Five Digital Marketing Mistakes That Hotels Should Avoid

Digital marketing

It’s been a tough year for everyone. Hospitality businesses have been trying to operate sustainably in ever-shifting circumstances. As occupancy levels remain well below last year’s levels, it has become more important than ever to target and attract the right people. Digital marketing is an important tool to do so, but hoteliers should be wary of these five common missteps.

Content Overload

Data increasingly suggests that many audiences may be experiencing content overload, with viewers quickly clicking through digital ads and using ad blockers. The wrong ad messages, placement, and tactics waste money, and could also lead people to unsubscribe, unfollow, or tune out. Instead, shift the advertising budget to qualified and vetted social media micro and macro-influencers. Consumers trust influencers’ words, so engaging with the right people is a must.

Tone-Deaf Messaging

One sure way to turn off potential guests is to appear oblivious to current events and how they affect everyone’s lives. If businesses’ marketing comes across as tone-deaf, people will vote with their dollars, remove their support, and share the experience with their friends, family, and followers without hesitation. Monitor the pulse of social media and ensure the tone, message, and imagery of marketing content are appropriate. 

If the environment seems intense and focused on one particular subject overall, it’s time to pivot or take a step back from promoting “fluffy” material. Rule of thumb: If you’re not sure whether the tone or messaging is appropriate, it’s probably not.

Ineffective Use of Channels

Eager digital marketers may want to incorporate every channel into their advertising efforts. At first glance, this approach seems like an extra push to gain traction, but it simply diminishes the brand’s message and effectiveness. Not all content and channels are created equal. Businesses need to seriously evaluate whether or not certain social media sites or channels will actually help achieve booking and sales goals while meeting key performance metrics that matter to the operation. Don’t assume that all content can be easily repurposed to a digital form and don’t bank on certain types of content producing the same results across different channels.

Ignoring Core Values

Too many digital marketers lose sight of their core values and purpose while trying to appear relevant or ride the waves of trending hashtags. Trending topics are touchy areas that can attract the right or wrong attention for businesses, and often both. Don’t chase after topics that don’t align with the brand’s core values and moral compass. Be careful of bandwagons. Speak out when it matters most. Do what’s right. If relating a brand is a stretch, step back and listen, and adjust accordingly. In the long run, it’s always better for brands to focus on being authentic, especially in the digital landscape. People notice.

Not Giving Artificial Intelligence a Chance

Households across the country use Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and other AI-powered personal assistants daily. AI is starting to work its way into the digital marketing realm as well. AI solutions can help businesses analyze customer behavior and use these insights to create more personalized buying experiences. Artificial intelligence will be considered a norm and best practice in digital marketing soon enough, so now is a good time for brands to adjust marketing strategies.

As the industry moves forward into an uncertain future, hoteliers should keep in mind that digital marketing is a powerful tool that they shouldn’t leave in their toolbox. Old marketing strategies won’t go very far with younger consumers, so start pivoting now. There’s already too much lost ground to makeup—it’s time to craft data-driven digital marketing plans and create the types of authentic brand and guest experiences that will attract a diverse range of consumers for years to come.


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Alexis Krisay is the co-founder and president of marketing at Serendipit Consulting. With an extensive background in online and offline strategic marketing operations, Krisay has helped dozens of clients in the residential and commercial real estate, lifestyle, spa and wellness, and health and fitness industries effectively identify market opportunities and pair them with strategic and impactful, results-driven marketing solutions.