Five Lessons to Learn from the Hospitality Industry's Mistakes

The hospitality industry is an established one, especially compared to the relatively new industry surrounding medical and recreational marijuana. This means that marijuana-based businesses can learn from the failures of the hospitality sector, especially when it comes to digital marketing initiatives. Here are five such failures, and the takeaway lessons:

1. Relying too heavily, for too long, on print marketing

The hospitality industry was slow to embrace the internet revolution in general, and more specifically, digital marketing. Instead, hotels continued to pour money into traditional print avenues of marketing, like newspaper and magazine advertisements, yellow pages listings, and even direct mail marketing pieces.

It was difficult for hospitality establishments to determine the ROI of these advertising efforts, particularly before employing call tracking methods. Unique phone numbers for each ad, for example, can help you know where your business is coming from.

2. Using directories and aggregators 

Sites like Travelocity and Orbitz do direct web traffic to hotel websites, but not as much as you might think — and at a high cost. Far too many hotels are paying through the nose for being listed in such directories. Similarly, marijuana directories may not be worth the money. While they may drive traffic to you, they’ll also eat into your profits. Don’t spend more than 20% to 30% of your marketing budget on such directories. Instead, focus your efforts on building and optimizing your website. 

3. Trying to handle digital marketing in house

Jose in Accounting may say he knows all about SEO and PPC, but how much does he really know? If he were an expert, he’d probably be working at a digital marketing agency — not for you. It may seem less expensive to handle all things internet on an in-house basis, but you get what you pay for. Hire an agency that truly specializes in the complicated arena of internet and content marketing, and you’ll get real results instead of an employee who’s doing two jobs, and neither one very well.

4. Skimping on their website

Just as hotels were slow to get online, they’ve been slack in establishing mobile websites, which are more important now than ever. Good web design for all devices, from laptops to smartphones, is crucial for the marijuana industry, as well. Your customers are on the go, and you need to be accessible to them.

5. Underestimating the importance of SEO

Search for any of the terms related to marijuana, and you’ll find page after page of results. If your business doesn’t come up on page one, there’s very little chance of its site being seen by potential customers, since few people click through to page two and beyond. Having a website that is optimized for search was a mistake that many hotels made, and suffered from. Make sure to work with a digital marketing agency that can help use keywords and other techniques that will get your site’s rankings soaring.

Don’t make these mistakes; contact an agency that can handle your SEO, web design, and more with ease!


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