10 Ways to Pick a Great Hotel Marketing Vendor

There’s no point sugar-coating it: hotel marketing is tough. It’s time-consuming, and it’s all too easy to slip behind the curve in this rapidly changing industry. The best weapon you can have at your side is a dependable, flexible marketing vendor that can be relied on to deliver ROI. The only hard part is actually finding such a partner. It’s not easy, but here are 10 great questions you should ask any candidate before putting ink on a contract.

  1. What’s your experience with hotels?

Hotels aren’t like other businesses. They require their own unique approach to digital marketing. A vendor without experience in the industry isn’t exactly doomed to failure, but they may not be your best choice.

  1. Are we getting DIY software, or implementation included?

Many vendors nowadays are little more than purveyors of software. For example, they may provide a content management system, and leave it to you to actually put something together with it. If your in-house team is up to the job, then this might work for you. If not, you may need a vendor that will provide more than just the basics.

  1. What kind of return can we expect?

The best marketing vendors can provide an ROI projection before signing a contract. If they can’t then perhaps you should be skeptical.

  1. How can we track ROI?

The most credible vendors can provide reliable tracking, along with regular reporting. If your vendor can’t, then it’s difficult to feel confident they will deliver.

  1. How will the campaign adapt?

An exceptional marketing partner can adjust campaigns seasonally, and adapt to the specific needs of your establishment. This is essential to keep your message fresh and vibrant.

  1. What will our booking engine look like?

A booking engine for your own website is utterly essential, as are tools like cookies to track and personalize the experience for every visitor.

  1. How many site visitors will book?

Many vendors simply promise to drive traffic, without securing bookings. Traffic means nothing if you’re not getting actual customers.

  1. How much revenue will be direct?

This question is crucial for assessing a vendor’s understanding of the need to prioritize direct bookings over OTAs.

  1. How many site visitors will use the booking engine?

An easy way to determine the quality of your traffic is to track how many visitors punch in a date search. The industry standard is between 25-40%. If you’re below that, you have a problem.

  1. What industry groups are you involved in?

A vendor with links to organizations like HFTP, HSMAI or AHLA has likely invested time into making their business optimized for hotel clients. This is a great sign that they could be the perfect fit for you.

A marketing vendor that can provide satisfactory answers to all of these questions may well be a diamond in the rough and is likely a good choice. However, anyone who stumbles at any of these questions should raise red flags.

Good luck!