February 21, 2024 · Alyssa Fate

Top Hotel Marketing Myths Debunked

If you’re a seasoned marketer, you might be familiar with myths that lead people to do bad things with good intentions. These fabled misconceptions can sour any strategic marketing plan. We’re here to expose the top hotel marketing myths as fact or fantasy.

1. Anyone Can Do It

Digital marketing isn’t rocket science, however the industry is layered with niche channels that are typically better left to the professionals. From search engines to social media, the average person won’t be able to master the nuances of each channel as efficiently as an expert. While digital marketing is technically accessible to everyone, effective solutions require a combination of knowledge, skill and experience driven by strategy, analysis, and creativity. Unfortunately, digital marketing for hotels is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and assuming that “anyone can do it” oversimplifies the complexities involved.

Learn how to find an expert with our blog article on what to look for in a digital marketing company.

2. It’s a One-Time Investment

We can liken digital marketing to a well-oiled machine. Peak performance is achieved through ongoing maintenance and care. Building brand awareness, attracting customers, and maintaining relationships requires consistent effort. A one-time investment won’t yield sustainable results.

3. You Need a Huge Budget

If you’re thinking, you need to spend money to make money, you’re correct. Investing in your marketing will certainly increase your chances of success. And, while having a large budget presents less challenges, effective marketing doesn’t always require a massive lump sum. Allocating resources based on data, narrowly targeting campaigns, and creativity can yield significant returns even with a modest budget.

Explore less expensive avenues, such as social media or email marketing to get the most bang for your buck. Or, consider hiring a knowledgeable intern at a lesser rate.

Learn how to create the perfect hotel marketing budget with our free guide.

You need a huge budget - one of the top hotel marketing myths.

4. Results Are Immediate

There are a handful of tactics in digital marketing that can generate a quick return on investment. However, true success is a long game of building trust, nurturing leads, and fine-tuning strategies based on data and feedback. Digital marketing requires persistence, and patience, if you want to achieve a long-term payoff.

5. SEO Isn’t Necessary

With ongoing algorithm updates from major search engines, SEO remains crucial for organic visibility. Digital marketers must stay abreast of industry information and be able to easily adapt to changes. Optimizing content for users is essential to success. With an average of more than 50% of online traffic being generated from Organic Search, we consider this myth bogus at best.

6. Social Media Has No Return

The belief that there isn’t necessarily a gain from social media marketing is misleading to marketers. This study by American Express revealed that 48% of respondents want to travel somewhere they can show off on social media. Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. It allows for direct engagement with your audience, builds brand loyalty, and can drive traffic, leads and ultimately, revenue. However, it does require a strategic approach and consistent effort.

7. You Should be on Every Platform

The myth that you must be everywhere in order to find success is dated, and simply not true. Focus on platforms relevant to your audience, being strategic in your choices. If you don’t have the resources to put forth your best effort, you’ll also see half-hearted results.

8. More Traffic = More Sales

Quality > Quantity. Driving more traffic to your website or social media account is generally regarded as a win, however when that traffic isn’t qualified, you could be diluting important KPIs, wasting precious time, or worse, squandering budget. Targeted traffic, personalized content, and effective strategies can help drive users further down the conversion funnel to increase sales.

9. The More You Spend, The More You Make

As one of the top hotel marketing myths, ‘the more you spend, the more you make’ is a distorted view of digital marketing’s potential. Efficient spending, audience targeting, and measuring ROI matter much more than sheer expenditure. 

10. Small Businesses Don’t Need Marketing

No matter how small your business (or budget) may be, promoting your brand, products, or services will allow you to reach potential customers. Effective digital marketing captures new interests and leads, as well as creates loyal customers. Positioning your brand alongside the competition will build authority and trust with your audience. If you aren’t participating, you may fall behind.

11. Marketing is Meant for New Customers

While digital marketing can attract new customers, retaining existing customers is equally important. Repeat business and brand loyalty contribute significantly to success. Digital marketers should be diligent to focus on a plan for retention. Capitalize on retargeting and remarketing by implementing visit-based cookies and abandonment campaigns. Hotel marketers can also exploit interest-based audiences by serving up display ads to users who have performed certain search queries, share similar interests, or visited a site that shares a similar audience as your own.

12. You Must be Creative

Creativity matters, but analysis, strategy, and execution are equally vital. Many marketers try to get creative before mastering the basics. Use data to drive your digital marketing decisions, and monitor the results.

In addition, consider all of the powerful resources available to digital marketers that can improve efficiency. AI-powered tools can help generate images, content and more, while programs like Canva can kickstart your creativity online.

13. Good Products Will Sell Themselves

Even the best products require awareness, differentiation, and persuasion to purchase. With global ad spending expected to reach nearly $1 trillion in 2024, it’s clear that even good products may get lost in a sea of oversaturated product markets.

Consider the popularity of the iPhone and the number of advertisements you still encounter for it. Apple capitalizes on creating a perception of exclusivity through innovation, which enhances the perceived value of their products.

14. Influencer Marketing Isn’t for Hotels

We object! Partnering with relevant influencers can boost brand visibility and attract guests. Influencer marketing for hotels offers a practical approach to content creation. Take a look at what Joybyte has done with their hybrid model, combining influencers, ambassadors, and creators to achieve goals.

Image of woman on podcast in hotel showcasing influencer marketing for hotels

15. All Revenue is Good

The illusion that all revenue is good is an irresponsible idea for hotel marketers to accept. Not all revenue is paid with no strings attached. As an example, we can examine revenue generated via an OTA. With commissions costing between 12-18% per booking, we can conclude that hotel marketers should minimize this marketing tactic.

16. People Don’t Read Reviews

Reviews dominate the decision-making process for travelers. This 2023 Leisure Travel Trends Study found that 81% of respondents would not book a stay without first reading online reviews. Positive reviews build trust, while negative ones can deter potential customers. Managing your online reputation is a pivotal part of digital marketing strategy, and responding to reviews – good or bad – can be the deciding factor for a consumer’s purchase behavior. These are the review channels that hotels must prioritize for success.

17. Email Marketing is Ineffective

Consider this myth busted. Email is an economical way to reach customers using targeted messaging to increase brand awareness and drive revenue. It continues to be one of the most effective marketing channels for businesses. Email users are expected to reach more than 4 billion in 2024, so marketing to this growing audience will remain an essential digital marketing tactic for hotels.

Check out the top email marketing trends for 2024.

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