Is Traditional Media in Hospitality Dead?

By Noah Parks Vice President Digital Marketing, LeadGenix | November 17, 2013

The State of Marketing and Advertising

One of the biggest differences between traditional and digital advertising is the delivery mode. In traditional advertising we have always served up the advertising message that we want the consumer to ingest. Digital, on the other hand, is very much an on-demand type of information seeking. The customer is proactively searching out information about our brands and products, making decisions based on the information that is readily available to them. Rather than sit back and wait to be spoon-fed information and brand messaging, consumers go online and research the brand and peers' experiences. The customer is actively looking for others' opinions and formulate their own based on the information they were able to find, or couldn't find, through a variety of digital outlets.

Many advertisers wonder which basket to put their marketing eggs in but the answer to that question is a little more complex. We first must know a few things about our consumers. What avenue are they using to engage us from? What type of device are they on? Are we optimized for that device? What types of engagement do they favor? What's their average spend? These are all questions we should and must know the answer to if we want to properly allocate every marketing dollar. For example, in a typical 24-hour day, women spend almost 11 hours connected to technology while men are just above ten. Of items purchased on US retail sites between April 2011 and March 2012, the average purchase price of items by iPad users was $53, as compared to $24 for all other mobile devices, and $22 on PC's and laptops. In short, what the data shows us is that even though the iPad segment of the market is much smaller, the number of users nearly double each year, tablet click share is outpacing smartphones, and they are far more qualified buyers than the remainder of the segment.

Although overall marketing budgets are still growing, digital is far outpacing all other forms of advertising and eating away at the market share of traditional outlets. Digital can expect growth of around 30% in the coming few years as opposed to about 5 to 6% for other forms of traditional advertising. While digital strengthens its' grasp on the marketplace, television remains as popular as ever and exhibits that we have truly become a multitasking society. As it applies to Hospitality and Travel, the average travel party brings four web-connected devices with them, and roughly half browse the web, post photos and updates, and find local activities using these devices.

As marketers and sales organizations, the first question we ask is "How can we leverage this to our advantage?" While it's true that we have extremely connected customers, it is also safe to assume that their attention is incredibly divided. Marketers compete on a far broader and much more accessible and competitive playing field. Our customers have come to expect an "on demand" flow of information and if we do not have a consistent presence, pricing, and message, we may leave a confused and disenfranchised consumer in our wake.

Digital marketing is eating into the market share of traditional though we don't expect it to bypass traditional anytime soon. While most forms of traditional advertising will likely be flat or experience a slight decline, Television can expect consistent spends and growth as a percentage of overall ad spend.

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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.