The Early Years – offline marketing
Before I started my own SEO & Internet marketing company I worked in the hotel business for over 20 years and latterly up until 2003 in the marketing of hotels.¬† One of my tasks was to source associations, organisations and companies such as Visit Scotland, the AA, Best Loved Hotels – that would work to raise the profile of the hotel whilst generating enquiries that would create bookings.
In order to merit the annual fees these sources had to generate business and it was a difficult task ensuring that each enquiry/booking could be attributed to a referring source. The correct processes and procedures had to be in place in order to ensure that all enquiries were sourced correctly – and human error played it’s part to muddy the waters!
In the early years most of the associative marketing activities were done offline but as time has gone on this has changed and online marketing has become the key business driver of any hotel or accommodation provider – gone too are the days of large budgets available to hotels in an ever more competitive market.
Online Marketing – taking control
Most (if not all!) hotels and accommodation providers have websites and many have taken control of their own online marketing.¬† Arguably cheaper and more effective than offline (traditional marketing) many have sought the help of companies like ours who understand their industry and can provide effective SEO (search engine optimisation) in order to achieve good search engine rankings and stay competitive within their market sector.
Whatever the activity, whoever provides the service and whoever your business is listed with online – all must be able to be measured in terms of what business through enquiries and bookings is being generated.
Many of the services purchased in the pursuit of effective online marketing are ‘untried’, you will have only heard about their ability and effectiveness to generate business – whether through recommendation or word of mouth.
Measuring Online Success – ROI (return on investment)
You must be in a position whereby you can make an informed decision as to the ongoing validity of continuing to use a particular online marketing service and for this you must be able to measure its success – each must pay its way!
If I pay company ¬£X /year to be listed on company Y’s website and it generates ¬£Z in business, my ROI is ABC%
In part 2 | How to – measure your online marketing efforts