In 2018, it’s nearly impossible to remember that there was a time when the internet didn’t exist. Due to the sheer amount of time most people spend online, digital advertising has become the primary marketing focus of many businesses.
When going independent, hoteliers need to consider how their online presence will impact how they digitally market to potential guests, but many may not know how. Hoteliers without a lot of experience on this front—whether it’s because they’re used to leaning on brands for this sort of support, or that they are just new to the digital marketing scene—may find building a website, partnering with OTAs, and managing social media accounts to be daunting tasks.
Jim Merkel, CEO of Rockbridge, said it best: “Digital technology, which includes social media, is an independent property’s point of access to their consumers. It’s their front door.”
However, digital marketing, and social media in particular, can be double-edged swords. While no one can deny the impact social media influencers can have on an independent hotel, some hoteliers are now finding it difficult to work with them. A recent article in The Atlantic outlined how hoteliers are currently dealing with an onslaught of requests from social media influencers—some legit, most not—looking for free nights at their properties in exchange for social media coverage.
Independent hoteliers don’t have brand guidelines to fall back on, so they must create and enforce their own policies around these new digital marketing gurus.