By Max Starkov & Mariana Mechoso Safer
Having just passed the mid-year mark, now is a good time to reflect on how events in 2012 have made a significant impact on hoteliers and how they should plan their digital marketing budgets for next year. The emergence of SoLoMo (the convergence of social, local and mobile); tablets as a distinct marketing and distribution category; new social media platforms such as Google+ and Pinterest; and ongoing Google algorithm updates that have made many hotel websites obsolete are just some of the topics that have made headlines so far this year.
This is also the perfect time to review your business goals and objectives. What did you achieve in 2012 that you would like to continue and even improve upon next year? What business goals did you not achieve? Were you often distracted by the ‘next big thing’ and, as a result, did you lose sight of hotel digital marketing fundamentals such as keeping your property’s SEO strategy up to date?
This article provides guidance on how to structure your budget in 2013. Next year’s digital marketing budget should focus on driving direct online bookings and achieving serious ROIs via structuring your initiatives in three main categories: “Core” Digital Marketing Initiatives; “Business-Need” Digital Marketing Initiatives; and Capital Investments, Strategy and Operations, including website re-designs and enhancements, day-to-day website operations, campaign management and professional development.