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Planning Your 2023 Digital Marketing Budget

Top 10 Tips for Creating Your 2023 Digital Marketing Plan

By Craig Carbonniere and Keith Brophy

Key macroeconomic trends and hotel industry stats indicate that the recovery is well underway, occupancy rates and ADRs have been increasing, and leisure travel, weddings, and events are returning to fuel growth. conomic growth has been healthy despite inflation and having a marginal impact. 

One of the trends is when indexing to pre-pandemic levels of 2019, we’re really starting to see now the recovery emerge where all the hotel KPIs are reaching those same levels. Now every market is different, but in general, the US is seeing solid recovery. 

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Forecast show 2023 will be a promising year where travel demand will grow

US travel spending is growing 10% net of inflation, focused on leisure travel, international travel is likely to gather pace by 2023. It will be important to remember the demographics of the consumer may be changing, and you will see new type of audiences in your market mix, like b-leisure, business-leisure travelers who tack a vacation day the edge of a business trip.

US Travel spending data

When you are looking at your budget for next year and you’re trying to identify strategies, the story is there’s going to be a lot of opportunity and one of the ways you really should look to try to attack is to present almost as a new hotel to the market, or we need to present ourselves to a new audience that has never seen us before.  

So, whether we are looking at attracting more drive-in traffic, whether we are trying to attract more group traffic, whether you’re trying to attract more international traffic, there are new people that are out there and there’s a lot of opportunity to reach out and make them aware of who you are.  

Also, our polls suggest a very diverse view of allocating budgeting and planning effort and majority of our customers want to spend 2023 in focusing on upgrading digital experiences; be it new website, content refresh, SEO, or developing better online reputation to drive demand. 

Poll - Where are you focusing your dollars in 2023?

Now is the time of the year to take some time to assess the marketing landscape of technology, media, and labor and make a blueprint that will support your growth goals for next year. Tune your website, content, and channel strategy to optimize your output. Your plan should blend tried-and-true tactics with technically innovative ones added in to keep you ahead of your competition. Whether your company does top-down or bottoms-up planning, you can use the learnings from this blog and implement some best-in-class practices to create a meaningful 2023 budget and digital marketing plan 

Our recommendations from here are hopefully going to help you identify where you can build some opportunities and where you really should be focusing your time to differentiate yourself and set yourself apart from your competitors. 

Top 10 digital strategies you can use as you plan for 2023

  1. Increase Focus on Experiences and Differentiated Experiences
    • What are your goals for 2023 and what will change in your product offering?
    • What do people do at your hotel, have there been any changes due to the pandemic?
    • What do they do in the local area?
    • How do they feel at the hotel and area?
    • What unique access to experiences has the hotel arranged?
    • Website facelift with revamps, look at professional photography
  2. Get new professional photos of the property
    • Ensure adequate lighting, good time of day
    • Combine angles and perspectives, consider drone shots
    • Highlight the differences between rooms and amenities
    • Avoid reusing the photos on the site
    • Capture experiences on-property and near-property
    • Add standard videos: background, narrated
    • Consider 360 videos and interactive
    • Refresh the copy and infuse with more character and personality
  3. Integrate with sites and destination events and experiences
  4. Deploy an FAQ section and answer your customers most pressing questions and enable 24/7 sales and support and help address the labor shortage. When you answer questions, you come across as the thought leader in your market vs letting OTA answer your hotel’s questions and taking away share
  6. Events are always a great opportunity to promote your property, and we have seen wedding and micro events faster and more moment has been building over the past year. Milestone research found that via digital channels wedding RFPs are up 15% above 2019 in Jan 2022 – June 2022.
  7. Bundle best price and amenity or room upgrade to compete with OTAs and try to increase the direct booking share; the direct bookings are not only more profitable but they also allows you to capture the customer who may typically use an OTA to book your hotel
  8. On the same lines try and capture same-day booking demand by deploying limited-time offers on site to same-day bookers and retarget site price checkers with date-sensitive offers and integrate with same-day booking apps, like Hotel Tonight to get that share of business
  9. Make sure as you plan for different promotions and offers, you are also setting your teams up with the right data, invest in your data infrastructure and migrate to GA4 to be ready when Google cuts over in July 2023.
  10. Lastly, make sure your content is getting distributed across the channels where your customers are engaging with you, be it social media or local area communities or digital channels like Google or Facebook
  11. Our goal as hoteliers should be to drive more room and ancillary revenue through various types of packaging options for example:
  12. Digitally upsell your rooms
    • Carry experiments inside your booking engine with descriptions, order of room types and streamlining the booking processes
    • Bundle meals in your room rates and offers
    • Promote special drinking and eating experiences, tasting menus, flights
    • Offer unique room service menus
    • Gifts and flowers
    • Present excursions and activities: walking tours, biking tours, scooter tours, car tours, bus tours, boats, golf, concerts, amusement parks, massage, spas, driving luxury cars, and chauffeurs

What and how to allocate for your budget?

  • A common rule of thumb that most brands use is to spend around 7-10% of the overall revenue on marketing activities
  • Of that amount, around half of it should go towards digital marketing initiatives
  • Pitch the Website as CapEx Digital Infrastructure
  • Technology infrastructure, website, app
  • Collateral, menus, QR codes, on-premise media
  • Vendors/agencies
  • Local, GMB, messaging
  • Ad spend
  • Online reputation, reviews
  • Meeting and event marketing, planner campaigns
  • Promotions, offers, bundles, holidays, cyber-Monday, Black Friday
  • Email and loyalty initiatives
  • Analytics and tracking, dashboards, benchmarks
  • Social media
Budget planning example
Marketing planning for 2023

Understand your customer needs, market, and demand and align budget accordingly. You can plan your budget according to goals: rooms revenue/occupancy vs. group business growth. You can generate best results when you optimize platforms for digital capabilities to achieve goals to increase room revenue by focusing on direct booking share and increase ancillary revenue. To discuss your budget planning contact us at [email protected]

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