HeBS Digital announces the launch of “The Smart Hotelier’s Guide to 2014 Digital Marketing Budget Planning,” just in time to plan your digital marketing budgets for next year. Hoteliers notoriously under-spend on digital marketing initiatives and they continue to rely on tired and obsolete advertising formats, especially print media. In 2013, hotels and resorts in the U.S. were projected to spend only 28 percent of their marketing dollars on digital advertising. Inertia from the past and a lack of understanding that travel consumers have migrated to the online, social and mobile channels are the main reasons some hoteliers continue to rely on offline advertising formats. How much should hoteliers spend on digital marketing? STR Analytics recently evaluated a large sample of data from its HOST Almanac report regarding U.S. hotels (about 180,000 rooms) in the upper-upscale segment and was able to compare certain metrics for branded and independent properties. Independent hotels on average spent 7.1 percent of their operating expense budget on marketing fees and were able to avoid franchisee fees ($100.4 million out of $1.4 billion in total room revenue for this segment). The chain-affiliated hotels reported spending 7.8 percent of their operating expense budget on marketing and an additional 3.4 percent on franchise fees. Independents are spending 7.1 percent of total room revenue on marketing. Why are they under-spending on digital marketing? Why does only 28 percent of advertising spend go to digital marketing while over 42 percent of roomnights booked come from the Internet (STR), and the vast majority of roomnights booked via other channels are directly influenced by the digital marketing presence of the hotel? Get the full story at HeBS