Play your cards right in finding the right providers for your marketing strategy

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The technology landscape for hotel marketing is growing every year. More services, more tools, and more providers make it an even more daunting task to find the right providers for you. Quality of the technology, speed of innovation and focus are crucial factors in deciding on a provider, of course, but the relationship with your provider may be as important, if not more. How is their service? Do they know your market? Can they understand the needs of your hotel?

If the answer to these questions is mainly “no”, then you should look somewhere else.

In August 2017 we put together a chart of the main categories of hotel marketing technology providers. At the time, we also briefly discussed how to select the right ones. We wanted to elaborate on this to give hoteliers and hotel marketers a chart and some guidelines to put the various parts in perspective. As you probably already have many providers, we are publishing the chart as cards as well so you can select the ones you need most.

Scroll down to see the cards category by category.

But first let’s cover the four non-technical skills you should search for when selecting your providers.

 

The 4 Soft Skills

The chart we have included with this article lists all the technical expertise and features to look for with prospective providers. There are, however, some “soft skills” to look for as well, which are at least as important as the technical ones.

1. Knowledge

Have they worked with hotels similar to yours in the past? Do they have a good understanding of your destination?

Working with city hotels is obviously quite different from working with beach resorts and there are countless tiny factors that make your hotel different and unique.
If an important part of your business relies on specific countries, do they know how to market to them? You may want to verify these points before hiring them.

2. Culture

Culture is essential for a partnership that works not only on the short-term.

Look into the culture of the company: what is their vision for hotel marketing? A company which is only focused on conversion might be the right thing for your hotel at a certain point, but building a brand requires more than just a hyper-focus on the final transaction.

Do they understand your brand and what is valuable to your guests and your brand? Adding a lot of widgets to the website might (and usually does) increase conversion, but how does it affect the way guests perceive your property?

The culture of the chosen partner will make a difference in how the relationship will evolve in the future.

3. Understanding

What are your needs today and what will they be tomorrow? Hotels are living entities, and one finds oneself at different levels at different times.

Opening a hotel requires a very different approach than marketing an existing hotel. And even established hotels have quite different needs at different times. Once you have a good website and rate strategy in place with an effective distribution, your needs will surely change.

We always encourage hotels to think direct, but achieving more direct revenue also means one should understand the holistic view of the hotel’s revenue.

Understanding your needs and future goals is crucial, and the choice of your partner will change accordingly. This could also mean taking one provider to get through a certain phase and switching to another as one reaches a new level.

4. Communication

As clients, we wish for instant communications and providers that are available 24/7 for any question and at no extra cost. It would be great, but it is not often achievable. So you will need to compromise. Will you find the right balance for your needs?

The best way to verify it is to ask other clients who may have or have had similar needs as yours. Of course, there are the contractual clauses which help but, as we all know too well, contracts are mainly fallback plans for when things go wrong.

Now that we have analyzed the soft skills, let’s analyse the technical services and features or “hard skills” to look for when selecting your providers.

 

Technical Expertise

What technical expertise should your providers master to grow your online marketing performance? We’ve focused on the minimum features that any provider in that specific category should have, in order to provide you with an adequate service, but chances are that there are many more features and services that you should most definitely take advantage of.

Click on a card to view the detailed features:

Card 1Card 2Card 3Card 4Card 5Card 6Card 7Card 8Card 9Card 10

Download the poster version here

Published on: March 2, 2018
Author:
FASTBOOKING’s e-commerce solutions will help your hotel increase profit through a direct sales strategy.

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