Last Click Attribution is Killing Your Hotel Marketing Campaigns

Marketing success today can be measured using many diverse metrics. Analytics programs let you measure everything from who and where your website visitors come from to what content they are interested in. These engagement and conversion metrics can help you understand what is really working when it comes to your website and marketing efforts.

Some hotels have an in-house digital marketing team, but most outsource their online campaigns to an agency. Either way, these teams are usually tasked with producing an ROI (return on investment) report for every dollar spent on channels like Google AdWords, Facebook, etc. There is an industry-wide obsession with knowing where the last revenue-generating click came from.

This metric invariably takes center stage in marketing meetings, ensuring that the conversation never moves beyond the last click and how much revenue was booked. Ignoring overall marketing channel performance might have worked for hotels in the good old days, but not today. A lot of hotels are struggling to understand why they are not seeing massive returns on their advertising dollars anymore. Even brand name traffic and clicks are in decline. So what has eroded your marketing campaign power?

The villain in this story – the one preventing you from moving forward – is this thing called last click attribution. It has derailed countless hotel marketing campaigns for both large and small operators. I’d like to take some time to help you understand attribution models in the hospitality and travel business, and how they affect your marketing efforts.

The good news is that most hotels and inns are spending some amount of money on digital ads. The bad news is that decision-makers have a limited understanding of how online marketing works today, and which strategies they should be crediting for the successes and failures of their campaigns.

Let’s dive right into attribution. An attribution model is a set of rules that that help you determine which touchpoints along the conversion path should be getting the credit for the final sale or conversion. Sounds simple… but it’s not. What makes it tremendously complicated in our sector is the number of touchpoints involved when someone is planning a trip, and subsequently a hotel stay.

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