Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 61 – Breaking Bad-vertising: Top Hotel Marketing Myths Debunked

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As marketers, it’s far too easy for us to rest on our past successes and for us to believe that what worked yesterday will work tomorrow. The reality is that things often change and the truths that we hold close to us may end up holding us back. In our experience, the good marketers are the ones who constantly challenge their preconceptions and seek out ways to disprove conventional wisdom. This episode focuses on 5 myths that we still often hear about hotel marketing. Make sure that you don’t fall foul to them.


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Show Notes:

Myth #1: I have a brand new website; I will rank for ALL of the things!

People often assume that launching a new website will magically fix all their SEO & ranking problems. – FALSE.

  • Hopefully your web team – whether in-house or agency – is SEO savvy and took all of the necessary steps to ensure your hotel website is as search engine friendly as possible
    • Differences between designers, web designers, programmers, and SEO experts → Should all we working together throughout the process!
    • SEO is often an afterthought → Think SEO first!
  • Set realistic expectations – Your hotel will not rank for broad “Hotels in (name of destination)” type keywords. Rather, focus on less competitive, niche areas that are hyper relevant to your property.
    • Amenity-based searches (Ex: “orlando hotel with water park”)
    • Proximity-based searches (Ex: “orlando hotel near convention center”)
    • Room-specific searches (Ex: “3 bedroom condo in downtown orlando”)
  • Important SEO stuffs for launching a new website
    • URL structure
    • Dynamic XML sitemap → Submit to google search console
    • Title tags & meta descriptions
    • 301 redirects
    • Check out our free SEO Cheat Sheet for details!

Myth #2: Brand PPC Is A Waste Of Money.

Google your hotel’s name. More times than not, there are OTAs & meta search sites bidding on your brand.

  • OTAs know branded clicks convey a higher purchase intent and have a lower CPC than broad terms → They want that commission $$$
  • Not bidding on brand = handing the OTAs money

Why bid on brand?

  • Brand protection
  • Compete with OTAs
  • CPC on brand is lower than OTA commissions
  • High return → ROAS often >1,000%

PS – If you are worried about natural search cannibalization – fret not. We cover that too in our Brand PPC Case Study.

Myth #3: People Don’t Book On Mobile.

While the research and booking process was admittedly cumbersome and unenjoyable many years ago, mobile has comes a long way and has slowly won over the hearts and trust of consumers.

  • Way past the mobile tipping point – >50% of searches done via mobile
  • “Mobile friendly” is not just a “best practice” → Now a requirement, search engines give rank preference to sites with better mobile experience


  • 62% of smartphone users have completed a purchase via a mobile device

STATS: (Client website, data from May – July 2016 compared to same date range 2017)

  • Total sales +78.5% Y/Y ; Mobile specific sales up 134.5% Y/Y
    • Mobile accounted for 40.1% of sales in 2016 ; increased to 53.6% of sales in 2017
  • Total revenue +80.4% Y/Y ; Mobile specific revenue up 146.3% Y/Y
    • Mobile accounted for 38.7% of revenue in 2016; increased to 52.3% of revenue in 2017

The Catch?

  • Your hotel MUST have a mobile-first experience from start to finish → Website + Booking Engine
  • Website above switched over to the new mobile-friendly Guest Desk

Myth #4: I Don’t Need A Mobile App.

People don’t book via mobile.

People would just delete the app as soon as they leave the property.

Developing a mobile app is way too expensive.

Erroneous on all accounts!

  • Already addressed mobile bookings – next.
  • Taking up space on someone’s phone is not the goal; the goal is for the guest to use the app during their stay
  • You can have the industry’s #1 mobile app for as little as $250 / month. Boom.

Why your hotel needs a mobile app:

  • Drive additional revenue → room upgrades / additional nights, late check-out, attraction / ticket sales, additional services, etc.
  • One on one communication with guest → Hit them with the right message at the right time; gather valuable feedback and put out any potential fires before they hit TripAdvisor
  • Better on-property experience for guest → Express check-in & check-out, concierge service, eliminates the need to actually talk to people
  • Operational efficiencies

Have we convinced you yet? See for yourself in person how awesome a white-labeled hotel app could be by scheduling your complimentary demo.


Myth #5: Social Media Doesn’t Have An ROI.

Why would you bother paying someone to play around on the internet all day, especially when it in no way generates a return for your property?

Contrary to popular belief, social media is alive and kicking in the revenue stream department and plays an important role for your hotel.

Why does your hotel need a social media strategy?

  • Give your brand a voice.
  • Communicate directly with guests and address questions, comments, or concerns.
  • Share meaningful content for various points in the vacation or hotel booking process – from dreaming to check-out.
  • Showcase user-generated content like past guest reviews or shared guest photos.
  • Reach new customers.

Organic Stats: (data pulled from May – July 2017)

  • $7,722
  • $6,593
  • $4,500

Get inspired → 75 Social Media Post Ideas For Hotels

Paid Stats: (promoted post Spring 2017 – Vacation Travel Gas Map)

Impressions: 37,557

Clicks: 3,228

CTR: 8.59%

Cost: $100

CPC: $0.03

Sales: 4

Revenue: $2,200

ROAS: 2,200%



Breaking Bad-vertising: Don’t Believe These Hotel Marketing Myths

Question of the week:

Hi Fueligans!

I adore your podcast and all the extremely useful info you share. Keep the wisdom coming!

Here’s my question:

We are planning to open a 16 unit Oceanside resort on the coast of Chile about 25 minutes from the Casablanca Valley. Construction is going well and hoping to welcome guests in 6 months.

What is the most effective way to market prior to opening?

Thanks in advance!

Mary Torres


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