Sponsored article: Digital marketing: why, how and how much does it cost?

Often, hoteliers say they are confronted with a wide disparity of offers and prices for the creation or redesign of their website. Already, the problem is posed.
The hotelier expects to make or re-brand his web site while the agencies propose a sales device whose website is only an element of the ecosystem, essential but which, on its own, will not be able to not impact on the Hotelier’s CA.
Indeed, new players are particularly aggressive on the digital (Airbnb, O.T.A, comparators …). They design an advanced customer acquisition strategy whose website is just one of the many ways to get there! These actors are precursors, dare to innovate and devote an important budget to original marketing solutions. And why not you ?

According to a study by Coach Omnium at the end of 2013 and the Committee for the modernization of the French hotel and tourism industry, I quote, “a lack of knowledge of good business practices and hotel marketing and few promotional means mobilized”. They therefore advocate “Developing an active and innovative marketing” in order to boost the commercialization of establishments.

Since 2010, we have seen a hotel bankruptcy filing per day (Coach Omnium sources). There is an urgent need to change mentalities and postures: to act rather than to suffer, to undertake rather than to manage.

When redesigning a website, the hotelier must ask himself 3 essential questions before asking “Which provider to choose? “.

The very first one has to deal with the “why”, then approach the “how” and finally answer the most pragmatic question of “how much”.

1. “What is my marketing strategy and goals? ”
2. “What products and services are needed to succeed in my strategy and the achievement of my objectives? ”
3. “Do I have the budget to implement my strategy and achieve my goals? ”


4. “Which provider to choose? ”

1. “What is my marketing strategy and goals? ”
Everything is possible but it is important to clarify its problem before expressing its needs to an agency: acquisition, loyalty, sales, image, new products, marketing actions before / during & after the stay of my prospect / customer etc …

To set your strategy and objectives, it is necessary to make an observation of its past and present marketing actions, to understand the evolution of the market and the new stakes of the sector of the hotel industry, to have an exhaustive view of your needs , to set its priorities etc …

Some examples of problems:
– Generate a maximum of lead via the official website
– (Re) take the lead on your online sales strategy to decrease the OTA channel to promote direct sales without commission
– Your site exists but it does not perform well: to review its functionalities, to try to improve its conversion rate (revision of the user interface, new booking engine …)
– A simple need for webmarketing actions for more visibility, design regular Adwords campaigns to defend your brand and place it in top first page on Google
– Refocusing its site from Flash to html responsive web design to get mobile and tablet compatibility (small aside: if we look like the “mobile first” tomorrow is “mobile only”)
– You have redone the whole of your establishment: to make known the new positioning and its new value proposition
– I want a solution to maximize my additional sales
– etc …

Now let us address the second question:

2. “What products and services are needed to meet my strategy and objectives? ”
Very often, without a determined strategy, the hotelier “imposes” each time the creation of a website, once in two the inclusion of a booking engine and once every three a natural referencing action to give visibility to its brand new website.
Lucky, as with roulette, this may suffice but I find it risky to mortgage his turn on the least expensive bet. It is the permanence of your good business that is at stake.

In a particularly competitive area (cities, mountains, sea, major tourist areas …), the marketing ecosystem will have to be enriched with innovative devices to maximize the conversion rate and increase the turnover with its official website.

Depending on the strategy and objectives clearly identified, the first brick marketing that represents the website can be added …

of action emailing
of an e-reputation management system
a mobile application e-concierge
animation of her Facebook page
of setting up a blog
of a system of re-marketing (management of the abandoned)
of a proactive action on the community of webinfluencers
of a management income software system
etc …

Finally, there is creation of site and … creation of site. I am convinced that the creation of the site will require services and expertise with high added values to guarantee an optimal conversion rate (TC).
For example, when the agency engages in a reflection about the user experience (UX and UI), we can see that 80% of the buyers who book do so at the first visit. Next, the UX guides user interface design (UI) to align the utility and usability of the site interface with the observed uses of hotel site users (any PC, tablet, and mobile device) .
Choosing a pre-programmed solution will never be able to compete, in terms of R.O.I, with a tailor-made solution.

3. “Do I have the budget to implement my strategy and achieve my goals? ”
If you’ve read this article so far, you’ve figured out that without clear strategy you’ll be spending money for a device with random performance.
So I suggest investing (not spending) for an effective solution that best meets your brand new online marketing strategy.

In order to determine a budget for its communication, you will find a way of thinking with Emmanuelle GEBHARDT on www.marketingpourpme.org (http://oua.be/1un0).

I quote, “In B to C, the Marketing / Communication budget generally represents +/- 10% of the turnover of the product line concerned”.
In hotels and restaurants, we are not at such proportions but investing 2 to 5% of its turnover should be considered, in an entrepreneurial position.
In my opinion, 3 to 4% investment per year allows you to get a real return on investment from your marketing strategy and give you the means to face this aggressive and borderless competition.
Investing is also keeping the lead (you are the boss) on marketing your business. 1% of investment only guarantees you a survival under infusion or a placing under tutelage of the commercialization of your establishment with an O.T.A. powerful.

4. “Which provider to choose? ”
Once your budget is set, analyze the proposals of the providers in detail and in light of the proposed tariff.

If prices range from free (wix.com) to 15,000 euros a year, each product and service corresponds to a different level of “value proposition”.
It is about the same thing between the offer of a hotel room with 1 star and that of 4 stars, the “value proposition” is different. It is not only quantitative (more services) but also qualitative. For example, your customer’s experience of freshly squeezed orange juice is very different from a pasteurized juice. Yet it remains an orange juice. In this example, true orange juice is an investment in customer loyalty while a pasteurized orange juice is a line of expense re-invoiced to the customer. This is the stake of the French hotel industry, in the vigilance of details.

Let us take the case of an independent hotel that has a turnover of 350K per year. Here are the possible options:
1 – It spends 3 to 4000 euros and acts of presence in line with a degree of service “industrialized” and part made at home … Here, waste of time and money because the solution does not generate CA.

2 – It delegates full digital marketing to Booking with a medium-long win / lose result. Let us assume that Booking brings back 60% of its turnover and that the hotelier reverses 17% commission. In total, “his rent” will cost him 35,700 euros over the year and he will have seen nearly half of his customers disappear from his CRM.

3 – The winning hypothesis: the hotel owner favors direct sales without commission, invests between 10,500 and 17,500 euros per year in its official online marketing strategy and monitors the return on investment throughout the year.
This commission-free direct sale option is perfectly compatible with the availability of overnight stays on other sales channels (intermediaries, O.T.A., comparators …). The rule of thumb is to keep control of the marketing of its business and to remain the owner of its CRM.

To conclude, today the hotelier must adopt an entrepreneurial position in order to face competition, rely on a clear strategy and well-defined objectives, be proactive in investing in innovative webmarketing solutions.
Above all, do not give in to the songs of the sirens because you would lose your client heritage to the benefit of a powerful international “donor”.