Power Your Hotel Marketing Strategy With Both Brand Awareness and Direct Response Campaigns

Using both major digital marketing tactics to drive success for your hotel.

April 27, 2023

There are obvious benefits to running a comprehensive, full-funnel hotel marketing strategy. Nielsen recently found that full-funnel strategies can achieve up to 45% higher return on investment (ROI). But when faced with tight resources and budgets, how can hoteliers build for long-term marketing success with a plan that reaches potential guests at every stage of their planning and booking journey? 

In this article we’ll explore the two major digital marketing tactics—brand awareness and direct response campaigns—and why you should be using both to maximize results for your property.

What is a Brand Awareness Campaign?

Brand awareness campaigns are designed to create visibility and build familiarity with your particular brand or property. The primary goal of this type of campaign is to make a long-lasting impression on your target audience, so they’ll remember you when they are ready to make a booking.

A great example of this is Marriott’s ‘Here’ Anthem, which promotes Marriott as a whole as well as their Bonvoy loyalty program. The video doesn’t ask anything of the viewer in terms of an action, it simply draws the viewer in with inspirational imagery.

Video campaigns are a great way to create brand awareness, but they are not the only channel for raising your hotel’s profile. Channels like display, native, and social media are also really effective. And you don’t need to have the enormous budget of a major global chain to run effective brand awareness campaigns either! Many of our hotel clients use brand awareness tactics to raise the profile of their amenities, like spas and restaurants, or their wedding packages.

Key Metrics for a Brand Awareness Campaign

Metrics often used to measure the success of a digital brand awareness campaign include:

  • Impressions: The number of times an ad is displayed
  • Reach: The number of unique people who have seen the ad
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click on the ad
  • Brand recall: The percentage of people who remember seeing the ad, which is done through a brand lift study

Direct Response Campaigns

Direct response campaigns are designed to generate an immediate response from the target audience. These campaigns aim to get the audience to take action—in the case of hotels, that is usually a booking. Because direct response campaigns are highly measurable, they can be refined over time to improve their effectiveness. They can be highly effective in driving bookings during slower periods or promoting special deals and packages.

Direct response campaigns are highly targeted and specific, and include a clear call to action (CTA). A hotelier’s most common CTA is “Book Now,” however, other popular CTAs include “Book Direct,” “Learn More,” and “Start Planning.” Display, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and social media, are great channels to use for direct response campaigns. Find out how we increased direct bookings for Hotel Captain Cook using a multichannel direct response campaign.

Key Metrics for a Direct Response Campaign

Metrics used to measure the success of a direct response campaign include:

  • Conversion rate: The percentage of people who complete the desired action, such as completing a booking.
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): The amount of money it costs to acquire a new customer.
  • Return on investment (ROI): The amount of revenue generated compared to the amount of money spent on the campaign.

Using Brand Awareness and Direct Response Campaigns to Achieve Your Hotel Marketing Goals

Digital brand awareness campaigns and direct response campaigns differ in their goals, because they appeal to different parts of the path to purchase. It’s not a matter of which type of campaign you should employ. A successful hotelier should use both in their digital marketing strategy to achieve their overall goals.

Brand awareness campaigns target the upper funnel, those who are in the dreaming and searching phase of their travel planning. By increasing the visibility of the hotel, brand awareness campaigns can attract new customers who may not have been aware of the hotel before and help differentiate themselves from their competitive set.

Direct response campaigns target the lower funnel, when a traveler is narrowing down choices, and making that much-coveted booking. They are important for hotels because they can generate immediate bookings and revenue. 

By using both campaign types, hotels can create a well-rounded digital marketing strategy that can attract new customers, increase bookings, and generate revenue. Check out how we partnered with Marriott International to achieve a 40% better conversion rate using both upper (brand awareness) and lower (direct) response tactics.

Looking to implement a full-funnel marketing strategy of your own? We’re here to help! Reach out to our hotel marketing experts now.

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