Publicising your hotel business online can be a difficult task, particularly if you have no background in marketing and aren’t sure where to start. That’s why there has been a proliferation in recent years of companies offering to do it for you.For a monthly or annual fee, a hotel marketing agency will provide you with their expertise and hopefully improve your public image to the extent that you achieve many more bookings.
As a result, the company you choose could play a large part in your financial success. However, with this boom in the numbers of hotel marketing agencies, how can you see through the hype and ensure you get one that really will work for you and is suitable for your business? After all, hotel publicity is constantly evolving and the technology that is making it possible is moving on too.
It’s essential to make sure that the firm you select has their finger on the pulse and is going to navigate the marketing landscape with you. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the criteria you might want to keep in mind when you’re shopping around for a hotel marketing agency.
- They should be specialised every industry needs marketing and some companies don’t have particular specialisms; they will simply promote whatever business comes their way. However, it’s a good idea to select a marketing agency that has experience in the hospitality industry, as it can be a very different beast to, say retail. This will mean they know your industry inside out and can hit the ground running with solutions and tailored proposals that fit with your needs specifically. Having professionals with this level of specialism can really help you to stand out among the competition, as they may have already worked with some of the biggest names in the business.
- Look for references most people now check out online reviews when they buy products online, so why should hotel marketing agencies be any different? It’s important to take the time to research company websites and read through their online portfolios. Who have they worked for previously, and what have the results been? If details aren’t forthcoming on the website, don’t be afraid to contact past clients and ask for references. Make sure the firm is responsive, good to work with and able to deliver the results you’re looking for.
- They should ask you about your goals you don’t want a company that’s just going to take your request for business and run with it; they should talk to you in detail about what you really want to achieve from the partnership, whether that’s better global turnover or an improved social media presence. Once they have these details, they can take them away and build a whole strategy around your specific requirements.
- Research should go both ways not only should you have done your research about the marketing agency, but they should also take the time to learn about you. They need to know everything about your hotel in order to market it, so a full audit of all your data and your physical buildings is vital.
- They should bombard you with questions once your hotel marketing agency representatives have done the research they want to do, they should follow it up even further with additional questions to flesh it out. Expect to be quizzed on booking rates, occupancy rates, busy periods, bounce rates and more. They’re not trying to bug you, but to build up a precise picture of your current and past situations in order to improve on your future.
- You should be given a specific timeline once the research stage has passed, you should be given a timeline for how long the agency expects goals to take to achieve. For example, after 30 days, they might hope to have your social media managed and planned for the future, then your blog and website perfected after 60 days. If you’re unsure about the project length, always ask for a timeline.
- They should be proactive once your marketing strategy is in place, your hotel marketing agency’s role doesn’t stall. They should instead be proactive and keep tabs on what’s going on with your website and social media, flagging up any issues as they appear. It shouldn’t be your job to find problems that are affecting your revenue and report them, but vice versa.
- They should be visible and accountable your marketing agency shouldn’t operate under a cloak of mystery, but should instead be transparent about what they’re doing. Expect to be given access to databases and software that provides information on customer traffic, booking rates and all the other details you need to calculate return on investment. You should be able to track everything you spend on them and translate it into everything they’re doing.
- Don’t expect cheap services everyone knows the old adage that you get what you pay for, so beware agencies offering services at rock-bottom rates. A lot of work should go into a full and thorough marketing plan, so you should expect to pay accordingly for professionals to do this. Obviously, you need to operate within your budget, but remember that costs can balance out in the long run if you’re getting results that are 100 per cent better than before.
For more information about digital marketing and distribution solutions for hoteliers, by hoteliers, check out World Hotel Marketing. We can offer bespoke digital marketing plans and tools including booking engines and revenue management software at great rates. Why not see what we can do for you?