Over the past few years, hoteliers have been hard at work trying to grow their online marketing revenues. Using techniques like website design, search engine optimization, paid search marketing and email blasts, many have been very successful. However, with all of the new Internet marketing channels now available (ie. Consumer Generated Media, Meta Search) many hoteliers find themselves at a loss, with no clear structure on the best strategy to produce the highest returns. They know they can do more but not sure as to what. They are willing to invest more but not certain as to where. They want to stay current with their peers but do not know what that means. This year, one-third of bookings in hospitality in the U.S. will be generated from the Internet and another third will be directly influenced by online research, but booked offline. Therefore, it is important that hoteliers know where the best places are to spend their online marketing dollars.

In a recent benchmark study, conducted in conjunction with NYU’s Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) set out to identify trends in online marketing techniques that have developed in the industry to help grow this distribution channel.

This benchmark survey, a first of its kind, asked hoteliers what Internet formats and methods they are using to reach their customers, what Internet marketing practices they find most productive, why they choose to devote marketing dollars to certain mediums over others, and more. The results were impressive and foreshadow things to come in online travel marketing for 2007 and 2008.

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