Thursday, October 17, 2019

Can't buy me love


Can't buy me love.


Everything isn’t always all the time non-stop about making money. At least not directly. Sometimes, it pays to look at the bigger picture.

Here’s an example. We stayed at a Kimpton once that held a two-hour happy hour every night, free for guests. They rolled up a keg of beer and some wine, laid out a bunch of nuts and snacks and let it go at that. Easy-peezy. In a sea of free continental breakfasts, this was different.

Another hotel might not want to have such a reception because it won’t make money. Making money isn’t the point. The point is to deliver the Brand. A clear Brand can drive Brand preference, and Brand preference is what leads to more repeat business and higher rates.

So it’s about making money, just not directly.

Same thing with special promotions. Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Summer Solstice, Valentine’s Day – whatever. Every one of them is an opportunity to do something other than just offer discounted rates. Do something fun and engaging. Put a rose in every room on Valentine’s Day, dress the staff in green and have a green beer special in the bar for St. Patrick’s Day, bring out the ghosts and goblins for Halloween.

And be sure to tell people you’re doing it – in your email blasts, on your website and Facebook and Instagram pages and in your advertising.

Remember, it all boils down to two words: “Do good. Tell people.”

No, nobody is going to book your hotel instead of somewhere else strictly because you’re having a Halloween Party. After all, Halloween is only one night of the year. But they are probably going to be more aware of you and pay more attention to you because of the collection of events like Halloween parties and green beer specials you’re having.

That whole “penny-wise and pound foolish” thing probably applies here if you think about it.

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A hotel without a Brand is a commodity



A hotel without a Brand is a commodity.


And the primary driver for a commodity is price. You don't want to go there.

This is some of what we say about Brand on our website:

"Your Brand is not your logo, ad campaign or tag line. It's a supportable differentiation around which you deliver a unique value. And the moment you stop being just 'a hotel with this many rooms in this place' and start to tell the world that you're 'a hotel that is unique for these reasons,' you narrow your competitive set."

(By the way, anything with the word "luxury" in it is definitely not a unique value. Google "luxury hotel" and you will get 699 million hits. We know this for a fact because we did it.)

A Brand is what can keep you from competing on price. Without one, you may just be a commodity.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

You're getting ripped off with programmatic advertising



Clickbait. A low-down dirty shame, that's what it is.


If you want to know why some of us are so opposed to programmatic digital ad placement, all you really have to do is click here.

Bob Hoffman of the Ad Contrarian (http://adcontrarian.blogspot.com/) calls it the "most eyeballs possible on the cheapest possible website." And it's a crime.

We've all clicked those sort of things now and again, but as a standard medium for advertising a reputable product or service? Please.

And yet, people do it all the time. And every one of those ads you see on one of these horrible sites counts as an ad placement. Somebody is paying for it.

Better? Place your own digital ads and don't let some heartless, non-thinking computer do it for you.

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Too many toys




Too many toys.


Chats, nudges, undercuts, email captures, things sliding up and down, shooting in from the side, blossoming and this and that . . .

Websites are just too damn busy these days.  And for no good reason.

Apparently, there are droves of computer types out there working like dogs to develop a whole bunch of gimmicks and gadgets and whirley birds to clutter up your web site.

What - exactly - is wrong with have a clean, informative, well-designed website that can entice your target? In the minds of the techno-crowd, apparently, a lot.

But perhaps all these distractions just make it more diffcult for your target to get the point?

Just because somebody dreamed up some new intrusion into your website that will draw the attention of your reader, doesn't mean it's going to help.

"Less is more" has a lot of relevancy here.

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Friday, October 4, 2019

On and off only works for electric cars



Off and on only works for electric cars.

(Actually, it works on other things, but this is a snappier headline than "Off and on only works on a lot of different electric things including cars.")

“Occupancy is down next month. We need to do some advertising!”

That was the essence of a panic call we used to get on a regular basis from a client who never quite bought into the fact that a steady, ongoing presence would go a long ways toward eliminating those occupancy black holes that can ruin your day.

Thing is, it’s a lot more cost effective to maintain an ongoing presence than to start from scratch over and over. Keep your creative fresh (just one ad over and over and people tend to look past it) but don’t disappear. It’s going to take more to get yourself back into your targets’ heads than if you just keep yourself there. Holding or saving your budget until you feel like you absolutely have to do something to increase flat business is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As flattering as it may be to us Ad Folk to think that all you have to do to create a bunch of short-term business is run an ad or two right now, it just isn’t so.

And even if that ad or two is built around a dramatic price-busting short-term deal, a) who wants to make a living on price-busting short-term deals and b) who wants to make a living on price-busting short-term deals?

It’s not exactly a “slow and steady wins the race” kinda thing but there is certainly a lot of currency in the “steady” part.

Remember, if you’re an independent hotel or resort competing with the big brands (and if you’re reading this you probably are), those big brands absolutely do maintain that steady stream of advertising and maintain a share of mind among your common targets.

Darting in and out of the marketplace can be hard marginally productive work.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Lust is more profitable than likes.



Lust is more profitable than likes.


One of us has been judging an advertising awards show over the last few weeks and was struck by how often results were measured strictly in terms of clicks and likes with no mention of bookings, revenue, occupancy or ADR.

You know, revenue-producing stuff.

Some of the results pointed to X-number of website visits, but never said anything about conversions or even bounce rates, both of which seem kind of important as far as performance measurement is concerned.

Sure, clicks and likes are good things. But it occurs to us that in any advertising or marketing communications, the point of the exercise ultimately ought to be to create desire for the client - specifically in our case, for a hotel or resort.

Desire can lead to measurable results, as in bookings, revenue, occupancy or ADR.

It's not enough for people to just show up. That's kind of like measuring success only by how many people walked into your retail store without taking into consideration how many of them bought something. The goal is to get people to buy something, preferably without having to put it on sale.

That's what creating desire can do for you.

Because lust is more profitable than likes.

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Friday, September 6, 2019

The red-headed stepchild of the hotel business.

The red-headed stepchild* of the hotel business.


When it comes to marketing communications and advertising in the hotel business, transient is usually the Glory Road and groups, well, aren't.

Typically, groups get a very small dedicated chunk of the marketing communications budget. Which is kind of odd, because hotels will sometimes shoot for more than 60% of their business from groups. Even though meetings and social affairs are usually lower-rated business, they can still help your bottom line. And your sales team can only do so much.

So what are you planning to do for groups? Besides just pushing the sales force to get out there and work harder. Marketing communications has a longer and wider reach than a sales team and can multiply the effect of whatever they can do. 

Why not spend a little money to beef up the groups section of your website so it’s something besides floor plans and “click here for an RFP?" Sell the place. Create some desire.

Or run an actual ad campaign. Tell the world what you have to offer. Use traditional and digital media and LinkedIn to talk to a larger group of prospects than a sales group could reach in a year.

Do some cross-selling on-site. Many of your guests have some sort of a connection to groups or events. Even just something as basic as a rack card (remember them?) in every room or a message that pops up on the in-room television or when they log on to your wi-fi can make an impression. One that doesn't cost you much. It's almost like an instant fam trip. 

And finally, recognize that, in a very real sense, you have two different businesses operating under one roof. So brand the groups experience at your property. And by brand, we mean a supportable distinction around which you deliver a unique value. Not just “luxury in the city” or something. 

Your transient brand – if you have one – doesn’t automatically translate to groups and meetings. See more about Brand and its value here.
The point of all this is that marketing communications can do a lot for the bottom line. More than just sending the sales force out with a new e-brochure.


*This is where we are in America today. Is "red-headed stepchild" offensive? Jeeze, we don't know. Maybe? But what's done is done.

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