Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 257 – Most Profitable Marketing Channels for Hotels

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Good day fellow hoteliers and welcome to episode 257 of the Hotel Marketing Podcast. There are a near-infinite number of marketing channels vying for your budget, but which ones are worth your limited time and funds? That’s the topic today, now let’s get this show started.

Follow along on today’s Hotel Marketing Podcast by reading the full article detailing the most profitable marketing channels for hotels here.  While you’re there you can also download your free copy of the 2024 Hotelier Sentiment Study.

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We, as hotel marketers must meet travelers where they shop—and in today’s digital landscape, which means everywhere. Leveraging the proper mix of digital marketing channels is paramount in generating a long-term, sustainable revenue stream. 

Today, we’re covering the most profitable marketing channels for hotels that help 

  • reduce costs, 
  • improve performance and 
  • increase your bottom line.

#1: Email Marketing for Hotels

Email marketing is one of the most measurable, reliable marketing channels for hotels

The return on investment for email marketing averages 36x, meaning for every $1 you spend, you can expect $36 worth of revenue via bookings, upgrades, or services. 

For most travel, hospitality, and tourism brands, the ROI is even higher. 

Benefits: 

  • A fairly inexpensive way to reach a highly-qualified audience that is likely to engage 
  • Fosters guest relationships and loyalty, and 
  • Improves brand recognition without a high CPA

Drawbacks: 

  • The reach is limited to predefined email lists, 
  • Outreach must follow strict anti-spam laws. 
  • Maintaining subscribers and managing content requires both time and resources.

Smartly segmented campaigns can lead to high open rates and an even higher ROI, lowering the cost per acquisition compared to other marketing channels for hotels.

#2: Hotel Website Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO helps your website show up higher in search engine results, bringing in more potential visitors to your website and more business to your hotel. When done correctly, an organic search strategy is an incredibly effective marketing channel for hotels.

An organic, direct booking

  • most cost-effective for hoteliers
    • All it requires is your time
  • an obvious profitable marketing channel for hotels
    • It costs you nothing to drive organic search clicks to your website
  • Optimizing a site for search has long-lasting benefits
    • See Benefits

Benefits

A well-optimized, user-friendly website can 

  • help improve rankings (first and foremost)
  • fuel organic traffic 
  • Outrank the competition
  • Reach new guests (as you rank for new keywords)
  • Improve brand awareness and recognition (link building, improved rankings)
  • Helps you understand how your guests find you (GSC, GA4, GBP, etc)
  • Improves UX
  • Good PR (helpful content, destination guides, etc)
  • Good SEO can greatly benefit other campaigns (landing pages)
  • drive more direct bookings (last but not least)

Drawbacks

Hoteliers must invest in their hotel website to reap the benefits of organic search. Page speed and UX analysis and updates, technical updates/fixes, consistent content creation, link outreach etc. will help you reach your goals but will require consistent effort on your part.

A coveted direct booking from organic search can yield a high profit, however it will require a long-term effort to begin seeing real results. SEO is a long game and must be treated as such.  There are times when the benefits of a good SEO strategy can occur quickly, but this really depends on the depth of competition.

In addition, major algorithm updates can make it difficult to stay abreast of best practices and changing guidelines. Avoiding black hat SEO tactics and following best practices can help hoteliers avoid costly ranking decreases during these updates.

#3: CPC Marketing for Hotels Alyssa

As a channel, cost-per-click marketing can both attract and retain customers

CPC offers a variety of campaign types with customizable features that provide both a short AND long-term return. 

From a profitability standpoint, we can focus on Paid Search and Metasearch advertising. Both of these channels allow marketers to reach a broad customer base that may or may not know about your brand. 

They can also generate considerable returns. 

Benefits CPC Marketing For Hotels

Generate Immediate Results

Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for hotels is a highly effective way to boost a brand’s visibility in the SERPs but these marketing efforts take time to materialize

CPC bidding takes effect nearly immediately, positioning your brand at the top of the SERP.  

Cutting Out OTAs + Increasing Direct Bookings

We know that guests are more likely to book when they don’t need to search for rates and availability, which is why metasearch is a useful CPC method for hotels – it’s a real-time rate feed where ⅔ of travelers are already shopping.

 It offers a direct route to the hotel’s booking page, offering guests a more satisfying customer experience. 

When hotels control direct bookings, they can offer packages and loyalty perks that OTAs can’t match. 

Reducing its reliance on third-party sites offers less fees and more immediate revenue for a hotel.

Improve Audience Response and ROI

With CPC, hotels have the capability to segment and target guests by demographics, location, and more.

Using keywords to match what guests are actively searching for, like “family-friendly hotel” or “pet-friendly hotel in Atlanta,” offers solutions for the searchers’ problems served at the ideal time.

The more tailored the strategy, the better the ROI, because the ads home in on the searchers most likely to convert

Measure and Adjust Marketing Campaigns

Similar to Email and SEO, CPC offers performance data, such as key metrics like CTR, CVR, and Cost Per Click. That’s real-time information that enables marketers to tweak ads to maximize the ROI. Measurable campaigns are also easier to scale and monitor. 

Manage the Marketing Budget (stretch budget dollars)

Budgeting features of pay-per-click campaigns allow marketers to control spending, which means that anyone can participate, whether your budget is large or small. 

Marketers can select the most cost-effective ad platforms, bidding strategies, and keyword competition to limit spending without sacrificing revenue. 

Reduce Abandoned Bookings

Retargeting via CPC marketing urges guests to revisit abandoned sessions, and convert them into reservations. When remarketing campaigns are set up correctly, searchers who have engaged with a PPC ad but have begun browsing elsewhere are served a personalized reminder to complete their purchase. These ads can also be directed toward past guests, which can encourage future bookings and increase loyalty. 

Showcase Special Offers To Boost Occupancy

Because CPC ads work quickly, hoteliers can use these to increase occupancy when demand is down without a lot of advance notice. 

Specific ad copy can highlight the property’s current promotions, as well as tap into marketing psychology tactics, such as scarcity or urgency. 

When the ads are paired with a compelling landing page, hoteliers can promote the most persuasive offers to secure bookings during times of need.

Strengthened Brand Awareness

Think about more than just profitability for a moment – Display advertising and non-brand paid search ads can increase brand awareness while retargeting and remarketing can bolster brand recognition. We know that travelers are more likely to book brands they are familiar with, so every impression counts. 

Of course, there are challenges:

  • Cost: Ad spend can fluctuate based on campaign optimization and keyword selection. You’ll need to spend money to make money – and in most cases upfront payment is required.  The cost of Paid Search is more straightforward, while Metasearch engines charge a commission. However, the (hopefully) user-friendly interface can increase direct bookings, and IS cheaper than acquiring a booking via an OTA. 
  • Competition: Similarly to Email and SEO, there is a lot of competition that can vary based on the property type, other bidders, and so on. 
  • Complexity: The logistics, like integrating your rate feed with a metasearch engine, or manually-managing your CPC campaigns, can be challenging for independent hoteliers with limited technical knowledge or resources. To combat this, there are several AI-based tools that can help with management and optimization. 

All in all, Google continues to offer more SERP real estate to CPC marketing. So, this will continue to be one of the most profitable marketing channels for hotels. 

Make sure you’re using this alongside other tactics. Compelling ad copy that echoes your marketing messaging reinforces brand image and voice. 



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

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