Marketing Attribution: Is Your Hotel Taking Full Advantage of this Tool?
To build a brand, businesses must remain lodged in the consumer consciousness. But for hotels, this can be difficult as guests do not take home with them a concrete item that reminds them of the hotel brand. Instead, hotels deal in the least tangible of goods I can imagine:
What hotels truly are selling to consumers is the memory of standing on a balcony watching the waves of the Pacific Ocean, the novelty of walking a few blocks to the Eiffel Tower or the experience of a ski-in-ski-out resort. But after the guest leaves the hotel property and returns home, the hotel is limited to the memories and pictures that were captured by the guest.
These photos, however, are valuable marketing assets for hotels.
With the proliferation of social media, particularly within the travel industry, marketers now have the opportunity to share these guest experiences en masse. Take a look at any hotel brand’s Instagram handle. Whether Marriott, Hyatt, Wyndham or a boutique hotel, each brand constantly posts pictures of the different experiences they offer.
But what’s most important for hotel marketers — especially in the digital age — is to recognize that these experiences are dynamically different. And the profiles of those interested in these moments are likewise dissimilar based on the travel experience they are seeking.
That’s where marketing attribution can be enormously advantageous for hotel marketers.
Through attribution, hotel brands can understand the value of the reach of these social efforts and determine whether the investments made here have the payback required in terms of room nights and revenues. Furthermore, the hotel marketer can understand how different forms of social investments — and even specific campaigns within different networks — have fundamentally different ROI characteristics.
Take a ski-in and ski-out hotel, for example. In order to derive the largest return on investment, the Ritz-Carlton in Aspen will want to employ both “top down” and “bottom up” analyses through which it can evaluate its efforts. The “top down” method will help marketers at parent company Marriott determine which among its advertising channels work best.
In promoting a particular property Marriott might find that Instagram is the channel that leads to more reservations being made at that specific Ritz-Carlton property. The same analytics might tell the company that it is best served promoting the Bonvoy rewards program through banner ads and pay-per-click campaigns.
The “bottom up” method allows marketers to look at the value of specific campaigns. That promotion of an image of the Ritz-Carlton Aspen property? This method will indicate whether or not that cost of the promotion of a specific post, ad buy or pay-per-click ad is delivering the necessary return on investment. So, in the example we’ve been using, the hotel chain might identify that they are better served promoting a post to a different audience. Or, perhaps, one that even more specifically identifies their target customer for the property.
But these strategies are only effective when employing them in conjunction with agile marketing practices. Meaning: hotel marketers must shift their ad spend based on the analysis marketing attribution provides them. Modern marketing insights are actionable, which allows executives to change strategies midstream. The same approach can be applied to traditional media such as TV, terrestrial radio, OOH and print. Modern, agile marketing measurement methods can work just as well for traditional campaigns as they do for digital ones.
All of which equates to higher return on investment.
Attribution combined with the technique of agile marketing is sure to help hotel brands execute better advertising campaigns, target marketing appropriately and determine the precise mix of all digital and traditional media to maximize the total return on the entire marketing budget. Now that’s a moment.
Matt Voda is CEO at OptiMine Software, a leader in Cloud-based cross-channel marketing analytics and optimization. He joined the company from United Health Group, where he led consumer marketing and analytics within the $40B Optum division, developing and deploying sophisticated analytics-driven approaches to yield significant gains in consumer engagement and ROI. Matt also spent 11 years at Digital River as VP of Product Management, helping develop the world’s first cloud-based e-commerce platform.