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Last week, hoteliers arrived at Google’s NYC headquarters for “The 2016 Travelers Mindset Conference: Using Smart Data Marketing to Drive Direct Bookings and Lower Distribution Costs.” Speakers from HeBS Digital & Google discussed the various ways hoteliers can use data to build a digital marketing plan that reaches the right people, at the right time, on the right device to win the booking.

Integrating Smart Data Marketing into the hoteliers’ strategy is so important because it helps close the 360-degree customer engagement, retention and acquisition cycle. While retaining past guests, frequent guests, and loyalty members is imperative, hoteliers that are not utilizing real-time “in-market” targeting that reaches potential guests – travelers who have expressed intent to travel now or in the near future to the hotel’s destination – are missing serious revenue opportunities to expand and “replenish” their existing customer base on an ongoing basis. 

HeBS Digital’s Website Revenue Optimization Consultants have a deep understanding on how to integrate both Google products and other digital marketing formats to utilize both past guest data and intent-to-travel data to drive direct bookings and high returns. This expertise was demonstrated in the case study series, a key part of the lineup for the day.

Topics addressed during the day’s presentations included:

“Direct is Always Better: How to Boost Direct Bookings, Lower Distribution Costs and Increase Bottom-Line Profits” – presented by Max Starkov, President & CEO of HeBS Digital.

During this session, Starkov covered the state of the industry as well as market projections for 2017. In addition to a rather bleak picture projected for the hospitality industry, with occupancy rates flatting and even declining along with Airbnb “stealing” demand share from hotels, the direct booking ratio has declined 40% since 2011 (Kalibri labs). 

How can hoteliers grow profitability? What are the top 6 cost-drivers for hoteliers, and what is the one they have control over? How can hoteliers heal the distribution cost “self-inflicted wound?” The answers to these questions, along with some ideas on creating a “Direct is Always Better” strategy, were covered in Max Starkov’s presentation.

“Smart Data Marketing Workshop” – presented by Margaret Mastrogiacomo, Senior Director, Creative Strategy at HeBS Digital

What is Smart Data Marketing? A term coined by HeBS Digital, Smart Data Marketing is the balanced utilization of CRM data and Intent Data points to “make the most” of past, present, and future customer data to generate the highest number of bookings and returns and ultimately reach your best guest.

Smart Data Marketing serves as a bridge between the hotelier’s digital marketing efforts and its revenue management goals by successfully reaching the best guests and driving direct bookings.

Mastrogiacomo’s presentation culminated in a video which summarized her presentation, bringing the power of Smart Data Marketing to life:

Case Study Series: Smart Data Marketing Success Stories

  • Dynamic Rate Marketing Drives Bookings at Higher ADRs for The Lotte New York Palace: Kristin Amore, Senior Account Executive at HeBS Digital, walked the audience through a Dynamic Rate Marketing campaign that generated over 5,500% Return-on-ad-spend. By targeting business-class travelers who showed an intent to travel to NYC in a specific time period, HeBS Digital partnered with Sojern to serve ads to these travelers that featured real-time rates and availability for the property. Review the case study here.
  • Classified: How the Watergate Hotel Re-Launched its Hotel Digital Strategy: Anna Samuels, Director of Digital Marketing for the Watergate Hotel and Jason Price, Executive Vice President of HeBS Digital talked about how the re-opening digital strategy for the Watergate Hotel led to a 55% increase in online revenues. With a number of active projects in the pipeline for the D.C. area, it’s imperative that the Watergate Hotel focus on driving direct bookings and steal as much market share as possible. By first determining the property’s business goals, then launching a Limited-Time Offer to reach its target markets (using both CRM data and Intent data), the property saw great results.
  • Building a Hotel Brand through Smart Data Marketing: Jackie Maloney, Account Supervisor at HeBS Digital, walked the audience through the evolution of the RLHC brand online, how the brand effectively merchandises to communicate value, and the different audiences the brand needs to reach online. By using Smart Data Marketing to target both past guests and intent-based travelers, RLHC has seen returns of upwards of 5,000% from its multichannel marketing campaigns.

“Digital as a Strategic Asset” -  presented by Camila Borda Kaul, Industry Manager – Travel, Google New York

With every travel booking influenced by 19 touchpoints, and more than two billion travel searches per month globally (Google), Camila discussed how travel marketers can reach consumers through each micro-moment of their travel planning journey. Google is seeing an acceleration of travel and hotel queries (+20% YoY in July), with this growth fueled almost entirely by mobile (98% of total growth has been mobile growth).

“The best content in the world doesn’t matter if travelers don’t see it.” Camilla reiterated the importance of using intent-based marketing to the audience, and talked about how using data can help hoteliers influence the path to purchase to reach the right person, at the right time, on the right device.

As an official Google Partner, HeBS Digital enjoys access to unique tools and insights, along with a direct connection to Google itself. HeBS Digital earned its Google Premier Partner status by passing a series of Google advertising certification exams, adhering to best practices, and delivering consistently strong results for its client portfolio.

Contact if you would like information concerning upcoming HeBS Digital and Google co-hosted events.

About HeBS Digital

Founded in 2001, HeBS Digital helps hoteliers drastically increase direct bookings and lower overall distribution costs by deploying industry best-of-breed digital technology, consulting and marketing (

The firm has won more than 400 prestigious industry awards for its digital technology, website design and marketing services, including numerous Adrian Awards, Stevie Award in the American Business Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, and IAC Awards.

A diverse client portfolio of top-tier major luxury and boutique hotel chains, independent hotels, resorts and casinos, franchised properties and hotel management companies, convention centers, spas, restaurants and bars, DMO and CVBs are all benefiting from HeBS Digital’s direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise. Contact HeBS Digital’s consultants at (212) 752-8186 or

Contact: Mariana Mechoso Safer / 212-752-8186

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