Tourism Industry News

Getting Back to the Basics: The Hotelier’s Internet Marketing Action Plan for a Difficult Economy

04/06/2008 09:59

The slowing economy is affecting the hospitality industry in a number of negative ways: commercial bank credit is extremely tight, energy and food prices are on the rise, leisure travel consumers are staying home, and companies are re-assessing their corporate travel budgets.



Smith Travel Research reports that year-to-date (January-April 2008) occupancy rates in North America fell by 1.9%; in Europe by 0.7% and in Asia Pacific by 3.1%, compared to the same period a year ago. What should hoteliers do in a deteriorating economic environment? What are the strategies that would help alleviate the negative impact of negative growth in occupancy? What action plan should hoteliers follow at this time? What should hoteliers do to succeed in 2008?


What should Hoteliers do in 2008?

  • Unlike the competition, do not cut your marketing spend, but re-evaluate the marketing efforts and advertising budget and focus on proven ROI-centric efforts and formats
  • Shift funds from offline to online advertising formats
  • Shift funds from brand-building to direct-response initiatives
  • Track every dollar spent with sophisticated website analytical and campaign tracking technology (e.g. Omniture Analytics)


2008 Dos and Don’ts

So what should hoteliers do? What marketing initiatives should they avoid right now? Hoteliers should NOT:

  • Experimenting with unproven advertising formats
  • Advertising on Third-Party Intermediary Sites (TPIs) –ad cost+TPI commission = total cost of 30%-40%
  • Trying “sexy” new media initiatives e.g. social media sites like YouTube,,, etc.


Here is what you should focus on right now:

Focus on proven, ROI-centric Internet marketing strategies + formats

  • Launch a comprehensive Internet Marketing strategy to reach potential customers
  • Launch a Local Internet Marketing Strategy to reach drive-in and impulse-buy customers
  • Launch a Differentiation Strategy as a top priority
  • Identify and promote the unique value proposition of the hotel


Take a hard look at what you are doing: are you taking chances with new and unproven marketing formats? Is your Internet marketing budget ROI-centric? Are you a smart marketer, or are you advertising blindly, with no clue as to what is working and what is not? Have you covered the basics:

  • Website re-design and Optimization
  • Search Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Strategic Linking
  • eCRM
  • Website analytics and campaign tracking


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