How to program and automate your direct digital marketing

For an independent hotel or a small chain, there are no chances to compete in the battle for customer acquisition with the OTA’s or “Metas”; they have the captive search traffic (by positioning SEO and SEM), in any platform that you look at, so your acquisition strategy has to work with  those traffic sources. But there is life beyond search marketing.

Direct digital marketing (DDM), that eternal sidekick, is not a goal, it is a strategy. It does not look as good as the acquisition one, since it does not solve the occupation day by day, but it gives you that cushion of profitable security and works for the medium and long term. It is also true, like everything in life, that it requires attention and discipline in planning, message editing, segmentation and database management. In any case, the programming and automation of these tasks is a job that you do for the DDM, but then it will be the DDM that works for you.



The programming of this automatism in hotels is determined by the specific momento within the guest journey, and based on those “events” (typically before and during the stay), you decide when, how and how intense you will do it.


In the Travel industry, the standards for online communications are set very high. You just have to see how the OTAs, metasearch engines and comparators entertain with communications once the reservation or simply the search is made: All kinds of information about the hotel, other services you may need on the trip, destination information to inspire and re-inspire you, proposals for “local tours”, guides to discover corners, city calendar, events you can not miss, rent a car, live shows in the city, “there is one day left for your trip”, and so on to infinity.

What about you? You also provide a service to the client! You have the right and duty to communicate directly with YOUR client, for which you have paid to obtain it. You must have a clear policy of monetizing the investment you make in the acquisition of each client, identifying / converting an “OTA anonymous guest” into a client of the hotel from that moment onwards and forever. Identifying the client before her arrival can also be done.

In post stay direct marketing (we should already have the contact of the client: email, sms, profile of facebook or others) the mix of tactics can be wide and so the return. If you have already planned the communications to the client, depending on the “guest journey”, check that each scheduled message covers the objective that you have marked:


What are you looking for?

Concrete objectives

Message content

Moments of communication

Keep in mind


Win new guests, through your customers, in a market or segment.

Promotion for the client and his friends (share)

Calendar dates and destination events

Link the communication to a landing page and add an application form to receive the promo code. Insert cookies that allow subsequent SEM campaigns.


Generate reservations for specific periods.

Discount for the client and his friends (share)

Calendar dates and destination events

Create a landing page with  booking engine form, phone or email for direct booking.


Improve position in comparator, metasearch and OTA ranking.

Opinion request

During or after the stay

Web form, with conversation rules to propose opinions on comparators.


Generate memories based on a previous stay, offering special conditions.

Mention the date or time of the last stay

Related to dates of previous stay and events of the destination

Create a landing page with booking engine form or phone or email for direct booking. Insert cookies that allow subsequent SEM campaigns.


Reward the stay and propose future ones in premium conditions.

Reward the stay

Post-stay, first stay

Web form for registration in loyalty program or similar.


Have a measure of the level of service in real time.

Opinion request

Pre and post-stay

The response rate is inversely proportional to the number of questions. Use algorithms for the appearance of questions in your form.


All communications should converge on the “friendly” maximization of revenue per client, but assume that not all tactics have a direct return, but none of them is  less important for the business.

A real example of a hotel that did a post-stay email-marketing campaign whose goal was direct return, for some dates of interest:





In this case a remarketing campaign was incorporated in social networks to the users who opened and clicked on the “call to action”.

The automation of direct digital marketing is based on API integrations with your PMS, CRM, channel and / or booking engine. The programming of dynamic rules based on response or behavior of the user and the use of activity data to create segmented audiences of your SEM campaigns are extensions that start in the DDM and are enriched thanks to it. Now that the year starts, make room for yourself to define and program your DDM strategy, measure the results and you’ll tell us if it’s worth the investment.


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