Avijit Arya is a hotelier with an award winning boutique hotel company with hotels in Delhi like Ajanta Hotel and a resort in Goa like The Tamarind. He worked as an owner-operator and understood the need for an honest hotel marketing company.
With Google and expedia not having their offices in India and since Facebook and Trip Advisor were not born, so he started a hotel marketing company for their own hotels which later led them to offer solutions to over 300 hotels in 8 countries now.
Digital Vidya: Given your experience, what are the different business objectives Travel & Hospitality industry can fulfill using Digital Marketing? Please share few examples as well.
Avijit: With a clear focus on ROI, hospitality industry still needs a lot of aligning of the objectives of the owner operator management company, franchisees and GMS role translated into digital. This coupled with revenue management and pricing predictions were able to outsmart markets and competitors to get the best ARR and ADR.
Digital Vidya: At the same time, what are the top mistakes committed by marketers in Travel & Hospitality industry today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
Avijit: Wow. Now where do I start from.
Let me refers me back to my not so famous article which I wrote during the last days of HICSA (Hotel Investment Conference South Asia), which I named ‘The Digital Disconnect’, where there were different stakeholders at various levels of understanding and expectation from digital. The idea behind this was that the hotel owners GMS Revenue Managers and their Social Media / PR / MarCom personnels, who are responsible for digital must possess some formal training similar to the management people so as to expect results from digital media for hoteliers. It must be a digital native as people are more open to mobiles, apps and other forms of guest engagement before, during and after guest check out.
Digital Vidya: According to you, what are the key skills about Digital Marketing one should acquire if s/he wants to build a rewarding career in Travel & Hospitality industry.
Avijit: There are plenty of courses available in India and Internationally. Most of which I feel are useless with no practical knowledge built in. Further, when it comes to digital every time you put together is a changed course. Hence, working for hotels on the digital front or with the agency is what’s needed for today’s youngsters, if they want to learn and get educated. Soon every hotel will have a digital position.
Digital Vidya: You led ‘Social Media – Reputation, Reviews And Revenue’ Webinar for Digital Vidya’s community. How was your experience in leading the Webinar?
Avijit: Great questions! Firstly, you have a sophisticated audience coming online for your webinars. Secondly, it is very professionally organised which is not surprising as you are one of the only trusted knowlege dissemination brands in india, I know.
Digital Vidya: Please share top 5-7 takeaways from the Webinar you would like to share with our community.
- Do not resort to take review they will never lead you to long term gains.
- Always address each review on all review channels as well as OTA channels and have an agency or inhouse expert answering. All reviews should be taken care with equal respect and recognition to the guest writing and onw should be aware of the fact while doing the review that it might impact the mindset of ten other people who might look at it, before they make up their mind to stay with you.
- Social media can help. I deliver revenues if it’s a part of overall hotel marketing mix and done in tandom with revenue management, review management and digital marketing. I’m in isolation and no form of marketing produces magical results.
- Facebook is a search engine of the people who trust their friends review on hotels and destinations, so it’s serious.
- Medium and needs should be used effectively.
Digital Vidya: Do you have any suggestions for us to further increase the value of our Digital Marketing Webinars for our community?
Avijit: Give people points for logging into as many webinars as possible.
Digital Vidya: Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
When you started, you guys we’re ahead of time. Today, you are a brand that’s what I like to view as. Honest and trusted! This trust cannot be bought. My deepest respect to you guys for making this happen.