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symphony hotel marketing

Friday Freebie: Get Ahead Of Common Problems and Boost TripAdvisor Reviews

December 16, 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: Boost your hotel’s TripAdvisor ratings by offering creative and simple solutions to common, repetitive guest gripes, even for situations you don’t control.

The noisy construction across the street.

The loud bar next door.

The lack of parking in your bustling neighborhood.

You can’t control all the elements that guests will inevitably complain about in their TripAdvisor reviews. 

However, just because you don’t have power to add new parking spots or tell the bar patrons to quiet down, doesn’t mean that you can’t empathize with your guests and offer some respite from the annoyance.

The worst thing a hotel can do is tell a guest, “There’s nothing we can do.” Even if that’s the case, the guest will only feel as though your hotel doesn’t want to help them, or worse, simply doesn’t care what they’re going through.

Instead, pre-empt these common gripes by preparing solutions to smooth the grumbling. Offer guests parking secrets in the neighborhood, a map of nearby parking lots and their fees, average Uber and Lyft fees to different areas of town, information on Car2Go or ReachNow (BMW’s car sharing service) options, etc.

Better yet, put all of this information in one place, an FAQ page on your hotel website or extra page in your in-room guest packet. Don’t wait until the guest is shaking with rage and ready to scream at one of your front desk staff before you scramble for quick fixes.

By acknowledging your unavoidable weak points and offering solutions upfront, guests will feel validated, taken care of and confident that your hotel is committed to providing a remarkable experience, no matter the outside circumstances that threaten to put a damper on their stay and their guest review afterwards. 

Get More: The Six Golden Rules to Responding to Guest Reviews

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, tripadvisor, Tripadvisor Reviews

Hotel Marketing: 10 Things That Worked in 2016

December 13, 2016 • By
image1 Marketing can often seem like a bottomless pit of possibilities. The days of investing in only a few marketing channels are long gone. Now, there are endless ways to reach potential guests and drive direct bookings, leaving some hotel marketers paralyzed or flustered over the overwhelming task of choosing what to focus on. So, we’re here to narrow down the field. We’ve compiled a list of the strategies that have actually worked for us and our clients this past year. Call it our secret sauce, if you will. We fully recognize that there are no magic bullets that work for every property and market, but these are some of the consistently effective tactics that have proven to drive revenue, expand reach and boost direct bookings in 2016. Let’s get started:  1) Crafting an Authentic and Unique Story There’s a reason why storytelling became one of the top buzzwords of practically every industry. People are drawn to emotions, stories and engaging narratives rather than facts, figures or hyperboles. Creating stories that both educate and delight are the foundation for authentic conversations with guests. Before telling your own story, think about your hotel’s main demographics and what drives them. Determine what makes you more unique than your comp set. Then, tell the story only you can tell… and tell it consistently with rich visuals across all of your marketing channels. 2) Harvesting Guest Generated Content It’s one of the universal truths of marketing: consumers will always trust their family and friends over you. Smart hoteliers are using the power of ‘word of mouth’ marketing and leveraging it to their advantage. By encouraging and incentivizing current guests to post images and videos onto social media while they are staying with you, effectively makes your guests a potent extension of your marketing team. Recognizing this, we recently launched Tout, which makes it easy to discover, capture and obtain rights to content created by your own guests. Guest generated content holds multiple benefits: They’re more authentic, more trustworthy, and more creative than anything your marketing could have produced. Best of all, you won’t have to invest any marketing dollars to obtain new images and videos for your future marketing campaigns.   3) Positioning Your Hotel as the Epicenter of Your Destination Today’s travelers are increasingly drawn to the life-changing experiences that lie within reach of your hotel’s front doors. They want to experience a destination like a local and crave front-row access to unique discoveries and immersive experiences that are unlike anything they can find at home. Forward-thinking hoteliers have caught on to this shift in traveler sentiment and are now touting their properties as the center of the destination experience.  Share what’s immediately within walking distance, including quirky coffee shops and cool wine bars, as opposed to lazily pointing to your lobby's Starbucks and restaurant wine list. Clue guests in on local secrets and involve all front-line staff (not just concierges) in learning as much as they can about your immediate neighborhood and destination.    4) Reducing Vendor Fatigue Let’s face it. The more marketing vendors you work with, the more chaos and complications you’ll face with even the simplest of tasks. Managing separate, disconnected vendors to handle your booking engine, advertising campaigns, digital marketing, email marketing and your brand website means you’re paying more, holding less vendors accountable for producing ROI and wasting time managing and relaying messages to multiple vendors. Pare down your marketing team to as few vendors as possible so your marketing campaigns can have more impact on your bottom line. 5) Better Mobile Booking Experiences Guests rely on their smartphones throughout their entire travel journey, from research, to booking, to sharing experiences post-stay. In fact, up to 21% of hotel bookings are made on mobile devices. Hotels got serious about their mobile experiences in 2016, investing and making improvements to mobile-compatible booking engines, responsive websites and marketing emails. By providing improved mobile experiences, hotels can streamline direct bookings, encourage social media sharing, communicate promos and offers, and reach potential guests any time of the day. Plus, today’s travelers expect mobile-enabled experiences, like digital check-in and communication with hotel staff via text. Investing in mobile is paramount to your success in 2017.   image2 6) Metasearch Metasearch’s value to hotel guests is undeniable: Travel consumers are provided with all the details they need to research and book a stay, including customer reviews, hotel information, location and real-time pricing and availability. Smart hoteliers leveraged metasearch to garner more direct bookings through their brand sites, rather than through OTAs. Whether they paid per click or via commission on bookings (such as on TripAdvisor or Google), these metasearch portals were attractively cheaper than traditional OTAs and gave hotels access to travel shoppers who were further down into the booking funnel. 7) Trip Advisor Commission Program TripAdvisor has always been one of the most trusted travel resources around the globe. Their TripConnect Instant Booking program allows you to connect your hotel’s inventory and rates to your TripAdvisor business listing, giving your hotel a direct conduit to the huge global audience trolling TripAdvisor every day. And by charging lower commissions than OTAs and allowing hotels to ‘own the guest,’ (i.e. contact info) TripConnect Instant Booking has proven to be one of the more attractive new alternative marketing channels to enter the mainstream in 2016. 8) Social Advertising on Facebook There are many reasons why Facebook advertising is one of the best advertising channels around, but our favorite is this: They are amazing at reaching target audiences. No other social channel has the intelligence that Facebook has on its users, including age, gender, location, demographic, interests, behavior and the names of family and friends. And, advertisers can use this to their advantage. Not only can you target your audience with laser-sharp focus, but you can also receive real-time analytics and enjoy some of the lowest ad pricing around. Plus, Facebook is still the king of social media channels, with more than 1 billion users across the globe, so your potential audience is vast.   9) Listening to Your Guests Your guests and meeting attendees are the direct window to your hotel experience and your future success. Whether its reading and responding to guest reviews or simply engaging them in the lobby, talking to the actual real humans that consume your product continued to be a winning idea in 2016. Take 30 minutes to converse with guests staying at your property and the meeting delegates lingering around your conference space. Ask them about their stay and what you can do better. All of this intelligence can be used to lock in future group business and to improve your hotel experience. 10) Applauding Your Team Your success rides on the skills and energy of your team, so smart DOSMs made time to give them the praise and recognition they deserve. Genuinely giving kudos to your marketing, catering, banquet and sales staff will boost morale and job performance. In other words, happy internal employees equals better (and more) external business. So, don’t hold back when dishing out the applause.

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:

advertising, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, hotel marketing campaigns, Hotel Marketing Mistakes, Hotel Marketing Tools, Instagram, marketing, Marketing Advice, Marketing Blog, Marketing Mistakes, Marketing opportunities, Marketing Tools, Mistakes to Avoid, social media

Friday Freebie: Engage Meeting Planners In LinkedIn Groups

December 9, 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: Get prime exposure in front of meeting planners by being a relevant and regular participant in meeting industry LinkedIn groups.

Boosting your hotel’s group business revenues comes down to one thing: Relationships. The more (and higher quality) relationships your sales team builds and maintains with meeting and event planners, the more group business you’ll book and the higher likelihood for repeat business.

Luckily, industry LinkedIn groups allow group sales managers to connect daily with thousands of meeting planners who are seeking feedback, advice and resources.

There are 200+ LinkedIn groups focused on meeting and event planning. Some of the more active groups include:

Event Planning and Event Management

Event Planning Professionals

Events and Hospitality Network By Cvent

BizBash – Event Planners Gather

Every sales manager should visit these groups to offer useful posts and relevant responses to planners’ questions And remember, this is social media, not “selling media.” The key is to position your team as a trusted and knowledgeable resource, not as sales-minded spammers. 

Get More: Are You on LinkedIn? 5 Ways Hotels and Destinations Use LinkedIn to Drive Group Revenues

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:

hospitality, hotel marketing, Linked IN, Linkedin, Meeting Planners, Meetings and Events, social media

New Tool Helps Hotels Harvest Guest-Generated Content

December 5, 2016 • By


We’re taking a rare break from our normal weekly thought-leadership series to announce an exciting new product here at Tambourine called Tout.

Tout enables hotels to find, capture and obtain usage rights for guest-generated content on social media. Tout has been tested at various hotels in recent months and is now available to all clients of Tambourine.

"Hotel shoppers don’t trust advertising anymore, they only trust each other," said Rafael Cardozo, President of Tambourine. "Guest-generated stories, photos and videos are pure marketing gold… and now we can mine it all at scale."

Here’s how Tout works:

  1. Content Discovery: Using the technology, Tambourine’s social media team can locate relevant photos and stories posted on social media by guests at the hotel and nearby attractions.
  2. Push-Button Outreach: Once a guest photo or story has been identified, Tout instantly contacts the guest (via social media), thanks them for their post and asks for one-click permission to use the content in the hotel’s marketing campaigns.
  3. Curation/Usage: Once the guest has given their permission, the content is stored in a private online portal and the hotel has full legal usage rights to use the content in its own social media and any other marketing campaigns, including traditional print collateral.

User-generated photography is diverse, visually arresting and authentic," says Thomas McDermott, Director of Social Media at Tambourine. "Tout puts a virtually endless supply of compelling photography at our fingertips."

Tout Case Study: Hotel Hugo New York City

“When we were engaged to handle Hotel Hugo’s social media channels, management was concerned about our ability to remotely generate authentic, real-time content,” according to McDermott. “We populated Tout with geotags and hashtags for all three of the property’s incredible F&B venues and were thrilled to see Tout instantly start to pull in hundreds of photos…”


“Guests document every aspect of their stay, from artful shots of the lobby lamps and breakfast in bed, to sunsets captured in a wine-glass (See example of content harvested by Tout below). The photography we curate at Hotel Hugo, much like its guests, is always artful, stylish and fun. Not to mention plentiful. We never have to use the same photo twice.”

For more information about Tout and Tambourine, please contact Tom McDermott: or call: 954-975-2220

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 Marketing Tools, Instagram, social media

Friday Freebie: Break Department Barriers And Beat Your Budget

December 2, 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: Break down the silos between marketing, sales and revenue with one simple weekly practice.

Non-communication between departments is commonplace in the hotel industry. You’ve most likely seen this yourself. Sales left in the dark about marketing promos. Marketing staff surprised by a revenue manager’s room rate decision. Or, front desk staff oblivious to the arrival of a very important meeting planner scheduled for a site inspection.

However, just because this disconnect between departments is common, it doesn’t mean that you have to perpetuate the problem at your property. When departments aren’t on the same page (or worse, questioning each other’s intelligence) it undermines your combined capabilities and clearly inhibits achievement of the individual and overall revenue goals.

Here’s one easy, consistent way to break down the barriers between departments that should be working in unison: Schedule a weekly all-team meeting.

This is for ALL staff members, not just department heads, to talk about what they’re working on, best practices, upcoming projects, ask questions, get feedback and share resources. Monday is a good day to have this meeting since you can action any valuable items that come up in the meeting during the following week.

Not only does this simple weekly appointment give your team visibility to what’s happening outside of their department, it enhances collaboration, motivates a shared vision and fosters a unified team atmosphere that runs stronger than ever.

Get More: 3 Ways to Build a More Cohesive Hotel Marketing Team

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, Hotel Marketing Advice, Leadership Qualities, Marketing Director

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: Drive Rates With This Simple Trick

November 25, 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: Make your room rates more appealing by changing just ONE number. 

Usually, establishing rate is a rational practice, based on historical trends, current market conditions and other hard data. However, many hoteliers overlook a vital aspect when determining prices: Understanding the basic psychology of what makes consumers choose one price over another.

This is called “price psychology” and one of its most tried and true practices is “The Law of Nines,” which is based on using "9" in your room rates.


People read numbers very quickly from left to right, and they associate the price with the very first number they see. For example, $199 seems closer to $100, even though it is just a dollar away from $200. This is why consumers see numbers endings in 9 or 99 or 95  as better values overall. Even luxury brands use this practice, including Apple.

Give this tactic a try and experiment by amending your $405/night suite to $395 or $399.

Get More: 3 Things Revenue Managers Can Learn From Psychologists

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, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue

7 Things Hotel Marketers Are Thankful For This Thanksgiving

November 22, 2016 • By


Coming off the heels of an intense election season, this Thanksgiving will be unlike any other. No matter who won your vote or where you stand personally, let’s come together as members of the hotel community and give thanks to all the things that make us happier, more productive and more successful in our jobs and our industry.

We asked hotel marketers what they’re grateful for right now… here’s what they said:

1. A President Who Understands the Hotel Business

Whether you love or hate him, one thing is certain: President-Elect Donald Trump understands the hotel business. As Katherine Lugar, President and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association noted in her recent email to members after the election: “…President-elect Trump has a unique understanding of the significant contributions that travel and tourism make to the economy and in communities around the country.”

2. A (Still) Strong and Stable Economy

Despite growing hotel supply and the threat of Airbnb’s success in driving leisure and corporate business, demand and RevPar are still steady. Based on low inflation rates, a solid labor market and stronger consumer spending, STR predicts hotel demand to remain strong throughout 2017. We’re still experiencing an unprecedented period of record results in the hotel industry. And, for that our gratitude is high.

3. The End of Election-Fueled Uncertainty

For years, the question of future government leadership has been top of mind for businesses across the country. Presidential elections tend to spur a lot of economic uncertainty and 2016 was no exception. According to a September 2016 report by Bankrate, a majority of Americans consideredthe presidential election the biggest threat to the nation’s economic health. This made many businesses hesitant to spend money on business travel and related expenses. Now that the votes are in and the election is over, industries across the country can start resetting their new normal and planning meetings and events with renewed confidence.  

image2 4. Elevated Consumer Consciousness

Hilton and Marriott did everyone a favor this year by investing in high-profile ad campaigns on national TV to encourage consumers to book direct. Whether these campaigns will pay off for their respective brands is unknown, but virtually every other hotelier is thankful for the elevated public consciousness of “booking direct.”

5. An Army of Guest Marketers

One of the greatest benefits hotels have seen since the advent of social media is the marketing reach of its own guests. When guests brag and gush about their stay on Twitter, post photos of appetizers or their balcony views onto Instagram and Snapchat, or shoot live videos onsite on Facebook, they instantly become a relevant extension of your own marketing team – without the expense of added marketing staff!

6. Digital Personalization

Every year, new hotel website and booking engine technology allow hotels to know more about who’s looking, booking and bouncing. With this robust analytics and demographic data, hotel offers are now personalized and optimized to reap the biggest ROI. Hoteliers are smarter than ever about crafting hotel marketing campaigns that are tailored to the right travelers and delivered to the right place, at the right time. And, best of all – everything is measurable, giving us tremendous power and insight over future marketing moves. 

7. Tech That Improves the Guest Experience

The explosion of mobile tech developments has allowed hoteliers to reach potential guests 24/7, streamline the booking process, engage in relevant conversations, communicate offers and encourage social sharing. And, the guest experience is easier and better than ever before. Guests can now check-in and check out, make service requests, track their travel expenses, chat with hotel staff, order room service, and in some cases, even turn on the TV and lights --- from just their smart phones or tablets.

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, Digital Marketing, Direct Booking, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, hotel marketing campaigns, Hotel Marketing Tools, Hotel Revenue, Hotel Sales, Marketing Advice

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