Digital marketing budget should focus on direct online channel

Hoteliers’ 2012 digital marketing budgets need to focus on the direct online channel, which has grown 25% in the past four years, and reverse the trend of OTAs’ growing market share, according to an article by Max Starkov and Mariana Mechoso Safer of hotel internet marketing firm HeBS Digital.

Starkov and Safer noted that a hotel’s digital marketing budget should be a direct reflection of its sources of business and take into account its main distribution channels, main feeder markets and main customer segments. They recommended allocating the biggest shares of the 2012 digital marketing budget to search engine marketing (25%-30%), reporting that smart SEM marketers find their campaigns generate ROI greater than 1,500%, and website redesign and optimization (15%-25%), adding that any hotel website more than two years old needs to be retooled.

Other recent developments Starkov and Safer said hoteliers should consider when preparing their 2012 digital marketing budgets include:

  • Multi-channel marketing — utilizing the hotel website, email, social media, mobile and more — has become the norm and is the foundation for a smart direct online channel strategy.
  • Search engine optimization has changed and will continue to evolve thanks to Google Panda, the next evolution in Google search algorithms.
  • Next year will be another big year for mobile marketing, with Google projecting by 2012 18% of mobile users will also book from their smart device.

To read their complete analysis, click here.