Flagged properties have surrendered control of their marketing. What happens if results are poor?
This article originally appeared on Tambourine.
- 7 out of 10 hotels in the US are flagged, but the brand’s national marketing team can’t reach specific target markets on a TIMELY basis, convey unique property experiences or synthesize authentic local culture.
- Most flagged hotels are still relying on their brand’s standard marketing program, which is duplicated for every other sister hotel in the region.
- Hotels need to augment their brand’s core program with timely campaigns and custom direct “vanity” websites that help fill periods of need.
Pop quiz… Imagine three hotel properties:
A beachfront resort in Santa Monica.
An urban high-rise in Atlanta steps from the convention center.
A historic, mountain lodge in Vail.
A. Market and drive bookings to these hotels using identical hotel websites, booking engines, marketing campaigns and marketing promotions?
B. Or, custom tailor hotel marketing strategies based on each hotel’s unique target markets, amenities, travel seasons and destination?
If you selected B, congratulations! You’re already making wiser decisions than thousands of flagged hotels who rely on the standardized, generic marketing (created by a remote marketing department) to drive ALL their business.
Relying exclusively on your brand to completely market your unique property limits your ability to achieve the financial goals set forth by the owner/asset manager.
You Are Not Differentiated
Your brand’s marketing team is servicing hundreds of hotels (often several in the same city) and providing the same tools to all of you. Think about that–every hotel in the brand family is getting the same marketing and sales templates, the same loyalty database, the same hotel website design and hotel booking engine. You all receive the same assets, regardless of your amenities, your destination, or your target audience. A convention hotel in downtown Denver presents the same marketing material as their sister property in South Beach, Miami.
Worse yet, when a visitor to your listing on brand.com enters the brand.com booking environment, they are often shown nearby properties flying the same flag… essentially making brand.com an OTA sending business to your co-branded regional neighbors!
You’re Still Accountable
If your property falls short of its revenue goals, do you think your brand’s marketing team will go to bat and be held accountable for missing the mark? Probably not.
This is why it’s important to take marketing into your own hands and augment your brand’s core marketing assets with your own to aggressively pursue direct bookings. When you rely on your brand’s marketing team, you relinquish control over vital revenue-drivers like:
- Filling sudden periods of need.
- Attracting regional groups and events.
- Creating timely packages or special.
- Posting and marketing special events.
- Publishing user-generated social media content.
- Creating retargeting ads to bring people back to your site.
Normally, this would require you to fill out a request form with your brand’s marketing team and wait days or weeks for ‘your turn,’ losing potential bookings in the meantime.
Your remote brand team is simply unable to deploy effective campaigns capturing your hotel’s unique essence in a reasonable amount of time
Your Direct Hotel Website is Generic
Flagged hotels don’t actually have robust websites… they have listings on brand.com.
When your hotel is simply plugged into a brand’s basic template website, there is nothing – besides photos and snippets of copy – that distinguishes your hotel’s individual story, destination, or personality.
You cannot customize every element that conveys your hotel’s unique experience, F&B outlets, meeting and event space, surrounding neighborhood, local culture, etc.
Imagine if the largest event in your destination is the Outdoor Summer Concert Series, which draws in thousands of visitors. Your brand.com’s basic website will not mention the concert series, nor convey how close you are to the event… leaving you to miss out on hundreds of potential room nights. When you manage your own hotel vanity site, you can showcase relevant events, speak directly to the right audiences and capture business with targeted campaigns.
Your SEO Stinks
Leaving hotel marketing to your brand will also place limits on your SEO and traffic generation campaigns. While your brand may conduct search engine marketing campaigns on your hotel’s behalf, they only scratch the surface.
For instance, your brand’s efforts may help you rank for “Hyatts in Seattle.” But, it’s unlikely they are optimizing your page for more targeted search terms that would generate the highest return, such as “hotels near Capitol Hill” or “Space Needle hotels.”
You’re Not Authentic
Today, people are investing their travel dollars in authentic experiences that immerse them in the local culture and lifestyle. They’re hungry for local secrets, bold adventures and seeing parts of the city that most tourists don’t see.
When your brand has control of your online marketing, they won’t be able to connect with your visitors or convey that local mindset. First off, because they’re not even there. They don’t know what makes your destination so special. They don’t understand the culture, the awesome mom-and-pop stores and restaurants that give your neighborhood character, or know the local secrets. Only you and your local marketing staff can tell a compelling story that will actually drive bookings.
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