Back in 2010, when I started my hotel consulting career, expectations from consultants were very high. Those were the times when the digital transformation of the hotel industry just got started. Hotel digital marketing consultants were expected to know online things inside out, while also having traditional hotel sales and marketing management experience.
As you might expect, there were not too many people at the intersection of hospitality and technology. The lucky few capable of leading hotels through the digitization journey were in high demand and well paid.
Today, digital marketing is common knowledge. Anyone can take a $50 course to learn the basics, or just read through several articles online. There is so much information online about hotel marketing and digital marketing in general that everyone can learn what it takes to manage digital marketing for hotels. But that’s how far it gets.
Being in the hotel consulting business for over 10 years, we have seen lots of self-proclaimed hotel digital marketing experts fail. They create fancy websites full of generic information, share some shit blog posts about how to do hotel Facebook ads, what’s the #1 TikTok strategy for luxury hotels, and nonsense like that.
While these might sound interesting for an intern, experienced hotel marketing managers will find little to no value in what these people have to say. And guess what: most hotel marketing managers are not stupid.
So let’s see how to identify a shit hotel marketing consultant.
1. They preach basic hotel marketing principles
Have a website. Share content on social media. Do hotel SEO. Content is king.
Wow. Thanks genius, we did not even think of these (sarcasm). You get the idea. Nobody needs a hotel marketing consultant to tell about how important social media is. Nowadays, everybody knows how to post and advertise on social media. Success or failure depends on how you do something.
Why have some hotel brands become popular on social media, while most other hotel accounts hardly generate any engagement?
Why do some of the hotel brand websites generate 40% of all revenue while other hotels only get occasional bookings from their booking engine?
Why do some hotel brands get 100,000+ visits monthly from search engines like Google, while other hotels depend on paid traffic acquisition?
Why do a few hotels brands get all the media attention and why your hotel never gets published anywhere? Not even by a travel blogger?
These are the kind of questions a good hotel marketing consultant can help with.
2. They don’t make the destination a part of their hotel marketing plan
Amateur hotel marketing consultants tend to forget the most basic motivation why people go to hotels. Because they travel or want to spend time away from home.
Successful hotel marketing communication systems are centered around the desire of people to change location.
Understanding the motivation why travelers and guests visit your hotel and region should be the backbone of any hotel marketing plan. Be it business, leisure, couple getaways, or luxury vacations – you can be sure that people do not plan a trip just to stay in your hotel.
Shit hotel marketing consultants typically won’t even bother about understanding the destination characteristics of their hotel clients, but they go ahead and make recommendations about how to update website buttons and such.
3. From hotel branding to revenue management, they want to seem like an expert in everything
It is clear that all hotel sales and marketing functions are connected, and having a basic understanding of various hotel marketing fields can help prepare and execute better strategies.
But normally, hotel revenue managers do not talk about branding – just like digital marketing experts do not school reservation managers about how to do their job.
Specialization is important. When a hotel hires a consultant for a specific task or role, they do not bring in the person to solve the problems for the entire department.
Consultants who claim to be an expert in hotel revenue management, branding, hotel advertising and more, are likely to have shallow experience only.
4. They copy trending “best practices” from other hotels
Copying best practices from other hotels have been the norm in the luxury hotel segment for decades. Even today, a number of 5-star luxury resorts in the Maldives are deliberately copying one other’s hotel marketing tactics.
Bad hotel marketing consultants are encouraging their clients to do so. But why do hotels need to copy tricks and tactics from each other? The reason is that they do not have any better ideas. It is very when they hire a consultant to show them what tactics should they copy.
Why is it dangerous to copy other hotels? For two reasons. First, you don’t know if it works for them. Second, you can’t know if it will work for your hotel specifically.
Instead of stealing ideas and strategies, a proper consultant will help your hotel management team to develop proprietary strategies and marketing management practices that work the best for your brand.