Hotel Marketing Spend Is A Leading Indicator Of Travel Recovery

In March hotel booking site Hotels.com couldn’t get out of all its ad buys so ran millions of dollars of commercials telling people to stay home before going dark on its ad budget.

Now Hotels.com is beginning to spend on marketing again though not yet at previous levels.

They’re back on television ‘reminding you’ that there are other places in the world to visit, that you used to actually do that, but acknowledging the uncertainty people feel: “in case things are still weird later, just choose free cancellation.”

That’s an interesting strategy, marketing that you shouldn’t book the non-changeable hotel rates we sell if you feel uncertain, spun as a good option to book and make changes.

I may be playing Captain Obvious here but forward bookings for domestic leisure travel destinations are picking up steam (for a very low base). While one of the easiest places to cut in a pandemic-driven recession is marketing, it’s also one of the places a brand needs to spend to goose business precisely when facing challenging business conditions.

According to Hotels.com’s Vice President of Global Brands,

We are certainly looking to get our message out over the summer in a cautious way as demand does come back. I don’t think you’ll see us necessarily spending what we do in a normal time, but it’s important to be out there.

And it’s an opportunity to remind potential customers that hotels offer free toilet paper included in the room rate.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I snagged 10-12 hotel nights with their 2x Promo they did end of May.

    I usually don’t like big companies like Hotels.com, but, they make it very easy to get a room and get some basic rewards out of it.


    We need more positive stories like this. The more people travel, the better we all do.
    We can stop the layoffs and pain in the industry, by getting out there and traveling.

  2. Short haul travel/ tourism will come back sooner than later I think with openings and summer time, long haul international is a ways off. First countries have to effectively “open” airlines must prove there is a reasonable probability that their cleaning is effective and finally the willingness of travelers to make those 8/10/15 hour flights. Then of course is the big question an effective vaccine.

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