We’re nearing the end of another year – 2020 is only around the corner. As we busily bustle through the end of the year, tying up loose ends and planning ahead, we find ourselves in the heart of budget season. The joys!

Outlining, planning and allocating budgets can be difficult. You need to be able to justify every penny internally, and you need it go the distance in terms of generating as much revenue for your hotel as possible. We want to help! Here are a few factors worth considering as you piece your 2020 budget together.

Digital is King… again

Digital marketing should be at the forefront of your revenue strategy for 2020, and you may need to allocate more budget towards digital. As an independent hotel, your investment in Google Ads is crucial – now more than ever before.

To put this into context, OTAs need to invest too – Google have long been a threat to OTAs, but now their domination of the online travel market has reached an all time high. OTAs now need to pay billions of dollars every year to ensure they show up high in search results!

“Free traffic is “shrinking all the time,” Expedia Chief Executive Officer Mark Okerstrom said the same day. “Google does continue to push for more revenue per visitor. And I think it’s just the reality of where the world is.””

Source

“People who want to invest in the online travel sector should do it through Google stock”, says Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak.

OK, so we’re not saying you need to invest millions! But it’s clear to see investment is necessary.

Other digital platforms worth investing in for 2020 include metasearch (like Google Hotel Ads), a fully mobile responsive website, email, and your online presence in general!

Are you active enough on social media? In case you need a reminder on the power of social, it is currently the most relevant advertising channel for 50% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials. Social networks are the biggest source of inspiration for consumer purchases with 37% of consumers finding purchase inspiration through social! As a hotel, we advise you to continue investing in Facebook and Instagram specifically. And what about a blog? In this highly competitive market, investing time into your own blog can help differentiate your property and set it apart!

Our most recent device trends data from Q3 2019 shows that mobile revenue has, for the first time ever, exceeded desktop revenue! It now sits at 45%, having made a 6% jump from Q2. Desktop dropped from 50% to 44%. This is why investment in mobile-responsive websites that provide a seamless booking experience is key!

Include email marketing as part of your strategy, too. Email is such a great way of reaching your guests in a creative, personalised way, on a platform where you’re not surrounded by a flurry of chaotic, competing ads. Use it regularly and provide useful content! Share blog content, discount codes, or seasonal offers for example.

What about OTAs?

Using OTAs as part of your overall revenue strategy is no problem, in fact it’s great. They serve their purpose, sure. But don’t forget your end goal – the goal that drives your marketing strategy, revenue strategy, budgets, everything: to generate direct bookings.

Be mindful and double check your OTA contract terms before signing anything. The important thing here is to make sure you have rate parity. When you’re using them, make sure your OTAs all have the same rate so as not to cause potential guests too much confusion – and make sure your website always has a better rate, the best rate.

What about the economy?

Economic factors, as always, need to be considered as you finalise your 2020 budgets.

Big surprise… Brexit has, and will continue to, have an impact on consumer sentiment and the market in general. Tourism Ireland’s latest SOAR report indicates that the travel industry is at risk of consumers continuing to postpone trips due to uncertainty. Because of this, Ireland’s 2020 budget has allocated additional funding of €6 million to
Tourism Ireland to be used for promotional campaigns between now and the end of 2019, which will position them well for 2020.

If you need any further help or advice on your 2020 budgets, send us an email hello@netaffinity.com!