Conversion – The Hidden Treasure of Hotel Marketing


The challenging journey for the treasure, ending in success and endless wealth… The marketing path to wealth… The path to a more effective data-based strategy. Just like many modern companies, hotels cannot fall behind and must continuously progress not only in the product area but also in marketing. However, marketing is not advertising. Although advertising is a part of marketing. Understanding concepts, setting the right goals, and the ability to evaluate outcomes is the difference that is key in the competitive fight for a guest’s reservation. The article is note of the topic that I presented in the form of a lecture at Hotel Marketing Conference 2024 in Prague.

The narrative in society often misinterprets marketing or hotel marketing as merely advertising, but in reality, it encompasses a set of activities aimed at influencing customer purchase behavior. The marketing mix’s four pillars—product, price, place, promotion—are crucial to success, applicable not only to hotels but to any business. Hotel marketing, while fundamentally similar, differs in the specifics of the marketing mix and communication methods. It’s about the way a hotel communicates about its products and the distribution of that information, which builds its identity and public relationships.

A strong online presence is necessary, starting with a well-designed and conversion-optimized website. The site visitor’s experience can directly influence their willingness to book; without an optimized site, online activities are futile. The website serves as a virtual hotel where the visitor “walks” through rooms (webpages) and decides whether to book. If they can’t find the reception (booking system), they leave. Alongside the website, the selection of the right communication channels is essential. Paid promotions on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, and emerging channels like Bing Ads, TikTok, and YouTube shorts depend on the target audience, content, and hotel goals.

The objective is conversion, transforming a website visitor into a guest/booker. Conversion is not the sole source of endless wealth; it doesn’t suffice for optimizing and understanding purchasing behavior. Conversions provide data on the guest—demographic, geographic, sociological factors—that can be analyzed through well-set measurements in hotel booking systems or third-party tools like Google Analytics 4 and Matomo.

The basic metrics that can be examined include:

  • Number of conversions – the exact number of reservations from a specific source for a certain period
  • Conversion ratio – what percentage of visitors make a reservation?
  • Conversion path – how does the customer behave and how do they get to the reservation?
  • Conversion funnel – what is the throughput of the reservation system and where is the bottleneck in the reservation process?
  • Cost of conversion – how much did the hotel pay for one reservation?
  • Value of conversion – the total value of conversion, average value of conversions, value of conversion per customer, etc.
  • Cost of Sales Percentage (COS%) – What is the efficiency of the resources spent and what percentage of costs did the hotel have to incur to achieve 100% turnover.

Key metrics to examine include the number of conversions, conversion ratio, conversion path, conversion funnel, conversion cost, conversion value, and the Cost of Sales Ratio (COSR), which indicates the efficiency of expended resources and can be compared to the gross margin.

Visualizing and understanding data in relation to business goals opens new possibilities for understanding customer behavior and optimizing marketing activities and processes. Answers to key questions provide the basis for better segmentation, more effective targeting, lower acquisition costs, and higher efficiency in marketing decision-making.

Thus, the true endless wealth is not in the conversions themselves but in the data derived from them. Properly understanding and interpreting this data leads to outcomes like a COSR below 10% annually, significantly lower than OTA service commissions. The call to action is to pursue this treasure by working with guest data because the competition is just one mouse click away.