Digital Marketing Reporting for Hotels
I had just made the transition from property management into marketing. My first role with GCommerce was a search marketing specialist. I was hired into a highly principled organization, focusing on competitive advantages for our clients and ensuring our digital strategies drove traffic to client websites. My first client was a 600+ property brand that had just hired GCommerce for paid search marketing. Reporting on individual property campaigns was an ever present concern.
It was 2005 and still considered the wild west with digital ad placement. Google had launched an early version of Adwords a couple years prior, and we could still place ads on Overture before they rebranded to Yahoo! Search Marketing. If you wanted to monitor how many “hits” your website received, you would install Urchin. We were all using Windows XP….I’m dating myself.
As a marketing agency on the forefront of digital advertising, reporting data was problematic. Emerging platforms meant we needed to shift gears in what data was available at the moment. Technologies were so new that many hoteliers didn’t understand the data or how to shift strategies, so much of our time was educating ourselves and our clients. And to top it off, reporting was labor intensive due to data fragmentation. It was a mess and client satisfaction suffered.
Looking back during those early days in digital marketing, many would say we’ve come a long way. Advances in ad placement has become more accessible with infinite targeting options. It seems every ad platform has a reporting tool that allows the advertiser to manipulate KPI’s for consumption. New technologies continue to emerge that track user behavior and drive the consumer closer to conversion. Algorithms are applied, patterns emerge, and then optimized through machine learning. As hoteliers, we’re certainly smarter and have intelligent tools at our disposal.
But within these pillars of advancement, we still encounter fundamental issues with our data and how we report marketing initiatives.
- There’s more data than hotels know what to do with. Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, email data, Google Analytics, local search data, Metasearch, CRS data and more. There’s a lot of noise and placing that data into a month end report is exhausting. And hotels are exhausted trying to consume all that data within one report.
- It’s troubling to see month-end reports. Marketing strategies and tactics don’t start/stop because the date changes. Historically we’re used to receiving data in the early days of each month, for the previous month’s activity. That’s great if you’re looking to justify your actions. But hotels need more data frequency to remain on top of campaign performance, rate fluctuations, and overall trends.
- Countless marketing agencies provide the same report for each hotel regardless of their clients’ objectives. This is like a restaurant serving the same single dish to all their customers. Sure, it’s efficient and it may be fun for a meal, but unless all your customers want that dish, you’re bound to miss the mark.
Travel will surge back to life in the coming months. Hotels will reopen. Budgets will increase. And new marketing agencies will be hired to lead strategies post pandemic. In your evaluation for a new agency partner, here are a few questions I would ask regarding their reporting practices:
- Do they have a client portal to login 24/7? If not, how frequently do they provide reporting?
- Is their reporting centralized or will you receive several reports ?
- Do they have an “overview” report that is customized to your objectives?
- Can you filter or sort your data within their reporting?
Hoteliers deserve better. Better data, better reports, and better insights. Reach out to our team if you're ready to upgrade your digital marketing reporting.