Digital marketing to help independent hotels prosper during the financial crisis


Independent hotels will prosper during the financial crisis if they invest wisely in digital marketing strategies, a London-based marketing agency has predicted.

The Big Agency the recently launched digital agency from Great Hotels Organization, which is family of brands that include Great Hotels of the World and Special Hotels of the World. By acknowledging that each hotel has a different set of marketing requirements, Great Hotels Organization allows its member hotels to choose from a comprehensive collection of sales and marketing initiatives in order to build their own ‘à la carte’ membership program tailored to meet their individual objectives.

The Internet has emerged as the leading platform for travel and hotel sales, and is now the most important distribution and marketing channel in the industry. By the end of 2010, over 45 percent of all hotel bookings will be completed online. All major hotel brands already generate in excess of 40 percent of the bookings via their brand website. Therefore, it makes sense for independent hoteliers to invest in this fast-growing sector and accentuate their online strategies to survive in a struggling economy.

As the economic slowdown takes hold, independent hotels in particular need to understand the power of digital marketing.

“In this difficult economic climate, digital marketing continues to record impressive growth,” Lilou Mace, managing director of the Big Agency, said. “Independent hoteliers need to focus on upgrading their website design, back-end systems, booking engines and implementing online strategies in order to survive the financial crisis and increase sales.”

But, what exactly is “digital marketing?” Digital marketing is the practice of promoting products and services using digital distribution channels to reach consumers in a timely, relevant, personal and cost-effective manner. Over the past few years, digital marketing has become a mainstream marketing channel and is considered to be one of the most important distribution and marketing channels in the hospitality industry.

“Many hoteliers have not yet introduced this new strategy into their marketing mix,” the London-based marketing agency added. “These days a Web site alone is not enough – it is important to place investment in integrated comprehensive marketing strategies such as Pay Per Click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and user-generated content (UGC) – all of which are key to being tactical in the run-up to a recession.”

“The added benefit of most digital marketing tools is that they are measurable,” added Mace. “You can measure your return on investment (ROI) easily and accurately and the return for online marketing spending is faster than almost any other method of marketing.”