By Asher Fusco
As travelers increasingly take their transactions online, the direct online channel has grown into the most important avenue for hoteliers to utilize to achieve the highest ROIs. This push toward digital is continuing into 2013, as hoteliers plan to allocate a large portion of their budgets toward their website in 2013, according to a HeBS Digital Industry Pulse Poll performed last month.
According to the HeBS Digital Industry Pulse Poll results, hoteliers overwhelmingly chose the property website when asked which digital marketing initiatives they would most like to budget for in the coming year. Hoteliers also cast votes for initiatives such as SEM (paid search), SEO, Social Media, mobile marketing and others.
HeBS Digital Industry Pulse Poll Results, October 2012
What are the top 3 digital marketing initiatives you would like to budget for in 2013? % of Votes*
- Property Website + Website Design 91%
- SEM (paid search) 3%
- SEO 3%
- Social Media 3%
- Mobile Marketing 2%
- Other Initiatives** 5%
*Total vote percentage exceeds 100% — participants could select up to three answers
**Other Initiatives include Reputation Management, Email Marketing, Analytics & Campaign Tracking, Retargeting/Remarketing Advertising, Tablet Website Design, Online Video, Local Search/Linking, etc.)
More than 91% of those surveyed indicated they would like to budget for the property website in 2013.
Why Hoteliers Need to Re-Evaluate Their Property Website in 2013
The explosion of the mobile and social media channels and the emergence of the new tablet channel present major challenges to hotel marketers: Creating and managing digital content throughout three distinct distribution and marketing channels, as well as publishing the hotel’s latest special offers and promotions on the hotel’s social media profiles.
Today’s hotel website needs fresh content, rich media and current promotions. The hotel’s special offers, promotions and packages need to be marketed across all channels, from the desktop website to the mobile site and social media channels.
Many hoteliers are mistakenly led to believe that not investing in the property’s website re-design or optimization is actually saving money. Wrong! Not investing in your website is severely damaging to a hotel’s bottom line.
Your old and tired 1-2 year old property website cannot possibly meet the latest best practices and most likely has dropped off the map, i.e. experienced deteriorating search rankings.
Case Study: Need for Website Content & Digital Marketing Asset Management System
There is a growing need for centralized website content and digital marketing asset management technology as hotel marketers are challenged to create and manage content; store and distribute the hotel digital marketing assets; and circulate special offers and packages, events and happenings, all through several distinct channels:
- Own “desktop” website
- Mobile website
- Tablet website
- Social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+
- Hi-res photos to the OTAs and GDSs (optional)
Obviously, hoteliers need more than just a simple website content management system (CMS) capable of adding and editing textual and visual content. HeBS Digital’s proprietary CMS Premium offers all of the above capabilities and acts as a centralized web content and digital marketing asset management system and was specifically developed to accommodate the Google Panda and “Freshness” updates by allowing hotel marketers to maintain fresh content on the hotel website.
In addition to covering their property website costs, hoteliers said they intend on allocating resources toward a vast array of digital marketing services such as SEO, SEM, Mobile Marketing, Online Video, Tablet Website Design, Campaign Tracking and Email Marketing.
Partnering with an industry leader in hotel digital marketing and direct online channel strategy is the best way to build an optimal budget in 2013 and beyond. Learn more about achieving high ROI by reading The Smart Hotelier’s Guide to 2013 Digital Marketing Budget Planning.
Asher Fusco is Senior Copy + SEO Specialist at HeBS Digital
Founded in 2001, HeBS Digital helps hoteliers drastically increase direct bookings and lower overall distribution costs by deploying industry best-of-breed digital technology, consulting and marketing (www.hebsdigital.com).
The firm has won more than 350 prestigious industry awards for its digital technology, website design and marketing services, including numerous Adrian Awards, Stevie Award in the American Business Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, and IAC Awards.
A diverse client portfolio of top-tier major luxury and boutique hotel chains, independent hotels, resorts and casinos, franchised properties and hotel management companies, convention centers, spas, restaurants and bars, DMO and CVBs are all benefiting from HeBS Digital’s direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise. Contact HeBS Digital’s consultants at (212) 752-8186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.