How to build a kick-ass hotel digital marketing team? What skills are a must?

Marketing has gone almost entirely online, leaving print and other forms of old-school marketing a niche for senior generations and super-specialized segments of the travel audience. This is what you need to keep in mind first and foremost.

In this article, I will talk about skills and roles instead of titles. Especially in the hotel industry, it is typical that senior managers do not fully understand modern digital marketing roles and responsibilities so they hire for a title instead of a role or skill-set.

The strategist

First things first, you will need a person who can accurately forecast travel trends, familiar with the ever-changing travel preferences, can predict competitor activities and can suggest how to utilize the available resources or the best return on investment.

This role is about campaign planning, developing brand communications and forecasting the optimal advertising investment on each channel.

The strategist must have excellent analytical skills to evaluate the effectiveness of activities to highlight sub-optimal performance or point out opportunities for improvement.

The media buyer

This person will be in charge of managing paid advertising across all platforms, like Google Ads, Facebook, Yandex, Naver, and metasearch.

A media buyer needs to be comfortable with each advertising platform and must be an expert of campaign management and optimization. His or her responsibility is to make sure that campaigns are returning maximum return on investment. He needs to work closely with other team members like the website and creative person – as well as the strategist. 

The website guy

He needs to be confident making quick updates on the brand website. Ideally, he or she has some design skills and understands the principles of user experience, landing pages, and web performance measurements.

Skills in content management systems like WordPress, SquareSpace, Joomla are a must. Basic web development skills and some experience with javascript, SQL and PHP are very much recommended. He needs to be able to set up tracking codes, manage website related stuff like Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics and other tools.

The communicator

The marketing communications person needs to be an excellent communicator. Wow, what a surprise. She needs to feel, monitor and measure what tone of voice and content works best with the audience and put out engaging content on a consistent basis. 

Ideally, she manages to post on social media, writes blog posts and newsletters. This is by far the best practice to maintain the same tone of voice on all marketing communication channels. She should be providing recommendations and feedback on paid advertising and website content as well.

The e-commerce person

You might ask, why the e-commerce person should belong to the marketing team? It is because OTA management is very much related to website performance as OTAs and your brand website are competing in the same space – the internet. 

In modern digital marketing teams, OTA management does not belong to reservations or revenue management. Ideally, one person should be overseeing both price and product performance on all channels and report any insights to the revenue manager, the website manager, and the media buyer, so adjustments can be made both in price, product presentation and promotional activities without delays.

Do you really need 5 people in your digital marketing team?

Yes, if you take your digital marketing and online development seriously. But as mentioned in the beginning of this article, you should not think in titles but more in skill-sets, so rearranging your existing team and bringing in missing skills will also work.

The problem with traditional teams which consists of hierarchical relationships and titles is that it does not allow efficient information flow and decision making. With traditional team setups, people who make decisions might not always fully understand what specialized people mean or talk about.

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