A panel of HSMAI subject matter experts at the 2012 International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show lead a lively discussion about the definition of digital marketing, how to develop a strategy, and how to allocate your resources against that strategy in a session called “How to Divvy Up Your Digital Marketing Resources: A Practical Guide for Allocating Your Resources.”
At the 2012 International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show , the conversation about digital marketing took front and center stage at the Javits Center in New York City. A panel of HSMAI subject matter experts lead a lively discussion about the definition of digital marketing, how to develop a strategy, and how to allocate your resources against that strategy in a session called "How to Divvy Up Your Digital Marketing Resources: A Practical Guide for Allocating Your Resources." The panel was moderated by HSMAI President & CEO Bob Gilbert
Digital marketing was defined by Holly Zoba of Signature Worldwide as the use of internet connected devices to engage a customer with online advertising in order to promote products or services. She defined connected devices to include web browsers, smartphones, and game consoles. The goal is to find, get, and keep customers.
Zoba noted that consumer behavior continues to change with each screen (TV, PC, mobile, and tablet) and there are numerous companies and individuals who think they can guide hotels into a smart strategy. She noted that individuals you can trust are ones who have achieved the new HSMAI Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer designation. Individuals who have achieved this certification have been validated as understanding the competencies of:
- Website management
- Search engine optimization
- Search engine marketing
- Social media
- Public relations
- Local and proximity marketing
- Online travel agencies
- Review sites
- Audio visual and rich media
Cindy Estis Green of Kalibri Labs and the co-author of the Distribution Channel Analysis report published earlier this year by the HSMAI Foundation reminded attendees that hotels will continue to search for methods to steal share from competitors and that changing consumers are changing the game of distribution. The distribution landscape today has a complicated matrix of gatekeepers, toll booths and opportunities for traffic but each portal has a revenue and channel cost for hotels. It is critical that hotels have a digital strategy that includes:
- Optimal channel mix
- Marketing efficiency objectives
- Attribution models
- Audit by channel
- Content audit
- Competitive analysis
- Performance metrics
Caution of misguided ad spend was provided by Max Starkov of HeBS Digital. He noted that digital marketing budgets should have three critical components and that benchmarking surveys done of HeBS clients reflect the following digital budget allocation ranges:
- Capital investment, consulting, and operations (25-30% of budget)
- Core marketing initiatives (60-70% of budget)
- Business need campaigns (15-25% of budget)
Capital investment, consulting, and operations include the design of the hotel primary website and content management system. He noted that today it is also vital to design mobile and tablet sites. Hotels also need to allocate resources for online channel review & consulting in addition to website operations and analytics.
Core marketing initiatives are key and should include SEO, SEM, review site management, and remarketing and retargeting consumers who may have visited a hotel website but not booked.
Business need digital marketing is vital to tackle specific occupancy need periods, key customer segments, and address seasonality issues of the hotel or resort.
While a lot more time could have spent on any one of these topics, the session proved to be an excellent briefing for hoteliers on how to understand digital marketing, development a strategy, and allocation resources effectively.
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