Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 253 – Top 10 Hotel Marketing Myths Debunked

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. “
– Mark Twain

Good day fellow hoteliers and welcome to episode 253 of the Hotel Marketing Podcast. You may not have known, but Mark Twain was a hotel marketing guru with this famous saying.  Today on the show we’re pulling back the curtain on the top hotel marketing myths that too many think are true.

In The News:

Hilton Expands Mobile Messaging Platform:

The Main Topic: Top 10 Hotel Marketing Myths

Hotel marketers have long held on to certain myths and falsehoods surrounding various hotel marketing efforts. TravelBoom revealed the top 17 myths at a recent artlce at and today we will be covering the top 10.

1. Anyone Can Do It (Myth AND Fact) 

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. You Need a Huge Budget (Myth) 

  • You DO need to spend money to make money 
  • Investing in your marketing can increase your chances of success
  • And, having a large budget presents less challenges, 
  • But, effective marketing doesn’t always require a huge budget
  • A few things you can do to yield significant returns on a small budget:
    • Allocate resources based on data, 
    • Narrowly target campaigns, 
    • and be creative

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.

We do have a free guide to creating the perfect hotel budget that we can link in the episode notes.

3. Results Are Immediate (Myth AND Fact) 

There are a handful of tactics in digital marketing that can generate a quick return on investment:

  • Paid Search
  • Metasearch
  • Paid social

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.

  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Organic social

4. People Don’t Read Reviews (Myth) 

  • This is false, Reviews dominate the decision-making process for travelers. 
  • The TravelBoom 2023 Leisure Travel Trends Study found that 81% of respondents would not book a stay without first reading online reviews
  • Positive reviews build trust 
  • Negative reviews can deter potential customers 
  • Managing your hotel’s 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. 

5. Social Media Has No Return (Myth) 

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.
  • Determine your KPIs
  • Set proper expectations

6. You Must be Creative (Myth) 

Creativity (as in thinking outside the box) 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.

Considering creativity from a design perspective > 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.

7. Marketing is Meant for New Customers (Myth) 

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 in focusing 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, shared similar interests, or visited a site that shares a similar audience as your own.

8. More Traffic = More Sales (Myth) 

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 your budget. 

Targeted traffic, personalized content, and effective strategies can help drive users further down the conversion funnel to increase sales.

9. Not All Revenue is Good (Fact) 

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.

10. SEO is Necessary (Fact) 

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.


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