By Margaret Mastrogiacomo
It’s no secret that multi-channel campaigns are a great way to boost revenue during low seasons, target top customer segments, and fulfill ad hoc business needs. But is your hotel brand’s multi-channel campaign plan following industry best practices to achieve the highest return on investment? A successful multi-channel campaign reaches potential guests at every touchpoint of the travel planning process with one cohesive message across channels, capitalizing on key customer micro-moments across devices.
People progress through many different touchpoints while planning travel, often in no particular order. For that reason, you need to stand out when someone lands on your website – no matter where they are in their travel-planning journey. What does the average travel consumer journey entail? It takes about 17 days, and includes eight research sessions, 18 site visits, and six clicks before a booking is made (Google Research). eMarketer research shows that people go through 15.5 touch points just within the week before they actually make the booking. In addition, the process does not take place on only one device. Nine out of ten people move from one device to another at different times, with 65% starting on their smartphones (Google Research).
The foundation for building effective multi-channel campaigns is finding the best marketing initiatives based on your target customer segment, and reaching that target segment at every touchpoint of their online travel planning process.
With so many marketing initiatives to consider and customer touchpoints along the path to purchase, it can be hard to map out a truly strategic and effective campaign plan. To ensure that every campaign dollar is a smart investment, here are the top ten ways to maximize revenues from multi-channel campaigns, from the planning phase to post-launch.
1. Does your 2016 budget have flexibility to incorporate a multi-channel campaign? Does your budget meet the threshold for an effective campaign?
A holistic and successful digital marketing plan incorporates robust multi-channel campaigns based on seasonality and business needs throughout the year, and this portion of the budget should remain dynamic and flexible as the year progresses.
When determining your overall digital marketing budget, it’s important to reserve 15-25% dedicated to multi-channel campaigns. Be sure to properly allocate your budget, mapping out seasonality, business needs, top target customer segments, and any other big-picture business goals that a multi-channel campaign can achieve.
Once your seasonality, business needs, and priority goals and segments are clearly established, allocate a flexible budget to each individual campaign to ensure you have enough budget to make a strong impact and build traction for the duration of the campaign while effectively competing with your comp set for share of voice and market share. The minimum threshold for a successful multi-channel campaign is at least $10,000 dollars with a two-month flight. Typically this amount is supplemented by additional core initiatives (SEM, Email marketing, landing pages, etc.) running concurrently with the multi-channel campaign.
2. Does your multi-channel campaign address a seasonal or business need?
When building your multi-channel campaign, every initiative should tie back to one overarching goal or business need. Every hotel brand should consider a range of business needs, including how to target specific high-value segments (i.e. meeting planners, family travelers, etc.) and how to fill last-minute vacancies after a group cancellation.
Digging beyond the surface of your hotel brand’s business needs when building a multi-channel campaign will help you choose the most effective marketing initiatives and provide the foundation for your campaign goals and key performance indicators.
Some common seasonality issues and business needs are:
- Low-occupancy need periods
- Last-minute occupancy needs or group cancellations
- Increasing length of stay
- Expanding reach among top key customer segments
- Rebranding or repositioning the hotel to potential guests
- Increasing ancillary revenue from spa and dining
- Building brand loyalty with current and potential guests
Does your campaign flight address your average booking window based on your seasonal or business need?
When determining the flight of your campaign, it’s important to ensure that the campaign duration is long enough to address your average booking window. For instance, if your hotel brand’s booking window is 21 days, you want to ensure your campaign flight is at least two months. For best results, we recommend a campaign flight of three to four months.
3. Are you working with a hospitality-focused firm that understands your market, needs, and key consumer insights?
It’s no secret that selling rooms and a “travel experience” is no easy venture. That’s why it’s so important to find a partner with a focus on the hospitality industry. This will open the door to key insights and trends across the firm’s client portfolio that apply directly to your hotel and market. A hospitality-focused firm will also be ahead of industry trends, understand what truly drives and optimizes bookings and revenue, and will have the skillset and industry knowledge to understand your market, business needs, and the travel planning journey of your key customer segments.
4. Does your campaign utilize the correct digital technology – such as Interactive Marketing Apps, Limited Time Offer (LTO) Apps, and more – to increase site traffic, encourage repeat visits, and generate bookings?
Once you determine your business needs and overarching strategy, it’s important to ensure that your campaign will incorporate the correct technology and applications to successfully engage customer segments and drive bookings. A successful multi-channel campaign must have a destination mini-site or application that includes rich images, share functionality, and dynamic content personalization that will interest and engage users enough to encourage repeat visits, increase time spent, and ultimately drive bookings.
An Interactive Limited Time Offer Application is one example of such digital technology applications capable of maximizing revenue. Serving as the central hub for the campaign, this highly-visual, fully-responsive application features a prominently displayed countdown clock, booking functionality with embedded promo code, large, rich images of the hotel, social and viral sharing features, an Email sign up widget, and key information about the sale, benefits, and rules.
An Example of a Limited Time Offer Application for Cyber Monday:
Another great example of an engaging application is an Interactive Promotion Application with a robust automated backend and algorithm offering daily and grand prizes. This application also features a prominently-displayed countdown clock, large, rich imagery of the hotel, social and viral sharing features, Email sign up widget, and engaging add-ons such as photo sharing.
An Example of an Interactive Promotion Application:
5. Does your campaign have an ROI goal-focused strategy?
A question you may be asking yourself too often is, “Where’s the ROI?” If you’ve been investing time and money into multi-channel campaigns with little to no return, you most likely don’t have the correct strategy driving your campaign plan. When return on investment is the foundation of your plan, all marketing initiatives and KPIs will ultimately lead back to your number one goal: driving bookings and revenue.
This doesn’t mean your campaign has to be deprived of fun and enticing content, social media marketing, and branding initiatives that focus on KPIs such as engagement and building a brand connection. It simply means that these initiatives need to play the right role at the right time in the purchase funnel and the overall travel planning journey of your customer segments.
What are your campaign ROI goals and KPIs? Do your campaign initiatives address these goals?
There’s more to achieving a high return than meets the eye. Behind this success are clearly determined goals and KPIs that ensure a smart investment. If you want to set yourself up for success, it’s best to start with your revenue goals.
An example of a multi-channel campaign planner used to develop a goal-focused strategy:
Based on your number of rooms, ADR, and occupancy during the need period you wish to address, determine your revenue goal for the campaign. Once you determine your goal revenue, work backward to determine the minimum budget you would need to spend to achieve the desired revenue with an ROI goal of at least 600 to 1,200%. The smaller the budget you have to work with, the larger share of funds you will need to invest in high ROAS campaign initiatives to achieve your revenue numbers, while minimizing your investment in lower-yielding initiatives such as social media or creative content distribution.
Once you determine your goal ROI, determine the KPIs that will show how each initiative is playing a role in achieving return.
6. Does your campaign utilize cohesive messaging that resonates with your customer segments? Is it consistent with your brand positioning and voice?
To build stickiness and traction with key customer segments, it’s essential to promote one cohesive campaign message across channels that reaches your target segment at every touchpoint of the travel planning journey and is consistent with your brand positioning and voice. To develop a campaign message and theme that resonates with your audience, begin by diving into the emotional and functional benefits your customer segment associates with your hotel.
For instance, if a hotel is targeting business travelers, a functional benefit could be the property’s convenient business amenities. An emotional benefit could be the common spaces in the lobby, in which business guests can mingle and network. Taking both of these benefits into consideration, a hotel brand could launch a “Where Business Mingles with Pleasure” campaign, highlighting the hotel’s functional conveniences and extra on-property indulgences.
7. Does your campaign address the three screens (desktop, mobile, tablet) and multi-device usage in the travel planning process?
Impactful multi-channel campaigns shouldn’t just reach customers across channels, it should reach customers with one cohesive message across devices. According to Google, 90% of travel planners use multiple screens sequentially when booking a trip.
Just imagine: A potential guest begins researching hotels on their mobile device while waiting at their morning doctor’s office appointment. Later on in the day, they continue to read reviews via desktop at work. And finally, in the evening, they continue to research hotels on their tablet while watching television. Sound familiar?
Your hotel’s presence with fully-responsive designs and marketing initiatives during these micro-moments is crucial to making a powerful and lasting impression with travel consumers and ultimately winning the booking.
8. Does your multi-channel marketing campaign include all of the core digital marketing initiatives (e.g. SEM, SEO, Email Marketing, Display advertising, targeting and retargeting, Dynamic Rate Marketing, etc.)?
Utilizing core marketing initiatives that yield high returns is essential in driving bookings and ensuring the overall success of your campaign. Marketing outlets such as SEM, Google Display Network, and Email Marketing are the foundation of driving revenue for your campaign.
These core revenue drivers should make up about 40% of your overall multi-channel campaign budget to achieve all KPIs and the desired ROI.
However, multi-channel campaign amplifiers such as social media and content marketing should not be forgotten. These initiatives play a key role in reaching users higher in the purchase funnel and complement overall bookings and revenue.
9. Do your campaign initiatives utilize highly specialized targeting and dynamic rate marketing via travel ad networks that use first-party data to target people who are planning travel to your destination?
To take your multi-channel campaign performance to the next level, it’s important to integrate next-generation technology such as Dynamic Rate Marketing (DRM) on top travel ad networks such as Sojern and ADARA. DRM allows hotel brands to feature real-time availability and pricing in their marketing messages based on destinations and dates a user is researching on top travel planning websites. This gives you the power to target users during the travel planning process with the right message at the right time.
Aside from DRM and display on top travel ad networks, it’s also important to consider other targeting strategies as well, including remarketing, GDN similar users, Facebook look-a-like audiences, and Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). Smart targeting capabilities such as these will not only drive qualified traffic, but will reach users lower in the purchase funnel to increase conversions.
10. Are you able to track your campaign delivery and KPI’s through tracking applications such as DART, Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Media Optimizer?
Without proper tracking, the perfect strategy can fail as you try to navigate campaign success in the dark. It’s important to use state-of-the-art tracking applications such as Adobe Analytics, Adobe Media Optimizer, as well as DoubleClick's DART for Advertisers (DFA), which are the industry's standard solutions. With the right tracking capabilities, it will be easy to optimize campaign performance, measure KPIs, and adjust the marketing mix as needed to achieve desired goals and ROI.
Do you have plans in place to optimize campaign performance?
Launching a successful multi-channel campaign is not a “set and forget” process. Once you build the overall strategy and KPIs of your campaign, it’s important to track and optimize your campaign initiatives in real-time to ensure they achieve desired goals.
Campaign metrics such as share of voice, impression pacing, and engagement are important criteria to monitor and adjust in real-time to ensure success.
Overall, a smarter multi-channel campaign strategy means a smarter investment. From allocating the right budget to the right tracking and optimization efforts, a successful multi-channel campaign starts with sound planning and ends with optimal results. Remember, one successful campaign’s key takeaway is your next campaign’s even more successful future. Your multi-channel campaign strategy should always learn from past results and industry trends, placing the customer at the core of every marketing initiative and every brand moment to not only win the booking, but win the customer relationship long after the campaign ends.
Read our Q4 2015 HeBStrategy Whitepaper for great multi-channel campaign idea starters.