Hotel Marketing Podcast Episode 224 – 5 Changes That Will Shake Up Hotel Budget Season

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Welcome to episode 224 of the Hotel Marketing Podcast.  Today is September 12th and this episode will be a TravelBoom Short Fuze!  This is a bite-size episode of the Hotel Marketing Podcast that gives you the data to make smarter decisions.  In today’s episode, we cover budget season.  It’s already on everyone’s mind and most hoteliers have already started putting the figures together.  However, if you’re simply regurgitating your 2021 or 2022 budget with a few updates, you’re going to be missing the mark. 

First: Like Your ADR, Marketing Prices Are Rising

We are seeing prices rise across the board. Technology systems, labor rates, utilities, and everything in between is on the rise, which is also going to include marketing costs.  Expect your costs to increase so that you are not caught off guard when they do.  

Properties do a pretty good job factoring in operational increases and revenue managers are tasked with making sure the ADR can cover costs. However, are you also factoring in the increased cost of marketing into your forecasts?  

Second: Budget For Major Site Overhauls

Most hotels are working with dated technology regarding their primary online presence. With the pandemic, we saw investment in site design drop considerably.  Believe it or not, if you haven’t had a major overhaul or complete site post covid your primary conversion tool is going to be going on four years old… an eternity in web years. Things like headless design, proper schema markups, chat system, mobile performance and more have dramatically changed and it’s all costing the hotelier with an old site.

Site aside the budget and start thinking about how you can invest in a better mousetrap in 2023.

Third: Plan For A Paid Search Shift

We have talked a lot about how Google is the 800lb gorilla in terms of paid search, well they are now the 1600lb gorilla with their strong entrance into the metasearch world.  Very quickly Google Hotel Ads are taking share from TripAdvisor, meaning a budget shift is needed.

Furthermore, we are seeing customers increasing their reliance on a wider range of meta-search engines such as Trivago, Kayak, Microsoft Hotel Ads, and others.  These are end-of-funnel conversion opportunities and you absolutely need to allocate enough budget to ensure you have a high impression share.  

Fourth: Budget For the Staff to Make It Happen

For the fourth item, I want to just remind you of the importance of keeping and attracting great staff, which goes beyond housekeeping, maintenance, and others.  Your overall personnel budget is going to get bigger in 2023, plan for it now so you’re not scrambling next year.  

This extends to your marketing staff as well.  Remote positions are easy to find and you don’t want to lose your talent and institutional knowledge because you’re paying your team too little in today’s inflationary environment.

Fifth: Invest In The Technology To Make Everything Else Work Better

Most likely you already have a good CRM system for communicating with guests via email, SMS, app messages, and more.  However, are you putting the time and effort into making it actually work as hard for you as possible?  Allocate the time and budget to understand the systems you have.  Absolutely invest the time into pushing the limits of what it can do.  

Your email and CRM systems are the most valuable assets you have.  The most recent Leisure Travel Trends Study shows that over a third of booked stays may be canceled due to rising prices.  If you’re not budgeting for communicating aggressively, you’re going to be costing yourself real money in cancellations and missed bookings.

Download your free copy of the 2022 Leisure Travel Trends Study by TravelBoom here!


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