The Smart Hotelier's Guide to 2015 Digital Marketing Budget Planning

By Max Starkov President & CEO, Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Inc | October 05, 2014

Co-authored by Mariana Mechoso Safer, Senior Vice President, Marketing at HeBS Digital

The 2015 Budgeting Season Is Already Here!

The season for digital marketing reflection is here. As an industry we reflect on the performance of this year’s initiatives, forecast next year’s performance, and look ahead to the big ideas and proven initiatives that will generate increased online revenue opportunities. Hoteliers, we’ve quickly found ourselves in the midst of budgeting season.

Similar to this year, 2015 is expected to be another year that sees growth in all 3 key metrics for the U.S. hotel industry. By the end of 2014, the industry is predicted to have seen increases in occupancy (1.4%), ADR (4.2%), and RevPAR (5.7%). In 2015, occupancy is expected to increase 0.6 percent to 63.5 percent, ADR by 4.3 percent to US$119.93 and RevPAR by 4.9 percent to US $76.13. Demand is expected to grow 2.2 percent, supply by 1.6 percent (STR and Tourism Economics).

Capturing increased demand, shifting share from the OTAs to the property website, and bringing in higher ROIs takes a smart digital marketing strategy. Hoteliers that underspend in digital marketing and underestimate the sheer volume of consumers researching and booking online will continue to lose market share to their competitors and the OTAs.

This article outlines how to structure your budget so that you can shift more bookings to the direct online channel, better utilize your marketing dollars by increasing campaign effectiveness, and generate the highest returns possible from your property website and digital marketing initiatives.

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Coming up in July 2018...

Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.