Practicing Digital Promoflex - Don't Lock it in

By Ron Caughlin Senior Vice President Brand & Digital Strategy, RadonicRodgers Strategy+ | February 12, 2017

When accessing and converting potential guests to your hotel, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns or Social Media Marketing. The most valuable tool you have in the battle for Google's favor should be the ability to evolve, I like to call this "Digital Promoflex" in today's marketing environment. We all know, just like in chess, we need a plan in order to play a decent game.

This is exactly the same premise in digital and social media marketing. In order to determine what kind of channels to target your audience, we must have some general idea what our goals are and what we are trying to accomplish from a marketing perspective.

Consistently following a plan is crucial to success, yet at the same time maintaining flexibility and the ability to learn and adjust is critical in today's fluid Travel & Tourism space. The plan is not the State of the Union, rather it is like a living and breathing organism, that adapts and changes with environmental and market conditions.

I can remember a time when marketing plans were set in stone. Back in the day, we thought we were measuring our success and making changes to reflect market conditions. We actually had a term for this called - Promoflex. This meant we would watch how campaigns and global world events were affecting bookings and sales results, and then respond accordingly by changing campaign offers, reducing room prices and even shifting media channels six months into the plan. We thought this was a fast and flexible way to respond. Actually, traditional media and national networks would only give you a 30-day period to make a change or cancel a campaign, which made it difficult to change the plan. In today's digital landscape, the environment has vastly changed how we market and react. Your efforts therefore need, and can be, much more flexible. There is no absolute way to predict how your campaign will respond. Digital media channels allow flexibility and give you the ability to make changes mid-course. This is what I like to call – Digital Promoflex.

Of course, Digital Promoflex is not easy and can be a painful process at times. You may have a great idea that you thought would break sales records. Yet you may have to let go of something you had hoped would be successful, but in the end, was not. Monitoring and paying attention to your campaign will give you the ability to respond to your online marketing and re-consider the overall messaging, imagery, offering and channels you are using. Your plan isn't finished until the campaign period is over and you have started to craft a new one all over again.

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.