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‘Focused digital marketing can help hotels drive 10-20% more traffic to own platforms’

Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 16:13 Hrs  [IST]

Untitled Document

AVIJIT_ARYA

Q. Internet Moguls was ahead of the market curve when it entered the market. What changes has the company witnessed and how has it adapted to the changing trends in digital marketing space over the years?
‘Hotel Marketing’ as a key word didn't exist when we started Internet Moguls. The industry has changed dramatically and it continues to change every month but the fundamentals remain the same. New competition is around every corner, from digitally-native Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) that are making multichannel research and booking easier to alternative travel and booking businesses that leverage the sharing economy to offer low prices and a personal touch.

Internet Moguls continues to improve the digital offerings. We have come to realise that the major battleground for revenue and customer engagement is to keep updating the digital strategies and technologies. These digital offerings elevate the customer experience and redefine customer-friendly way of interaction.

Internet Moguls is a ‘niche’ agency. We were often tempted to diversify but stayed focused on our sub -niche, which helped us to be Asia’s largest tourism and hospitality focused digital marketing agency and hence we want to maintain the same.

Q.How has the Digital Marketing medium been contributing to the business growth in the Indian hospitality sector?
India already has the third largest Internet population in the world today, after China and the US. Digital medium has become an effective tool to reach out to a wider audience from all over the world. The hospitality industry appears to be significantly increasing their digital spends. Digital media is playing a vital role in providing business to hotels, much more than any other medium. The lure of customer engagement is so high that most of them are exploring disruptive opportunities for the growth in the digital arena.

The digital offerings like revamping the website and the digital services, SEOs for better organic traffic, SEM (Search Engine Marketing), PPC (Pay Per Click), ORM (Online Reputation Management), SMM (Social Media Management) and others has tremendously influenced the business growth in Indian hospitality sector.

Q. Internet Moguls has introduced innovative tools like m-Powered Hotels and Viral stories etc for hotels to enhance their digital visibility last year? How these concepts were received by the industry?
‘m-Powered Hotels’ is a sub-brand launched by Internet Moguls. It offers complete 3-tier digital marketing services to hotels. m-Powered Hotels take over the complete software, revenue management, and digital marketing related activities of the member hotels which join the brand network. m-Powered Hotels is targeted at hotels and hotel owners who do not have the bandwidth to handle digital marketing , revenue management, and technology themselves. Whereas,’ Viral stories’ is a content generation vertical of Internet Moguls to increase engagement and enhance revenue for hotels. Viral stories generate more revenues and clicks for the hotel.

Q. How a successful digital marketing strategy can complement the revenue management of the hotel by reducing dependence on third party channels, which incur high commissions?
A successful digital marketing strategy can transform hotel business into a more profitable and a successful one. It enhances the visibility of the property’s direct website across all digital channels thereby reducing the involvement of third party channels.

With a focused digital marketing strategy, hotels can win back 10 to 20% of the bookings back to direct channel within a year or two. This requires initial investment and patience in things like the placement on brand keywords and tracked online numbers and a social revenue plan and others.

However, there are number of hoteliers who are negating the RoI by executing some ineffective digital tactics. Most of the hotels are making a ‘too dear’ mistake by not keeping up with the pace of OTAs and the third-party booking channels. So, they are lagging behind.

Currently, over 76% of the online bookings come through the OTAs which are not a sound business strategy. They should not be dependent on OTAs as an initial source of revenue as there is a very low-profit margin due to the hefty commissions. In fact, hoteliers should boost traffic to the direct channel, rather than giving away around 30% of each booking as commission.

 
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