10 things to include in your hotel marketing budget – Hotel-Online
Stephanie Smith | October 21, 2019
Through Stephanie smith
Now is the time to apply for funds for your 2020 hotel marketing budget.
Here are some must-have digital marketing elements to include and how to think about this process.
Note for branded hotels: Make sure you understand what what brand does for you and what you need to manage at the hotel level. The brand sets aside funds for branding, but generally does not go down to promote specific hotels. For Marriott, you have the option of opting for Marriott’s digital services. If you are a Hilton, you are automatically enrolled in Hilton Advance and can opt for Hilton Amplify and Elevate.
Collect reports and analyze trends
When considering what a hotel may or may not need, first look at the available historical data. Here are some high-level items that most hotels will be able to access, whether branded or independent:
- Channel Mix – What percentage of revenue does the website generate compared to other channels? Is this an upward trend or a downward trend?
- Traffic – Is the organic and total website trending up or down year over year?
- Paid Marketing – Look Back And Find Out What Worked And What Didn’t Work
Here is more granularity on Hotel digital marketing KPIs
Analyze your hotel reservation cycle
If you determine that your hotel has opportunities, determine where in the hotel reservation cycle things are collapsing.
- Is the problem exposed to your set of compositions?
- If traffic is up, but revenue is down, are you having a conversion problem? Does it make sense to invest more in content and imagery or review your pricing strategies?
- How is communication with current and past customers to ensure they come back again and again? Do your reviews reflect overall positive customer experiences?
Make sure you dedicate resources within your internal team
When developing your hotel marketing plan for the next year and setting budgets, be sure to allocate both TIME and MONEY. You can’t expect a supplier to do 100% of the job. They still need information and directions and a MAP of the hotel. In the relationship between the owner, the seller and the hotel, make sure you have a “digital quarterâ€. Dedicate internal resources to driving the strategy, even if you are outsourcing execution.
Make sure that your plan is holistic and that you need to have all of the fundamentals in place before you can develop it. Make sure all of your online channels are telling a cohesive story that promotes your value proposition over the whole roster. Check your warranty and see if the same story is being told. And that you have a fast, modern, and easy to navigate website. We won’t go into website costs here, but consider refreshing your website design every 2-3 years and staying on top of the technical components mentioned in # 5.
Where to spend money in your hotel’s marketing budget
Now to the meat and potatoes of which regions to consider spending funds.
1. Conferences / Courses – Invest in your â€œdigital quarterbackâ€ to ensure they have the tools to strategize, execute and hold vendors accountable for the digital presence.
$ 500 to $ 1,000 for registration and travel
2. Content – Having solid content is the foundation of any good website or story. Read your entire website if you haven’t in a while. If you’ve recently undergone a renovation, now is a good time to refresh your static content. For independent hotels, devote resources to a good blog to connect with new audiences through search engine optimization (see # 5). Budget for a content writer if necessary.
Consider refreshing your static content every 2-4 years and expect to pay $ 0.10 to $ 0.30 per word.
If you need a regular blogger, expect to pay $ 100-250 per blog, depending on length and frequency and if SEO and topic selection are involved.
3. Pictures – Make sure you have the images to support that storytelling you created in your content and your value proposition for your set of comps. Try to have at least 4 images for each type of room. Focus on showcasing all dimensions of the room and bathroom. Examples are the shuttle, hostels, pet-friendly amenities, local demand generators, and more.
$ 100 to $ 200 per image plus travel costs. Here is more information on how to choose a hotel photographer.
4. Social media – It looks different at each hotel. If you are a select service brand hotel, you may not need to invest time in regular posts (unless it is a brand standard). But, whatever the hotel, there are ways to take advantage social media advertising to align your hotel with local demand generators and target markets defined by sales or revenue management. So, you may need to devote resources to both content marketing and paid social marketing. Typically, full-service hotels or hotels with more meeting space and outlets will need higher budgets.
$ 300 to $ 1,500 / month for publication depending on number of channels, volume of engagement to be met and goals. $ 100 to $ 1,000 / month for social media advertising to target demand generators, specific markets and remarketing.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – There are different tactics to rank your hotel on Google. Most people tend to just focus on the keywords they use, and while relevant, that is only part of the effort. This is considered an onsite optimization, but consider other components. The operations team should focus on Google reviews, the sales team should focus on getting the hotel site listed on demand-generating websites (offsite optimization), and you should make sure that the aspects your website techniques are in place. Your website should be fast, have a layout and a good interconnection as a base.
You can hire companies that are only SEO or that may be part of the services of your website developer or agency.
6. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Consider SEM if you are not ranking well for your niche keywords. In some scenarios, a hotel’s physical address may prohibit it from competing organically in sister marketplaces on Google, so you have to â€œpay to playâ€. If your budget is limited, start with niche keywords where you are most likely to convert with the lowest competition. Also get a report from your feeder cities to dig further. Those who buy unbranded terms remember that these people are in the early stages of research, so think about it if you wouldn’t be part of their set of considerations otherwise.
$ 500 to $ 5,000 / month for Google and Bing Ads PPC, but varies widely depending on keywords, market, and complexity of strategies, as well as funds for agency management.
7. Expedia Travel Ads – It’s like a faucet that you can turn higher during the slower season to steal market share. Then turn down or turn off in high season. This traffic is generally further along in the reservation cycle and tends to lead to higher conversions. You can target windows (weekdays vs. weekends, inside / outside of 21 days). Active management of scheduled ads and your target windows against the â€œsweet spotâ€ CPC will produce the best return on investment. Before running them, make sure you have optimized your OTA ads.
$ 20 to $ 40 per day is a good starting point for the low season, but it varies by market and hotel size. E-mail [emailÂ protected] ask your Expedia Travel Ads Manager and they can advise you on your area.
8. Meta-search – These are sites like TripAdvisor, Google Hotel Ads, Kayak and Trivago. Participation in metasearch does not increase your placement on any of these sites, but allows the transaction of those sites within your own listing to go directly to your website. Enter here if your channel mix is â€‹â€‹heavily dependent on OTA.
$ 200 to $ 1,000 per month, depending on the size of your opportunity to change businesses. IHG and Marriott both use Koddias a partner and can give you 3 levels of budget recommendations depending on your aggressiveness. E-mail [emailÂ protected] for details.
9. Email advertising – It’s hard to do as a branded hotel, but a MUST for independent hotels. If you don’t have a database, make sure your website collects them and any other system like your PMS and CRS can collect them under GDPR rules.
For bootstrap email marketing you can use MailChimp Where I contact but the responsibility for design and execution rests with the hotel team. For independent hotels, systems like Revitalize allow automated eblasts to dynamic lists and integrate with PMS.
ten. Partner sites – Devote resources to partner sites. Some partner sites may have databases aligned with your target market and accessing them should be part of your strategy. Partner sites can be your CVB, Chamber, Cvent, FedRooms, wedding sites and pet friendly sites to name a few. Most brands and all independent hotels should be able to see the traffic and production of these partner sites by looking at the domains referring to the website.
Each website has its own advertising options (sometimes free!), So contact us individually.
This list is not exhaustive and is basically endless for an independent hotel. It doesn’t include the tools you might need for reputation management or posting to multiple social media channels. Choose partners who know the complexities of the hospitality industry.
The hotel’s marketing plan and costing should be a joint effort between marketing, sales, operations and revenue management. If you do the hotel’s marketing budget when working on the marketing plan, you can determine which segments have opportunities and create a monthly broken down marketing plan that includes events, trends, and seasonality.