The 2019 official gift guide for hotel marketers, pt II of II.

6. They want better benchmarking

Almost every hotel marketer we have spoken to has the same question: “How am I performing compared to similar properties?”

While we can rely on common benchmarks like STR’s indexes, other key performance indicators like direct vs 3rd party revenue ratio and website conversion rates can vary by market and property type. Thankfully, smart analytics companies like Kalibri Labs and others are helping hotel marketers understand critical KPIs and provide actionable advice.

7. They want better vetting and yield from social influencers

Nihiwatu, the top-rated hotel in the world has had great success working with social influencers
Hotel marketers are besieged by social media influencers.

Not all should be avoided, nor should all be showered with comp stays.

Hotels, especially luxury resorts, are a favourite of Instagram brand influencers. While it may be tempting to dismiss these seemingly ruthless freeloaders, there IS massive value in partnering with legitimate content creators who have sizeable followings and engagement.

The key is thorough vetting to find the content creators who are worth the investment and who will produce actual deliverables beyond a few selfie Instagram posts. The more worthwhile influencers produce additional content on the hotel’s behalf that you can use for future marketing campaigns. Some even assist with the hotel’s social media efforts ongoing. Either way, standardise the process by requiring an application covering demographics, engagement, following and a minimum amount of deliverables. This will make it easier to discern which influencers are worth a partnership.

8. They want continued investments in direct booking campaigns

What started as a big-bang movement by Marriott and Hilton with campaigns like “Stop Clicking Around,” has now filtered down to hotel collections and individual properties of all sizes, locations, and brand affiliations. Battling massively funded OTAs not only takes time and gumption, but a steadfast investment and long-term outlook in getting the message across about direct booking.
There are plenty of good reasons for your guests to skip the OTAs and to book direct.

But, don’t sit back and rely on AHLA, Marriott, Hilton and all the other major brands to raise awareness and get the point across. You will have the greatest impact on your own audience. Continue to fund best practice direct booking campaigns and the technology to guide visitors to your website and deliver an easy booking experience, instead of allowing them to drift back to OTAs.

9. They want better integration with local, authentic experiences

Modern travelers are a different breed from customers of the past.

For them, it’s no longer just about what’s inside the confines of your property. They’re looking beyond the hotel walls for remarkable experiences they can’t achieve at home. So, for the past several years, hotels have answered the call by redefining their guest experience… and attempting to become the epicentre of their destination.

From chef-led farmers market tours to lobby art shows featuring local upcoming artists, hoteliers are hoping their curated local experiences will prove to drive more bookings and boost their bottom line.

10. They want decreased dependence on OTAs

We get it…. no surprise here.

Sometimes you feel as if your hotel can’t survive without OTAs.

They bring bookings seemingly out of nowhere and consistently fill your rooms with a minimal amount of effort. However, the fact remains that those rooms are booked at rock-bottom prices. On top of that, OTAs still pocket 15-30% on top of the already reduced room rate.

Yet, driving your own reservations and relying less on OTAs IS possible. ROI-obsessed hotel marketers like many of our hotel marketing clients have created tools and perfected marketing techniques to take back bookings, such as booking engines that decrease bounces, copywriting that drives conversions, and pricing psychology that convinces guests to purchase.

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