How To Boost Hotel Sales with Social Media

When I talk with hoteliers about their social media efforts, most say that they are using the channel to find powerful ways to engage with their guests. They are treating their social media marketing like a cocktail party and listening to their guests first, before speaking. Through this engagement, they are able to deliver more personalized service that in turn helps deepen customer loyalty and brand advocacy. This fortuitous cycle inherently gives customers a greater willingness to spend and helps increase ancillary hotel revenue. Yet, when I ask these same savvy hoteliers how they are using social to drive sales directly, many will report far less success.

Why is this the case? Well, it starts with your hotel's social media approach. There are no blanket objectives or tactics to utilize across all social channels. Each social network should be treated uniquely, as each has strengths and weaknesses that you, as marketers, should consider. It's important to know which channels are best for customer communication and brand exposure and which are better for search engine optimization, driving traffic to your website and direct selling.

Nevertheless, generating more leads and increase sales require an exhaustive approach that considers all of the ways your customer will interact with your hotel prior to booking. Here are ideas that will help you along this process: Read More…

Was Hotel Marketing Always This Complicated?: The Hotel Marketer Reinvented – Part III of III

by Jason Price
July 09, 2013

A walk down memory lane for old timers while a primer for new comers to the field of hotel marketing. Read Part I and Part II of this series.

Building a direct revenue channel has become paramount to any other marketing effort the hotel can accomplish. The hotel website is a critical component to selling room nights, preserving rate, and building market share. We've seen the pendulum shift to and from the bargaining power of buyer and supplier, a constant push and pull between OTAs and hotels. Scholars of Porter's Five Forces take note.

Generation X and Millennials, the next generation of hotel owners and marketers, are digitally savvy and have begun reducing the marketing spend on print, radio, television, and even call centers, and have opted for a nearly all digital marketing strategy. For many hoteliers, the hotel website drives as much as seventy percent of all hotel revenue. While the previous generation of hotel owners may have looked to the web as an experiment, a gimmick, or at most some incremental business, the next generation sees necessity and the future. The patriarch of a family-owned hotel in midtown NYC shared a story about his youngest son, who, while in grade school fifteen years ago, purchased a domain name for $8.95 on GoDaddy. Today that domain name has become a lucrative asset responsible for processing over $45 million a year in direct revenue.

But the website is only the beginning. Chris Anderson of MIT and editor of Wired Magazine wrote a 2010 article titled, "The web is dead. Long live the Internet. Read More…

Was Hotel Marketing Always This Complicated?: GDS Consolidation and Rise of the OTAs – Part II of III

by Jason Price
May 09, 2013

A walk down memory lane for old timers while a primer for newcomers to the field of hotel marketing. Read Part I of this three-part series.

At the onset of the new decade (1990) it became apparent that travel agents were caught in a price battle between the remaining four global distribution systems and the airlines. These four GDS vendors controlled the marketing and distribution channel for the entire industry. They had market power and could impose higher fees at a whim on both the agent and airline. At the same time airlines sought ways to lower their distribution costs.  The outcome was that travel agents were getting squeezed on both sides; GDS terminal lease fees and production volumes both increased as did the penalties for not meeting production goals. Any fee increases by the GDS on the airlines faced serious push back and when able shifted costs to the agent by reducing their airline reservation commissions. The standard commission from a percentage of total booking value was replaced by a flat, much leaner fixed sale per reservation. Like the demise of the family farm in the 1980s, neighborhood travel agencies began shuttering its doors only a decade later. Read More...

Was Hotel Marketing Always This Complicated? The Birth of Global Distribution Systems – Part I of III

by Jason Price
March 25, 2013

A walk down memory lane for old timers while a primer for new comers to the field of hotel marketing.

What was hotel marketing like before the Internet? Most marketers would agree these were simpler times. Whether you were a brand or an independent hotel the available options to reach the public, if you could afford it, were television, radio, and print. The traveling hotel sales rep, still used today but on a much smaller scale, would make sales calls to travel professionals pitching the latest  locations and amenities. Their leave-behinds were glossy hotel brochures and a sister version was scattered throughout the hotel lobby and rooms. Add a billboard or towering sign along the highway, a page in a travel directory, and the hotel was marketing on all cylinders. Just make sure the door is unlocked so that the guests can check in. Read More...

HSMAI, a global organization of sales, marketing, and revenue management professionals, represents all segments of hospitality.