While the Tech Talks I’ve attended the last few days here have allowed quick discussions on new hospitality topics, it’s the Super Sessions that have powered me up as the week has drawn on. These gatherings have given us a chance to dig deep on various revenue and marketing strategy topics for hospitality.
Tuesday’s afternoon Super Session entitled “Move Beyond BAR & Open Your Eyes to New Revenue” was a true eye-opener for sure! The panel of speakers was comprised of Marco Benvenuti, Lou Keefe and Bill Linehan and was moderated by Jason Freed. The session allowed each expert to share his unique perspective on how hoteliers need to position themselves across all channels while encouraging the idea of varying marketing strategy with room rates, which should also be unique to each avenue.
Marketing today is very much about showing the right price to the right consumer at the right time on the right channel. Right? Many hoteliers agree that today’s biggest marketing concern in the industry is how to stay positioned with OTAs while persuading consumers to book direct.
While there are many vendors who offer different capabilities to target offers to potential customers once they are on site or within the booking engine, we at Standing Dog prefer to use Spring Metrics. It allows us to target people visiting our various hotel vanity sites who have been referred from an OTA. This gives us the best opportunity to target these referrals and offer them an added bonus by booking direct.
Outside of just pricing, we need to know which values the hotel offers that we can push to consumers and how to vary strategy by channel based on the audience of each. Perhaps free breakfast and an indoor pool are enticing to vacationers with families, but we would also assume offering high-speed Internet and a complimentary drink would be a more enticing incentive for business travelers. We also need to differentiate our marketing strategy by channel. Facebook PPC gives us a better opportunity to reach leisure travelers and even target a hotel’s past guests, while LinkedIn offers an ideal opportunity to reach meeting planners and business travelers.
That’s what I call reaching across all channels with the maximum effect!
Over the course of this week, we have also had many discussions about driving new revenue opportunities with in-stay guests. While wandering around the expo, you’ve probably seen the many new in-room technologies on display and realized the big push behind mobile apps. It’s a reality now: Hotels really are moving into the mobile world for on-property support, whether it be for guests to summon housekeeping, order room service, book a spa or gym class or alert a staff member that maintenance is necessary. If it’s not already, that power is going to be in the palm of guests’ hands sooner rather than later thanks to apps.
For additional revenue, many apps are offering push notifications to wake up guests in the morning or remind them to reserve a table for dinner. Geo-fencing can even allow on-beach guests to order drinks without ever having to leave their lounge chairs. Plus, to make it easier and more convenient, all payments can be made through the phone or charged to a room bill just as people are accustomed to doing now.
Whew! It’s been a whirlwind week here in Austin with so many ideas and so many great minds united under one big roof. I’m soooooo excited to bring back the knowledge I’ve gained and skills I’ve learned to Standing Dog and start enacting strategies and testing new ideas for my clients.
Emily Larimore is an account manager at Standing Dog Interactive, a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in the hospitality industry. Larimore works to create customized, holistic digital strategies that inspire trust, instill confidence and exceed online business objectives. Larimore recently joined HFTP where her father has been a member since 1989 and has inspired her to get involved in the premier global professional association. In 2015, she received her Certified Hospitality Digital Marketing certification though HSMAI.