through its unique tastes and cultural elements. And, they’re drawn to the hotels that give them front-row access to these culinary opportunities.

Luxury hotels understand this well. 

In fact, most luxury hotel websites celebrate their food and drink, just as much as they highlight their rooms and amenities. Visit any luxury hotel website and you’ll find their restaurants positioned as vital components to the travel experience.  Follow some of their proven tactics:

  • Highlight the local/sustainable ingredients in food and drink menus
  • Showcase partnerships with organic markets and purveyors
  • Share your chef’s background, their inspirations and influences
  • Offer tips on how guests can bring the local flavor home
  • Offer a food map showing your hotel’s proximity to authentic foodie finds, like farmers marketers, ethnic eateries, and hidden local restaurants

Get More: 10 Secrets of Luxury 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: www.Tambourine.com

The GM Checklist for Hotel Marketing

March 20, 2018

General Manager’s (GM’s) are more involved than ever in hotel marketing.

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The cost of guest acquisition is on everyone’s mind these days, which means GM’s are feeling pressure from ownership, asset managers and their hotel management companies to maximize the ROI from their marketing investments.

GM’s have responded in two positive ways:

1. GM’s are now holding their marketing teams accountable for contributing – in a tangible, measurable way – to revenue goals and generating leads.

2. GM’s are also championing their marketing team’s efforts and investing more time than ever before in improving their understanding of the complex challenges facing their hotel marketing team

To support this effort, here’s our list of 10 significant hotel marketing elements that every GM should be familiar with:

1. The Four Marketing Pillars: Price, Product, Promotion and Placement

A smart, easy place for every GM to start is understanding the four traditional pillars of marketing that directly drive the success of your hotel:

Product 
The most important of the four, classic marketing “P’s”: How does your product differentiate you? Consider both the hotel’s physical product (rooms, restaurant, meeting space, amenities, spa, etc.), as well as the service experience. GMs need to constantly work with their marketing team to determine if their product or service experience needs improvement (and then ask ownership for the funds)!

Promotion (i.e. Advertising and Traffic Generation)

More than anything else, the GM MUST ensure that the marketing team’s promotional expenses and investments are synchronized with the hotel’s targeted business mix

Placement (Distribution Channels)

GM’s need to know where the business is expected to come from and how the property’s rates and inventory are positioned there? How many groups vs transient do you expect and how much is actually being generated? How much inventory are you allocating to OTAs? Is your team relying too heavily on OTAs to reach revenue goals? Or, are you thoughtfully optimizing your own hotel website and booking engine to attract more profitable, direct bookings?

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Your revenue management team controls pricing, but price is an unavoidably critical element of marketing. GMs need to have consistent, accurate visibility to ADR vs the compset. GM’s should also strongly encourage close cooperation between their marketing and revenue management teams.

2)  What your Marketing Team Needs from YOU to Succeed!

Your marketing team can’t survive without the GM championing their efforts and giving them the right amount of funds, tools and resources to succeed. The key is to simply, and constantly, ask them what they require from you to achieve their goals, then make it happen.

3) The Quality of Your Product 

We want to underscore the importance of your PRODUCT in the marketing mix.

No amount of clever advertising or promotion can overcome an inadequate product or me-too service experience.  Keep in mind this compelling quote by Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, “Advertising is the tax you pay for an unremarkable product.”

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There are far too many hotels that continue to sink millions of marketing dollars to over-compensate for or to cover up an aging, lackluster, or grungy hotel product. The less you pay attention to improving your service and your hotel product, the higher your marketing and advertising expenses will be to make up for it.

GM’s can best serve their marketing teams by driving product improvement first!

By refusing to cut corners, investing in quality from the front desk to the back of the house, and by presenting the best guest experience that your staff can deliver, guest sentiment will go up, your number of repeat guests will go up, profits will go up and your marketing cost per booking will go down.

4) How Marketing Investments Correlate to Projections

Smart GM’s know exactly how much revenue they expect from each segment of the hotel’s business. And they expect their marketing teams to correlate their investments for leisure/transient, group, corporate and F&B.

Generic, aimless and “pretty picture” marketing won’t cut it. Every marketing activity should be done with the intention of achieving the segmented revenue goals of the overall business mix.

Check back in throughout the year to see how your marketing team is synchronizing their allocated budget and resources to align with revenue projections.

5) Your Property’s Story

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Consistently and creatively telling a meaningful, truthful story is what truly attracts travelers. However, many hoteliers don’t know what their story is, much less how to convey it. Correctly telling your story means knowing your audience, being honest about your assets and getting all stakeholders in agreement about your property’s unique identity so that you can convey it poignantly across all your marketing channels.

Travelers are no longer drawn to sterile facts, puffy promises of a wonderful stay or mentions of your recent industry awards. They want to be a part of something that intrigues them, connects with them and gives them something to brag about.

GMs should be vigilant about their marketing team’s ability to propagate a unique story across all channels.

6) Actual Costs of OTAs vs Marketing Expenses

Every good hotel marketer must know the actual costs and expenses of each channel. OTAs are particularly tricky to track, as their commissions are often hidden, yet are one of the costliest expenses to hit your bottom line (OTAs usually pay a net rate back to the hotel, so the actual cost will never show up in your financials). Lean on your marketing and revenue team to track the real expense of OTA bookings and compare that to the tangible expenses that power more direct booking channels.

7) The Ratio of Direct vs 3rd Party Revenue

This goes in tandem with #6. Many hotels are still relying disproportionately on higher cost channels for business. With rates and occupancy at an all-time high, one of the primary areas GMs can affect is COST of acquisition!

And owners are watching this closely.

GMs should check the pulse on this each month to compare how many bookings came directly through your hotel call center and website versus costly 3rd parties.

8) How to Augment the Brand’s Marketing Program

Brand affiliation offers many benefits… But custom marketing targeted to your specific audiences is not one of them.

Branded/flagged properties need to augment their brand’s core program with timely campaigns and custom direct “vanity” websites that help fill periods of need. Instead of solely relying on the brand’s standard marketing program, which is duplicated for every other sister hotel in the region. Your marketing team should be proactively differentiating your property, customizing your website, and boosting your search engine optimization (SEO) and social media efforts.

9) Marketing KPIs 

Get familiar with the KPIs your marketing team is responsible for while ensuring they are not spending too much time tracking vanity metrics. Metrics should offer insight that GMs and the property owners consider high priority (like how much your marketing team is actually contributing to the hotel’s revenue targets). Hotel marketers should be able to share vital KPIs like direct revenue ratio, leads generated for the sales team and marketing cost per booking (MCPB).

10) Why You Lose Business to the Compset

Winning is easy.

Losing requires painful introspection.

A majority of hotel sales and marketing teams fail to ponder why people chose another property. Whenever your team loses a major group deal or market share, the GM needs to ask the team: Why did we not win this business?

What went wrong… How could we have done better?

This simple follow-up could dramatically empower, alter, and inform your future sales efforts.

Also, your team should never lose track of what your comp set is doing. In fact, there are so many tactics and tools at your disposal, that a competitor’s success should never come as a surprise. Keeping tabs on your compset will give you the insight to finesse, and possibly pivot, your own marketing campaigns.


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: www.Tambourine.com

Fort Lauderdale
New York
Bogotá