“Online marketing, as important as technology in direct selling”

“Online marketing, as important as technology in direct selling”

Idiso Digital’s Director, Marc Galbis, was interviewed this week by Smart Travel News, he revealed the keys for Idiso’s new brand positioning and strategic plan, explaining the main factors to consider when it comes to the Digital Transformation of the hotel sector.

>What philosophy lies behind Idiso’s new look?

The change in brand comes hand in hand with a new strategic plan, up until now Idiso was basically a technological service company, but we saw the need to offer a wider range of services, including consultancy, advice for hotels, advanced marketing services and even payment platforms. 

I think we’ve got it right, I feel that it is a very international brand image, very Anglo-Saxon, and that the new message and the way we have spread it to our clients has been well received. It was something our clients were expecting, they had problems in areas we couldn’t help them with, they’ve now seen how Idiso has taken the bull by the horns, so to say, to help solve these problems and, at the same time, offer what we call a 360 solution, in other words a solution that can meet all the challenges hotels face, not just technological, but marketing and payment problems too, as well as many others. 

How have the online marketing needs of hotels evolved?

Going back some years we would find that, when we visited a hotel to sell a Booking Engine, to sell technology, the hotels often didn’t even have a website, or the site they had was very old. So, we’d say: “don’t worry, we will make you a website with the booking engine”. Then we’d hear “our website doesn’t sell”. Obviously, “you need to promote your website”. You must create Google campaigns, AdWords campaigns, publicity, online marketing, etc. So they’d say, “We don’t know how to”. Our answer? “Don’t worry. If you like we can manage the campaigns for you, in your name”. So, little by little, we realised that technology on its own doesn’t sell. We had to build the page, we had to create the marketing campaigns and those campaigns need a marketing budget, an investment. What we know for sure is that a hotel’s end need is to sell, to sell more and better. 

What role does a provider of online hotel marketing solutions play?

What we are sure of is that marketing departments can’t have specialists in metasearch engines, retargeting, display, web, social network and any other specialities that will appear in the months and years to come. So, what we do is offer a consultancy service, using those who know the product and client segment best, the hoteliers themselves. We can help them with all the knowledge we have in marketing channels, destinations, and source markets. 

Presently, we have nearly 3000 hotels on our platform. We manage, advise and help many clients with their marketing needs. 

We are experts in Mallorca, Ibiza, the Canary Islands and along the coasts. With the information provided from the hotel about their product, and our knowledge of the destination, gained from previous experience, as well as the knowledge we have of the source markets, such as the British, Germans, Italians, etc. we can put together the perfect campaign or marketing plan. 

The role of OTAs, as marketing solution providers

To my mind, the whole range of products that OTAs are offering (Booking’s Booking Suite), even the metasearch engines, are more focused on small independent hotels and hostels. In some ways, more than really offering solutions for medium to large chains, Booking is trying to maintain its accommodation quota. The aforementioned have other needs and I think they clearly see intermediaries as an impediment to their sales. 

That’s why I mentioned the importance of Idiso Consulting, because we lay it out clearly. In other words, if you want to have a share of 25-30% of direct sales in 2 or 3 years, you will have to invest in marketing to be able to generate those sales directly from your website. So, where does that marketing come from? It must be from the OTA commissions. You need to change the mix. 

The aim is to obtain the perfect blend of channels, in other words, it’s bad to depend on just one channel. We need to have an OTA mix, a direct website sales mix, a channel mix. In the Canaries, for example, or any other destination in Spain, where tour-operators are still important, we also need a tour-operator mix. What we are seeing sometimes in the consultancy is that our clients have an unhealthy channel mix, where 90% of their production depends on one or two tour-operators or that they depend 70% on Booking or Expedia. This needs to be balanced out. 

The example of Cuba and the online commercial transition.

This is a country that is selling or distributing like Spain was in the 70s or 80s. In other words, in 2017 Cuba depends 96% on tour-operators, faced with a market of 400 million who go to the other extreme, they are not just on the Internet they are mobile. So, in some way Cuba has a pleasant challenge. Possibly in two or three years it will drastically change the way it sells, from the traditional present way to one that is totally digital. They will have to do in just 2 or 3 years what we have done in Europe over the last 16 or 17 years. We have been working for a year now with a company in Cuba, helping them take this route, and, from a consultancy perspective, showing them the way to go, over the next few years. Truth be told, we are very happy and proud to be part of this historic change in distribution and commercialization of tourist product in Cuba.