Survey reveals Top Hotel Marketing Strategies
The 5th Annual Benchmark Survey on Digital Hotel Marketing, Budget Planning and Best Practices has been completed by Hospitality eBusiness Strategies and Tisch Center for Hospitality Studies at New York University. Key findings include:
Revenues: Hoteliers say that 25.6% of their business comes from their hotel website and 16% comes from property pages on the hotel brand’s website.
Digital Marketing Budgets: Nearly 3 out of 4 hoteliers (73.4%) reported that economic and budget constraints hamper Internet marketing budgets, but ~74% of respondents reported Internet marketing budgets that are higher than in 2010.
Online vs. Offline: Of the respondents who increased their budgets in 2011, 49% shifted money from offline marketing initiatives to online. 40% of hoteliers believe that Internet marketing achieves better results than offline. (9.5%)
Social Media Gains in Popularity: 43% of hoteliers cite Social Media as one of the Internet marketing formats that returns the best results. 5 years ago, just 16.8% of hoteliers had the same opinion.
Mobile Web Surges for Hotels: The survey says 37% of hoteliers are planning mobile sites this year, up from almost 26% in 2010.
Hotels are spending most of their Internet marketing budgets on website design/re-design and Paid Search (both 20.2% of respondents).
14.2% report efforts to build strategic links to their websites, which is often included in website optimization, which was cited by 13.7% of those surveyed. Interestingly, Search Engine Optimization, which includes strategic linking and optimization was also favored by 13.4% of respondents.
Social Media has become a cornerstone of hotel marketing. The report stated, “Of all hotel digital marketing initiatives in the survey, hoteliers believe that website optimization produces the highest ROI. Social media however, introduced as its own category this year – was not far behind at 43%. This shows a dramatic change in the perception over the past few years of how much revenue Facebook, Twitter, etc. really generate. While social media is not a distribution channel, it is increasingly becoming an important customer engagement channel. Whereas in the past hoteliers were skeptical as to whether social media should even play a role in their Internet marketing strategy, today it is one of the fundamentals.”
Full service hotels especially benefit from Social Media. The opportunities to find qualified prospects in almost any segment is compelling. The benefits of listening to the market to see what people are saying about you and to confront it, if needed, is phenomenal. The ability to participate in conversations with quality contacts without leaving the state, much less your office, is awesome!
Asked, “What type of Web 2.0 & Social Media Marketing initiatives are you planning?” 56% said creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. Next was “Advertise on Social Media sites, like Trip Advisor or Facebook (50%) and blog participation (39%). Other tactics include creating a YouTube channel, a blog on the hotel’s website, using a survey or comment card on the hotel website, doing an online contest and setting up photo-sharing functionality.
It’s interesting that MORE hoteliers said they are not planning any Social Media initiatives this year; 12.5% vs. 6.9%
Frankly, this survey shows hoteliers being a little more aggressive with Internet marketing than many of the GMs and DOSMs that I talk with. But I do see more of them coming around to the use of Social Media Marketing. And they’re booking more rooms!
Photo credit: GravityX9