What: Dorothy Dowling, Chief Marketing Officer, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, spoke about the challenges of digital marketing in the hotel industry with Adam Singolda, CEO & Founder of Taboola, at #PortadaLat in Miami.
Why it Matters
: Dowling recently was selected by Forbes as the 18th-best CMO in the world and the third-best female CMO.

During her conversation with Adam Singolda, CEO & Founder of Taboola, Dorothy Dowling, Chief Marketing Officer, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, explained that now that digital reservations represent 88% of Best Western’s sales, digital marketing is more important than ever.

When a client is looking to book a hotel room, Dowling explained, he or she goes through 27 sites before making a decision. “This means we have to be everywhere,” she said. Also, 80% of travel search starts with Google, which means that the amount of users that are actually going directly to a hotel’s homepage is minimum , and that those in the hotel business need to have a very broad digital strategy to attract travelers while they are going trough the many different offers.

Luckily for them, Dowling admitted that the “hotel business has always been electronic.” Maybe not in the way we experience it today, but hotel reservations, comments and complaints have been made over the phone for years now. The hotel industry has almost inevitably been pushed towards technology.

Today, travelers go into Trip Advisor and comment after visiting a place, and read comments before booking something. This makes it very important to keep up with social platforms to know what the customers are looking for and also, what they are talking about.

I live in constant fear because of how quickly things change in the sector.

When Singolda asked Dowling how she (and Best Western) survives in this quick-changing market, she named three key elements:

  1. Focus on learning (keep up with what is going on)
  2. Take risks
  3. Build great relationships

We are Tired of Talking about Millennials

When asked how they target millennials, especially because of the huge amount of time they spend online and on social networks, both Dowling and Singolda admitted they are tired of talking about targeting millennials. “We know what they represent, but to us they are just one more type of consumer,” said Dowling.

They explained how it makes no difference to target this demographic specifically, because it is just one more group out of many, and that they don’t even have the economic means to make a financial decision. It is definitely an interesting group of potential clients, but it is no more relevant than any other one.

For brands, the most important thing is to go after their specific consumers, no matter the age, or the demographic they are a part of.


Ximena is a Swiss-Mexican journalist based in Mexico City where she specialized in business, and travel topics. Graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), she has worked as an editor at the magazines Expansión , Aire and Accent, from Expansion Group. Currently she is working with different media in Spanish and English independently. She is a passionate traveler who does not miss the opportunity to see a new place in the world.

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