5 Mistakes by Agencies in Hotel Digital Marketing
Think your digital Agency is the expert in hotel Internet marketing? You might want to think again. Digital marketing is changing fast. Not just the tools you use and the algorithms that drive the user experience on the web, but also the data that’s available to help hotels and their Agencies make important decisions for target marketing to active hotel consumers online. It’s getting complex out there and agencies are reaching out to big data experts that can help them take hotel Internet market beyond the traditional boundaries to achieve more for their clients.
Here are the five ways your digital Agency may be underperforming – and how they may be able to improve in driving more direct bookings, at the optimal rate – while delivering a better digital marketing ROI, too.
#1. They don’t look beyond your website Google Analytics.
Your digital Agency – the team that manages your display ads, PPC, retargeting and most likely your social media, typically is the same group that designed and managed your hotel website, too. They report to your monthly with great insights on website unique visitors, booking engine clicks, abandon rates, entry/exit pages – all the key information you need to know to improve conversion on your website based on Google Analytics.
What you don’t see is web traffic beyond your website. That is where the opportunity lies.
– Who is search and booking your competitors online?
– Where are those consumers from?
– What demographics are those potential guests?
nSight can show you who is searching and booking your hotel and its competitors across third-party websites worldwide. You’ll see what markets your competitors are doing well in and where you are beating them. Best of all, you’ll understand more about consumers then you every have before.
#2. They rely too much on banner ads.
Banner ads are simple and cheap. There are many networks out there ready to take your ad money that say they have optimized algorithms and bidding. The reality is more and more banner ads are ineffective and just plain annoying. Online consumers actively try to avoid them – ad blocking grew by 41% globally in 2015 at a cost of about $22 billion to online advertisers, according to PageFair.
There are other ways to reach your potential guests and online consumers effectively.
Native ads, that match the form and function of the platform on which they are placed, are viewed 53% more than banner ads (source: Dedicated Media). In steps Content Marketing and Blogging which have become an increasing more effective way for hoteliers to explain the value of their property and increasing brand loyalty. Blogs are a good way to feature the unique character of your property, its location, your staff (this is your opportunity to step out from the Airbnb shadow, too) These information rich stories engage online consumers and give you the opportunity for a specific call to action with less probability of abandon such as signing up for a newsletter or promos.
To make those strategies even more effective, nSight’s persona and geographic insights on active shoppers will guide your content so that it resonates with readers. You’ll be blogging on things for families to do around your hotel when families are shopping, and about upcoming art exhibits and “wine with the artists” in your lobby when Experience Seekers, who travel for culture are art, are shopping.
#3. They only look at historical data trends.
Most likely because of #1, your agency is just focusing on historic data. Who came to your website. Who booked, who didn’t. This is all reflected in your last month’s report and they’ll use that information to be “smarter” for targeting in the next 30 days. They’ll apply this historical insight to what Google, or other travel focused DMP providers, are saying about the demographics of who is online now. And that’s how will get the majority of your online ad budget. But that was last month. And this is now.
What if your agency could focus digital marketing on who is shopping online for you and your competitor hotels – right now? For future hotel stays in your market? Now that’s the secret sauce.
nSight give hotels the ability to see forward-looking demand for your hotel, competitors, and the market. Agencies have access to the hotels online application where you can define dates ranges by day, week or month and filter future data by regional markets. Or Agencies can reference the hotel’s monthly nCompass report from nSight. It is a 30/60 day outlook on target markets and personas segmented by region, and weekend/weekday. It’s true unconstrained demand beyond your website. Hotels can see how consumers are shopping 30/60/90 days into the future – for any date range or stay pattern you choose – and how the rate of you and your competitors are influencing demand.
#4. They don’t take advantage of what your competitors are doing (or not doing) online.
The foundation of your agency relationship is your creative presence online and the performance of your website and digital campaigns. They can give you some basic metrics on your competitors through online tools that are available, such as website visitation, social followers, or mentions. But they can’t explain how your competitors’ websites are performing, how they’re converting visitors, and more.
You need a view of your competitors online web performance so you can see how your hotel compares in terms of share of mind by online travel consumers, not just visits to your site.
nSight aggregates 90 million online “looks and books” for hotels daily across thousands of third-party websites. Hotels don’t have to subscribe for their data to be collected. So a hotel can see their share of online consumer search and bookings compared to their competitive set for historic or future dates. Agencies can help their clients track if they’re gaining or losing share, and how rate impacts future demand so the hotel knows whether to hold, raise or lower rates for future arrival dates.
#5. They don’t help you target OTA shoppers (who are your most qualified targets for direct bookings).
Let’s face it – increasing direct bookings is the digital marketing battle cry. You see it on every hotel marketing website and promotion. But ask yourself this; what is the most effective way to get direct bookings? It’s not getting consumers that don’t know you, to (1) see you, (2) know you, (3) like you, and finally (4) book you. The fastest way to direct bookings is to get the consumers through steps 2 and maybe 3, to them book you directly.
You need to know who is searching and booking you and your competitors on the OTAs. These are the consumers most likely to book you direct.
One report, the Hotel Online Traffic Report, compares how consumers look and book a hotel website to how they shop that hotel on the OTAs. See where your client’s gaining or losing share, and what consumers just don’t make it to their website at all. With this insight, Agencies know the first markets to target for consumers who are most likely to book and will be new direct booking opportunity.
In the end, Agencies need to step up their game to incorporate evolving developments in digital marketing that benefit the hotel industry. Leveraging big data – especially forward-looking insights – can give clients a leg up in targeting and overall ROI, as well as provide higher value for hotel clients as Agencies play a more informed role.