Oct 2016

Digital Marketing Strategies

Any hotelier will agree that simple promotions are no longer sufficient to increase occupancy rates.

Why the sudden change?

Well, it’s not sudden. We’ve been seeing a major shift in the digital marketing strategies used by the hospitality industry in Asia for quite some time now. These strategies have one thing in common: they all place the customer at the forefront.

Why the focus on customer-centric strategies?

According to a Google study, online hotel bookings in Southeast Asia are projected to increase from $6.6 billion in 2015 to $36.4 billion by 2025.

So the customer base is only growing. But as a marketer in the hospitality industry, are you investing in customer-centric digital marketing strategies to take advantage of this?

Don’t worry if you aren’t. We’re here to help!

This article takes you through three current and relevant digital marketing strategies – programmatic media buying, marketing automation and analytics – and gives you examples of how leading hotels have increased their revenue through these strategies.

1) Target the right customers in the right place with programmatic buying

What is programmatic media buying?

Programmatic media buying refers to the automated process of buying media spaces through artificial intelligence and real-time bidding.

What’s in it for me?

The aim of such ad space buying is to show relevant ads to the right target audience group, at the right time and the right place. The placement happens in a split second as the bidding takes place while the website page is loading. The system takes care of your marketing goals, KPIs, and makes a predictive analysis at the outset to understand what’s working and what’s not.

How’s that for low-effort, high-effect marketing?

How did the Intercontinental Hotel Group gain market share from online travel agents?

The Intercontinental Hotel Group discovered that guests booked rooms from OTA (Online Travel Agent) websites because they were simply getting better deals there.

How to lure customers away from the OTAs?

Programmatic media buying was the answer.  

The hotel ran a programmatic media buying campaign where a web banner ad with the option of “book direct price” appeared every time a potential customer searched for a particular hotel.

As a result, customers saw the best deals on the ad itself, and were motivated to visit the hotel’s website (and not that of an OTA).

2) Give the right customers the right messages with marketing automation

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is a buzzword in the digital marketing world. In simple terms, it refers to the process of automating marketing messages. The content and the context play vital roles in tailoring the messages according to the audience groups.

What’s in it for me?

Imagine that you own a spa. Sending a message saying “Remember that massage at our award-winning spa? Come stay with us again and receive a complimentary appointment” to previous guests works better than a generic message like “Book now and receive a complimentary appointment at our award-winning spa!” Personalised marketing nurtures more leads.

Don’t own a spa? No problem! Customer-targeted marketing will always help you see higher ROI.

How did the Seven Days hotel increase its customer loyalty?

The boutique hotel Seven Days implemented an email marketing campaign where it provided relevant information to its guests at every stage of the consumer cycle.

To potential customers who hadn’t made a booking yet, its messages focused on why they should book a stay at the boutique hotel.

For customers who had already made bookings, the hotel provided additional information to make their stay a great one.

And for customers who had already stayed at the hotel, it sent messages requesting guest reviews and reasons to visit again.

The result?

According to Active Campaign, highly targeted email communications allowed Seven Days to stay at the top-of-mind of both their potential and existing customers. It has now successfully positioned itself as a leading boutique hotel in Prague.  


3) Understand what your customers like (and don’t like!) with analytics

What is analytics?

Simply put, a free software like Google Analytics can help you analyze what works for your hotel and what doesn’t

What’s in it for me?

Analyzing your campaigns helps you create great experiences for your guests and generate a strong word-of-mouth culture around your hotel. In order to capture the top-of-mind space of customers, hoteliers need to dive deep into consumer insights. For example, big data and analytics can help you understand the cuisines that visitors enjoy. Analytics can also tie your programmatic and automation efforts together.

How did Red Roof Inn increase its business by 10%?

Red Roof Inn realized the importance of having a number of hotels near the major airports when 90,000 passengers, who got stranded every day due to cancellation of flights in the winter of 2013-14, used mobile searches to look for accommodation nearby. The hotel launched a campaign targeting mobile users in the affected areas, which increased their business by 10%.

So, what’s the bottom line?

Well, the scope of these digital marketing strategies is not limited to the hospitality industry. Be it the aviation, well-being or real estate market, several brands have improved their share-of-voice in their respective markets by investing in these strategies.

Want to know more about how to use programmatic buying, marketing automation and analytics for your business? Luckily, we have a comprehensive whitepaper to help you do just that.

Want to start implementing these digital marketing strategies to accelerate your business growth? Drop us a line at [email protected] and let’s get started!

Rittika Das
Rittika Das

Analytics Consultant, meticulous and adventurous 🧗‍♀️

At work, she is one of the strategic consultants for data and analytics projects and ensures that the delivery is always results-driven 📊

Outside of work, she runs her own cooking channel on Youtube showcasing Bengali recipes 🥘 every week, exploring new restaurants🍴, learning new yoga asana 🧘🏻‍♀️ and reading Historical/ Mythological Fictions 📚