Brandon: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the latest webinar with Cloudbeds, Alternative Marketing Channels. My name is Brandon Dennis. I’m the VP of marketing here at Cloudbeds, and I’m joined today with Alex Gaggioli, our Marketing Coordinator. He put together the content for this webinar, and many thanks to him and then to Richard Sanderson, who made it look really pretty. This webinar is all about trying to identify new and creative ways to market your property outside SCOs, social media, email, all of the major online tools that we’ve been using and talking about for a very long time. So we’re going to hit on some traditional marketing ways to promote your property and then some non-traditional ways to promote your property.
But if you have any questions while we go through this webinar, don’t hesitate to hop in and ask. Alex is going to be taking a look at the questions as they come in, and he’ll interject on your behalf during the webinar if we need to get anything answered. As always, we’re recording this webinar. So we will have a recorded version on our website later for you, and we have an e-book companion to this webinar, which we will be sending out tomorrow. So stay tuned for that.
All right, so we’re going to cover a wide range of topics, but they’re all connected in that they are new, unique, interesting avenues by which you can market your property. We’re going to cover airline magazines, airport advertising, new and niche online travel agencies, the global distribution system, which many people might not even know about, and then brochures and other publications.
So let’s dive right in to airline inflight magazines. One neat thing about inflight magazines is that your audience is trapped. They’re not going anywhere, at least not for the next hour, or 2, or 3, or 13. That makes this a very unique audience. They’re trying to find ways to spend their time. They’re going to be there for a significant period of time, and they might not have brought enough to entertain themselves with. Sure they could have brought a laptop, or an iPad, or a mobile device, or even a book. And many of them will, but there are many others who won’t, don’t have those devices, didn’t bring those devices with them, or they get bored with those devices during their flight, leaving them open to other ways of entertaining themselves.
Additionally, when it comes to on-flight entertainment, you know, the WiFi is not always free, and you have to pay for it. And the headphones for listening to the TV are not always free, and you have to pay for those. So many people are just going to turn to what’s in the little pouch in front of them. And wouldn’t it be nice if an advertisement for your property was one of them?
So there’s, as we just mentioned, a lot of competition. There are a lot of devices and different ways that people can distract themselves, but there’s also a lot of success that has gone along with advertising on airlines in the past. A noteworthy former successful player in this industry was SkyMall. I’m sure you’re all very familiar with SkyMall magazine. At its peak, it was making $130 million in revenue each year. It’s currently going under a brand refresh right now, which is why you don’t see the SkyMall magazine in planes anymore. But each airline has their own magazine, and you’ll find other magazines inside the back pouch of airlines, and a $130 million dollar revenue business is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
So how to advertise. One of the main things to take a look at when trying to choose an airline to advertise with is understanding their audiences, because each airline has a unique kind of audience. They attract a certain demographic of user. They’ve been around for different periods of time. So before you choose a magazine to advertise with, make sure you understand their target demographic, find out what audience they reach out to. So, for example, if you’ve got many guests who come from the Midwest, you may want to target United Airlines, because their hub is in Chicago. Or if you tend to attract a lot of guests who come from the south, then maybe Delta would be a better option, because they have a hub in the south.
Airline magazines will have advertising pages within them, so if you’re ever curious about how to advertise on a specific airline magazine, get a copy of the magazine, where you can find some information about that magazine, and also many of the different airline websites will have a breakdown of demographics that they tend to attract. So if you want to find out more about Alaska Airlines, for example, just go to the Alaska Airlines website, go to their About section, and I’m sure that you can find a lot of that really great information.
For example, this is what we found on the United website. They’ve got a 321,000 Mega Plus members, and those members have a home worth over half a million dollars. So it’s looking like United customers tend to be fairly affluent. Over half a million premier Mega Plus members have a household income of over 200,000, and over 350,000 have a net worth of over 1 million. So they tend to be a much more affluent airline, or they attract a more affluent clientele. This can come in really helpful when trying to understand who you’re trying to attract.
So there are two primary ways to advertise in magazines. The first is to go directly to the airline: Delta, American Airlines, JetBlue. You can reach out to them directly by going to their websites, finding their contact information, and seeing if they have some sort of either self-service platform or if they have a person on staff who can help you get organized, and you can give them that you’re creative, and they can help you create the ad.
The second way is to work with an agency, and here are two example agencies that we listed for you: one is IMM International, the inflight media specialists, and the other is Ink. IMM International works with 150 different airlines around the world, and Ink Global partnerships with over 25 inflight magazines in 8 different languages.
So if you’re the self-service kind of person and you really like understanding something before you commit to it and trying to work through it yourself, then just reach out to one of airlines. While not all of them list this information on their website, many of them do, and you can find it for yourself. But if you prefer to work with someone who already has all of the established connections and can give you advice as to which airlines might be best for you if you don’t know and you haven’t figured that out for yourself, then maybe working with one of these advertising agencies that specializes in inflight media would be best for you.
Along the same line as inflight advertising, airplane advertising, is airport advertising. This has many of the same benefits as airplane advertising, because 100% of people who see your ads are interested in some sort of travel, either they’re traveling at that moment for business or pleasure, or they work in a travel-related industry, right? So it’s a hyper-targeted audience.
There are also some impressive numbers about people who travel, people who are in the midst of traveling, and that correlation towards being interested and open to the idea of another trip. Eighty-five percent of passengers enjoy airport advertising. These stats come from the Civil Aviation Authority. So they’ve done their research, and this is huge, right? How many people can say, “Oh, I love that commercial”? Yeah, sure, we watch the Super Bowl commercials because, hey, it’s the Super Bowl. But 9 times out of 10, you don’t find a bunch of people who are thrilled about watching a commercial, or looking at an ad, or opening up a magazine, and all those little leaflets fall out, and it’s annoying, it’s all over your arm.
But when it comes to airport advertising, 85% of passengers actually enjoy it. The exact same number of passengers are open to finding out about new products and new services through airport advertising. People who are traveling through airports tend to spend a lot of money while they’re actually at the airport. Before the flight leaves, they’re spending money on food. They’re going to that little newsstand to get a magazine or get some snacks or whatever, you know. They’re open to spending money while they’re at the airport. They’re in that buying mode. They’re looking to plan their next trip while they’re traveling. Eighty-five percent of travelers are already looking to plan their next trip while they’re already traveling. So it’s actually a pretty prime place to advertise your property.
Now, when it comes to airport advertising, there are many different types of displays. We’re going to go over six of them really quickly, and the numbers that we’re going to be using are going to be different from agency to agency. So let’s say that you work with an advertising agency to get your ads inside an airport. The prices are going to be different, but we’re going to give you sample prices based on some of the agencies that we’ve checked in the past as a benchmark, as a place to start from.
So backlit displays, these are the giant huge posters that you see standing in the middle of the airport that have light going through them, they’re easy to see at night. Those range anywhere between $3,500 to $12,900 for a 4-week period. You purchase advertising options in chunks of time, usually over the span of a month. So depending upon how much business your hotel can do and how much each guest is worth to you, if it’s $3,500, that might be worth it.
Digital advertising, we’re talking TVs, tablets, etc. These are great, because they catch people’s eyes, you know. You’re on that little moving platform waiting to go pick up your car, and as you’re going down, you see this moving advertisement on the wall beside you, and that’s going to be a digital advertisement, whether it’s projected or whether it’s using some sort of moving graphics. Those tend to go for the same starting point, $3,500 to $9,500 for the same period of time.
What about airport banners? You can have just a simple banner that’s hanging up inside the airport. They act sort of like billboards – they catch attention, and they’re transient. They’re not part of the actual architecture, but they’re there for a short period of time, and they’ve got huge text, and they’re right in front of people’s faces, and they take up a large amount of space. An airport banner, incidentally, can range between $15,000 to $30,000 a week for a 4-week period. Now, this is probably because they put these airport banners in real high-traffic, high-real-estate sections of the airport, like in the food court area or right when people are getting out from taking off the shoes and pulling their laptops out of their bags. It depends on where the traffic is that’s going to dictate the price of the different advertising that you have.
Then there are also what are called floor-to-ceiling spectaculars. These are huge displays, whether it’s maybe a pop-up, like cardboard thing, or you’ve got a big scene going on, and then there are some little cards that people can take, or something really eye-catching, something that makes people stop while they’re walking. Those kind of displays can go for quite a lot of money, ranging from $11,500 to $19,900 for a 4-week period.
So it just depends on the kind of advertising that you want to do, what your budget looks like, the kind of content you’re able to create. But finding an agency to work with you on that kind of advertising is going to be helpful, so that they can give you ideas, and they can help you choose the right type and the section of the airport to put it. And then also making sure that you check that you choose the appropriate type of airport, because you need to think about what’s local to you, right?
If your property is closer to a small regional airport, and you know that that’s where you usually get customers, then it probably wouldn’t be worth your while to go two hours to the huge regional airport. If you’re closer to a local smaller airport, then it wouldn’t be wise to go and advertise at the huge regional airport when you probably have more guests coming in to the local airport. So find out what the common hubs for your guests coming in and out of your area are. And who knows? Maybe airports aren’t the way. Maybe it’s all about train stations in your particular area. In that case, you can take the exact same philosophy and move towards advertising in train stations.
So similarly to advertising with airlines, there are two ways to advertise with airports: one is to reach out to the airport directly. They’re going to have somebody on staff who deals with this. This is going to be their full-time job, where they talk with advertisers, and they bounce questions, or they take questions that are bounced off of them, they give answers. So each airport will have somebody, especially if they’re a big regional airport, that’s dedicated to doing just this. So don’t hesitate to pick up your phone and give them a call, just the local regional airport.
But if you just aren’t sure who to call or which airport you should talk to, then there are some media companies that specialize in airport marketing, including: Clear Channel, Blue Line Media, who provided many of the stats we used in the previous slide, and then Interspace Airport Advertising. If you know who you want to work with, you can advertise directly with their advertising platforms, if you know of a company outside of this list that we’ve already given you. Some airports may have their own agencies that they specifically like to work with, and in situations like that, you’ll need to reach out to the airport directly first to find out what agency they would prefer you to work with and then reach out to that agency.
All right, let’s talk about new and the niche online travel agencies. So we all know the big elephants in the room, the big online travel agencies: Expedia, Priceline, Booking.com. These guys have been dominating our thoughts and our dreams for a very long time, because this is where many of our guests will be coming from. So we’ve likely chosen the major online travel agencies that we want to partner with, and we’ve had our inventory on them for quite some time.
But there are other niche online travel agencies that might fit your property that you might not know about. So, for example, here’s…and we’re just listing a few examples of some niche online travel agencies that are out there to spark your imagination when looking for niche online travel agencies to market your property on. So one example is Bud and Breakfast.
Bud and Breakfast is a partner of Cloudbeds. We connect to it with Myallocator, our channel manager. And Bud and Breakfast is an online travel agency/directory for cannabis enthusiasts, people who are interested in cannabis culture. They only feature cannabis-friendly properties. The business began in Colorado after marijuana was legalized. So it, of course, attracts a very certain type of clientele, and it only allows a very certain type of property on to their listing. You have to be in a place where this is legal, and, of course, this has to be a primary hobby/focus of your property.
So we’re talking really, really, really niche audience. The majority of properties are not going to fit into the Bud and Breakfast playbook. But there will be some who do, and if yours is one of those properties, this is an excellent niche online travel agency for you.
The next is called HotelsByDay. Now, this is an interesting platform, and what it does is it allows you to sell your room inventory during the day before that room is checked out. So you can sell your empty daytime rooms. Instead of having your rooms being empty for 60% of the day, you know, the guest leaves at 11, and then the room is clean between 12 and 1, and then between 1 and 9, it’s empty, because you have to wait until 9 for the guest to arrive. That period of time can be used to make revenue, and that’s the idea behind HotelsByDay. It’s finding people who are needing a room only for that short period of time and then finding properties that have rooms available during those periods of time, and it’s syncing them up.
So it’s an interesting platform. It’s very unique. It allows hotels to sell unused intraday inventory to increase revenues, and they argue that they can increase your RevPAR and ADR by up to 15%. Now, obviously, this kind of OTA is not going to apply to everybody. It might not even apply to most properties out there, but for properties that are located in a very busy area of town, maybe in business district where there’s a lot of business travel, HotelsByDay could help sell some of your short-term inventory.
It means a lot more work, but it could also potentially mean a lot greater revenue, because business travelers, of all of the different travel segments, are the most likely to rent a room in the middle of the day, between meetings, between flights as a rest stop, so that they can unwind or take a quick nap before their next flight. That’s the idea behind HotelsByDay. Doesn’t apply to everybody, but it is an example of a niche online marketplace that one might not have considered.
Here’s another one, BedandBreakfast.com. Of course, if you are a bed and breakfast or an inn, if your property is a bed and breakfast or an inn, then you’re very familiar with BedandBreakfast.com. But we list it as an online marketing channel that is really specific. They only deal with bed and breakfasts and inns. So even if you are not a bed and breakfast or an inn, what online travel agencies or online marketplaces work with properties that are like yours? So if you run a hostel, what are some of the hostel-only online travel agencies, or online marketplaces, or online directories where you can list your inventory? Have you been depending upon Expedia for everything?
Maybe we can start taking a look at Hostelworld and some of the other hostel online directories. Or maybe you’re on BedandBreakfast.com, but you want to know are there any other online marketing channels that are suitable and target specifically people who are interested in bed and breakfasts. You can do a little bit of research to see if you can find some more, and then finally make sure that we can target online travel agencies that cater to a specific type of travelers.
So Despegar, it’s not a niche online travel agency, but it is one of South America’s largest OTAs. So many people who are living in South America instead of hopping on Expedia or Booking, then they hop on Despegar.com instead. So if you’re wanting to attract a wider audience of South American travelers, then listing your inventory on their online travel agency – the online travel agency that they like to use more frequently – may be a good idea. And this principle is good for any region, like if you’re trying to attract more people from France, then you can take a look at some of the French language online travel agencies or the online travel agencies that attract a french audience and start listing your inventory there as well.
If you need help integrating with any of these new online marketing channels, then find a channel manager like ours, which is called Myallocator, because this is going to make things a lot easier for you. You can just input your information once, check a few boxes, press Publish, and your inventory is on all of your new online marketing channels.
Let’s talk briefly about the GDS, the Global Distribution System. Now, the GDS has been around for a very long time. It’s the way people have been booking travel since the 1970s. It was the very first central reservation system that people used to help streamline travel bookings. It was founded by airlines at the time, and it was primarily used by travel agencies for a long time to help organize business travels and other travels. Today, it’s a little bit outdated. It’s not as popular as it once was. It doesn’t make nearly as much revenue or get as much interest as online travel agencies, but it still represents a significant percentage of all bookings traveled.
There are still many tour operators and travel agents that use the GDS. There are still many hotel chains that connect to the GDS, many airlines that connect to the GDS. It is still responsible for a great amount of airline bookings. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers. Here’s the revenue from 2014. Of the four GDSs – Sabre, Travelport, Amadeus – in 2014, they made nearly 3 billion in revenue each: 2.6 for Sabre, 2.1 for Travelport, and 3.8 for Amadeus. As you can see, the revenues are still enormous. Now, this chart on the right-hand side here I believe it came from Focus Rights. Alex can correct me if I’m wrong about them.
Alex: It’s from TravelClick.
Brandon: Oh, is it from TravelClick?
Brandon: Okay, thank you. So this is a breakdown of where bookings were in Q1 of 2015, and in Q1 of 2015, over 30% of people booked directly with the branded property, 13% from a CRO, 24% direct with the hotel, 15% with the GDS, and 14% with OTAs. Now, that can be a little bit surprising until we realize that many GDS bookings are actually made through OTAs. So, for example, Expedia will take listings on a GDS and present them on their own network. So people booking on Expedia will inadvertently be booking through a GDS, which can help inflate these numbers. But it still shows us that the GDS is alive and well and that there’s a lot of money being processed through the GDS.
Alex: And one other thing to consider when looking at the GDS revenue is that that revenue represents bookings from across a lot of different travel segments. So you’ve got hospitality rooms, but you’ve also got airlines, tours, and other groups like that included in those numbers.
Brandon: That’s true. This is not accommodation-specific. It is travel in general. But it’s a good place to start when trying to understand exactly how lucrative the GDS is.
So then, of course, that begs the question, how do I get my inventory on the GDS? Well, it’s not easy. It can actually be fairly complicated if you don’t have any relationships built up already, but we’ll share with you the best way that we think you can go about it. Myallocator, our channel manager, partners with a company called Reconline, which helps you get on the GDS. So if you’re already a Myallocator customer, this is made really easy. Your inventory is already organized in Myallocator, then you just need to partner with Reconline. Then make sure that partnership is activated in your Myallocator dashboard, and then you can push your inventory to the GDS to make it available globally. So that’s the way we recommend that you can connect to the GDS.
Let’s talk about brochures and other publications. Now, many guests will look at an advertisement online, and they’ll click on a banner, and they’ll watch a video commercial on YouTube, or they’ll engage with advertising online, but there are many others who still prefer brochures and printed publications. These are the kind of people who are going to be more likely to be reading magazines on an air flight, for example.
And then there are also people who are more likely to go find a little kiosk inside of an airport and rifle through all of those little brochures to hotels, and local attractions, and tours operators, and tour guides that they see when they’re in the airport waiting for their luggage, right? Some guests just really like holding that tangible piece of paper and keeping it with them. It’s something they can refer to during their trip. These kind of assets are still a great way, even in 2016, to share information.
So let’s talk a little bit about the kinds of content that you can produce and publish for your brochures. Now, obviously, it’s going to have to be promotional, so you’re going to need to take high-resolution photography, printworthy photography, or you’re not going to be able to use just an iPhone camera for this. You’re going to need to get some professional shots done, but within one of these brochures, within one of these printed tangible pieces of collateral, you’re going to need high-resolution photographs of your property, because that’s going to inspire the travel bug within the guest.
They’re already at the airport, or they’re already in another hotel, or they’re already in a tour guide office, and they’re looking through all of the different things that they can do in that little brochure kiosk when they stumble upon yours. So they’re already kind of ready for travel, but they really need to be hit home, and the best way that you can do that is with photography, because images tell a story faster than words do.
So promotional, it needs to be promotional, but it also needs to be informational, or maybe you could just do a pure informational piece. You can produce a city guide that features your property heavily. Now, you see this a lot with maps. Hotels will have these maps made of local attractions. You can go to the front desk and find a printed map, and what will often happen is partners of theirs will be featured prominently on the map. It’ll be a cutesy sort of drawn map, and then there’ll be a huge icon right in the middle of the map for a local restaurant that that hotel has partnered with.
Or you’ll go to a tour guide, and you’ll ask for a local map, and they’ll give you one, and because you advertised with that partner or because you are a partner, your hotel property is huge on the map or something like that. So you could do informational city guides and maps, local recommendations, insider tips. I recommend that if you’re going to be doing any brochure, yes, it should be promotional, but if you can sell the brochure by the power of the information that you’re sharing, that might be a better way to get interest, right? So if you’ve got a big flyer sitting amongst dozens of other little flyers and brochures, then promoting that flyer based on the information within it, like top 10 things to do or a high-resolution color map of the local area of hiking trails or something, that might be picked up more easily than simply a purely promotional piece.
So where can you go to place brochures? You obviously can’t place them anywhere. Some people will charge you to place your brochures there. But there are still many places that you can go to place your brochures. So independent properties similar to yours that don’t compete with you, so let’s say you’ve got some friends in the area, and you want to do a brochure swap, you can put a stack of brochures on your front desk, and they’ll take a stack of your brochures for their front desk. Finding creative ways to advertise with some of your local partners just might be a wise business solution.
Or let’s talk about local stores and local tourist attractions. You’ve probably established business relationships in your community, and you can have a business promotion swap with a local tour guide who takes some of your guests on hiking trips or who helps some of your guests jet ski. You can have your flyers and your brochures in their lobby, and they can have some in yours.
State information centers and rest stops are a great place to catch people who are going on road trips or people who are traveling long distances to get to and from the airport. Local tourist attractions, whether it’s a national monument or a national treasure, they will often be a great place to place some of these brochures. Local stores that get a lot of activity, where people are going to be…but, you know, you go into a grocery store, and you go in through the entryway, and you see that big stack of car magazines and other free collateral that is usually sitting outside of a grocery store. You know, people who are traveling still do go to grocery stores and other types of stores fairly frequently, and so it just may be wise to place some of those close by.
Travel agencies are still used today, as amazing as it may seem, where people still go into their brick and mortar travel agent and sit down in the chair while holding their suitcase in a very Truman Show-esque sort of way and try to get some help to go to their next destination. It still does happen, and that may be a great place to place some of these brochures as well.
Restaurants, of course, that are local to the airport and trade shows. If you know of a trade shows that’s going to be going on, it may be great to advertise on their website, of course, say, “Hey, you know, we’re a local hotel. We’re a great place for your attendees to be going,” but then also to place some of these brochures on the actual trade show floor. Get some permission from the people who are running the trade show first, that way people who are arriving late or guests who are coming with somebody else and just don’t have a place to stay yet will be introduced to your property.
Now, how do you print these things? I’m sure that you have done a lot of print on demand in the past, but here are three companies that are very popular: Vistaprint, of course, is one of the most famous companies when it comes to printing things on demand, and PsPrint, and PFL. All three of these are great ways to go ahead and print your own brochures. And many of them will have templates on their website that you can download and then fill out with your own content and information to just make it easier for you to do your own printing.
All right, well, that covers pretty much everything. We covered inflight magazines. We talked about airport advertising, the different agencies that you can talk to, the different prices for each of the different types of media within airport advertising. We talked about niche OTAs, why it’s really important to be looking at the OTAs that are suitable for your very specific property type. We talked about the Global Distribution Systems, still a player in the game after all of these years, and we talked about actual tangible brochures. So we are going to open it up to questions before we head on out. Does anybody have a question on anything that we covered today?
Alex: We have one question about the brochures and the best way to find the best businesses to list for your brochure.
Brandon: Okay, so you’ve got a brochure, and you’re trying to find out the businesses near you to list in your brochure. Got it. Well, so you’ve probably already got business partnerships and business relationships set up, and so I would certainly go to those. But if I were doing this, I would go to my airport, and I would take a look at the businesses that are next to the airport.
Some of the car rental places might be a great spot. Maybe if you’re already advertising inside the airport, then I’m sure you’ve already got something set up inside a car rental place. But there are going to be many car rental places just outside the airport that people will be going to. So going into the Dollar rental car or the Budget Rent A Car place and saying “Hey, we would love to put some of our brochures and some of our flyers in your little kiosk over there.” Many of them will have kiosks.
You know, if there’s a diner close to the airport, really quick dining, like a Denny’s or an IHOP, you’re going to find some of those little kiosks for brochures there as well. So places to get food, gas stations to fuel up on gas, car rental places, maybe not major market places near the airport, but you could certainly experiment with it. Those are the kind of places that are probably going to be best candidates for placing your brochures. Do we have any other questions, Alex?
Alex: No, not that we’ll answer live. Somebody had one question about Myallocator, but I’ve directed it towards customer support.
Brandon: Okay, sounds very good. Well, ladies and gentlemen, if there are no other questions, we will go ahead and wrap up this webinar for today. As I said earlier on in the broadcast, we are recording this webinar, and we will have a recorded version of it available for you tomorrow. We will send you an email with a link to the recording, so that you can share it with your employees, or your family members, or whomever you are working with. We’ll also have a companion e-book that goes over everything that we covered on the webinar, but it goes into it a little bit more deeply, and it includes links to where you can check out some of these things, like the different advertising agencies. Did I just see another question pop up there, Alex?
Alex: Leonardo said, “My situation is a bit complicated, because we’re based in Zanzibar where all of this is nonexistent.”
Brandon: Oh! Well, I would wonder, you know, if all of this is nonexistent, how do people get to your property? Like, I’m assuming they do have to fly in from somewhere. Now, I’ve never been to Zanzibar. I would love to go to Zanzibar, but I don’t have any experience with Zanzibar, so I’m not sure as to everything that is unique to that specific location.
But, obviously, your guests are flying in from somewhere, so people who are flying in from somewhere need to have some type of relief. There are going to be gas stations near the airport. There are going to be rental car stations near the airport, and there’s very likely to be food near the airport. Now, those may be very far afield for you, but if your guests are already traveling long distances to get to you, anyway, then it may be worth your time to go a very long distance away from your property and place some of those brochures in the places where guests tend to touch down first, is what I would recommend.
Alex: He said, “Do you think it would be affordable for a little company airport advertising? We just advertise online, because all guests prepare their trips in advance. Thank you.” Yeah, I don’t know the airport situation in Zanzibar, but smaller airports are probably much easier to advertise in than large ones in terms of price.
Brandon: That’s right, and we did go over some of the sample prices, and one of them started at $3,500 for an entire month. And I don’t know what…everybody’s budget is completely different, but many properties, I think, would be able to at least experiment with something in that range for a short period of time just to see if it works.
Alex: Christopher asked, “Do you have advice on in-person or live advertising?”
Brandon: In person or live? Oh, like, you mean those guys who are standing on the side of the road holding those signs that are, you know, the big foam finger, “Hey. Stop by my hotel,” or that big thing.
Alex: That would probably work in a small hotel, to be honest. I mean, not a small hotel, a small airport.
Brandon: Well, I don’t think that you could send somebody from your hotel to the airport and advertise like that. The airport would probably be against that. Unless I’m misunderstanding the question, but from what I’ve experienced, sometimes a hotelier will have somebody standing outside, like on the roadside, like if the hotel is right on the roadside, and it’s right next to the airport, you can have someone waving somebody down.
I don’t have any data on that, but I’m sure that it’s certainly worth experimenting with. I can tell you that, as a consumer, I’ve never pulled over, because I saw a fairly bored, disinterested individual standing there with a sign going like this. It’s never been one of the things that I personally as a consumer have ever done. But I’m sure some people do, and it’s certainly worth experimenting with.
Alex: Great. Yeah, he said, “Such as a meet and greet at a bus or airport.” So at international airports, I’ve actually seen that happen. He said he’s located in Ecuador, so in the United States, that’s not as common, and it’s illegal here. But it is not in other countries, so it’s worth a shot.
Brandon: Certainly worth a shot if it’s legal in your country. It may be legal in Ecuador. I can say that when it comes to one-on-one communication, that that kind of communication tends to be much more convincing. So it’s going to be easier to convince people to come to your property that way.
Alex: Great. Christopher said, “What about paying commissions to taxi drivers?” That’s certainly…
Brandon: Yeah, no, that’s great. In fact, this is something…before I started my career in marketing, I actually worked as a hotel van driver, and we would have companies come to us. Local companies, restaurants, and cigar shops, they would come to us, and they would actually come to me specifically and say, “Hey, I know that you bring guests to your hotel all the time. Here, I’m going to be giving you some free coupons on free cigars and free meals for your family for every customer that you refer to, right?”
And I’m sitting there going, “Sure, why not? Because people are asking all the time, ‘Hey, what’s a great local restaurant?’ or ‘Hey, where can I go get a cigar?’ and, you know, I would just say the closest thing, but now I actually have a reason to recommend a different one. It’s just as close. Why not recommend this one as well?” So, yeah, taxi drivers, town car drivers, Uber drivers, these kind of drivers are a great way to kind of get your foot in the door and get a unique local recommendation, because these people are often fielded questions like that from travelers.
Alex: “What about incentives for clients to refer? All my clients are virtually all backpackers.” Yeah, most definitely. If you could find a way to incentivize your current guests to send more backpackers their way, I think that’s a great way to advertise yourself.
Brandon: It’s certainly a great way to advertise your property if it’s successful. The great trick when it comes to incentivized advertising is finding an incentive that is appealing. So 9 times out of 10 when a company tries to do some sort of incentive advertising to get their guests to advertise to their friends, the incentive is not very compelling.
And that’s the key, when it comes to incentivized advertising, getting friends to promote to friends, the incentive has to be attractive enough. Now, of course, you don’t want to give away so much that it no longer becomes worth it to you, but if somebody is able to attract 5, 10, 15 of their friends to come stay, then paying them a commission based on the number of heads they get or maybe paying them in free stays for themselves based on the number of heads they get may be a way to go about it.
Brandon: All right, do we have any others, Alex?
Alex: That looks like all. Last and final call here.
Brandon: Last call for questions. If you ask a question that we don’t get to, please hit us up on social media. We’ll be sure to respond to you directly from there. And if you have any questions about the Cloudbeds suite of software – Myfrontdesk, Mybookings, and Myallocator – head on over to our website, cloudbeds.com, where you can find a lot of wonderful information and reach out to our customer support and sales team directly for that.
Alex: I also just put my email address in the webinar chat, so you can grab it there if you would like as well.
Brandon: If you’d like to reach out directly via email. All right, well, thank you everybody for coming to this week’s webinar on alternative marketing channels. I was really enthused to see all of the activity and interest in this webinar. We do these webinars every two weeks. So in two weeks’ time, we will have one more webinar. Be sure to subscribe to our webinars on our website, so that you are notified every time we have a new webinar. Until then, ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for coming to this webinar, and we will see you again next time. Have a good one.