Outsourcing hotel marketing and advertising services to a digital marketing agency can definitely be an exercise in trust and relationship management. You want to be sure that whoever you trust with your hotel’s marketing strategy will deliver results and act as a true partner in the overall brand effort. How can you create a synergistic relationship with your hotel marketing agency while also keeping positive pressure on them to perform? Check out these 6 tips!
- Ask to See Your Analytics
We are always amazed when we get a new client and hear that their previous agency was never able to offer up transparent reports or even screenshots of a reporting dashboard. Why is this important? Typically reporting dashboards will show you unaltered metrics before the agency is able to synthesize them into insights. Asking to view your analytics is a great way to spot check your digital marketing agency and familiarize yourself with data in its raw form. Perhaps you won’t know what you are looking at, however a true partner agency would be happy to break down the details for you to show trust and transparency. Keep in mind that some agencies will be reluctant to give you direct access to a Facebook Advertising dashboard or Google Adwords in fear of someone accidentally changing something that could impact results. Remember, screenshots and exports force agency transparency.
- Allow Them to Do What They Do
To truly see what your digital marketing agency is capable of, you have to let them work their magic. When clients become too involved and pull hotel marketing agencies away from best practices, they aren’t able to showcase if their method of marketing is actually working. There are some scenarios where agencies are approached with, “why don’t we try this?” or “could you have done that?”. These questions are great. However, we highly recommend allowing a hotel marketing agency a chance to get their strategy off the ground before making ad hoc changes to the effort. All strategy shifts should be driven or at least inspired my data. Without a solid 3 months’ worth of performance data, all you are doing is reacting to what ifs which make a zig-zag line to your goals.
- Educate Yourself on the Services They Provide
The best way to get the most value out of the agency you partner with is to educate yourself on what they are doing for your business. For instance, if social media marketing is driving 60-70% of your website traffic but not driving last-touch conversions, you might be likely to not believe in the power of social media. However, if you educate yourself on how people are using social media to make buying decisions, you will see that social media is rarely the last thing people interact with before converting (at least for hotels). When you understand the value your agency brings, you are empowered to share that story with internal stakeholders and communicate why your partnership was successful. This also protects you from corner cutting or laziness from agencies that may overpromise and under deliver.
- Communicate Clearly and Directly
Communication is paramount in any relationship. When it comes to hiring a hotel marketing agency for your hotel’s digital marketing campaigns it’s even more important. Digital strategies can be intricate and confusing, so open and honest communication will keep all parties on the same page at all times. When communication breaks down, budgets get underspent, KPIs don’t get hit and expectations are not met. Be sure to be clear and direct when communicating with your agency. Don’t leave any room for misinterpretation!
- Request a Breakdown of Media Spend
Do you know how your media budget is getting spent? If not, you should! That’s not to say you should interfere with the strategy your agency is employing, however it’s in everyone’s best interest that you know which dollars are being allocated to what campaigns. This not only helps educate you, it keeps your agency honest and avoids those pesky invisible management fees that sometimes pop up. Also, the more you know about how your money is getting spent, the more you can share with your internal team.
- Request and Attend Monthly Reporting Meetings
You might be surprised how hard it can bet to get clients to attend monthly reporting meetings. We HIGHLY recommend that you take advantage of this time to learn about your marketing campaigns in terms of performance, insights and opportunities. This helps you keep an eye on your agency’s efforts and helps you stay in the loop on new ideas or strategy shifts. Be sure to request time to review campaigns and most importantly, show up for the meetings!
The above tips might seem pretty common sense, however everyone is busy so it can be easy to let little things fall by the wayside. Hiring an agency to handle your hotel’s digital marketing efforts is a fantastic option, however its very important that both parties work towards building an open and productive relationship.
Are you in the process of hiring a digital marketing agency but would like some guidance in what to ask your potential partners? Click here for a great guide on questions to ask!