Making the Right Decision is Crucial
Today’s hoteliers have to make their choices wisely and think before they act, as any rash decisions could have potentially damaging consequences. Choosing a highly-regarded digital marketing agency should be viewed in exactly the same way that you would a prospective business partner, and done with the same scrutiny, inquisitiveness, honesty and proof of performance. You need to make sure that everything is taken into consideration and make an informed decision based on the information you collect along the way.
But where do you even begin? One of the first things that you need to do is ascertain which agencies are suitable, and then draw up a shortlist. Maybe call colleagues at other hotels and businesses and enquire as to who they have worked with in the past and ask for any recommendations. You could even elect to hire an agency search consultant who will delve deeper and help you source and select an agency that best befits your bespoke needs.
This might end up costing quite a lot of money, as the process can be somewhat long-winded and arduous, and therefore you could end up spending a fortune. Most specialists charge hefty fees for their services, so maybe it is worthwhile considering other options. You can always do the research yourself, and follow simple guidelines to select a worthy group of candidates. So what is it that you should be looking for, exactly?
You have to know what it is that you want for your business. Do not be the ‘yes man’ who smiles and lets people do what they please in order to achieve results. If there is something that you want changing then it’s important to inform the agency straightaway. On the flipside, if you really like a particular aspect then let them know that they are doing a good job.
If you cannot speak to them honestly and openly before you decide to secure their services then will you be able to do so once you hire them? Make sure that the size of the agency fits the size of your bank balance. Remember that we are all little fish living in a huge ocean, and so do not want to get out of our depth. You cannot run before you can walk, so it is perhaps prudent to take smaller steps before making a splash.
Larger agencies cannot afford to divert the crème de la crème of talent to smaller accounts, and should you need some extra attention it is far easier for a big shop to walk away from your business without giving any notice. Maybe it is better to plump for a little agency that really counts on your revenues as they are certain to do everything in their power to keep you happy.
Look for carefully-constructed strategies and creative thinking. A decent creative mind can be defined by what you feel entirely comfortable with. Far too many clients choose agencies because their ideas are different and original, but then are surprised when they come up with unusual business solutions rather than traditional, tried-and-tested methods.
Also, do not be afraid to ask about what they know regarding your business, or their own perceptions of your hotel and position in the marketplace. It will be a true test of how much thought and effort they have been putting into your business, and will give you a deeper insight into how they process information and think logically and strategically.
Never judge a book by its cover, but take a look at previous case studies and see if they fit the bill. Talent comes in different shapes and sizes, so arrange meetings with people who will be working on your account and ask relevant questions relating to your business so that you can then determine if they are the perfect agency for you.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to find professionals who you genuinely feel can help you grow and expand as a company. If they also prove to be the kind of people you will want to see on a regular basis then you know that you have made the right decision. Look at what these hotel digital marketing agencies have done for others, and see if this is something which you want for your hotel.
Make sure that their experience and skillset are directly relevant to your business solutions, and that they can translate these qualities to you and your individual needs. Their work needs to match with the promises they make, as so many places will promise so much, yet fail to deliver the goods. You are a far better judge of creative processes than you may think, so use your nous and tread with caution.
Ask clients how much they see of the people involved in these agencies, and even get references if needs be. What are the agencies like to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and do they listen to everything you have to say? Remember to ask for a list of past clients, as they will be able to give you an honest and genuine account of what they are really about without worrying about any future repercussions of saying anything slightly negative or being too blunt and forthright.
If you can help it, then it is wise to not ask about any speculative creative work. You have not got to know them properly yet, and they do not know you, so you cannot figure out any prospective solutions until you have built up a healthy working relationship. It is nigh on impossible to resolve all marketing-related issues within the space of a few days, or even a couple of weeks, as it takes a little bit of time and patience.
Make sure that the agency is truly integrated. Far too many companies still have different media offshoots and departments set up in order to amass even more profit, and they will all be fighting for a slice of the action rather than focusing on your overall brand. Today’s marketplace requires an agency to be flexible and take a more universal approach to digital marketing which embraces everything from direct sales and SEO services to advertising, e-marketing and social media platforms.
As you start to narrow down the search, take the time to meet with the agency several times, instead of placing all of your eggs in one basket and secure a deal after a brief one or two-hour discussion. Anyone can appear interesting and engaging after a couple of hours, but it is only after an extended period of time that you can really get to know an agency and be aware of any potential flaws or strengths. Also, take a look at how they run an office, as if the atmosphere is positive, productive and energetic then this is a huge positive.
Treating agencies as your business partner begins from the very second you invite them to participate in pitching an account, and you should be able to feel a relationship going from strength to strength throughout the selection process. If you have been paying close attention and setting enough time aside in order to determine what it is you want to get out of the experience then this will pay dividends.