8 Essentials Every GM Needs to Know About Digital Marketing Today
Of the most pressing issues facing hotel marketers, internal stakeholder communication and education about digital marketing continues to be often overlooked and neglected.
HSMAI's Digital Marketing Council recently discussed the question of, "What are the digital developments that every GM needs to have at least a basic understanding of?" From the very basic to the more advanced, here are their top 8 recommendations:
- First and foremost, understand your own hotel's digital landscape. Through which channels (brand.com, OTAs, meta, etc.) does what percentage of your business come? For those largest pieces of the pie, focus your attention on understanding what is driving them, and the digital trends and developments happening there.
- Understand the digital marketing funnel, and the difference in ROI between efforts directed at filling the top of that funnel and pulling business though the bottom of it.
- Pay attention to the impact of the guest experience, reputation management, and social media on your hotel's digital outreach and pricing power.
- Especially if you are part of a brand and/or management company, be very clear on the company's overall strategy when it comes to natural search, websites, and more. Understand the tools and resources already available to your property from the brand and the management company. And for goodness sake, don't sign up for extra products, services, or channels without understanding what the umbrella company is doing.
- Realize how ads work on Google (and other places). When you're online, don't click the ad result for your property because you're burning up your own marketing budget!
- Know what is happening in the world of search (including what Meta is, and its real value in the scheme of things). This is one of the biggest areas you're likely spending on, so make sure you have a sense of what is happening here, and what your investments in this area do for you.
- Recognize the importance of imagery. This is another sizeable investment, so understand what the impact of it is. Think about how you shop. Would you ever buy anything from Amazon that doesn't have a picture? How do online photos influence your own shopping behavior (when it comes to travel products and more)?
- For budgeting, look at the big picture and set larger goals for digital's overall impact (occupancy, ADR, business mix, etc.) instead of trying to nit pick and measure ROI on every little thing that you do in the digital space. It's just too complex. For example, social media really does not have a good direct ROI, but it is an absolutely essential part of a property's overall marketing and operations strategy.
If you're a digital marketer at a brand or management company, or on property, there are two simple things you can do to help your GMs stay up to date.
- Develop 1-page cheat sheets for your GMs at small, medium, and large properties. Put in writing their most frequently asked questions, and the most often overlooked solutions available. For instance, provide specifics about how to update their brand website (who do you contact) and trends in ecommerce (how many websites visitors search before they actually book, etc.).
- Help them manage all of the noise and distraction coming at them and their teams every day from the many marketing "opportunities" and new entrants in digital marketing. Whether it is Snapchat, Pokémon Go, or some other new trend in app, channel, or device, one of the biggest mistakes they can make is jumping on that trend rather than being strategic and holding true to a comprehensive marketing plan. Find ways to keep that focus, and educate hotel teams about what "shiny new objects" should and should not be pursued at the property level.
- Webinars covering a variety of digital marketing topics are free to HSMAI members.
- The Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer (CHDM) Study Guide is the industry's essential resource for the information and best practices you need to master digital marketing fundamentals that will help you deliver the highest ROI.
- This Week in #Hospitality #Digital #Marketing is a co-production of HSMAI's Digital Marketing Council. Episodes air weekly (Fridays at 11:30 am Eastern) on Huzza.io. Episodes are recorded and posted on YouTube.
About HSMAI's Digital Marketing Council
HSMAI's Digital Marketing Council connects travel marketers in a way that leverages interactive customer engagement as a marketing medium while increasing the awareness of emerging issues, opportunities and trends. This is accomplished through a wide range of information sharing, networking and educational opportunities. 2016-2017 members include:
- CHAIR: Holly Zoba, CHDM, Senior Vice President of Hospitality Sales, Signature Worldwide
- Shaun Aukland, Senior Account Executive, Google
- Felipe Carreras, CHDM, Director, eCommerce, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
- Aimee Cheek, CHDM, Director of eCommerce, OTO Development
- Robert Cole, Founder-CEO, RockCheetah
- Chris Copp, Head of Digital, Americas, IHG
- Erica Eyring, CHDM, Director, Account Management, Expedia Media Solutions
- Isaac Gerstenzang, CHDM, Assistant Vice President, Corporate E-commerce, Destination Hotels
- Loren Gray, CHDM, Founder, Hospitality Digital Marketing
- Carolyn Hosna, CHDM, Sr. Corp. Director, Marketing & Distribution, White Lodging
- Jay Hubbs, III, CHDM, Senior Vice President, eCommerce, Remington Hotels
- Michael Innocentin, Executive Director, Digital Marketing, FRHI Hotels & Resorts
- John Jimenez, CHDM, Portfolio Director of eCommerce, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
- Chris LaRose, VP, eCommerce Americas, Hilton Worldwide
- Sarita Mallinger, Regional Director, Digital Marketing, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
- Delana Meyer, CHDM, Corporate Director of eCommerce and Marketing, Crescent Hotels & Resorts
- Amy Mierzwinski, CHDM, Principal , John Fareed Hospitality Consulting
- Anna Paccone, CHDM, eCommerce Director, National Sales, Pillar Hotels & Resorts
- Shawn Paley, CHDM, Director, Global eCommerce & Digital Services, Marriott International
- Donna Quadri-Felitti, CHDM,PHD, Director and Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University
- Chris Rockett, SVP Sales, Milestone Internet Marketing
- Darlene Rondeau, Vp, Best Practices, Online Merchandising, Leonardo
- Mariana Safer, CHDM, Senior Vice President, Marketing, HeBS Digital
- Kevin Scholl, CHDM, Director of Digital Marketing, Red Roof Inn
- Dave Spector, Partner, Tambourine
- Dan Wacksman, CHDM, Senior Vice President, Global Distribution, Outrigger Resorts
- Christine Beuchert Williams, Sr. Director of Marketing & Ecommerce Strategy, Marcus Hotels & Resorts
HSMAI is a global organization of sales, marketing, and revenue management professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI leads the way in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry. Operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and for sales, marketing, and revenue management disciplines, HSMAI connects its members with customers. Founded in the United States in 1927, HSMAI is membership organization comprising 5,000 members from 35 countries and chapters worldwide. HSMAI operates regionally around the globe via Regional boards of directors and staff. There are three regions: the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, and a chapter in the Middle East. Each region has geographic chapters and signature programs and services for association members. HSMAI has a Global board which is made up of delegates from each Region.