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.