Hotel Deals On Paid Search: Sitelink vs. Promo Extensions

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Limited-time offers are essential to any hotel marketing strategy, but promoting them can be complicated. There are so many options that it can be challenging to find the best approach, especially when it comes to paid search. 

This is especially true when it comes to Google Ads extensions. GCommerce has seen great success with both sitelinks and promotions for hotel deals, but we have yet to crown one extension type as superior. So let’s figure it out once and for all - Are sitelink or promotion extensions better for promoting limited-time hotel deals?

Our Google Ads Optimization Test

This test compared the efficacy of sitelink and promotion extensions when marketing limited-time hotel deals. If you’re unfamiliar with these extension types, see our full guide on Google Ads extensions for background on their format, strengths, and limitations.

We gathered data from 13 deals across Google Ads accounts for 9 boutique hotels in the United States. The content of each deal varied, covering percent discounts, convenience packages, unique experiences, and more. 

Each of the 13 deals ranged from a few days to a few months in length, taking place at various times throughout the year. For each individual offer, though, sitelink and promotion extensions ran simultaneously for the duration of the deal. 

All extensions were added to both Brand and Market (non-Brand) Terms campaigns using single keyword ad groups. In addition, each hotel’s Google Ads account also ran non-deal extensions during the test period, though competition with other extensions was fairly even between sitelinks and promotions.

The Results

This chart combines data from all 13 hotel deals. 

When combined, promotion extensions outperform sitelinks in all but cost per conversion and conversion rate. 

This is also supported when looking at results by individual deal. In this chart, the listed extension type performed better for a given Key Performance Indicator (KPI), with “Tie” indicating that the difference between extensions types was less than 5%.

In both cases, promotion extensions are the clear winner for most KPIs. They offer higher awareness, better CTR, and more total interactions than sitelink extensions. 

However, sitelinks do edge out promotions in conversion rate and cost per conversion, which is something to consider. If your hotel is running on a limited budget and values conversions over clicks, sitelinks may be the better option. 

Takeaways

Promotion extensions are great at driving awareness for hotel deals and should be incorporated into your hotel’s marketing strategy. They’re a valuable Google Ads optimization tool, and adding them to your hotel’s campaigns is a great way to reach future guests.

However, this test also proves the value of sitelink extensions. They’re never too far behind promotion extensions in terms of performance and do have the edge when it comes to conversion efficiency. There’s also something to be said for their unique extension properties, such as the ability to add a description with more details on a hotel deal. 

When possible, we highly suggest using both sitelink and promotion extensions to market hotel deals. They both add value to an account, especially for hotels with multiple priority KPIs. A good mix of extensions will create a good mix of results, making a diverse optimization strategy the most effective.

For more hotel marketing tips, check out the rest of our digital marketing blog.

Google Ads Extensions: Hotel Basics

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What are Google Ads Extensions?

Google Ads extensions (now known as Associations) are optional add-ons for your hotel’s paid search advertisements. Extensions give you more space to add information about your hotel, often opening up unique messaging opportunities that aren’t available with standard ad copy. 

Google Ads extensions occasionally show alongside the ads in your campaign, their placement dependent on extension type, search query, user history, and other algorithmic factors. There is no guarantee that a given extension will show, nor is there any way to force them to appear. However, they can still be a powerful addition to your hotel’s paid search account. 

There are a number of extension types, and all are a great way to call out highlights of your hotel and entice users to convert. Below, I’ve gone into detail on some of the most common Google Ads extension types for hotels. Google offers more extension options than what I’ve listed, but these are the most relevant and efficient extension types when trying to attract hotel room bookings.

Google Ads Extension Types For Hotels

Each Google Ads extension type serves a different purpose, with unique strengths and limitations. When used right though, every extension type listed here has the potential to boost ad performance and increase key performance indicators. Below, we’ve provided a brief overview on each type with the most potential for hotel paid search, to help you get started with Google Ads extensions.

Sitelink

Sitelink extensions allow you to add multiple page links to your ad, occasionally with a short description of what each page contains.

Strengths

Sitelinks can be a great way to drive traffic to specific pages on your website, since they are prominently displayed with your ads. Sitelinks may also increase clickthrough rate, by offering multiple topic options to provide more relevant information and help users navigate your site quickly.

Restrictions

Character Restrictions

  • Link Text: Max 25
  • Description line 1: Max 35 
  • Description line 2: Max 35

Other Restrictions

  • Link Text must be unique from other sitelinks
  • URL must be unique from other sitelinks
  • URL must match domain of the ad

Appearance

On desktop, sitelinks may display with a 2-line description to add more context. Sitelinks will never appear with just 1 description line.

Callout

Callout extensions are short additions that highlight key features or perks about your hotel.

Strengths

Callouts are a great way to emphasize key benefits of a stay at your hotel, without taking space away from your ad.

Restrictions

Character Restrictions

  • Callout Text: Max 25

Appearance

Callouts will display the same way on mobile and desktop, added to the end of your ad and formatted like standard ad copy.

Structured Snippet

Structured snippet extensions consist of a header and a static list of values relating to the header topic.

Strengths

Like callouts, structured snippets are a way to highlight hotel advantages without taking up ad space. However, they have the added benefit of organizing these advantages under a specific topic.

Restrictions

Character Restrictions

  • Value Text: Max 25

Relevant Header Types

  • Amenities
  • Destinations
  • Featured Hotels
  • Neighborhoods

Other Restrictions

  • Up to 10 values per extension
  • Headers can repeat, but values can not

Appearance

Structured snippets will show up the same way on mobile and desktop, added to the end of your ad and formatted like standard ad copy. 

When a structured snippet extension does show, all values will show in the same order you choose when setting up the extension.

Call

Call extensions add your phone number to an ad.

Strengths

Calls make it easy for users to contact your hotel, increasing the likelihood that they follow through. This is especially helpful if your hotel’s paid search account tracks phone calls as a conversion. 

Restrictions

Other Restrictions

  • Must be verified by Google
  • Must be accurate and current

Appearance

Calls will appear differently on mobile and desktop. 

However, the number will always be displayed with whatever formatting you choose at extension setup. In this example, we opted for something other than the traditional (XXX) XXX-XXXX format.

Promotion

Promotion extensions highlight monetary deals at your hotel.

Strengths

Promotions are an easy way to call out exclusive offers and persuade customers to book with you instead of your competition.

Restrictions

Character Restrictions

  • Text: Max 20

Format Options

  • $ off [text]
  • % off [text]
  • Up to $ off [text]
  • Up to % off [text]

Appearance

Promotions will appear differently on mobile and desktop, but will always follow the ad. 

In this example, “Valet Parking” was the text.

Using Google Ads Extensions

Overall, Google Ads extensions are an efficient way to highlight benefits of your hotel without distracting from your core message. They’re a great way to grab the attention of customers, and can even increase clicks, conversions, and other key performance indicators when used correctly. They’re easy to set up, and don’t take much effort to maintain due to their simplicity. 

So what are you waiting for?

Learn more about Google Ads extensions by contacting GCommerce Solutions below, and get started today.

Google Ads Vs Google Hotel Ads: Do You Need Both?

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Did you know that 2023 marks the 23rd anniversary of Google Ads? 🤯 Ad revenue now contributes 80% of Alphabet’s revenue and last year that totaled around $54 billion. Over the past 20+ years Google paid search has become an almost guaranteed budget line item for pretty much every business that is looking to advertise, reach customers, and drive revenue. Chances are, your hotel has been a loyal customer of this ad type for years. But did you know there’s a type of Google search ad that is helping hotel’s drive 5%+ of total website revenue that can’t be accessed via the standard keyword focused Google paid search campaign type? 

If you’ve been a loyal Google paid search advertiser all these years and you’re not running Google Hotel Ads via metasearch advertising then you’re losing out on a very large portion of the Google hotel search ecosystem. One that could be driving a substantial amount of direct revenue for your hotel. One that the OTAs have been using to STEAL MARKET SHARE the past 10+ years. 

A Brief Overview of Google Hotel Ads

Did you know the first ideation of Google Hotel Ads technically launched back in 2010? Up until 2018, hotel inventory partners running these sponsored placements had to manage them in a completely separate platform from Google Ads. When Google moved Hotel Ads into the Google Ads platform in 2018, it made it easier for advertisers to manage alongside their standard keyword based paid search campaigns. The caveat though, is that in order to run these Google Hotel Ads placements the hotel advertiser still has to rely on a Google connectivity partner to feed rates/inventory into a separate campaign type.

To clarify, just because you are running Google paid search, doesn’t mean you are live on Google Hotel Ads.

How are Google Hotel Ads Different Than Google Paid Search Ads?

There are quite a number of differences between Google Hotel Ads and Google Paid Search Ads. Understanding these differences will help you navigate between the Google search ecosystem for hotels and set your hotel up for success by best utilizing these different campaign types.

  1. Google Hotel Ads require a direct feed to your hotel’s (or an OTA’s) rates and inventory

Unlike Google paid search campaigns, Google Hotel Ads require a direct feed to your hotel’s rates and inventory via your CRS or booking engine. A huge factor in hotel ads campaigns quality score comes down to the accuracy of the price in your feed to the price that is shown on the booking engine landing page. Since these rates and inventory fluctuate constantly based on your inventory and revenue management, it’s a requirement by Google that there is a feed in place to keep your campaigns updated with the latest rates and inventory information. You also must use a Google technology partner that offers the ability to connect your hotel’s rates and inventory to Google Ads. This list is limited but can include booking engine/CRS companies as well as technology providers such as WIHP and Derbysoft.

  1. Google Hotel Ads appear in different places in Google’s search ecosystem

Let’s look at some examples of where Google Hotel Ads and Google Paid Search Ads appear within Google Search.

Google Hotel Ads can be found under the knowledge panel in the main search engine results page (SERP), within Google’s travel planner and within Google Maps/Local Map Packs. 

Google Hotel Ads in Knowledge Panel on SERP Shown Below:

Google Hotel Ads in Google’s Travel Planner Shown Below:

Google Hotel Ads in Google Maps Shown Below:

Google Paid Search Ad placements only appear within the Google SERP at the top and sometimes bottom of the page: (unless you are opting to advertise on Google’s Search Partner Network then they can appear on a number of other sites OR if you’re participating in local search campaigns that can appear on Maps)

Google Paid Search ads in Google’s SERP Shown Below:

  1. Google Hotel Ads campaign types don’t use keywords for targeting

Unlike standard Paid Search campaigns, there is no keyword targeting option associated with Google Hotel Ads campaigns. You’re limited to geographic targeting, some different bid modifier options and 1st part audience targeting options.

  1. Google Hotel Ads campaigns can’t utilize Google’s in-market and affinity audiences

One feature that Google has enhanced within Google Ads over the years (to compete with Facebook audience targeting) is a robust list of in-market and affinity audiences. These audiences group users together that have shown intent to be in-market to purchase something (like travel to San Diego) or have an affinity (like for outdoor sports) based on their online behavior. While Google paid search campaigns allow you to target or exclude in-market, affinity and 1st party audiences (website visitors, customer database lists), Google Hotel Ads only give you the option to target/exclude your 1st party audience lists.

There are workarounds on using 3rd party data providers as audience lists but they must be imported as a 1st party audience type. Our hope is that this changes in the future but for now it’s limited.  

  1. Google Hotel Ads has different bid modifier options

Google Hotel Ads offers bid modifications on different segments than standard paid search campaigns. Since it’s specific to hotel accommodations inventory searches bid modifiers in Google Hotel ads campaigns includes:

  1. Geo-Location
  2. Device
  3. Length of Stay
  4. Check-in day of week
  5. Date Type
  6. Advance booking window
  7. Audience lists
  8. Check-in date

Out of the above list, the only overlaps with Google Paid Search Ads are geo-location, device and audience lists

  1. Google Hotel Ad types contain different content

As you can tell from the screenshots in #2 above, visually Google Hotel Ads and Google Paid Search ad types contain different content. The components of a Google Hotel Ad are different than a Google Paid Search Ad.

Google Hotel Ads contain:

  • Rates/Prices
  • Call Outs for Marketing Messaging (via Call out Extension) 
    • The example below for Camelot Inn & Suites shows Family Friendly and Scooter Rentals for the official site ad and Free Cancellation for the OTA ads
  • Room Type Bundles (sometimes)
    • Sometimes, if Google decides and you’re in the top position they will show room type bundles with different room types/rates

Google Hotel Ad example:

Google paid search ad components that are most applicable to hotels include:

  • Headlines
  • Descriptions
  • Display URL
  • Extensions that can include
    • Image (seen below)
    • Sitelinks (seen below)
    • Promotions
    • Structured Snippets (amenities list)
    • Call outs (same as seen in hotel ads)
    • Location
    • Call
    • Lead form

Google Paid Search Ad example:

  1. Google Hotel Ads uses a completely different quality score rating system

Google Ads quality score is what all great account structures are built around. It is the holy grail of optimization. For keyword based Google paid search campaigns quality score is calculated based on 3 components: Expected click through rate (CTR), Ad relevance and landing page experience. Improve your scores in these three areas and the reward is lower CPCs. When you are limited on budget, it’s imperative to have it go as far as possible and by lowering CPCs and driving more clicks you’re giving your client more clicks with chances for more conversions.

Google Hotel Ads relies on different components for quality score rating. Price accuracy and price competitiveness factor into Google quality score calculation for Google hotel ads. Price accuracy comes down to making sure the rates and inventory feed from your booking engine/CRS to Google ads is as accurate as possible. If the rate shown in the ad doesn’t match the rate shown on the booking engine landing page then your price accuracy score will be negatively impacted. If Google continues to see issues with price accuracy, you risk your hotel ads campaigns being turned off. The other piece is price competitiveness. The less competitive your price is compared to OTAs, the more it will cost you for the same placements. Parity is important for all direct booking strategies but takes center stage in Google Hotel Ads.

How Can I Tell if My Hotel is using Google Hotel Ads?

Not sure if your hotel is currently using Google Hotel Ads? I recommend reaching out to your digital marketing agency or booking engine/CRS to inquire. Not all searches for your hotel will show an “official site” Google Hotel Ad, even if your hotel is currently live on Google Hotel Ads. This comes down to impression share and optimization focus. Not all impressions are created equal and you want to optimize your campaigns to prioritize impressions to those more likely to convert. You can go to your hotel’s listing in Google Travel Planner to try and view your official site ad. If you do see it, it will show with the default Google Hotel Ads green icon or preferably, your hotel’s own logo. 

Should my hotel be advertising with both Google ads campaigns and Google Hotel ads campaigns?

The answer is Yes! If your hotel isn’t present on both Google Hotel Ads and Google Paid Search Ads then you’re missing out a huge opportunity to drive more direct bookings for your hotel. If you’re not advertising here, the OTAs already are and they are capturing the wealth of bookings that are driven from these campaigns. Participating with both of these campaign types also makes sure you are visible throughout the Google ecosystem where travelers are searching for hotel accommodations.

Do you have questions on how you can get started with either Google Hotel Ads or Google Paid Search Ads? Reach out to one of the GCommerce experts today for a consultation.

How To Build Your Hotel’s Brand Story

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If a customer asked what your hotel’s story was, would your response include things such as a number of accolades, the year the hotel was built, or a number of high-profile guests? 

Or, does your hotel’s story incorporate the customers that visit you every day, how they find you, and how you make their vacation unforgettable?

For years, our company’s stories have involved details about our history, who makes the decisions, and the thread count of our sheets. As community marketing changes to become more and more integral to a brand’s success, redefining our stories and the way we present them transforms alongside it.

First, we’ll start with redefining the focus of your story. Instead of placing your hotel at the center of the story, we’ll start with the customer. When we start with the customer, we begin to redefine the way we write facebook posts, talk to guests, and talk internally about the experiences we provide customers. By putting the customer at the center of your story, customers begin to see that your property cares about them and their experience first, over your own long standing history. Who is your customer? Why do they really visit your hotel?

Next, any good story involves a journey, or a problem to fix. In the “Bee Movie”, that problem was the theft of honey by humans. For your hotel, the challenge might be to find a secluded place that doesn’t feel all that different from home, even when your guest is all the way across the country from family. When defining your customer’s journey, think about the stories you’ve heard from customers, the things that have pleasantly surprised them, and the things that most often get talked about in reviews. These things are often insights into the true reason a customer visited you, and what problem you solved for them.

Finally, your main character needs a way to solve their problem. That’s where you and your brand come in - as the guide that shows them the way to where they need to go. As a guide, it’s your job to prove that you have the skills and experience to take the customer to the place they want to end up. Proving this reputability comes in the form of all the things we touched on in the first place – things like years of service, your fundamental advantages (LTSCAs), and accolades.

Through your expertise, you can now provide your customers with the roadmap to get to where they want to go, via booking a room at your hotel, calling to speak with reservation staff, or begin to browse room types and amenities. Providing this pathway gives your customers a clear direction to solve the problems they came to your hotel to fix in the first place – but now they feel as if they’re the center of your story and have a guide to take them to where they want to be.

How does this actually look in practice? It can be as simple as a rearranging of the words and concepts you use. Consider this example:

“Built in 1903 and a winner of multiple awards, our hotel is uniquely situated to provide a historic, yet luxurious getaway where you will feel your needs are not just met, but exceeded.”

“On your journey to find a hotel where your needs are not just met, but exceeded, our hotel’s 100-year history and reputation for service make us your only option for the getaway you truly deserve.”

Not only does this change of mind give a new lens to write material externally, but it also gives us an opportunity to redefine the way we talk about our customers and story internally as well. When customer-facing staff understand more about your brand’s story through the lens of the customer and your role in helping them arrive at their destination, it can help change the way our employees see their role. 

By putting the customer first, we prioritize our connection with them and build long-lasting relationships that form the foundation of our community and drive our growth.

Not sure where you should start to define your hotel’s story? GCommerce is standing by to help guide you through this journey.

[E-Book] A Crash Course To TikTok Ads

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Have you been wondering about how to start advertising on TikTok and what your options are?

If so, then our recently released E-Book: A Crash Course To TikTok Ads, is just what you need. Inside, you'll find comprehensive answers to your questions.

View the full Ebook here.

Celebrating Women in Leadership at GCommerce

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March is International Women’s Month, with International Women’s Day being celebrated on March 8th. With a company makeup where 51% identify as female and are led by numerous women, March is an important month for us. To celebrate the occasion, we collaborated with four female leaders in the company to learn from their experiences and perspectives on what being a female leader is all about.

Lindley Cotton, President

What are the benefits of having women in leadership?

Is there a downside? 🙂

For a long time, women have had to walk the very fine line of showing confidence, but still being deferential to the men in the room. Women have had to put up with so much and navigate the most impossible situations - sexism, objectification, imposter syndrome, working mom guilt - and frankly, it’s only made us more badass. Women’s voices and leadership are so incredibly critical to an organization’s success. From seeing a business challenge through a different lens to being highly empathetic leaders, women should have more seats at the table. 

Representation is another benefit. We need more women at the top. Not only so women can do what they do best, but also to encourage young women to pursue their dreams and aspirations. Women just starting out in their careers want to see someone like them in C-suite positions. It’s inspiring and it’s a catalyst for innovation.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

You don’t have to know everything. Try to approach every situation with curiosity and an open mind. Many women struggle with imposter syndrome (myself included) and you just have to remember that being a leader isn’t about being all-knowing. You should be actively seeking out opportunities to grow and learn every day, which will help you become a more emphatic and well-rounded leader in the future. 

Also, seek out mentors. I’ve had several over the years all of which helped me grow different skill sets. A lot of times you naturally find mentors but don’t be afraid to speak up and ask someone to help coach you if you know they have expertise in an area that you’re looking to grow. 

Have you ever felt imposter syndrome and how do you overcome it?

Oh yes. Between becoming president of a company at 35 years old and being a female who is following in the footsteps of some really brilliant, talented men, I have felt imposter syndrome many times. “Can I do what they did?” and “Is my best good enough?” are questions I’ve asked myself over and over the last few years. What I always eventually come back to is that I don’t have to do what anyone else did previously. I simply have to lead in a way that is authentic to me. I play into my own strengths and chip away at my weaknesses.

And I won’t always get it right, but that’s okay because being a leader isn’t about always making the right decisions. To me, leadership is about putting the best people around you and activating all of their talents in order to reach your goals. You can’t do it alone and so when I start to doubt myself I lean into my team and remember that, together, we’ve got this.

What has been the most rewarding part of being a woman in leadership?

Promoting the growth of others around me. I’ve been so fortunate to have a community of mentors and friends that pushed me, coached me, and helped me get to where I am today that I cherish the moments when I get to pay that forward. Being in a leadership role isn’t a walk in the park - there can be some really dark, challenging days. And then you’ll have a 1-1 with a team member and you’ll see all of their passion and hunger for growth and it reignites your own passion. You realize “I get to help this individual reach their goals and achieve their dreams.” Holy cow, what an honor. Every day I have the opportunity to positively impact someone’s career and it really is a privilege. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a team member hit their stride. 

Lisa McGivney, Director of Marketing

How did you get started in your career to land where you are today?

I graduated from the University of Miami in May of 2007 and entered the job search during a really tough time at the start of a major recession. It took me a while to find my first entry-level role. Fortunately, another amazing female ally in my life, my best friend Marissa Palmer, had just moved to Park City, Utah from Miami and reached out to me regarding a marketing specialist role at an agency she was working for, which was GCommerce. Our Founder Scott van Hartesvelt interviewed me over the phone, offered me the role and I loaded all of my stuff in my car and drove across the country from Miami to Utah in the dead of winter. A quick shout out to Scott (and all hiring managers) who give a chance to people just starting out/with no experience. 

How do you balance your career, personal life, and passions? 

I think this is one of the hardest things to do well. As a mom of two young girls with a demanding leadership role, it’s easy to put yourself last. It’s also easy to feel guilty no matter which part you’re prioritizing at the time. Luckily I work at a company that has always championed a work/life balance, encouraging taking time off and traveling (we work in travel, so I think we all share that passion). I also have a great partner at home that encourages/pushes me to prioritize getting out on the slopes and finding time for myself. Setting boundaries and not letting work take over time set aside for your personal life and passions is really important. 

Have you ever felt imposter syndrome and how do you overcome it?

Yes! I would say imposter syndrome is something I continue to battle and I don’t think it will ever go away completely. Over the years I think I’ve tried to overcompensate or overcome it by pushing myself to always be learning, and pushing myself to be the best at what I do. Even then, it doesn’t solve those feelings. As I’ve progressed in my career, at every level I still feel doubt in myself. Luckily I’ve had people in my personal and professional life that continue to lift me up and have believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Over the years I’ve come to realize that everyone out there is just “winging it” and it’s okay not to know everything - no one does and just because you don’t know something (yet) doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be where you are today.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

The advice I would give to the next generation of female leaders is to be yourself and to protect the boundaries that you feel are important. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and advocate for others. This has taken me the longest to learn and become comfortable with. I would also say, if you’re in the right place and working for the right people then they will respect your boundaries, celebrate your successes, and lift you up to your highest potential. I was lucky enough to find that right out of college, at GCommerce. If you haven’t found that place yet, don’t settle - keep searching. The right company/culture fit is really important and you shouldn’t have to put up with a place that doesn’t value you.

Erin Fischer, Marketing Manager

Did you have a female mentor at some point in your career? How important do you think female mentorship is?

I’ve had several female mentors over the years, and they’ve all impacted and shaped my life in different ways. My first mentor was Amy McNeill. She hired me as her summer intern when I was in college and completely took me under her wing from day one. Because of her, I had a solid foundation in marketing after that summer, a job throughout my senior year, and a permanent role when I graduated. She championed me both at our old company and new, as she was the one who later pulled me into GCommerce after we went our separate ways for a couple of years. Amy had me join important meetings, sit in on calls to learn the ropes, and always gave me a seat at the table. She definitely became a person I felt safe coming to with anything and I’m really grateful that my first professional experience out of college, and for many years after, was with someone who gave me every opportunity to grow and prove myself.

Two other female mentors in my life were here at GCommerce as well, Lindley Cotton and Lisa McGivney. Lindley was my first boss at GCommerce, and the first woman I’d personally worked with to be in such a high leadership position. That kind of thing really stands out to someone who came from two previous “boy’s club” companies. Later during some company transitions I came to report to Lisa when she took over the marketing department. The first thing I admired about her was how incredibly smart she is. It always blows me away how much knowledge she possesses and how willing she is to share it and help others succeed. Throughout our relationship over the years, she’s driven me to become a more thoughtful leader and has been an incredible person to work with and look up to.

Female mentorship might seem small, but often it gives other women the start that their career needs. I owe everything to the women who have built me up in my life and it’s my hope that I can now pay it forward and help champion other women.

Have you ever felt imposter syndrome and how do you overcome it?

Only every day! In fact, I dare you to find any woman in any professional setting that doesn’t experience imposter syndrome. It’s a tough thing to go through periods of doubt in your career. The thoughts of “Am I good enough?” “Did I really earn this?” “Am I even qualified to make these decisions?” can be incredibly daunting and it seems that the thoughts only get stronger as one progresses in their career. 

However, I think it’s important to remember that we wouldn’t be where we are today if we weren’t qualified. We as women work hard(er) to get where we are in life, both professionally and personally. When these doubts start to creep up I always remind myself that I earned my spot. I’ve worked to get here and will continue to do the work to move forward. Sometimes it’s easier said than done of course, in which case you take it one day at a time. No one will ever be perfect, and sometimes we get it wrong. In fact, how can we grow if we don’t get it wrong from time to time? Imposter syndrome will always be there, but building up your own self-confidence is the best weapon we have available. 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve personally faced as a woman in leadership? How did you overcome it?

Everyone faces challenges in their professional careers, but as women, we also face a unique set of challenges and obstacles that still sadly exist, even in 2023. It’s unfortunate to say that over the years (even before I was in leadership) I’ve had to experience multiple bouts of patronizing, overt sexism, and an array of uncomfortable and even humiliating situations. Yet I’m still here, and if it’s taught me anything it’s that there is still so much work to be done. These situations can make you feel so small and unworthy and oftentimes had me doubt if I was even on the right path. But each time my skin got thicker and my resolve stronger. I don’t want the future generations to endure these types of challenges, so I’ll continue to stand up for myself and others and understand that this work is still relevant and important.

Of course, I’d be remiss to not mention that despite some lackluster experiences, the majority of men I’ve gotten to work with professionally have been nothing but supportive and uplifting in every way a colleague should be. I’ve had male mentors champion me in the same way my female ones have, whether it was standing up for me in times of need or simply having my back. The world is not a hopeless place and I choose to believe in humanity.

What are the benefits of having women in leadership?

I think through all of our stories listed above it appears very clearly how important it is to have women in leadership. Women truly build each other up and create common ground for the challenges we can face in the workplace. They can oftentimes provide a different perspective rooted in the balancing act and understand the different facets of issues people face daily.

But more than that, I think the biggest benefit to having women in leadership from my personal experiences is the hope it brings. Seeing women in leadership roles will automatically inspire the next generations and show that it’s possible. Representation matters, and not just for gender, but for all minorities. As I said earlier, the smallest things can sometimes have the biggest impacts.

Cathryn Sandoval, Senior Customer Success Manager + Operations Supervisor

How did you get started in your career to land where you are today?

In the Spring of 2014, me and 3 of my best girlfriends packed our bags and headed from Flagstaff, Arizona to Park City, Utah. We had just graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management and were eager to start working. We all landed our first “big girl jobs” at the iconic Forbes 5-Star Montage Hotel in Deer Valley. We were terrified to leave what had become home at NAU, but rallied together and we haven’t looked back since! I truly would not have made it through my first winter (or any winter at this point) without these resilient ladies by my side. 

As you can imagine, hotel operations is a rewarding, yet grueling career. This led me to find GCommerce, a company where I could still work with hotels, and fulfill my passion for hospitality and travel while sustaining a healthy work-life balance. I had zero digital marketing experience and I will be forever grateful to Amy McNeil and Lindley Cotton for taking a chance on me and fostering growth in my marketing career. 

Did you have a female mentor at some point in your career? 

It was at Montage where I had the pleasure of meeting and working with my first female mentor, Jennifer Maloney. Jennifer created a welcoming work environment where her empathy and resilience taught me to develop a thick skin, a killer work ethic, and confidence, which was so important as I was just starting my career. 

Jennifer taught me so many lessons, but most importantly, because of her, I learned to speak up for myself and what is right, push for a seat at the table, and advocate for others. 

I am now extremely lucky to say that I am surrounded by incredibly smart and hard-working females every day, not only at GCommerce, but with the clients, I work with, too. Shoutout to the badass ladies of Boston Harbor Hotel, Balboa Bay Resort & The Hermitage Hotel who have completely female-led marketing teams! 

What has been the most rewarding part of being a woman in leadership?

Although I am still settling into my new role as Operations Supervisor, I am excited for the opportunity to make a positive impact on my team and the entire organization. I look forward to mentoring and empowering the incredibly talented women on my teams and continuing to break through gender barriers. 

As you can see the women of GCommerce work extremely hard to not only support each other and every team member but also the future generations that will come next. Thank you to Lindley, Lisa, Erin, and Cathryn for providing such insightful commentary and helping to navigate the future of women in business.

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