The Challenge: Sharing a TrevPAR Success Story
This mid-sized hotel operating company had outperformed other similar businesses during the pandemic in total revenue per available room and needed a way to get the message out to the industry as a whole. They approached me for marketing consulting, with an emphasis on targeting hotel ownership groups and investors who might need their services in the future.
The Strategy: Careful, Culturally-Clear Communication
Because the good news came on the heels of a crisis, it was important to approach this campaign carefully. First, we needed to take the company’s personality into consideration. While they wanted to share their success story, they were not big on self-promotion, so we needed to strike a balance. Second, the industry was still struggling with lay-offs, including this client, so it was key that we didn’t paint the picture of creating success on the backs of workers who lost their jobs. And third, we needed to make it clear that — unlike the pandemic circumstances that created the situation — the company’s approach and response were things that could be replicated in the future for other ownership groups, regardless of the economic conditions they faced.
Taking these things in mind, we put together a 30-day content strategy that included four components.
1. Home Base Content: Content that would live on the client’s website. In this case, we built out some case studies and blog posts that described the different tactics used to deliver strong TrevPAR results.
2. Earned Media Content: Content released to news media via press release. In this case, we put out a press release to a curated list of hotel industry publications that would be most likely to cover the news and would be most likely to be read by our target audience, hotel ownership groups and investors.
3. Direct Distribution: This refers to distributing information to our own audience, in this case the company’s existing email list, internal comms channel, and LinkedIn audience. Once our content was created, both our own and our earned media, we put out a series of emails, LinkedIn posts, and internal comms messages to share the information.
4. Dark Social Distribution: “Dark social” refers to word-of-mouth at scale, magnified because it’s done online. This usually refers to a social media post, podcast episode, or news article that gets talked about and shared via digital channels that can’t be tracked — for example, a texted link, a screenshot shared in Slack, etc. Members of our target audience, hotel ownership groups and investors, rely on referrals and word of mouth rather than Google searches and PPC ads to find the companies with which they do business, so our goal is to magnify the company’s message at scale, often by paying to have content seen by a greater percentage of the target audience. (In this case, we didn’t do a paid campaign because our LinkedIn content was shared sufficiently to achieve the company’s goals, but that would have been a smart addition to the plan.)
The Results: Good Vanity Metrics and Great Pipeline
Numerically-speaking, the company saw tremendous short-term results in vanity metrics such as email open rates, LinkedIn impressions and engagement, and website traffic to the blog posts and case studies that covered this content.
However, it is our belief that the only true measurement of the success of a B2B marketing and content strategy — especially one that plays out over the long-term, which this ultimately did after this initial 30-day push — is pipeline growth. Happily, this company saw its pipeline grow faster in 2022 than in any of the previous 19, ultimately resulting in the best year in the company’s history.