Ten Practical Online Marketing Tips

By Blake Suggs Account Director & Integration Specialist, Range Online Media | January 27, 2012

I'm going to get this out of the way: I wish I could read, let alone write, an article that did not in some way mention the recession. Unfortunately, I'm a firm believer in keeping one's head out of the sand, and as such, I have to be honest: the leisure market is having a bit of a lean time. It's not dead by any means, but it is definitely taking it easy for a while. I may be understating a larger problem, but while travel bookings are not what they were a year ago, people are still going on vacations. In other words, the recession is impacting the travel industry, but it is far from spelling the end. While we wait for things to pick up, I have compiled a list of tips to help keep your campaigns profitable until your customers can afford to splurge again.

1. Focus on Sales and Best Value Offerings

When planning your campaigns, remember that the propensity to book varies depending on both the type of travel and the time of the year. In order to weather the gloom of an uncertain economic forecast, focus your efforts on capturing the sale and providing your customers the best value while the natural demand is highest. What this does for you is secures your profitability for later in the year, ensuring that your budgets go farther as a result of the search history you've built during the other parts of your fiscal year.

2. Know Your Keywords

Here's how you can capitalize on travel's seasonal advantages. The first tactic: know your keywords. By engaging in a little keyword research, you can streamline your spending on the terms you'll need the most when the year gets leaner as bookings drop off due to industry seasonality. Part of this research includes building out a list of negative keywords-in the quest for relevancy and search rankings, it's imperative that you identify and load negative keywords into your campaign in order to protect your brand and cut down on wasteful ad spend.

3. Restructure Your Marketing Campaigns

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.