Hotels are Expanding, But Must Fill Beds

Josh GordonFor folks who are not regular readers of the New York Times (and paying for being a regular reader online will soon be mandatory) an interesting story popped up about the ongoing expansion for hotels despite unfavorable economic conditions in the publication's business section on Monday from writer Jane Levere. At a time when seemingly every hotel industry analyst forecasts difficulty in maintaining current business and filling beds, "nearly 100 hotels are scheduled to open in major American cities this year" Levere reports.

Because the beginning stages of the development for these massive projects in major metropolitan areas began long before the economic crisis hit, hotel companies are doing whatever possible to complete the projects… and figure out how to fill the beds later. The belief is, of course, when the economy rebounds travel will rebound with it, increasing demand for rooms in major cities.

Basic economic principles are in play here, too. Buying while the market is down creates excellent opportunity for growth on the backend. The basic economic principles, combined with the reality that many of these projects were already in various stages of development when the economy soured, are the ingredients for hotel expansions in what appears to be a strange time for hotels to expand.

Once the hotels are complete, however, the number one problem facing hoteliers is filling beds.

Marketers for hotels must find ways to fill beds without sacrificing price. Basically, avoid buying business with extreme discounts just to keep the doors open. While the pros and cons to leveraging social marketing channels to grow revenue have already been touched on, the value of direct digital marketing is gaining momentum in hotel marketing circles.

In a piece I recently wrote for Hotel Interactive, the stark travel conditions and meager forecasts are evident. Just as evident is the value of direct digital marketing, and the opportunity for hotel marketers to use direct digital marketing to do more for less and gain previously unattainable efficiencies. The article highlights three simple, basic programs – one email, one onsite targeting program for the website, and one mobile marketing program – that hoteliers can use right now to better engage travelers and guests and increase bookings in the process. The programs are simple, and the channels are connected. The marketing programs are designed around the guest, and engage them from their first visit to the booking engine, throughout the time elapsed from the booking to the beginning of the stay, right through the express checkout using a mobile device.

While these examples are specific to the hospitality industry, the basic principles behind them are transferable to any industry. The bottom line is that direct digital marketing helps marketers do more for less – a valuable arrangement in any economy.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Interesting article. Seems that social marketing is becoming a really important facet of one’s overall marketing plan. Thanks for the post!

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