There they were, two articles one right on top of the other in the very same enewsletter, each espousing a polar opposite point-of-view on social media.

The first article, Hotels Don’t See Social Media as a Priority, cites research conducted in five countries by the prestigious Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (Switzerland) and RateTiger. The countries included France, Germany, Spain, UK and the USA.

What the research found was that hoteliers are not convinced that social media has an impact on bookings and are therefore delaying implementing strategies for the short term. Instead hotels are looking to increase direct bookings in an effort to increase margins and reduce dependence on the high commission Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).

To increase direct bookings hotels are relying more on traditional marketing techniques with a proven return on investment such as working closer with travel agents, creating relevant packages, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (PPC, etc.)

The second article, Marketing is Dead, from the Harvard Business Review Blog Network claims that traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. The article goes on to claim that traditional marketing really isn’t working anywhere.

The author feels a more community-oriented marketing approach which is more peer influence-based (oftentimes through social networks) offers much greater promise for creating sustained growth through building authentic customer relationships.

There you have it – extreme points of view on marketing. So which one is really dead? Social media or marketing?

We don’t believe either one is dead. Marketing is a mix of disciplines that allows companies like independent hotels to direct limited resources to the greatest opportunities to increase profitable sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Branding, advertising, public relations, corporate communications, websites, email and social media are nothing more than tools smart marketers use to develop the right mix to achieve their company’s specific goals.

So, what do you think?


 Social Media symbol courtesy of Joris hoogendoorn, from The Noun Project
AUTHOR: Madigan Pratt

Madigan Pratt is President of MP&A Digital & Advertising, an award-winning agency helping luxury hotels attract and retain profitable customers. Principals with over 60 years of collective experience at some of the world's largest advertising and direct marketing companies lead the agency's team of marketing, creative, public relations, Internet and social media professionals.

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