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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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February 18, 2018

8 Extraordinary Insights into Hospitality Marketing and Distribution: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

February 18, 2018 | By | No Comments

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8 Extraordinary Insights into Hospitality Marketing and Distribution: Image of couple checking into hotel¡Hola, Big Thinkers! No setup this week. Instead, we’re going to jump straight to this amazing list of 8 extraordinary insights into hospitality marketing and distribution. Enjoy:

  1. Phocuswire has a great look at Google, Airbnb and the evolving distribution landscape that you’ll definitely want to check out. I’d also recommend you review our past posts that explored why Airbnb keeps winning at hospitality and asked whether Airbnb is in the hospitality industry.
  2. While we’re on the topic of Airbnb, don’t miss this article from Deanna Ting at Skift that explains Airbnb’s upcoming launch of a new tier of select properties. Clearly, the company is getting involved more deeply into the overall travel marketing landscape, a topic we’ll talk about more in the next couple weeks here on Thinks.
  3. Shifting gears a bit, Hotel Online has an outstanding piece from  Dr. Meng-Mei Maggie Chen that breaks downmarketing trends in hospitality: from technology to niches and this look at 10 tremendous insights into the trends driving hotel digital marketing in 2018 from the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series. Lots of good stuff there, not to be missed.
  4. Speaking of technological changes affecting hospitality marketing, you’ll definitely want to read Tim Peter’s guest editorial at Hotel Executive that explains why, when it comes to technology, it’s not mobile first, it’s guest first. That editorial also represents an excellent companion piece to Hotel News Now’s Q&A with Tim all about what hoteliers must know about digital marketing. Really good read.
  5. AI clearly represents one of the biggest tech trends affecting hospitality marketing in 2018. No, seriously. Don’t miss this look at why AI will change hospitality marketing forever or this recent episode of the Thinks Out Loud podcast that asks, and answers, will this be the year of AI in digital marketing?
  6. Since we’re discussing AI, you might find these 9 posts featuring chatbots, AI and all the hospitality digital marketing trends of 2018 interesting.
  7. If all these changes scare you, we’d advise you to understand why that’s part of the new reality and that you can deal with it: digital makes marketing easier for everyone, which makes marketing harder for everyone. You might also appreciate this quick and dirty guide on how to keep up with technology as a marketer.
  8. Finally, let’s round-out this week’s look at 8 extraordinary insights into hospitality marketing and distribution with some personal news. You may have heard by now, but we’re thrilled to report that our founder and president Tim Peter has been named among HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds for 2017 and will receive the honor at this year’s Adrian Awards in just a few days. There’s still time to attend the ceremony if you’re interested. But look forward to a full report in the coming weeks.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including:

Tim Peter

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August 27, 2017

9 Popular Hotel Marketing and Distribution Posts for You: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

August 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

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9 Popular Hotel Marketing and Distribution Posts for You: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

Howdy, Big Thinkers! Hope you’ve had a delightful weekend. Let’s close out the weekend with a great set of 9 popular hotel marketing and distribution posts for you. Enjoy:

  1. Although it’s from a few months back, this list of 6 Quick Hotel Distribution and Digital Marketing Insights from the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series seems like a good way to kick things off.
  2. Why kick off that way? Well, according to Skift, “Hilton’s CEO Looks to Airbnb as Hedge Against Power of Expedia and Booking.com,” which just illustrates how much change the entire hotel distribution and marketing landscape is going through right now.
  3. For even more evidence, Tnooz says that “Airbnb Wants to Reinvent Every Aspect of Travel.” And that evidence suggests that Airbnb might just succeed.
  4. Of course, it’s also fair to ask now, “What Business Is Airbnb In? Hotels? Or Hospitality?” Worth a read.
  5. Shifting gears, Travelution says that “Hotels Must Get Social Media Savvy to Tap Into Younger Customers.” That’s true. But age isn’t the only factor that matters there.
  6. If you’re unsure how to start, We Are Social UK explains “How Travel Brands Can Benefit from Social, AI and Chatbots” for you.
  7. And if you’re unsure why you should start, I asked “Is Social a Waste of Time for Hotel Marketers?” not too long ago. The answer, of course, is “no.” But check out the whole post for the details.
  8. Speaking of social, this list of “7 Sensational Posts for Hospitality Marketers” has been burning up Twitter for the last week or so. Take a look to see why for yourself.
  9. Finally, to wrap up this week’s list of 9 popular hotel marketing and distribution posts for you in a nice little package, don’t miss this post that looks at “Hospitality Digital Marketing and Distribution: Is it Time to Give Up?”

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including:

Tim Peter

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August 1, 2017

8 Insights into OTA’s, Personalization and Your Overall Digital Strategy: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

August 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

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8 insights into OTA's, personalization and your overall digital strategy: Man reading the latest OTA and hospitality digital strategy insightsHey, Big Thinkers! Hope you’re having a fantastic day. Don’t miss these 8 insights into OTA’s, personalization and your overall digital strategy as you gear up for the rest of the week, OK? Enjoy:

  1. There’s been a lot of discussion the last couple of weeks around the current OTA vs. hotel brand dust-ups. First, Hotel Marketing published a pair of pieces that claim “New Research Shows OTA Consolidation Harms Consumers” and “OTA Bookings Linked to Lower Guest Satisfaction.”
  2. Tnooz followed that up with “OTA Or Hotel Direct – Putting The OTAs View.” (Full disclosure: That Tnooz headlines continues to bug me. I thought about rewriting it a few times, but it’s general incoherence mirrors the incoherence of the OTA’s argument on this so it felt appropriate to leave it as is.)
  3. Speaking of the incoherence of the OTA’s argument, I took a long look at OTA claims in detail in this post, “OTA’s vs. Brands: OTA’s Say Hotel Companies Are Just As Bad for Consumers as… OTA’s?” This kind of griping and sniping between OTA’s and brands is nothing new—see OTA’s vs. Chain Brands: Expedia Comes Out Swinging and Expedia’s Accelerator Program: A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing for just two examples—and aren’t likely to end anytime soon. But I still argue in favor of a “fair and balanced approach” to managing your OTA relationships—and expect I’ll continue to do that until someone gives me a good reason to switch. The only thing I would argue is that you should approach OTA’s the way male black widow spiders approach their potential mates: carefully.
  4. All that said, there’s a lot you can learn from OTA’s, as BookAssist points out in “Learning from the Giants: How Booking and Expedia Build Their Traffic Online.”
  5. Shifting gears a bit, eConsultancy has a fantastic piece that explains “How Six Travel & Hospitality Brands Use Personalization to Enhance the Customer Experience.”
  6. Personalization for hotels remains near and dear to my heart, as you can read all about in “6 Stellar Insights into Personalization for Hotel Marketing” from the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series and in
    “Why Hotel Marketing Depends on Personalization.”
  7. With all the changes hotel marketers have to cope with every day, it’s fair to ask “Hospitality Digital Marketing and Distribution: Is it Time to Give Up?” As you might expect, I’d argue “no.” Be sure to read the whole article though to see why.
  8. And, finally, since you’re not likely to give up (and good for you!), check out these 7 Must-See Posts Highlighting How to Market Your Hotel in the Future also from the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series as a way to round out your knowledge of OTA’s, personalization and your overall digital strategy. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including:

Tim Peter

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July 16, 2017

A Dozen Hospitality Digital Marketing, Revenue Management and Distribution Insights: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

July 16, 2017 | By | No Comments

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A dozen hospitality digital marketing, revenue management and distribution insights: Guests entering hotelHey, everyone! Hope you’ve enjoyed an amazing summer weekend. Now let’s start the week off right with these dozen hospitality digital marketing, revenue management and distribution insights. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off, Ellis Kennedy from Rainmaker breaks down “The Convergence of Hotel Marketing and Revenue Management.” This represents one of the most critical trends within hospitality marketing and it’s great to see others beating this drum.
  2. The convergence of hotel marketing and revenue management of course is just one huge trend. This collection of “7 Must-See Posts Highlighting How to Market Your Hotel in the Future” from the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series helps outline others you’ll want to watch.
  3. Brand Quarterly “How Hospitality And Travel Brands Can Top Review Charts,” which you know we’re in favor of, seeing as how managing your ratings and reviews well represents “The Single Most Effective Way to Improve Your Brand’s Digital Marketing.”
  4. While you’re looking for effective ways to improve your brand’s marketing, don’t miss these “6 Quick Hotel Distribution and Digital Marketing Insights” too.
  5. On a related note, Econsultancy looked at “How Six Travel &Amp; Hospitality Brands Use Personalization to Enhance the Customer Experience.”
  6. In fact, we’ve outlined “Why Hotel Marketing Depends on Personalization” and rounded-up “6 Stellar Insights into Personalization for Hotel Marketing” for you as well to add to that story.
  7. Digging into the archives a bit, we’ve got a post that calls out “OTA’s vs. Chain Brands: Expedia Comes Out Swinging”—and why it’s still relevant today.
  8. Taking a peek into the corner office, Skift reports on why “Hotel CEOs Love Direct Booking and 4 Other Hospitality Trends” that you won’t want to miss.
  9. Meanwhile, according to CIO Dive, TravelClick CIO’s Joseph Eng says that “Changing User Experience Requires Companies to Go Digital and Employ Data.” Good advice.
  10. Coming somewhat full circle this week, Kiran Sunny writes over on Hospitality Net about “Distribution vs Profitability—The Future of Hotel Revenue Management.”
  11. Alicia Hoisington has an excellent piece on Hotel Management featuring “3 Tips to Increase ROI with Digital Marketing” that includes a number of quotes from our own Tim Peter. Well worth a look when you have a moment.
  12. Finally, let’s wrap-up this list of a dozen hospitality digital marketing, revenue management and distribution insights with this collection of “9 Necessary Hotel Marketing Posts You Can’t Miss.”

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including:

Tim Peter

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March 21, 2017

Hospitality Digital Marketing and Distribution: Is it Time to Give Up?

March 21, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Hospitality Digital Marketing and Distribution: Is it Time to Give Up?

I had a discouraging discussion with an outstanding general manager recently who complained that her property’s struggles with rapidly shifting guest preferences, an evolving distribution landscape, and ever-rising distribution costs – particularly in the form of OTA margins and increased search spend – had made it almost impossible to compete. While running her hands through her hair – or possibly pulling it out by the roots – she pleaded, “Why do we even bother? How can we possibly be expected to keep up?”

While its hardly a welcoming thought, maybe it’s worth asking his question: Is it time to give up? Should we just outsource all our marketing activities to OTAs? After all, they are fantastic at marketing and merchandising hotels online, arguably better than many hotels will ever be. Should we simply hand over responsibility for filling our rooms and place our focus elsewhere?

Um… no. In fact, hell no.

Now, let’s be fair. OTA’s are undoubtedly very good at what they do. That’s a fact. But that doesn’t mean for a moment that you can’t drive profitable business on your own. What we need to do is stop behaving like OTAs are our only option. Direct channels and email and search and ratings and reviews and a host of other time-tested tactics and strategies play important roles in delivering strong business results. The key is focusing on those channels that do that most effectively.

First, though, hotels need to be clear about their distribution strategy. To paraphrase NYU professor Clay Shirky, distribution once was a career. Now it’s a button. Online, the distinction between marketing and distribution is essentially non-existent. Once you add a buy button to any marketing message – email, search, display, metasearch, etc. – you’re really just one click away from the sale. And at that point it’s not a marketing channel; it’s a distribution channel. There are certainly some in the industry who will try to confuse you with fancy marketing terms, but the simple fact remains that marketing and distribution are inextricably linked online. You can – and must – measure exactly which channels work best for your business.

The most effective way to ensure that you’re thinking about distribution correctly – and getting the greatest benefit for your property – is to ask three simple questions about your marketing and distribution channels:

  1. Where do your guests find you ?
  2. Where do guests choose to book you?
  3. How much profit do you make from each of those?

Notice I’m not talking about revenue from these channels. It’s time to look past revenue and instead focus on profit. Recent data shows that distribution costs have outpaced rate increases, putting heavy pressure on your properties’ profitability. If you focus solely on revenue, it’s easy to miss the underlying costs impacting your business – and give too much credit to channels that aren’t actually helping you grow.

You may find that for your property, OTAs play an incredibly valuable role in driving profitability particularly during shoulder or slow seasons. That’s OK. As I’ve said before, there’s no need to make OTAs the bad guys here. However, what we don’t want to do is become so dependent upon them – particularly during periods where we can drive more profitable revenue through other channels – that we neglect direct business completely. Understanding which channels work for your property represents the first step in creating a marketing and distribution strategy that actually increases your hotel’s overall profitability.

After spending time digging into the data with my GM friend, we discovered several underutilized tactics driving fantastic returns that simply required greater attention. We also found a few areas that consumed lots of her marketing team’s time for very little benefit. It’s much easier to keep up when you’re only focusing on the areas of greatest return.

Outsourcing your sales and marketing to an OTA is certainly one approach to fill your rooms. And they still will play a role. But realistically many other options exist that can help you grow. The key is focusing on profitable revenue. After looking at the data, I asked the GM, “Is it time to give up?” Her response: “Absolutely not. It’s time to get to work.”

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including: