More often than not, hotels and traditional travel companies are confronted with how to allocate the marketing dollars. I would estimate that most companies in the travel industry think of offline marketing initiatives. The main reason for this line of thought derives from the fact that the travel industry still is a very traditional industry; a relationship driven industry where suppliers (tour operators) and products (hotels, cruises, inbound tour operators) place great value on knowing whom they are dealing with.
In many instances, when marketing a product, there is more emphasis placed on the suppliers, disregarding targeting the passengers (the end client) that are going to stay at their properties or on their ships. This is a big factor in why marketing still is viewed in terms of offline initiatives.
As competition increased in the marketplace and consumers became a focal point, online marketing seemed to be a viable alternative. However, most travel companies are confronted with an obstacle – their inability to come up with additional dollars for their online initiatives.
Below are some areas for travel companies to think about trimming in order to enable them to come up with the Budget to do SEO and PPC:
- FAM (Familiarization) trips: FAM trips are meant to familiarize (as the name implies) suppliers with the products they are promoting. Unfortunately, in many cases, they forget this is the objective and send staff members more as a reward of motivation rather than for the actual purpose, thus adding very little value, wasting time and money for both the hotel and the supplier. It is not unusual to see an accountant, A/P or financial analyst being sent to fulfill this purpose.
- Marketing Contribution / Support: Monies out of pocket or in exchange of room nights for a third party to do marketing initiatives is very often the shortest way to throwing your money away.
- Brochure Contribution: You are already paying commissions of some sort, but do you also have to pay for inclusion in every trade brochure? Review whether your ROI is positive in most cases and adjust accordingly.
- Business Listings / Directories: Analyze whether there is a need to be in every possible business listing or directory.
- Road Shows and Workshops: There is a tendency to participate in every road show or workshop available. It is easy to single out if it is necessary to train or pay a visit to business partners with whom you are constantly in touch
- Industry Trade Shows: Not all shows are created equal. Do the math and figure out how many clients (and business) you have obtained in the past 4 shows you have attended and decide which shows you should focus on.
- Membership Fees / Associations Fees: Because of the relationship based nature of the industry, companies tend to want to belong to every imaginable association. Some of them don’t garner any benefits.
- Printed Media Adverts: Granted that niche publication will deliver better results than general publication, advertising is often expensive and hard to measure ROI.
I am confident that any travel companies that closely look at the aforementioned areas can come up with some marketing dollars for SEO and PPC. I am as equally confident that going through that process and investing in digital marketing can forever change the course of their business. If you have any further questions, please contact us today!