In-House Vs Outsourced Hotel Marketing

For years, hotels have been at a crossroads, trying to determine whether to handle marketing in-house or outsource it.

Each approach, in-house and outsourced, has its own set of unique advantages, yet both have their own limitations.

So, the question at hand is, how can hotels determine which marketing approach to opt for? And, how to capitalize on the strengths of both in-house and outsourced marketing?

In this article, we are going to explore the intricacies of this sought-after topic and discover the right approach to elevate your hotel’s marketing efforts to new heights.

Advantages of In-House Hotel Marketing

A huge number of hotels prefer to handle their marketing in-house, and for those who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, here’s a sneak peek at the perks:

1. Control and flexibility in decision-making

When we talk about the benefits of handling hotel marketing in-house, control and flexibility hold the first spot on the list.

With an in-house marketing team, hotels usually have the autonomy to make decisions quickly and adapt to changing market conditions. This means that in-house teams can execute ideas and campaigns faster, as they don’t need to go through the approval process with an outsourced agency.

Furthermore, by having an in-house hotel marketing team, hotels have the flexibility to make last-minute adjustments or pivot their strategies if necessary.

This level of control and flexibility enables accommodation businesses to stay ahead of the competition and make the most of their marketing efforts.

2. Better understanding and targeting of the market

Just like any other department of a hotel, the in-house marketing team also has the privilege to enjoy a typical hospitality environment.

By this, I mean the department gets to interact with a lot of people from other segments which might include the management as well as the guests. This is why in-house marketing teams tend to gain a deeper understanding of their guests, the local market, and the specific needs of the hotel.

“Marketing without understanding your target audience is like trying to shoot a fish in a barrel… with a blindfold on. Get to know your market and watch your efforts hit the bullseye every time.”

Additionally, an in-house team has the ability to gather customer data and insights in real-time and use them to improve the hotel’s marketing efforts. 

Also, they can create more effective and personalized marketing campaigns that speak directly to their guests. Tracking and analyzing marketing results of campaigns, and making adjustments as needed also becomes easier.  

3. Potential for cost savings

Another advantage of having an in-house hotel marketing team is that it has the potential for significant cost savings.

Now, this is not a blind statement, there are actual reasons behind it.

For example, in-house marketing teams are well aware of the hotel’s budget and are likely to be familiar with cost-effective marketing techniques, and are able to implement them more efficiently.

That’s not all. They can also take advantage of internal resources and assets, like staff and equipment, to create marketing materials and campaigns, which can save on production costs. Additionally, if they want to conduct market research and gather customer data, they can leverage the hotel’s existing customer base.

4. Consistency in message and branding

“A strong brand identity is the cornerstone of a successful hotel, as it differentiates you from your competitors and creates an emotional connection with your guests, who will remember their experience and come back for more.”

To build and maintain strong brand identity and build trust with guests, hotels must maintain consistency in message and branding. This is where in-house hotel marketing comes into the frame!

As mentioned above, in-house marketing teams are constantly in touch with other departments of the hotel, including the c-suits and even guests. And this better equips them and ensures that all marketing materials, such as brochures, websites, and social media posts, are consistent in terms of design, tone of voice, and messaging.

Moreover, an in-house team ensures that all marketing efforts comply with the hotel’s brand guidelines and standards, which is important in maintaining the integrity of the hotel’s brand.

5. Higher level of privacy and security for data

Accommodation businesses deal with a lot of sensitive information, such as customer data and financial information. They cannot, at any cost, let breaches or unauthorized access invade these data.

Now, like every other domain, even the in-house marketing team has to follow robust protocols to avoid potential legal and financial repercussions. And that provides a higher level of protection for sensitive information.

Additionally, in-house teams better understand the hotel’s specific security needs and can tailor their security measures accordingly.

6. Better coordination among different teams

Coordination is one of those factors that can never be overlooked in hotel marketing and an in-house team ensures just that.

Now, despite making statements about this affair in previous points, I want to emphasize it more.

When a hotel has its own in-house marketing team, it can work closely with other departments within the hotel as they have an understanding of the hotel’s day-to-day operations.

For example, the in-house hotel marketing team can work with the sales team to create promotions that align with the hotel's occupancy goals, or with the operations team to develop campaigns that promote the hotel's amenities.

Advantages of Outsourced Hotel Marketing

Now, I am not taking sides. This is why I acknowledge that even outsourced hotel marketing has its own set of advantages. Here are some of the benefits of outsourced marketing for hotels:

1. Access to specialized skills and expertise

Outsourced agencies usually have teams of professionals with specialized skills and expertise in areas such as digital marketing, public relations, and market research.

So, when you outsource your marketing efforts from an agency, you get to tap into the knowledge and experience of agency professionals who have worked with a wide range of clients and have a deep understanding of the industry.

This, in turn, helps hotels create more effective and efficient marketing campaigns, and achieve better results.

2. Bring a fresh perspective

When it comes to perspective, there’s a huge difference between what an in-house team brings to the table and what an outsourced team has to offer.

And in most cases, it’s a good call to go with the latter one.

But why would I say so?

Outsourced hotel marketing agencies have experience working with different clients from different industries. And this enables them to provide new and unbiased perspectives on a hotel’s marketing efforts.

These fresh sets of eyes or external perspectives can help your accommodation business think outside the box — identify new target markets, new channels for reaching customers, and new ways to promote the hotel's services and amenities.

3. Save time and resources

Almost every marketing agency has its own resources and expertise to handle a wide range of marketing tasks. Meaning, when you hire a hotel marketing agency, you don’t have to worry about engaging your resources.

For example, by outsourcing a specific marketing campaign, you can alleviate the burden on your in-house marketing professionals, enabling them to focus on other areas of the business.

This allows for a more efficient and streamlined allocation of resources, while still ensuring that all marketing efforts are maintained and executed to the highest standard.

4. Access to industry-specific tools, software, and technologies

Outsourced agencies often have access to a range of industry-specific tools and technologies that may not be available or affordable for an in-house team. These tools and technologies can help hotels stay competitive and achieve better results.

For example, these agencies may have access to sophisticated data analysis tools that can help hotels to better understand their customers, track the performance of their marketing campaigns, and make data-driven decisions. They may also have access to specialized software that can help hotels automate their marketing efforts, and improve their online visibility.

Not to mention, external hotel marketing professionals often have hands-on experience with the latest technologies and trends in the industry. And this, mi amigo, can help your hotel stay ahead of the curve and to keep up with the industry standards.

5. Tap into the agency’s existing networks

What if you want to connect to a media house and get your story published? Let me tell you it’s a challenge.

Approaching a media house requires building relationships, understanding the media landscape, knowing the right people to pitch to, and crafting compelling and newsworthy story angles.

But marketing agencies often have established relationships with other businesses, media outlets, and influencers within the industry, which can help hotels to expand their reach and to promote their services and amenities to a wider audience.

Additionally, outsourced agencies also have relationships with other hospitality businesses, such as tour operators, that can help hotels to expand their reach and to access new markets.

Choosing the Hotel Marketing Approach

Both in-house and outsourced hotel marketing are effective in achieving a hotel’s marketing goals. However, the decision to handle marketing in-house or to outsource it will depend on the specific needs and resources of the hotel.

Accommodation businesses should carefully evaluate their goals, budget, and the skills and expertise of their in-house team, and weigh the pros and cons of each option to decide which approach is the best fit for them.

Now, what if you decide to outsource your hotel marketing? How would you find the right marketing agency?

To find the right marketing agency for your hotel, you can take a number of steps such as:

  • Clearly define your hotel’s marketing goals and objectives.
  •  Research and evaluate different agencies based on their expertise and experience in the hotel industry.
  • Schedule consultations or calls to understand the agency’s approach, experience, and understanding of the hotel industry.
  • Check references and review case studies from previous clients in the hotel industry.
  • Assess the agency’s ability to work within your budget and timeline.
  • Consider the level of communication and collaboration that you feel comfortable with.
  • Look for certifications and awards that show the agency’s level of expertise.

Word to the wise

It is important for hotels to regularly re-evaluate their chosen approach to marketing, whether it is in-house or outsourced, to ensure that it is still the best fit for the hotel and that it is effectively achieving its goals.

Regular re-evaluation allows you to assess the effectiveness of your current marketing strategy, identify areas for improvement, and make adjustments as needed. Moreover, this can help you ensure that your hotel’s marketing efforts are aligned with the goals and objectives and that they are getting the best return on investment.

Conclusion

This topic has been long due and now that I have covered it, I tried to state the difference between in-house and outsourced marketing and all the benefits of each approach. But, ultimately, the decision has to be yours.

The hotel industry is always evolving, so the strategies for marketing need to be dynamic. Hotels must perform an in-depth analysis and determine the right approach. So, do compare both marketing approaches and let me know which one you’re opting for.

Happy hoteliering!

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