Determining the Right Marketing Attribution Model for Your Hotel
By Stuart Butler Chief Operating Officer, Fuel Travel | January 12, 2020
Can we all agree that measuring the performance of your marketing budget is very important? Without the ability to track your dollars, you're left making uneducated decisions and you're likely wasting a significant amount of money on campaigns or channels that are simply not effective. So, if we all agree that it's important, why are so many people struggling to figure out how to do it, and why can nobody agree on a simple but universal methodology?
There are so many tools available to us, many of which are free to use. The majority of our advertising dollars are now being invested in online campaigns. The majority of our bookings are coming from online channels - and those that still come in over the phone can be tracked fairly easily by most modern call-tracking solutions. On the surface, this seems like a simple nut to crack.
In fact, many vendors in the hospitality industry claim to have it all figured out and will provide you with a beautiful report at the end of each month summarizing the success you've had by using their display networks, their META campaigns, or their fancy widget that helps you drive more direct bookings. The report will confidently tell you how they drove a 20:1 ROI and how great they are at driving new business to your property.
For a lot of hotel marketers, there is a comfort in taking these self-reported numbers at face value. It certainly makes it easier to justify to your boss that you're making a positive impact, but is it accurately depicting the impact that the vendor is having on your bottom line? In most cases, the answer is an emphatic NO!
Here's the thing. The majority of vendors are going to provide you with reports that shine the best possible light on themselves. They have a vested interest in convincing their customers that they are an invaluable component to the overall marketing mix. Trusting your vendor to tell you how well they are performing would be the same as a guest allowing the hotel to leave a review on their behalf. How many hotels would be completely objective? There would be nothing but 5 star reviews from every guest.
Another way to look at it is to consider the relationship between me and my children. I certainly don't allow them to simply tell me what their school grades are for the semester. I let an independent source (i.e. the teachers) provide that information.