HSMAI Exclusive: The “Right” Measurement of Hotels’ Digital Marketing Efforts

By Sarita Mallinger, Regional Director, Digital Marketing, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and Dave Spector, Partner, Tambourine (members of HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council)

Ever wonder if you’re looking at and thinking about the “right” measurements to gauge the success of your digital marketing efforts?

In the world of hotels, unfortunately there’s no simple one-size-fits-all benchmark. It all depends on your overall strategy, what actions you’re looking to drive, and what’s important to your owners.

We recently interviewed our fellow members of HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council about what they are currently measuring. While their answers were diverse, the one measurement that was declared “king” is Return On Ad Spend (ROAS).

A critical item on the seemingly endless menu of metrics hoteliers can use to get a handle on their performance, ROAS can be a little tricky to calculate – and it’s easy to fudge. For example, if you buy all search terms for your own brand name your ROAS is going to be much better than if you pay for clicks on non-brand terms, like “Chicago hotels.”

So consistency and clarity are key. Be clear on exactly WHAT you’re measuring and HOW you’re calculating it.

In addition to ROAS, here’s what else digital marketing executives in hotels are talking about the most with their constituents and stakeholders:

  • Channel Contribution
  • Channel Growth Year-Over-Year – We’re spending a lot of money to drive direct bookings, so we want to see if that’s working and if the brands are contributing toward growth.
  • Channel mix and direct booking – What rooms and rates are people booking direct? We have to know and make sure that’s managed properly.
  • Contribution from Brand.com
  • Contribution of direct ecommerce revenue versus the expected budget – We put systems and reports in place to make sure we know what we’re talking about.
  • Conversion is something we look at constantly throughout the booking flow. As we make product optimization, marketing, and merchandising changes and offers, we’re looking very critically at that information.
  • Cost of acquisition and how each guest is contributing to the bottom line
  • Direct revenue and ROAS in the various channels
  • Incrementality – What are we driving above and beyond what the brand is doing for us?
  • Last Click Attribution
  • Mobile bookings off of mobile ad spend
  • ROI – Did we get business from it (whatever the initiative is), and if so, how much?
  • Segmentation – Are we driving rack and qualified discounts?
  • The accuracy of our interpretation of the data we have and our measured ability to steal business from our competitors
  • The number of responses to review – It is amazing how much time and attention our owners are giving to these numbers despite the fact that there is a point of diminishing returns for responses.
  • The value that retargeting brings to the table
  • What is the right level of support from an e-commerce standpoint that we provide to our hotels? And how do we measure the effectiveness of ecommerce/digital marketing talent?


About the Authors

Sarita Mallinger is Regional Director, Digital Marketing for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. In that role she looks after media planning and management with a focus on budget recommendations, ROAS, performance metrics, and composition of audience generated through various online marketing activities that include SEO, PPC, email marketing, online ads, and social media optimization.

She earned her Master’s degree from Cornell University.

Dave Spector is a Partner in Tambourine, a 34-year old marketing technology firm specializing in driving demand, revenue and direct website bookings for hotel and tourism clients around the world.

The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, New York City and Bogota.

Prior to Tambourine, Dave was chief marketing officer for a global software company, managing an annual marketing budget of $15 million dollars across 17 countries. Earlier in his career, Dave was a founding member of two start-ups that eventually become thriving public companies whose revenues today exceed $300 million dollars.

Dave lives in Florida with his wife and daughters who constantly remind him that he knows very little about anything!


About HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council

HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Council connects travel marketers in a way that leverages interactive customer engagement as a marketing medium while increasing the awareness of emerging issues, opportunities and trends. This is accomplished through a wide range of information sharing, networking and educational opportunities. Members include:

  • CHAIR: Holly Zoba, CHDM, VP, Signature
  • Dustin Bomar, Head of Industry, Travel, Google
  • Aimee Cheek, CHDM, Director of eCommerce, OTO Development
  • Bill Clarke, Director of Sales, Milestone, Inc.
  • Robert Cole, Founder-CEO, RockCheetah
  • Chris Copp, VP, Global Digital Marketing, IHG
  • Jessica Davidson, Vice President, Digital Content + Creative, Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Erica Eyring, CHDM, Director, Account Management, Expedia Media Solutions
  • Isaac Gerstenzang, CHDM, Assistant Vice President, Corporate E-commerce, Two Roads Hospitality
  • James Hansen, CHA, CHDM, Director, Marketing, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
  • Carolyn Hosna, CHDM, Sr. Corp. Director, Marketing & Distribution, White Lodging
  • Jay Hubbs, III, CHDM, Senior Vice President, eCommerce, Remington Hotels
  • Michael Innocentin, Vice President, E-Commerce & Digital NCA Region, AccorHotels
  • John Jimenez, CHDM, Director of E-commerce, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
  • Sarita Mallinger, Regional Director, Digital Marketing, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Delana Meyer, CHDM, Vice President Digital Strategy, Crescent Hotels & Resorts
  • Amy Mierzwinski, CHDM, Director, Horwath HTL
  • Anna Paccone, CHDM, eCommerce Director, Second Wave Marketing / Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Shawn Paley, CHDM, Director, Global eCommerce & Digital Services, Marriott International
  • Olga Peddie, SVP, Client Strategy & Success, Cendyn
  • Donna Quadri-Felitti, CHDM, Director and Associate Professor, Penn State University
  • Mariana Safer, CHDM, Senior Vice President, Marketing, HeBS Digital
  • Dave Spector, Partner, Tambourine
  • Dan Wacksman, CHDM, SVP, Marketing and Distribution, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
  • Hunter Webster, CHDM, SVP, eMarketing, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
  • Misty Wise, CRME, CHDM, Director, Digital Strategies, John Q Hammons Hotels


Categories: Marketing, Internet & Social Media
Insight Type: Articles