Since “officially” entering the hospitality digital marketing universe in 2009 – first as a social media strategist and then evolving my scope of work by focusing on larger, integrated digital marketing initiatives – my roles have consistently required a keen analytical approach. If we rewind three years ago, the social space was convoluted by ROI skepticism, with the hotel marketing key decision makers ascertaining a titanic level of uncertainty over why truly their hotel(s) should invest in social, location or even digital marketing for that matter. As a result, those specifically who “championed” the social media investment, at the time, were tasked with finding ways to prove their worth as digital marketers, focusing on media impressions acquired and social reach metrics – whenever available – to validate their “successes” for the hotels.
In turn, I quickly evolved my approach as a social media strategist, who was initially concerned with the “soft” authenticity-building marketing benefits that social could achieve for your brand, and incorporated a layer of analytical reporting into each initiative I spearheaded. For example, each time I suggested investing in Facebook advertising spend, I first delivered a detailed one-pager of fan demographic data informing said initiative, accompanied by strategic objectives for the campaign(s) clearly defined, so that key stakeholders fully understood what they were trying to purposefully achieve.
Fast forward three years later and the hospitality digital marketing landscape has completely evolved. No longer are we, as digital advocates, pressured to persistently answer the question “is social media really worth investing in?” and now can focus on the more appropriate question of: “how do we leverage all of the digital channels available to optimize our hotel digital footprint and, more specifically, shift our distribution shares to that ideally sought after mix?” With this advancement in the space, possessing an analytical approach to the role has become all the more imperative. In 2012, I contend that the role of the hotel digital marketing and e-commerce professional is to – in collaboration with your property’s Directors of Sales & Marketing (DOSM), Revenue Management (DRM) and Public Relations (DPR) – identify, prioritize and action the digital marketing strategic initiatives with the highest ROI potential across multi-channels and platforms. With a well-reasoned approach, this challenge is not only achievable but, when carried out tactfully, can potentially yield a significant increase in optimal market share for your hotels.
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