Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Everybody went overboard for radio at one point, too.


"I'm putting it all in Adwords"
At one point, digital marketing tools like adwords, pay-per-click, retargeting and such were pretty terrific for smaller companies, like independent hotels. And, for many, it's still the go-to marketing channel. The must-do. Sometimes at the expense of other avenues.

Unfortunately, it's not necessarily the slam-dunk benefit that it used to be.

For one thing, the cost is going up. Many will say you need to be spending $10k a month to get any value out of it. Even my journalism-school math tells me that's $120,000 a year. A big part of a marketing budget for a property doing between $12 million and $20 million in revenue annually.

And any messages that might show up way down on a page (often out of sight) still count as an impression (that you pay for), so it's hard to tell exactly what benefit you got from the expenditure. Further, unless you're using full-path attribution, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what drove a potential guest to make a reservation. "Last-touch" certainly isn't the only factor that will drive someone to your property and get them to actually book a room.

In fact, often the keywords that most frequently drive pay-per-click and adwords responses are the actual name of the property. Which begs the question, how did that person find the name of the property in the first place? And there's the logical follow-on question: How can we get our name out there more?

Few digital marketing tools like these lend themselves to effective delivery of a brand position - and a brand distinction is one thing an independent hotel can use to its advantage. Creative delivery of what sets your property apart from another is not exactly a strong suit of something like adwords.

This is not to say that digital should not play a role in the marketing of an independent property or collection. It should.

Just make sure your eyes are wide open about the cost, the benefits and how they fit into your particular circumstance. 


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

If you can't tell which one is better, quit the business

A tale of two ads

Here are two print ads from the same issue of The New Yorker.

One is good - clever, well-written, based on a brand position and a strategy. The othe rone is just stupid.

But both of them were developed and placed on behalf of a client with a big budget (The New Yorker isn't cheap).

So it raises the question - why would one of these big, well-heeled companies pay for a poorly done ad?

  


Monday, November 9, 2015

And what about that soda in the mini-bar?


Sometimes you just shake your head in wonder.  

There is an article and discussion The Economist about something that really makes you realize that people at big companies aren't always really that smart.
Apparently Marriott hotels was fined ($600,000!!) for blocking guests' personal wireless modems and hotspots and now a complaint has been filed against Hilton too.
The Economist piece goes into detail about it - and the comments are pretty interesting too - but the learning for anybody in the hotel business comes at the very end: "But notwithstanding its legality, price-gouging your customers is generally a bad idea if you are interested in the long-term success of your business. Here's a better idea if hotels are keen to make money from their Wi-Fi, why not offer something worth paying for?"
Good thought.
We've always wondered why hotels seem to be driven - like airlines - to nickel-and-dime guests. At least the big chains seem to take that approach. Independents seem generally to be much more guest-friendly. A hotel that charges Ooopty dollars for parking could, instead, add Ooopty dollars to the room rate and offer "free parking". Maybe instead of gouging on things in the mini-bar, only stock it with things you're willing to give away.
And for crying out loud, don't charge for the Internet.
Sure, a hotel has to pay for it, as one commenter pointed out. But, as another was quick to note, they also have to pay for the free breakfast, the gym, the pool and all the rest of it.
But whether it's an airline or a hotel and whether it's a genuine desire to provide a lot or a pricing mask, add-on charges tend to give customers a bad taste in their mouths.
Especially when they could just walk across the street to a Starbucks and use the Wi-Fi for free.



Friday, October 30, 2015

It's Mac Tonight!

Back when commercials were really good.

That is, before the obsession with dumb jokes and irrelevant comedy took over. Back then, there used to be spots like this.

If you don't know the story, it was originally done by an agency for the Southern California franchise group. So good, it went national.

They had to take it off the air when Bobby Darrin's family sued, claiming they copied his moves. The suit was later dropped.




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Non-Millennials and social media - Larry says it better than I could




Read this. Be smarter.

Larry Mogelonsky (the smiling gentleman seated above) is what I call a Really Smart Guy when it comes to hotel marketing. 
I can't remember the last time I disagreed with what he wrote on his fabulous Hotels Magazine blog.
As the discussion of social media and boomers carries on, Larry weighed in yesterday with some really smart stuff. Which makes sense, him being a Really Smart Guy and all.
So rather than offer my own thoughts, and since he said it better that I could have, I give you "Gray is the new green part 12: social media differences."
Enjoy.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

We're looking at some blue-shy ideation and an experiential process that can help us profile their emotional needs and head space


I have been doing this for more than 25 years and sometimes I just flat out get a headache when I hear the doublespeak and jargon and blah-blah-blahdiddy-blah that agency and design folk tend to spew.

English please.

That is all.




Monday, October 12, 2015

The Pepsi generation for . . .






Come alive!

When Karen first started in the ad business, she was in the creative department at Ehrlich Harris Manes, an ad agency in Bethesda, MD. One of the people she worked with was a production manager named Lyn Thompson.
Lyn was a pretty smart person and she said something one time about a commercial that stuck with me - and it seems to be true today: "That commercial is the Pepsi Generation for __________________." 
So true today.
For a creative business, we sure do a lot of lookalike work, don't we? On any given evening in front of the TV, you're going to see at least two or three "Pepsi Generation"-type spots. For beer, cars, liquor, wine - jeez for whatever. You could pretty much swap out the logos and nobody would notice. Everybody is young and good-looking and just having so much fun and it's just all so unbelievable, isn't it?
There are variations, like the one below, but they really are all pretty much the same, don't you think? Tired? Been there? Done that?
You have to wonder who is driving all this repetitive stuff. Is it a client who says "I want one of those?" Or a lazy agency who thinks everybody under 30 lives a fantasy life - like from "Friends"?