How to Choose the Right Hotel Digital Marketing Agency
So, you’ve decided to invest in a hotel digital marketing agency. Good move, but the word “invest” will be an accurate term only if you take the right steps at the beginning. It will come as no shock to anyone reading this that it is really easy to misfire here. We have all hired people and companies who promise you a Rolls Royce but deliver a go-cart. Here’s how to drive in style.
Go in With a Plan
A plan for what you want for your hotel will not only help you, but the agency as well. If you assess your hotel’s needs before even looking for a compatible firm, you’ll have a better idea of the type of company that can address them. It’s like walking into a grocery store without a list; you’re more likely to grab the chocolate and forget the broccoli. Like everything else, agencies vary greatly in price, so as Power Digital Marketing suggests, it’s critical to budget your finances before choosing.
Most importantly, since you know better than anyone else where your hotel could use marketing improvement, make those known to prospective agencies right off the bat. This does not require any specialized analysis or detailed calculations. Your plan may be as simple as improving occupancy or increasing your bottom line.
Find a Specialist, Not a General Practitioner
Here’s the problem with most marketing agencies – they believe the same tactics they use to promote the sale of dog food, refrigerators, spa treatments and any other service or commodity will work for hotels. They are wrong.
Ask these questions of any firm you are interviewing:
1. How do you manage OTAs? (If they then ask you what an OTA is, wish them well and try someone else.)
2. Which booking engines do you recommend and why?
3. Define these terms – occupancy pace, booking window, ADR, RevPAR, and LOS.
4. How do you propose we deal with ADA compliance?
5. What are your recommendations for GDPR compliance?
Here’s one more that bears particular attention. What will they do if your occupancy is at 90% for the next three months?
Any competent hospitality marketing firm should be completely fluent with these terms and be able to offer recommendations. Their goal should be 100% occupancy and nothing less.
You would be amazed how many people ignore this common-sense step. It isn’t enough to read reviews published on any company website. They are naturally going to be “managed” to the benefit of the agency. In fact, all published reviews are suspect since the reviewers are often either paid copywriters or are disgruntled former clients with too much time on their hands.
Let’s face it; every company is going to have their share of miscues. A good, honest hotel digital marketing agency will not only give you a list of their successes, they will also tell you about a couple of mishaps and explain why they occurred. Quite often those mishaps are due to client negligence.
First and foremost, confirm that the company will be responsive to your needs. Do they always reply to email inquiries within 24 hours? Do they get your website updated promptly? Do they insist upon routine live meetings? Do they effectively synchronize marketing and revenue management services?
Work With the Agency
There’s a balance between knowing what you need for your hotel and letting the company do their job. If you’re meeting with an agency and they seem to be pushing services that don’t pertain you as a hotelier, let that one go. As much as they are there to help you, most agencies have standard brands and services. They also naturally want to up-sell you, just like you want to up-sell your guests. Just don’t be afraid to disagree if you feel your contact is suggesting excessive services.
On the other hand, you have to remember that digital marketing ideally coupled with revenue management is all these agencies do. If they’re a reputable firm, they’ll know what they’re talking about and how to market your hotel efficiently. It’s all a balancing act, and you have to find a happy medium.
To ask thoughtful questions, you’ll have to do some research. That Agency suggests talking about OTA’s since they are crucial to your hotel. The firm should know how to market your hotel within Online Travel Agency sites, which are essential for your overall business. Whether you love or hate OTA’s, the agency must know how to manage them.
Power Digital Marketing also suggests asking about the latest trends in digital marketing, and how these can be integrated into marketing your hotel. On the flip side, they should be asking you relevant questions about what you’re doing for your hotel’s online marketing. These can range from which social media sites you utilize to your search engine results.
● Assess your hotel’s needs first, then make sure to relay that information to your contact.
● Make sure they’re addressing your primary concerns before pushing any extra services
● Ask questions about their process, and in return, they should ask you questions about your current online marketing strategies.
Use your best judgment when meeting with an agency. If it doesn’t feel right, that’s okay. It’s unlikely that you’ll find “the one” on the first meeting. Play the field a bit before settling down with one company. This is how you can get the best bang for your buck!
All Business urges to look out for those insidious red flags when dealing with any hotel digital marketing agency. If you find that the agency is guilty of any of the following, then it’s probably best to continue your search elsewhere:
● They’re difficult to get in touch with or seem too busy for you. If you find that your contact is rarely available to talk, she/he probably won’t prioritize your hotel’s needs.
● They don’t respond to your questions thoroughly. This could be a sign that they aren’t paying attention to what you want as a hotelier.
● There isn’t a lively debate among the agency’s team on which approaches to take. All Business states that if it seems like there is one person who is overshadowing everyone else, then there is a less likely to be a healthy discussion on a plan of action.
If you’re in search of a hotel digital marketing agency or revenue management services, stop by Lights On Digital and see how we might assist.