This article originally appeared on Tambourine.
Forget the silly gadgets and fancy chocolates!
Listen up hotel owners and asset managers, we know what hotel marketers really want for the holidays…
Here’s our annual list of the things that hotel marketers tell us they crave the most:
1. They Want to Be Rewarded for Driving Measurable Revenue
Hotel owners expect their marketing team to contribute to the hotel’s revenue targets in ways that can be tangibly measured.
And hotel marketers are responding!
By tracking their marketing cost-per-booking (MCPB) and return on ad spend, they are showcasing the marketing team’s direct ROI… this new breed of “revenue marketer” is moving away from the squishy, legacy metrics of hotel marketing into a new era of accountability (and hopefully increased compensation)!
2. They Want the Budget Correlated to Targets
Nothing would make hotel marketers happier this holiday season than a budget that was actually correlated to the targets being set for them (by segment)! Unfortunately, there are still many hotel owners who believe their sales and marketing teams can hit increasingly lofty revenue targets with less money and resources than the year before.
This year, hotel marketers are hoping to convince upper management that their ambitious revenue goals need to be supported with bigger budgets (and maybe even more staff). Let’s hope hotel owners realize that investing in marketing is one of the smartest moves they can make to boost revenue.
3. They Want Continued Investments for Direct Booking Campaigns
The launch of major campaigns by industry giants this year further reinforced the industry’s message on the benefits of purchasing directly through a hotel website rather than an OTA. But to rely solely on the AHLA, Marriott and Hilton to communicate these advantages to travelers is insufficient. Every property, regardless of size, affiliation or location, should be showcasing the benefits of booking direct and changing their message to expose the real weakness of OTAs.
4. They Want Standardized Metrics That Really Matter
Instead of leaning on squishy metrics, most hotel marketers crave consensus on KPIs that will actually measure important things, including:
- 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.)
- 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 generating more than 60 percent of your transient revenue from direct reservations, you still have work to do!
- 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.
- Variance from Revenue Target BY SEGMENT: This metric showcases revenue goals versus actual results.
- TripAdvisor Sentiment Score: Using a reputation/sentiment monitoring tool allows hotels to measure guest satisfaction. This reflects whether your guests are enjoying your product, along with alerting you to hotel deficiencies. A bad hotel experience will outweigh any of your clever sales and marketing tactics.
5. A Better Product… Please!
Successful hotel marketing depends on a great product.
Period. Full stop.
If you’re trying to sell a tired, flawed, aging or otherwise inferior hotel experience, no amount of marketing – no matter how innovative or brilliant – can avoid the inevitable downward spiral.
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. Sadly, as long as owners delay investing in the appearance, service or amenities of the property, hotel marketers will continue to fight an uphill battle in attracting and retaining guests.
6. They Want to Celebrate Authentic Local Experiences
The vast majority of hotel marketers understand that today’s traveler cares as much or more about the EXPERIENCE than the thread count of the hotel’s sheets or the convenient parking. But not everyone is on board with converting the focus of a hotel’s marketing to focus on life-enriching experiences. Hotel marketers unanimously tell us they crave more time, resources and freedom to celebrate their properties’ connection to local experiences.
7. They Want Better Photography!
Like it or not, we’ve become a very visual society.
Just as important as a hotel’s service, extraordinary hotel digital marketing requires extraordinary photography because it plays such a strong role in consumers’ travel purchase process, from the inspiration phase to booking. Images define guest expectations and poor quality shots are the equivalent of telling potential guests that the hotel’s offerings are subpar, especially if the competitive set has better visual content on its website.
8. They Want to Decrease Their Dependence on OTAs
Yes, we know… statement of the obvious.
Everyone wants this, but rather than complaining, it’s time to change the overarching hotel industry strategy from emphasizing price parity to tapping into consumer fears of OTAs.
Instead of obsessing about Best Rate Guarantees, we all need to start focusing instead on how reservations, cancellations, changes, room selection and refunds are perceived by consumers when they book direct vs indirect.
Many consumers (especially older ones) have preexisting concerns about third-party bookings and fear that one mishap with an OTA could unravel their travel plans in seconds.
9. Can We Get a Little Acknowledgment Please?
It’s not about ego.
It’s about progress… Marketers aren’t looking for a pat on the back!
What they want is for executives, owners, and hotel asset managers to understand all that falls on the shoulders of marketing. Because, when management truly understands the resources required, the marketing department usually gets the resources and the budget required to keep up with their compset and meet the revenue requirements of ownership.
10. They Want an End to the Rising Cost of Guest Acquisition!
Owners can’t control many of their rising costs, particularly debt service, brand fees and credit card fees. That’s why hotel owners and asset managers are looking more closely than ever at marketing costs—particularly the cost of guest acquisition—which are also rising fast.
According to experts, acquisition costs commonly in the range of 5% to 10% less than a decade ago have jumped to between 15% and 25%. If a hotel cannot acquire guests at a tolerable, sustainable rate, then the property is worthless as a long-term asset.
And one of the reasons that marketing costs are rising so quickly is because hotel marketers are often unable to create perceived value in their product, which ends up being treated like a commodity instead. Part of the problem lies with the brands, many of which have become redundant, overdone and difficult to distinguish from one another, prompting travelers to book solely based on price.
We hope all your wishes come true this holiday season too!
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
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.