Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Everybody went overboard for radio at one point, too.


"I'm putting it all in Adwords"
At one point, digital marketing tools like adwords, pay-per-click, retargeting and such were pretty terrific for smaller companies, like independent hotels. And, for many, it's still the go-to marketing channel. The must-do. Sometimes at the expense of other avenues.

Unfortunately, it's not necessarily the slam-dunk benefit that it used to be.

For one thing, the cost is going up. Many will say you need to be spending $10k a month to get any value out of it. Even my journalism-school math tells me that's $120,000 a year. A big part of a marketing budget for a property doing between $12 million and $20 million in revenue annually.

And any messages that might show up way down on a page (often out of sight) still count as an impression (that you pay for), so it's hard to tell exactly what benefit you got from the expenditure. Further, unless you're using full-path attribution, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what drove a potential guest to make a reservation. "Last-touch" certainly isn't the only factor that will drive someone to your property and get them to actually book a room.

In fact, often the keywords that most frequently drive pay-per-click and adwords responses are the actual name of the property. Which begs the question, how did that person find the name of the property in the first place? And there's the logical follow-on question: How can we get our name out there more?

Few digital marketing tools like these lend themselves to effective delivery of a brand position - and a brand distinction is one thing an independent hotel can use to its advantage. Creative delivery of what sets your property apart from another is not exactly a strong suit of something like adwords.

This is not to say that digital should not play a role in the marketing of an independent property or collection. It should.

Just make sure your eyes are wide open about the cost, the benefits and how they fit into your particular circumstance. 


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