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Why the In-House Marketing Option May Be Killing Your Hotel’s Performance

Why the In-House Marketing Option May Be Killing Your Hotel’s Performance

Brian Fitzgerald
Brian Fitzgerald May 10, 2022
Why the In-House Marketing Option May Be Killing Your Hotel’s Performance

As the marketing lead of a branded hotel like Hilton, Hyatt, or Marriott, you have a unique set of considerations when it comes to marketing your property. Because you operate under an established brand, it’s natural to assume that corporate in-house marketing services are the way to go. 

And why not? In-house marketing services are convenient — and likely required if your hotel is being managed by the brand — and they certainly know the ins and outs of the brand, right? Not only that, but corporate is actively pushing their in-house services, and they’re pushing hard

Unfortunately, while in-house marketing teams boast some benefits, they may not give you the overall advantage you need to achieve your goals and stay ahead of the competition. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of keeping your marketing efforts in-house.

What Big Hotel Marketing Brings to The Table

In-house branded hotel marketing teams bring two key advantages to the table: data and branded search terms.  

Unlike small agencies, in-house marketing teams have access to every bit of data generated across the brand’s marketing touchpoints and customer transactions, including source referrals for room reservations (pay-per-click, SEO, or elsewhere), booking details, and so on. Keeping this information private is one way in-house teams encourage branded hotels to go with their services. 

In-house branded hotel marketing teams also control certain search terms. This means that there are specific terms you aren’t allowed to bid on when working with an outside firm. Let’s say you own a Hyatt-branded hotel. If you aren’t using the Hyatt marketing team, you’re not allowed to bid on any keywords with the term “Hyatt” in them.

As the marketing director of a branded hotel, you’re being pitched the services of the brand’s marketing team. And using the in-house marketing teams from the big brands may seem like a great choice. After all, they have hundreds, if not thousands, of hotels whose marketing they maintain. Surely they know best, right?

Not necessarily. 

How an Outside Marketing Agency Can Help Your Hotel Reach More Guests

Working with a small, independent agency yields multiple benefits that all add up to a better experience — and better results. Rather than approaching your property like a little fish in a big pond, an agency like O’Rourke Hospitality gives you the “big fish” treatment. By crafting a tailored plan designed just for your hotel in your market, you can rest assured that while your competitors are all following the same corporate playbook — your hotel stands out. 

Customized Plans

Most brands have in-house groups that offer digital marketing strategies in tiered packages. However, they are often inflexible, one-size-fits-all, and hotels that opt for it are one in a sea of many. The higher the tier, the more expensive the package, the more services provided. It’s a common tactic in sales: Offer three tiers and most customers will select the middle option. 

The problem with these tiered systems is that they are templated, often too rigid to really meet each property’s unique needs. 

Contrast that with our “made to order” approach. In our initial interview with your team, we’ll dig into your particular challenges and goals. Using those details, we’ll design a custom package of services formulated to meet your specific needs — nothing more, nothing less. 

Property-Specific SEO and Paid Ad Services

You may be surprised to learn that independent marketing agencies can help you achieve better “property specific” SEO. Here’s why. Say you own a Marriott. If there are fifteen Marriott properties in your market, and they’re all paying the in-house marketing team for pay-per-click advertising (PPC), the Marriott marketing team pools those funds together. Why? Because all of those properties want the same keywords to attract the same customers. 

When users click on the ads, they aren’t directed to your specific hotel’s website. Instead, they’re led to a page where all fifteen hotels are represented together. Rather than promoting your property, your PPC budget is effectively paying to up the ante on your competition. That’s good for the corporation, but for your property? Not so much. 

When O’Rourke sets up your PPC advertising, we do so with links that drive directly to your property. Instead of clicks taking users to a page filled with alternate choices, they’re taken to your website, where all they have to decide is the details of their reservation.

Right-fit Customer Service

When it comes to customer service, a small firm like O’Rourke is an entirely different ball game than an in-house marketing team. In-house marketing teams may not give you access to an account manager. If they do assign an account manager, you’re subject to the higher turnover that tends to plague large, in-house marketing teams.

When you work with O’Rourke, you gain access to a dedicated team that knows your account like the backs of their hands.  Not only that, because we have much lower employee turnover than the typical in-house agency, you’ll get the consistency that comes with a stable team. 

At O’Rourke Hospitality, we provide a suite of services tailored to suit your specific needs. And, we focus on increasing profitability at your specific location, not every hotel property that you happen to share a brand name with.

Ready to talk? We are, too.