The Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Digital Marketing Partner

By Max Starkov President & CEO, Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Inc | July 27, 2014

Co-author Mariana Mechoso Safer is Senior Vice President, Marketing at HeBS Digital

Any hotel that has a high revenue-generating website and a strong digital marketing strategy that drives direct online bookings needs a great hotel digital marketing agency behind it.

It's challenging to find a good digital marketing partner these days. As more and more companies join the market as 'experts in hotel website design and digital marketing,' hoteliers are faced with a difficult decision. With serious revenues at stake, here are some questions to consider when deciding on who to partner with, or whether or not to stay with your current agency:

1. Do you consider yourself my property's digital marketing partner or vendor?

To achieve the highest long-term success rate, the hotelier-agency relationship must be based on trust and the client's best interests must be at the heart of everything the agency does. What does it mean to be a partner vs. a vendor?

  • Your digital marketing agency consistently offers proactive recommendations vs. simply "taking orders." Is your agency just an "order-taking" outfit or do they come up with consistent recommendations on how to tackle your occupancy, seasonal and other business needs? If you find yourself making all the effort to communicate with your agency first, you are working with a vendor.
  • Your digital marketing agency is an extension of your property's sales and marketing team. Are your agency's recommendations based on what's best for your property's business

    needs and what will generate the highest ROAS (Return-on-ad-spend)? Or are these recommendations based on how high a commission the agency receives? You'll need to do your research to find this out.

  • Your agency's company values are aligned with your values. If your partner has not identified any brand values, it has not clearly positioned itself in the marketplace. A team that stands behind its values strives to provide excellent customer service and produces better results for its clients. Aligned goals build authenticity and trust between a digital marketing agency and its clients.
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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.