The Internet serves as the foundation for most luxury hotel marketing programs today.  It’s used to launch relationship building emails and send tactical offers.  Press releases must pass search engine optimization tests and advertising, promotional and linking opportunities abound.

At the center of all this Internet activity is the hotel’s own web site.  So it’s not surprising in today’s economic environment hospitality marketing professionals are keenly focused on finding cost effective ways to increase quality traffic to their site.

A good way to do this is through banner advertising, right?  Not according to a recent study conducted by Opinion Research for ARAnet Adfusion.


Of the five different marketing formats measured in the survey, the two most effective ways to get Internet users to take action (click through to your site) are having your brand included in an online article (51%) and providing them with an email offer (47%).

Banners ads are less than half as effective in delivering visitors to your site as being mentioned in an article.  So it makes sense – to increase web traffic you should stop advertising.

So rev up your public relations and beef up your online direct marketing capabilities and start driving more traffic to your web site.

And if you really want to supercharge your PR and DM efforts make sure they are integrated into a comprehensive customer relationship marketing (CRM) program.

One last thought – think of each TripAdvisor review as an online article mention and you’ll see why having a comprehensive TripAdvisor strategy is so important.  Need help?  Contact me.

What do you think?  Safe travels – Madigan Pratt

AUTHOR: Madigan Pratt
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  • Hi Madigan, I agree with the premise of your article: banner advertising is largely dead. But I haven’t really heard a hotel ask about that method of promotion for at least a few years now. It seems they want to jump directly into search marketing and increasing their web presence through social media networks.

    Do you think this may be a difference between the type of hotel? I work with a lot of new independent, boutique properties. Perhaps the older chains are still focused on advertising instead of online communication with potential guests?

    That’s a great chart…just wanted to get your thoughts on the issue….

    April 23, 2009
  • Madigan Pratt

    Hi Josiah – A look at both major and minor travel sites shows banner ads, although declining in popularity, are not quite dead yet.

    One reason is travel sites have gotten more aggressive and creative in bundling their advertising offerings – including editorial, online and offline coverage and a “bonus” of banner ads. Are banner ads becoming throwaways?

    We see more and more of these bundled offerings come through our office. Using the chart, hotels can now better assess what they may be getting in those bundled offerings with bonus/throwaway banner ads.

    April 23, 2009
  • Madigan,
    You make valid points even if Banner advertising is waning. You posted a graphic from eMarketer, one of the most important sources of online research and statistics available, which proves Banner ads are still a part of the mix.
    What is not addressed is the impact of the ads in the top end of the sales funnel. How do those ads impact the “final click?” Or how the ad affected the reaction to an email campaign.
    Oftentimes the final action is looked at in a vacuum of strictly that action and not how the entire engagement process worked together to create a booking.

    My blog today links to yours on this topic as I do see it as worthy discussion. Thanks!


    April 30, 2009

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