With 2018 basically in our evaluate mirror, it is time to take inventory of what was one other eventful yr in lodge advertising and marketing. That features the great, the unhealthy and the downright ugly lodge advertising and marketing traits and practices we witnessed this previous yr.
The Good:
1. The digital counterattack is effectively underwayIt’s taken years of funding and work, however lodge entrepreneurs are actually quickly catching up with the digital savvy of the OTAs. The digital counterattack is effectively underway.  In 2018 we noticed extra lodge entrepreneurs than ever earlier than deploying extra environment friendly digital advertising and marketing campaigns, create streamlined reserving experiences, closed-group loyalty charges, e-check in programs, elevated app experiences, CRM campaigns, RMS automation and highly effective visitor personalization, amongst many different initiatives. Within the quest to retake management of revenues from third events, lodge entrepreneurs got here a good distance in 2018!

2. Income accountability2018 noticed an increasing number of lodge and resort entrepreneurs are embracing private quotas for KPIs like lead era, income, and direct bookings. Quantifying advertising and marketing efficiency on this manner is definitely a assist somewhat than a hindrance: This technique is useful when speaking efficiency to house owners and asset managers in a significant manner, and in addition helps the marketer request larger compensation based mostly on actual efficiency metrics.
3. A robust economyThe strong efficiency of the U.S. financial system in 2018 has continued to assist preserve lodging trade outcomes at close to file ranges, resulting in surging KPIs throughout the board and sturdy demand ranges in a bunch of market segments. Good lodge entrepreneurs have been utilizing this era to their benefit, convincing optimistic house owners to reinvest of their properties and advertising and marketing campaigns, whereas courting demand sectors which have been more and more energetic, like conferences/group/SMERF enterprise.

4. Cross-departmental cooperationIn some organizations, there are nonetheless legacy partitions dividing the advertising and marketing, gross sales, and income administration departments, when optimally, these three gamers on the gross sales and advertising and marketing group must be working collectively carefully to execute their objectives. Nonetheless, 2018 noticed lots of these partitions breached or eradicated altogether. Cross-departmental cooperation turned a buzzworthy idea as refined hoteliers pushed arduous for innovation amidst file ADRs and occupancy ranges.
5. PersonalizationAlthough current information privateness occasions threaten to derail it… one of the crucial necessary constructive traits of 2018 was the transfer in the direction of better advertising and marketing personalization of the visitor journey, particularly personalised lodge e-mail advertising and marketing that targets clients with pinpoint precision. As lodge advertising and marketing know-how turns into extra reasonably priced and built-in, inns know extra about who’s trying, reserving and bouncing than ever earlier than. With this sturdy “huge information,” an increasing number of inns are personalizing and optimizing presents e-mail campaigns, dynamic web site content material and pricing. And the rewards are big: Accenture discovered that 58 p.c of customers would change one-half or extra of their spending to a supplier that excels at personalizing experiences with out compromising belief.

Web site personalization tech has develop into extra mainstream, enabling inns to set off customized 
promotional presents for company with recognizable previous buy habits
6. The arrival of social advertisingThis previous yr, lodge promoting on social media continued to develop as an efficient and budget-friendly technique of conducting promotions and branding initiatives, particularly in instances the place pricing for Google PPC adverts by Google AdWords is not at all times an reasonably priced possibility. Social promoting in tandem on Fb and Instagram has confirmed significantly potent and generally is a nice assist to entrepreneurs trying to fill their lodge throughout sluggish intervals the place there are gaps in demand.

7. Actionable dataAlthough hoteliers have been gathering visitor information for a while, 2018 was the yr lodge entrepreneurs actually started to research and make the most of that information. Visitor information is the important ingredient for crafting segmented campaigns (see #Four above) and enhancing service. Good lodge entrepreneurs are actually utilizing information from quite a few lodge programs (ie PMS, CRM, POS, lodge CRS and reserving engine, social media channels, and so on) to activate touchpoints that enhance advertising and marketing messages and the on-property visitor expertise. Some lodge entrepreneurs took information aggregated from “social listening” even additional in 2018…. compiling visitor evaluate information and sentiment evaluation to immediate house owners to make sorely wanted upgrades and investments. 
8. The emergence of MetasearchWhile many argue that fee parity and OTA dominance reduces the worth of metasearch websites, gamers like Kayak, Google, TripAdvisor, and Trivago have a strong shopper notion as one-stop outlets to verify desired journey dates, learn evaluations and examine costs between completely different reserving channels (together with the OTAs). For lodge entrepreneurs pushing direct charges, metasearch websites have develop into a constructive channel enabling them to extend visibility, decrease price per reserving, personal and visitor reservation information.
9. SPAC will get on observe…One of many fundamental parts of the digital counterattack (see #1 above) that occurred in 2018: good lodge entrepreneurs realized the worth of SPAC: Simultaneous Promotion Throughout All Channels, which retains well timed promotions uniform, clear and constant for the client. Launching the identical promo on each channel on the similar time creates consolation and avoids the confusion that arises when company see quite a lot of presents on the market for a similar rooms at your lodge. Whereas inconsistency causes psychological discomfort and should immediate a possible visitor to look elsewhere.
10. UGC extensively adopted

One of many internet results of the rise of social media has been the elevated significance of user-generated content material corresponding to pictures and video, which is perceived and extra genuine and respected within the eyes of customers than the inventory imagery and contrived content material many inns nonetheless put up. So as a substitute of working individually in their very own social media world, in 2018 good lodge entrepreneurs spent extra time than ever working to supply user-generated content material. Customers now not belief promoting… they belief one another. As an article in Advert Age so aptly put it: “Your model is outlined by the interactions folks have with it.” Consumer-generated content material (UGC), particularly pictures, movies and posts about on-property experiences are extra genuine, much less gross sales targeted… and let’s face it, extra artistic than something you might ever dream up your self.
The Unhealthy:
1. The wild west of social media “influencers”In 2018, lodge entrepreneurs dealt with numerous requests for comp rooms, meals, drinks and extra from self-professed social media “influencers,” promising to advertise the property to the influencer’s “followers.” Whereas a few of these inquiries can result in worthwhile returns, many others don’t, which is why in 2019, lodge entrepreneurs have to totally validate influencer advertising and marketing alternatives earlier than continuing. Key metrics like consumer engagement could be illuminating for this course of.

2. The stress of extra tech and vendorsLike many different sectors earlier than it, the lodge trade is now besieged by know-how, instruments and distributors purporting to revolutionize the visitor expertise and develop into the must-have asset you have to entice extra company. Whereas this may increasingly typically be true, it is easy to lose focus whereas perpetually chasing these dangling techno-carrots, so ensure any time and/or cash invested to this finish is really in step with your advertising and marketing objectives and visitor profile. The extra distributors a lodge makes use of, the harder integration turns into between programs and the much less environment friendly all associated processes develop into. Working with one, or at the least a smaller group, of distributors that may supply a spread of options will assist with integration, enhance accountability for every vendor and save the time that might usually be spent coordinating and speaking amongst all the assorted distributors. Transferring into 2019, it is time to simplify and optimize.
3. The agony of ROI attributionMeasuring key KPIs and using information analytics is tougher than ever for lodge entrepreneurs. There’s plenty of information, however extra information usually means extra complexity, for instance: how do digital entrepreneurs calculate ROI when customers use a number of gadgets? As an alternative of eyeing metrics like bounce fee, on-line web page views and social media followers, savvy lodge entrepreneurs are embracing new KPIs like advertising and marketing price per reserving (MCPB), direct income ratio (DRR), web site conversion fee and variance from income goal. These rising KPIs spotlight marketing-specific efficiency and align advertising and marketing’s efforts with the general success of the property.
4. Recruiting nightmaresAttracting robust digital expertise performs a necessary function within the success of a lodge advertising and marketing group, but lodge advertising and marketing executives are having rising difficulties with recruiting efforts, significantly amongst millennials. The dilemma is partly as a result of comparatively decrease compensation ranges, versus the robust demand for digital expertise in all industries, in addition to a perceived lack of innovation in hospitality that makes different alternatives—like Silicon Valley, for instance—appear all of the extra thrilling. Do not settle, both; ensure your lodge digital advertising and marketing group deeply understands the lodge expertise and reserving course of.
5. Pulling enamel for product upgrades 

Irrespective of how good a lodge marketer could also be, they’ll solely go up to now if they’re saddled with an inferior product to advertise. Or, as one genius govt mentioned: “Promoting is the tax for an unremarkable product.” Really, there is not any substitute for a compelling product and entrepreneurs continued to battle this previous yr to persuade house owners to make a dedication to preserving their properties as much as the extent of the compset and new provide. To get an proprietor onboard this yr for wanted upgrades, you’ll want to present them current evaluations the place clients focus on the necessity for these renovations. 
The Ugly:
1. OTAs continued dominanceDespite main funding and emphasis by massive gamers like Marriott and Hilton, nearly each credible trade analyst stories little to no erosion in OTA penetration of general lodge income (See chart under from Phocuswright). There are myriad causes for this troubling challenge, together with: OTA advertising and marketing energy, lack of shopper loyalty, shopper notion of OTAs as lowest value supplier, hotelier failure to distinguish, lodge marketer apathy and lodge house owners with short-term “flip” mentalities who refuse to spend money on constructing a long-term direct visitor stream. Inns can be clever to deploy direct reserving campaigns which might be confirmed to work. And combat again with anti-OTA messages with actual enamel…

2. The rising price of visitor acquisitionWhile the price of OTA income continued to erode margins for hoteliers, the price of different channels additionally continued to rise at an alarming fee. In response to a current AHLA report, entitled: Demystifying the Digital Market, “income retained by US inns after paying all buyer acquisition prices declined by nearly .4% or $600 million… That $600M in extra price would have contributed on to internet working revenue. Utilizing an 8% capitalization fee (which most buyers require), these extra acquisition prices of $600 million lowered the asset worth of the general lodge trade by at the least $7.5 billion.”
That is why lodge house owners and asset managers are trying extra carefully than ever at variable advertising and marketing prices—significantly the price of visitor acquisition—which can be rising quick. In response to consultants, acquisition prices generally within the vary of 5% to 10% lower than a decade in the past have jumped to between 15% and 25%. If a lodge can’t purchase company at a tolerable, sustainable fee, then the property is nugatory as a long-term asset.
There are a variety of the explanation why the price of acquisition continues to spike (together with the blood stress of some house owners) together with: Lack of differentiation and low conversion charges, the dominance of expensive OTAs, the rising price of promoting and the house owners personal short-term “flipping” mentality.

3. “The Privateness Paradox”GDPR was just the start… 2018 was the yr that lodge entrepreneurs confronted what famed enterprise capitalist Mary Meeker dubbed the “privateness paradox” in her annual Web Traits report: Basically, personalization is a worthwhile technological course of depending on information assortment. Everyone seems to be doing it and that pulls the eye of regulators (particularly when lodge giants like Marriott get hacked). So lodge entrepreneurs are going through a “privateness paradox.” They’re caught between utilizing information to offer higher visitor experiences and pushing the envelope with shopper privateness. This intrinsic battle between inns, their company and regulators will certainly complicate the lives of lodge entrepreneurs going ahead.