Hotel Marketing Challenges: Navigate the Complexities of the Path to Purchase

Meet your hotel marketing goals throughout the complete buyer journey.

Kerrigan Flynn
August 29, 2023

Travelers around the world continue to research and book trips to their favorite destinations, and the competition is fierce to convince travelers to book with you rather than someone else. So how do you stand out from the crowd? By delivering the right message at the right moment during the discovery, planning, and booking stages of a traveler’s buying journey. While that sounds simple, there are many sticky points throughout the funnel that hoteliers find challenging. 

We’ve outlined some of the most common marketing challenges hoteliers face as you look to reach travelers at every part of the funnel, how you can overcome them, and drive more direct bookings.


During the discover phase, travelers dream about and research their next trip. By finding these travelers early, you can put your property on their radar to increase their chances of booking with you. However, many marketers struggle to find these travelers when they’re dreaming of their next trip, so they miss out on valuable opportunities to engage and push them closer to a conversion. 

Challenge: Staying top-of-mind in a competitive market and telling the right brand story to differentiate your property from other similar hotels.

Solution: Maximize your first-party data strategy and investments in in-house tools, systems, and capabilities. This is the perfect time to learn more about your prospective travelers. By enacting your own first-party data collection strategy and investing in the right tools to analyze it, you can learn about the type of trip they’re planning and what they want so you can tailor your messaging accordingly.

Challenge: You need to reach new travelers based on the lookalikes of previous guests and increase addressable audience size. 

Solution: First, use addressable targeting to reach people who are already in your brand’s audience, such as someone who once booked a spa appointment or paid for a hotel amenity. Second, expand your audience to include contextual targeting efforts. Contextual targeting looks at the category or keywords of the page being viewed by the user and uses that information to serve ads that are relevant to the site’s content. The combination of addressable and contextual targeting allows you to expand your reach and find new potential travelers. 


Once they move into the planning phase, you can create an attractive and relevant offer to capture the attention of travelers, encouraging them to consider your property. And if you do it right, they will be planning a trip with you and not your competitors. This requires you to understand the traveler's intention for their trip so you can convey the right message to reach high-value travelers, including previous guests.

Challenge: You need to reach new in-market audiences across various markets (and languages) with low awareness and compete against OTAS without having their big budgets.

Solution: Drive intent from new guests looking to visit your destination. Traveler intent data is a key part of any successful hotel marketing strategy. At Sojern, we’ve collected, aggregated, and analyzed billions of travel intent signals like hotel and airline booking data, which helps you learn more about your travelers early in the booking process. For example, once you learn that a traveler is booking a business trip, you can serve up messaging that highlights amenities such as Wi-Fi or workspaces.

Challenge: You are struggling to keep the attention of previous guests and build loyalty, which reduces profit margins since acquisition costs for new guests are higher. 

Solution: Your historical booking data is a huge asset to help you woo past travelers to book again with an enticing offer. When you combine your existing loyalty data with our AI technology, you can segment and rate customers based on their probability of booking.


Getting travelers to convert is your ultimate goal, and converting with direct bookings makes that goal even more profitable. By serving up a relevant offer when they’re ready to commit, you can stand out from the crowd and secure the booking.

Challenge: You have limited resources, time, expertise, and bandwidth to devote to digital marketing, yet still need to prove out ROI of digital marketing investments.

Solution: You must navigate the complex landscape of digital marketing and data is the key to proving ROI to your stakeholders. The marketing landscape is changing, especially as third-party cookies are being phased out. Getting a first-party data strategy in place is key to connecting with your travelers in a cookieless world. By laying the right foundation now using a combination of hashed emails, first-party cookie IDs, and historical booking data, you can retarget travelers even more effectively–without third-party cookies.

Challenge: You need to entice price-conscious travelers to book, and to drive traffic and occupancy during shoulder seasons.

Solution: Engage price-conscious travelers to book during shoulder seasons. Metasearch is an incredibly effective way to encourage travelers to book during slower seasons. Using a metasearch engine, potential travelers can easily see your availability and rates, giving you the opportunity to reach price-sensitive travelers. The best part? It’s a direct booking, so you still own the customer relationship. 

Reaching travelers at the right time with a relevant message may sound tricky, but with the right tools, data, and approach you can identify them early in their path to purchase and increase your direct bookings. 

Are there sticking points in your marketing funnel? Connect with us to learn how to overcome your challenges and drive direct bookings.

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