A few weeks ago, I did some work with a well-branded hotel located in a not so well-branded destination. The challenge posed to me was the return on the organization’s online marketing investment. Low clicks, low conversions, non-existent ROI. Was it the creative, the offer, the content? Maybe, it was all three.
The primary message delivered in the initial ad was a great weekend rate, at a very nice hotel in a not so great destination. Now, let’s not take the destination to task. The more we dug, the more we found fun and exciting things to see and do. And, one lesson that I have learned from my past experience, travelers will venture into new and uncertain places where unique opportunities await. So, we started with making some changes in the ad content. We decided that the best option would be to theme the offer around specific activities available in the city that were fresh and exciting - then we introduced the pricing.
Next, we spruced up the landing page, incorporating photos of the event/attraction with like-people enjoying these activities. We also added links on the page that were directed to the event/attraction web site. After all the selling was complete on the landing page, we presented the offer and call to action. To date, we are seeing a 31% increase from the initial campaign in click throughs from the ads to the landing page. The organization has also seen an increase in click throughs from the landing page to the reservations engine. All of this was a result of changing the primary focus of the message from the hotel specific rate to a promotion that was centered on an event/attraction.
Another interesting case study – with very similar methodology – is noted here. Enter Grandlife – a New York City guide for creative locals and guests of the Soho Grand and Tribeca Grand Hotels. A web site and monthly e-newsletter done by the hotels, but promoting the destination – first! What a concept! This is unique in many ways:
- It breaks the hotel/resort industry mentality that people are traveling to the hotel first – destination second. We all know it is common sense and there are only a few places where you travel to stay at a hotel, but as you saw in my earlier example, it is a reality.
- It is real progressive thinking – especially for being a unique, boutique hotel in top-tier destination. The Soho and Tribeca Grand are two of those few hotels on a list of hip Manhattan must stays, but they are not resting on their laurels. They are using an effective strategy to stay top of mind with the consumer.
- Fresh, monthly content utilized in more places than one. Not only are they distributing this content via an e-newsletter, but with the GrandLife site they are also providing the search engine bots with new, keyword dense content that fits very well into the algorithms and raises page rankings.
The results are better-educated consumers who are more familiar with the travel product and additional avenues to reach new consumers. As a hotel, this may be an approach to consider for future marketing and sales promotions. It works well alone, in partnership with sister hotels in the same destination or in co-operation with the local DMO web site.