EP #29 – Digital Marketing For The Hospitality Industry

Amanda Singer joins Susan Pannozzo of Hospitality Academy to talk digital marketing, performance marketing and more for the hospitality industry!Amanda Singer discusses the digital marketing strategy for hotels from both franchised and independent properties.

In today’s world of websites, Facebook ads, email campaigns, and the Internet, how has marketing evolved in the digital age? And how has digital marketing evolved for the hospitality industry?

On this episode of Hospitality Academy, Amanda Singer formerly with IHG joins us to talk about digital marketing, performance marketing and how they can and should both be utilized by any hotel, motel or other organization in the hospitality industry today.

Amanda is a digital marketing and performance marketing expert who shares how marketing has changed over the last 10 years, what digital marketing is versus performance marketing and how to implement both if you are an independent hotel versus a big brand. We also talk about many other topics including what search engine optimization (SEO) actually is.  Hear it here on episode 29 of Hospitality Academy!

Essential Learning Points From This Episode:

  • Digital marketing vs performance marketing: what’s the difference?
  • Is social marketing a form of digital marketing or performance marketing?
  • Why you must have a website, especially if you are an independent hotel.
  • SEO: what it is and why it matters.
  • What does it mean when you buy a keyword and how do you do it properly?
  • And so much more!

Amanda Singer has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years; she started working at the front desk of her hometown’s hotel in high school because she didn’t want to work in fast food! Then when she went to college she applied for a job at the local Holiday Inn, and got it. She briefly went into teaching after college but came back to hospitality and has been with the Holiday Inn family almost her entire career.

She eventually found herself with IHG corporate, concentrating mostly on learning, performance improvement, education, onboarding, and certification. But about six years ago she took a risk and did something different by joining the loyalty and marketing side of the industry at IHG.

Her world was opened to a new form of marketing when the loyalty team was merged with digital marketing. She was lucky enough to be exposed to the digital marketing and performance marketing side of IHG and she found it fascinating! She believes digital marketing is where the world is going, and it’s her mission to learn it, understand it and help their hotels understand it.

When I asked her how marketing has changed over past 10 years, she succinctly says it two words: the internet! The way people shop and buy has totally changed since we’ve gone online. Ten years ago we went to the mall and touched things, today we buy online from the convenience of our homes.

Now when we think about marketing it’s no longer brochures on welcome racks, convention centers, and visitor bureaus. It’s not about going to trade shows or any of the other marketing avenues we used in the past. These things are still relevant but in a different way. Today we have an additional channel to think about now: digital marketing.

In fact, this channel is so important Amanda says we have to keep up with it or we’ll lose out on a large segment of the population.

I also asked her to explain the differences between digital marketing and performance marketing. According to Amanda, digital marketing is the same information but delivered in a different way. Instead of a brochure on a brochure rack, it’s your website. Everything you’d put on a brochure rack is what you’d put on your website.

The basic description is that digital marketing is anything marketing-related but is delivered in an electronic way. Social marketing falls into this category, email marketing, websites, etc. All of these fall into the category of digital marketing.

Performance marketing is different in that it is anything that involves spending your advertising dollars in order to have your digital content seen. This includes but isn’t limited to things like banner ads, email marketing campaigns, and paying affiliates.

An example of a paid affiliate would be an online directory like Yellowpages.com. If you list your hotel there and someone finds you there and ultimately books with you then Yellowpages.com gets a commission off that booking.

Also on this episode, Amanda describes how to approach digital and performance marketing if you are an independent hotel owner or operator. She gives a clear definition of search engine optimization (SEO), and how to decide who on your team should manage your digital and performance marketing.

She wraps up with a final recommendation to put yourself in your customer’s shoes when you’re approaching your digital marketing: think about what you would want to know and then make that available to your online audience! Listen in for that and more on episode 29 of Hospitality Academy with Amanda Singer.

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Important Links & Mentions From This Episode:


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