Industry Update
Opinion Article10 June 2021

A New Way To Look At Your Hotel Marketing Campaigns

By Stephanie Smith, Founder and Digital Matriarch at Cogwheel Marketing

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In a previous post, we discussed how hotel marketers should think of more than just ROI when analyzing their marketing campaigns. When you expand your analysis outside of ROI/ROAS, you will find yourself analyzing more metrics and more guest touchpoints.

Here are some traditional digital marketing channels that you could look at differently to take a more holistic approach.

Expedia Travel Ads

Hotel teams can easily become focused on the ROAS of your Expedia Travel Ads campaigns. While there generally has been a strong ROAS post-pandemic, there are bigger data points that should be considered.

  • How are your organic search results on Expedia?
  • Are there other factors hindering your quality score that would make you less dependent on Expedia Travel Ads?
  • How are your reviews on Expedia?
  • Are you getting more share than your comp set of business from Expedia?
  • Have you looked at your cancellation rate in Expedia Partner Central and applied that against your ROAS?

Expedia Travel Ads is a last-ditch effort, but they are needed if you do not have an organic presence on Expedia. With the volume of advertisers that can be present in some markets combined with your budget (or lack thereof), are you moving the needle on total hotel performance?

Google Adwords

You can have a Google Adwords campaign that is performing well, but here is what really matters. Is your brand website is outperforming your competitor’s brand websites?

Have you balanced it against your organic SEO strategy?

If you break down the data by sub-channel of brand.com in Demand360 you can see if your Google Adwords campaigns are truly shifting share. Or, look at rate categories from brand.com in Kalibri Labs.

MetaSearch

The same is true of MetaSearch campaigns. There have been some crazy high ROASs from MetaSearch recently. If you had low spend but 100% impression share, did you move the needle? Let’s say you spent $50 with an ROAS of 30:1.

  • First, was that metasearch revenue truly incremental?
  • Second, did that $1500 in revenue make an impact in shifting revenue from OTAs to brand.com?
  • Third, what are you doing on-site to ensure that guest books direct on their next stay?

B2B Campaigns

Many sales teams are likely still understaffed. Marketing should be able to help supplement the low staffing by creating extra touchpoints. It has been proved repeatedly during the pandemic that it is hard for hotel marketing to replace the group base at a competitor hotel with transient business. Sometimes the volume of transient demand just did not exist.

While Group and Business Travel in most markets are still on pause, you cannot forget about them in your long term journey. Create a plan now!

While marketing may not have a direct impact on your group or business travel segments on the STR or Demand 360 data points, your marketing efforts can assist with the exposure component to drive leads and awareness to your sales team.

For example, you can do linking research or target the newly engaged on Facebook to target weddings. SMERF, especially sports, have already rebounded in some markets. Execute B2B email campaigns and incorporate strategic sales automation should be leveraged to create touch points with past clients so your hotel is top of mind.

Maximize Conversations with Hotel Sales and Revenue Teams

Once sales, marketing and revenue management can align KPIs, the conversations will change. Marketing should understand where the gaps in occupancy and segments lie and work backwards to create plans to fill those gaps. Sales and Revenue Management are going to be more in tune as to what business the competitive set is getting that your hotel is not. Then, marketing can potentially come up with strategies to target that audience.

As mentioned above, there is no magic bullet to steal market share immediately. An ongoing focus of full hotel flywheel positioning, including images and content along with reputation management greatly matter in a holistic marketing approach.

By no means should you STOP quoting your hotel campaign ROI. Just know that this is only part of the story. Align your goals with total hotel goals, and you will get much stronger buy-in from all of the team members setting strategy.

*This content was originally published on Hotel Executive on May 31, 2021.

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Stephanie Smith

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