More hoteliers view online marketing favorably

WORLDWIDE Hoteliers increasingly consider online marketing and social media as critical components of a successful promotional strategy, according to the fourth annual Benchmark Survey on Hotel Internet Marketing Strategies conducted by Hospitality eBusiness Strategies and New York University.

As expected, the economic environment prevailed as a factor when planning marketing budgets in 2010. Even so, hoteliers continued to shift budgets from offline to online marketing formats, with 51.1% of respondents saying they are shifting a portion of their budgets to online because they believe Internet marketing produces the best results. Only 10% of respondents believe that traditional marketing is more effective.

Year after year, more and more hoteliers are engaging in social media. More than half of respondents planned to create profiles on social networks in 2010, a dramatic increase over 2009, when only 145 planned to enter social media for business.

Popularity of mobile marketing is growing more slowly, however, with barely one in four hoteliers saying they planned to launch a mobile-ready website in 2010.

A majority of hoteliers continue to believe that “the fundamentals” of online marketing produce the highest return-on-investment: website optimizations (70%), website redesign (61.7%), search engine optimization (58.3%) and email marketing (48.3%) were most popular, followed by paid search and banner advertising. 

HeBS and NYU invite hoteliers to participate in the 2011 marketing survey, which takes approximately eight to 10 minutes to complete. Participants will be sent a copy of the full results. General managers, revenue managers, sales and marketing managers, e-commerce managers and professionals at hotels, resorts, hotel management companies and hotel chains are eligible to participate.