October 23, 2020 · Stuart Butler

Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 168 – 5 Things To Invest In And 1 Thing To Cut From Your 2021 Marketing Budget

Ladies and gentlemen, 2021 is going to be an exciting year and the budget battles are just starting to heat up. Departments claiming stake to budgets, vendors are jockeying for position, and accounting is demanding POs.
In this episode of the podcast, we’re going to pit the Fueligans against each other to pick the five most effective ways to spend your hotel marketing budgets and one thing you can absolutely cut.
Welcome to the podcast, you can grab a whole seat… but you’ll only need the edge!
Here’s the scenario, you’re the marketing director for the Old Timey Hotel and budgets are tight. You only get to spend your money on five items and because you’re at the Old Timey Hotel, your departments are siloed and operations have their own budgets.
And here’s the twist, because you did such an awesome job with your brand PPC campaign over the past few years, that is already included. What five items are you spending your budget on (not counting brand PPC). What is one thing you spent money on in 2019 and 2020 that you are going to cut?

Click Here For A Crisis Management Resources For Hotels Master List

Stuart’s List:

  1. Guest Experience & Advocacy
  2. Content
  3. CRM
  4. Super fast, mobile-friendly, ADA compliant website with a kick-ass CMS that handles all of the technical SEO stuff and seamlessly integrates with a mobile-first booking engine that utilizes psychology to reduce friction and nudge people through the booking funnel. Oh. And analytics.
  5. Strategic Partnerships

Chopping Block: Generic display advertising or anything that steals attribution
Pete’s List:

  1. An Amazing CRM System.  Invest the money in a great CRM that will give you multi-touchpoint tools to target your guests.  This should be your focus to spend the rest of your marketing budget the smartest way possible.
  2. Site Improvements and Focusing on Gen 2 Mobile-first sites
  3. Hotel metasearch, such as GHA, TripAdvsior, etc.
  4. Make the most out of your local DMO/Chambers/CVBs and partnerships
  5. SEO & Local listing optimization

Chopping Block: Direct Mail
Britni’s List:

  1. Communication – email, multiple touchpoints, offers, nurturing your data (I liked Pete’s better).
  2. Mobile-first Booking Engine – just do it.
  3. GHA, TripAdvisor, non-brand PPC – always be testing
  4. SEO (especially content).
  5. Photography and website updates

Chopping Block: Facebook Ads – specifically promoted posts and like campaigns.
Phil’s List:

  1. Promotion of On-property improvements
    1. read your reviews and understand your property’s shortcomings.
    2. After improvement, you need to respond to reviews that criticized what you’ve fixed
    3. Photograph your improvements and promote on your website, social, email, etc
    4. Include Recently Renovated in your search ad copy
  2. Page Speed Improvements
    1. Whether it be a new site, or drastically improving your existing site by focusing on Core Web Vitals improvements, this needs to be a priority before it becomes a ranking factor
  3. Switch to a better booking engine
    1. Preferably the Fuel Booking Engine, but your booking engine should at least check off what was covered in Episode 131
      1. Does it provide the analytics you need?
      2. Is it a good user experience?
      3. Does it support you and your business?
      4. Does it play well with other platforms?
      5. Will your current engine get you sued?
  4. Non-Brand PPC
    1. Budget for exploratory campaigns like display remarketing, discovery campaigns & video. these will generate lower returns but are great for awareness. Using a non-last click attribution model can help give a better idea of true awareness
    2. This doesn’t need to be exclusively on Google. If you have a visually stunning property you may want to test some PPC ads on platforms like Pinterest.
  5. Employ someone to focus on first party data
    1. They should be creating a collection plan
      1. what to collect, where to collect it, know why it’s being collected
    2. they should be in charge of organizing & segmenting the database
      1. a central location to house full guest profiles for both marketing and operational use
    3. Securing this data
      1. Keeping only what you need and keeping it secure
    4. Distributing necessary data to appropriate teams.

Chopping Block:

  • Like Ads on Facebook
    • There are many more important things to focus on than paying to build a social media following.
    • There are free ways to do this that can be more effective.

Send your feedback to info@travelboommarketing.com

In The Newsaroos:     

Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @_travelboom or info@travelboommarketing.com.

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