“Knowing what to measure, and how to measure it, can make a complicated world less so. There is nothing like the sheer power of numbers to scrub away layers of confusion and contradiction, especially with emotional, hot-button topics.”
That’s a quote from Think Like a Freak, the award-winning book written by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner about changing the way we think to be more rational, successful, productive and happy. The quote perfectly epitomizes the benefit of a single, self-managed resort utilizing a larger management company.
I could ramble off the all-inclusive list of reasons, from handling human resources, to helping in the areas of legal and accounting. But for this article I’m going to narrow it down and focus on what I know the most about – marketing and how a single-site resort can benefit from a larger entity marketing them.
We all specialize in something, and put the trust in others to do the same. We hope our heart doctors specialize in hearts. Our hair stylists specialize in hair dye. Our accountants know a thing or two about numbers. Shouldn’t we want the same level of expertise to be granted to our resorts? Our homes in paradise?
There are massive resorts out there that can afford to have in-house marketing experts to be present on their social media accounts, monitor and respond to online reviews across all platforms, design and continuously update their website content, craft and target digital advertising, manage inventory, send email campaigns and distribute inventory to the endless list of online websites and travel agents that rule the travel industry.
A smaller resort is most likely are not able to do all of this. General managers and other on-site employees are typically too overwhelmed with on-site duties, but also it’s not their expertise. Marketing is becoming more important when resorts begin experiencing declining ownership and need to generate new sales to fill empty rooms and earn new income.
That’s where the power of numbers comes into play. Management companies can complete all these marketing tasks for smaller resorts. They have the expertise that can be spread across a plethora of resorts so they all benefit from high-quality, income generating marketing.
The online travel agents, from big names such as Expedia and Priceline to less widely-known ones such Sabre all require different things, such as taxes, legalities, content and more, to get inventory listed and rented on them.
And all these collective online travel booking sites are a big deal. According to online statistics portal Statista, online travel sales accounted for 496.21 billion dollars and is expected to grow to 755.94 billion by 2019. Travelers use these platforms to do two things; book travel or search for travel.
When travelers book your property through them, you pay them a percentage, but you still get income and you get a new customer. Are you marketing to these clients after they leave and turning them from Expedia’s customer into YOUR customer? Or are you capturing them on your mobile-friendly website right away and getting them to book directly with you? Many people spend enormous amounts of time researching travel and if they find you on Expedia and are able to find and trust your site during the booking process it’s highly likely they will book direct.
At Defender Resorts, we found when an online marketing strategy was put in place to capture direct bookings over online travel agent bookings, the direct bookings soared.
All of that is only possible due to the power of numbers. Greater interaction with them means you have the ability to create and maintain stronger relationships and financial clout with the travel agents. The discounts and professional knowledge of using photographers, graphic designers, IT specialists, copy writers, Google and Facebook advertising experts and inventory controllers to put your resort’s best foot forward make a big difference.
These same concepts are true for other departments of management companies and how they can help self-managed resorts. From knowing which lawyers to use, to maintaining connections with collections agencies, grouping insurance policies and much more, management companies possess a level of expertise and trust. But we all know that. Maybe their most valuable asset is the ability to harness the power of numbers to lift up everyone who struggles to lift themselves.