If you’ve read our previous two installments in this series of articles (appearing in the previous two monthly newsletters), you’ll know that we’re attempting to make a case for hiring an agency to manage your hotel’s digital marketing. Of course we would—our business depends on it!
More than that, however, we’re hoping to share lessons from our experience working with hundreds of hotels, many of whom have attempted to manage or execute some aspect of their own digital marketing with limited success or outright failure. By fleshing out these case studies, we hope to illustrate how working with an agency like us can save you time, money and stress. And if nothing else, we hope to simply help you make a fully informed decision on the topic.
Last month, we looked at how in-house management of hotel SEO can often lead a property in the wrong direction, hurting rather than helping their organic search performance and leaving serious money on the table. This month, in this series’ final installment, we’ll look at a more nuts-and-bolts area of your digital marketing strategy—namely, your website and the knowledge and tools required to make that website perform at a high level.
The In-House Website Management Process
Your website is like a digital storefront: it’s the first thing people judge your property on before deciding to venture any further. And just like sweeping the sidewalk and cleaning the gutters of a real-life frontage, regular upkeep of your website is crucial.
It’s a common story where a property managing their own website will overlook the importance of vigilantly monitoring and maintaining it.
The consequences of missteps in this area can be significant. Take for example a hospitality company who came to us looking for SEO services but wanting to retain full control over their own website.
After several months of SEO efforts from our end, their in-house team made some updates to their website’s WordPress plugins. These updates had an unanticipated negative effect on how the site’s navigation displayed and how it cached user data. Many of the optimizations we had worked on together were lost in the process.
These costs are minor, however, when compared with the potential consequences of accessibility-focused lawsuits, which are increasingly common in certain regions. If your website does not take measures to accommodate users with disabilities, you’re a target for this kind of legal action.
And just like most other aspects of website management, maintaining functional accessibility requires ongoing updates in response to evolving ADA guidelines and alongside any edits you make to your site.
It’s common for a new client to approach us having been hit with an accessibility lawsuit and needing assurance it won’t happen again. We achieve this with a plan that aims to keep security and accessibility top of mind, addressing key aspects such as focus states, contrast ratios and semantic markup.
The In-House Knowledge Gap
Sometimes the most significant aspects of your digital marketing strategy are the ones you don’t know you’re missing—what a certain Secretary of Defense once called “unknown unknowns”.
This is where you can benefit from an agency’s breadth of data and experience: to identify unexpected opportunities for growth.
Here’s a great example: during the height of COVID-19 in 2020, many properties were struggling to attract travelers, including one of our US resort clients, who reached out to us for help.
Having access to large volumes of data from all over the country allowed us to identify trends in booking behaviour during this time, including certain geographic regions and demographics within similar markets that tended to have higher conversion rates.
Applying this knowledge to campaigns for the client, we were able to help them have one of their best years yet, in spite of the pandemic. They saw a 31.22% increase in reservation inquiries from paid search 2020 vs 2019—unimaginable for many hospitality businesses at that time.
What can also be especially valuable in working with a third-party, is that agency’s own third-party partnerships. For example, they may have access to exclusive tools and beta products from Google, or software platforms that can streamline the booking process for guests: tools and relationships that would be difficult or costly to forge on your own.
Having the right partner in any endeavor can complement your strengths, compensate for your weaknesses and help you accomplish things that simply aren’t possible alone. Imagine Lennon without Mccartney, Mulder without Scully or either of the Wrights without his brother. Take any great achievement: more often than not, collaboration was at its core. The same is especially true in a field as multi-faceted as digital marketing.
Of course we have a vested interest in convincing hotels to opt for a third-party marketing partner. But more than that, we have a vested interest in helping hotels succeed. What we observe time and again is that those properties who enlist the help of a qualified partner enjoy greater success, fewer headaches and more opportunities for long term growth than those who don’t.
If you enjoyed this blog and would like to work with us, please reach out to our Director of Sales, Linda, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the other posts in this series: