Navigating a road to recovery

By Katrina Blunden September 6th 2021 Benchmarking
Time to read:  3 min

While uncertainty endures, hoteliers are turning to Hotel Benchmark to bring clarity to their digital marketing strategy and support their revenue recovery.


Post-pandemic blues

As the world slowly begins to recover from Covid-19, hotels are turning to benchmarking tools to support their marketing strategy. The importance of benchmarking your website and digital marketing performance cannot be underestimated. Market dynamics continue to evolve, historical competitor sets change and year on year comparisons are unusable. We have put together a few ways that Hotel Benchmark can help hoteliers in navigating a more certain route to recovery. 

Taking the temperature of your website

Traffic data is one of the most basic health-checks for your hotel’s website. You can use traffic data to track results, make decisions around your on-line marketing and correlate to your ROI. A simple benchmark against the market average and getting insight into your competitors performance will allow you to spot trends, report on improvements and help tailor your own traffic acquisition strategy.

Knowing when to re-invest

As the pandemic unfolded across the globe, the vast majority of hotels stopped their investments in online marketing, namely Google Ads and metasearch. Nobody could foresee the turbulent road that lay ahead and while most thought the pause would be short-term and their re-opening imminent, many hotels have yet to re-activate campaigns in markets where the Delta variant has now taken hold. Stemming losses and controlling every conceivable cost to impact the bottom line was the strategy that played out for many hotels in 2020 and the start of 2021.

In the UK, Google Ads spend for hotels fell by 67 % between January and May 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. As lockdowns ended and hotels began to re-open, there was no doubt that cancellations were the biggest inhibitor for marketing teams to reactivate on-line campaigns immediately. After all – how could they risk investing in cost per click models when conversions became meaningless? Uncertainty in the market remained high and impacted ROI from paid marketing. 

Those with stronger cash-positions took advantage of the absence, most notably of OTA’s not bidding on keywords and the resultant lowering in cost per click. Where other competitor hotels were absent, many rural hotels in the UK saw ROI’s reaching 50:1 in summer 2020.
Hotel Benchmark allows hotels to compare how much the market or their competitors are investing in Google Ads as well as being able to monitor the percentage of traffic received from Google Ads. Understanding when and how much your competitors are investing on-line can help direct marketing spend.

Getting your fair-share of organic 

In simple terms, traffic from search engine results that is earned, and not paid is classified as organic and it’s the primary channel that hoteliers strive to increase. As more and more users take to Google to perform searches for hotels, one way to ensure that your hotel’s website is getting high quality traffic is by creating a robust keyword strategy. The better you rank for keywords, the more organic traffic you will see, and if you are consistently looking at keywords and identifying new SEO opportunities organic traffic is likely to perform each month.
The average (%) for organic traffic within our Hotel Benchmark community is 37%. The average share of revenue (in % terms) from the organic channel is 35%.

As well as measuring organic traffic contribution, Hotel Benchmark can provide comparison against the market for % of bookings which is the real litmus test for how your organic channel is converting into revenue. While on-line marketing budgets may still be limited,  one of the best things about organic traffic is that essentially it is free.

With a clear view ahead and an eye on the market and your competitors, Hotel Benchmark can help develop a much clearer approach to your marketing and become a vital partner on the road to recovery. Sign up here and begin enjoying your free reports.

Katrina Blunden

Katrina has been working in the hospitality industry since 1993, more recently at Hotel Benchmark, uncovering insight from a wealth of data.