The Math of Content Marketing for Hotels (with examples)

The hospitality industry, especially hotels, has been hard hit by the pandemic. It is more important than ever to make the leap and invest in transforming your website from brochure for the property with a booking engine attached to it into a lead generation website using content marketing.

The math is overwhelming in favor of creating content, even for small properties. For example, imagine a property with 100 rooms. Suppose that they book 20 rooms a day through referral services and pay a 20% commission on each night booked at an average booking rate of $250/night.

(20 x 250)(.2) = $1,000/day (365) = $365,000/year in commissions paid. Over a period of three years that is more than $1,000,000 paid in commissions! Many properties pay far more than that in fees per year. And once those commission dollars are spent, they never produce another night for the property again.

Compare that to a modest investment in a content marketing program. If they invest just 10% of the money they paid in commissions, $3,000/month (12) = $36,000/year.

Imagine in year one they produce fifty or more articles and four downloadable “lead magnets,” as well as 500 or more social media posts that are professionally produced and are tied back into an overall strategy. They then repeat the process in years two and three. At the end of year three they have spent $108,000, but they now have more than 150 articles that are still performing, attracting visitors and new bookings. The $36,000 they spent in year one is still producing new bookings! And one of the most impactful things is that each year of creating new content will positively influence subsequent years performance. It is a harmonic cycle. The more good content you produce -- and the better it performs -- the better future content will perform.

Below, The Paparazzi Guide to Greenwich Village, is an example of a downloadable sightseeing guide we produced for the Washington Square Hotel (WSH) in Greenwich Village, New York in 2016. The WSH is a unique property. It's a boutique hotel, built in 1902, family-owned, and surrounded by thousands of competing properties within fifteen minutes of it. They compete directly with many of the largest hotel chains in the world who have multi-million-dollar marketing budgets.


The guide has garnered thousands of views and more than 500 downloads! More than four years later it still has more than a 30% views-to-download ratio and is still attracting new direct booking guests to the hotel.

The leadership team of the WSH went all in on content marketing, and they have produced thousands of pieces and dozens of downloadable guides and content, all of which are continuously promoting the hotel and gaining attention. In the same time period, the hotel added thousands of new followers on social media and ranked for many key words that are important for them to be found organically.

It is not unusual for a guest to download and print one or more of the guides the hotel published and bring it with them on their trip. The downloadable content is a real differentiator from every property in the area and continues to produce new bookings for the hotel -- all with no fees paid.

Content marketing programs are a lot like fruit trees—the best time to get started was three years ago and right now!

Primal Storytelling™ is a content marketing system that delivers the results hotels are looking for. Watch our webinar on Primal Storytelling™ for Hotels.


Anthony Butler

Anthony Butler

Anthony Butler is the author of Primal Storytelling and the Founder of Can-Do Ideas

TOPICS: Content Marketing, Travel, Digital Marketing, Primal Storytelling

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