Best Western


Travel Marketing is one of the categories that are changing at the most rapid pace. As Dorothy Dowling, SVP of Marketing and Sales for Best Western International, puts it” you have to be able to pivot very quickly. ” The 30-year hotel industry veteran directs all Best Western’s marketing and sales strategies, including the brand’s loyalty program, consumer and field marketing, advertising, public relations and e-commerce. We interviewed Dowling to ask her about the latest (digital) marketing trends and about Best Western’s forays into the U.S. Hispanic market. 6 things you need to know.

BANNERS SECCIONES FINALWith 88% of Best Western’s hotel bookings done online, it goes without saying that digital marketing is a make or break area for Best Western. The Phoenix, AZ, headquartered hotel chain operates more than 4,000 hotels worldwide of which more than half are in the U.S. As Dowling (photo) says “hotel rooms are perishable goods, “you have to be able to pivot quickly. You need to understand the numbers based on the KPI’s of the organization. For instance, what amount is going to what channel.”
As an example of how quickly things are changing Dowling says that “channel distribution is having a lot of changes. Mobile surpassed desktop in search last year, although conversion is still bigger in desktop.” Things are shifting very fast, she adds. Other reflections of the fast paced industry are algorithm changes in Google as well as in the travel search engine Kayak. In addition, Best Western uses social media to monitor customers and understand customer issues.

1. Online Leads Customer Acquisition, though Voice is coming back.

According to Dowling, “88% of Best Western business comes through electronic distribution. Voice used to be the dominant channel. Only 10 years ago voice had a share of approximately 30%, this ratio is coming back up because of voice activation through mobile. The main properties Best Western uses for customer acquisition are Tripadvisor, Google and the Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s). Asked whether she fears what is commonly known as the OTA duopoly (Priceline and Expedia group of companies), Dowling notes that she is not too concerned about market concentration: “There are disruptors coming in all the time.”

Only 10 years ago voice had a share of approximately 30%, this ratio is coming back up because of voice activation through mobile.

2. The Demise of Last Click Attribution…

Puerto VallartaDowling says that one metrics that is being disrupted is that of last click attribution. Last click attribution was easy and simple: Whatever ad was clicked most recently must have driven the purchase. But it’s not just the last click that drives the sale because consumers are interacting with multiple ads on multiple devices to complete a purchase. Dowling emphasizes that only “econometric models get you to that kind of understanding. The interest to purchase might have started on TV or on social”. As an example of how different media impact the consumer much before the last click, she cites Google stats according to which 75% of consumers watching TV are also online. In fact, she notes that online search queries for Best Western increase substantially around the times the company advertises on broadcast TV.

Online search queries for Best Western increase substantially around the times the company advertises on broadcast TV

In terms of the path to purchase of hotel rooms, Downling notes that social media is more effective on upstream -influencing – than for downstream -converting-. The demise of the last click attribution metrics also impacts, the cost metrics Best Western looks at: “The cost per acquisition is now mostly measured through CPA (Cost per acquisition) and not anymore through CPC (Cost per click),” Dowling says.

CHECK OUT: Social Advertising in Travel Marketing according to Ricardo Rivera, CMO of Mexican airline Volaris.

3. Search and Display are bought Programmatically

Best Western buys programmatically most of its digital display and search advertising, Real Time Bidding plays an important role as the number of empty hotel rooms changes all the time. “The science is that you need to know how many (empty) rooms you have in the hotel.” The bulk of Best Western’s off-line and online media buy is done during the spring for the Summer Season (families), as well as from early February to mid-May and during autumn for the business traveler.

4. The Hispanic Market Bet…

Best Western is also jumping on the  Hispanic market opportunity buoyed by the fact that the average spend of U.S. Hispanics per trip is higher than that of the average U.S. traveler. According to a recent Think Now survey from 2014, on average, Hispanics spend about US $2,400 on a vacation traveling within the U.S., rising to over US $3,600 among affluent Hispanics. Hispanics spend more than non-Hispanics across all income brackets, in part because they are more likely to fly and have larger families on average.

Hispanics spend more than non-Hispanics across all income brackets, in part because they are more likely to fly and have larger families on average.

Best Western’s clientele has two segments: The leisure and the  business traveler (mid-market and upper mid-market). Business travelers  mostly make decisions around location. “For business it’s where they want to be. Location is the trump card still. Leisure is more place oriented,” Dowling notes that, in addition, a another effort, mostly through trade show participation,  is directed to Hispanic hotel operators who may want to become members of the Best Western International network.

5. …and How it is Activated.

Dowling explains that the Hispanic market activation is mostly focused on mainstream media buys in properties that have a large Hispanic following. The initiative has focused on national and regional markets where there is a higher propensity of U.S. Hispanics. These buys include general market TV, as its substantial reach also drives search, digital as well some sports TV properties and radio. There is also a Social Media and Blogger outreach, including bloggers Manny Ruiz and Cesar Milan. Those Best Western partner agencies are Ideas Collide for creative, Allison and Partners for PR and Initiative for media planning and buying.


6. Content Marketing

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

Content marketing also plays an integral role for Best Western’s marketing strategy. “Content scores in terms of placement. We can optimize performance through channel mix,” says Dowling.
Best Western’s content marketing platform is YouMustBeTrippin.com, which includes Mi Gente Hispanic targeted section. Influencers Cesar Milan and Manny Ruiz are contribute in video and text to those sites. Video is an area of investment for Best Western. It recently established the BW Content Studio. The company is also advertising and promoting videos on YouTube.

Content scores in terms of placement. We can optimize performance through channel mix.

Travel and Travel Marketing will Play a Crucial Role at PortadaLat 2017 in Miami June 7-8

Some of the programming Portada is readying!
TRAVEL CONTENT: Leveraging travel-related content for multicultural and Hispanic audiences
Manuel Delgado,  Trivago
An exclusive session for journalists and influencers,
presented by Trivago

Take a look at how innovators are using the latest technology to shape the hotel of the future through VR, the IoT, and connected experiences.

HOSPITALITY MARKETING: How blue chip players are engaging today’s evolving travelers
Luis Perillo, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Caribbean & Latin America, Hilton
Diana Plazas, VP Brand, Marketing and Digital, Marriott
Montserrat Santaella, Senior Marketing Manager, Grupo Posadas
Amy West, Travel and Lifestyle Influencer
Three major hotel brands share insight on how the hotel of the future will impact the hospitality business’s marketing priorities.

TECHNOLOGY: How tech is redefining luxury and travel services
Trip Barrett, Travel Marketing Expert
Claudio Zboznovits,VP of Global Sales & Business Development, Am Resorts
Jon Eichelberger, Head of Americas, Trivago
Carmen Edelson, Founder & CEO, Carmen’s Luxury Travel

– Personalizing customer experience
– Segmentation: How to cater to demographics with different tastes
– Is virtual reality a game changer?
– How successful tech partnerships can add substantial value to your businessCheck out the rest of the agenda here!

A summary for Corporate Marketers, Media Sales Executives and Advertising Agencies to see what clients are moving into the Hispanic market and/or targeting Hispanic consumers right now.

Check out  Portada’s Interactive Directory of Corporate Marketers and Agency Executives. 25 NEW LEADS HAVE JUST BEEN UPLOADED. To acquire the database, please call Kelley Eberhardt at 1-212-685-4441 or e-mail her at kelley@portada-online.com SEE A DEMO OF THE DIRECTORY!

  • nTrigue

LatinWorks, a full-service cultural branding firm, announced the launch of nTrigue, a new strategic business unitdesigned to expand upon the firm’s media planning and buying operations. nTrigue begun operations last week on April 15th, 2014. It will be spearheaded by Keisha Andrews-Rangel, in the role of Managing Director. (Read today’s Interview with Keisha Andrews-Rangel)

  • Kellogg’s

Kellogg’s is launching Días Grandiosos, a mobile app that provides Latina moms with culturally relevant recipes, tips, articles and original content. Designed to empower Hispanic women, information on Dias Grandiosos is provided by real Latinas. Moms have access to authentic and relatable stories from Latinas like them as well as a platform to share what they have learned. Días Grandiosos will also feature inspirational stories of family togetherness, also from real Latina moms. The online community will be accessible anywhere, via browser, smart phone or tablet.“Dias Grandiosos is grounded in the understanding that Latinas are trying to find balance between maintaining their cultural heritage while embracing a more American lifestyle,” said Christopher Rivera, associate director, multi-cultural brand marketing. “We help her find this balance through deliciously nutritious recipes, compelling articles, and relatable stories about real Hispanic women and their families with topics that she cares about and that are relevant to our brands.”

  • Maxwell House

Maxwell HouseMaxwell House, the Kraft Foods’ coffee brand, will spend around US $25 Million in a multiplatform ad campaign, which will introduce new packaging, logos and products, The New York Times reported. The campaign will include digital and social, in addition to television. Seven agencies are involved in the campaign, with Wieden + Kennedy handling creative and Starcom in charge of media planning and buying.The company expects that Wieden + Kennedy, which helped revive the Old Spice brand, brings similar results to the coffee brand.


  • Volaris

volarisVolaris, a Mexican airline, has started flights services— twice a week — from L.A./Ontario International Airport to Guadalajara. This move puts the airline in direct competition with AeroMexico, which offers flights to the same destination, for a limited market after the recession. The twice-weekly flights from ONT will be on Sundays and Thursdays. Volaris’ arrival is also significant because it is the first new carrier since 2007 for ONT. Until today, AeroMexico had not only been the lone international service out of ONT but the only carrier to serve the Hispanic market in the Inland Empire. Now the airline plans to return to daily service for the summer. ONT does have a new program meant to promote new service through broadcast and print media. Volaris expressed interest in the program but has not signed up for it to date. It might do so as summer approaches.


  • Best Western

best westernBest Western is helping travelers plan, share and win a summer getaway through its new “I Dream of Summer” integrated campaign,which will engage with consumers across the brand’s digital channels. Each week, travelers are able to find new content from Best Western and its partners including suggestions on destinations, tips and tricks on ways to save and insight on summer vacation. Travelers can join in the conversation by using the #IDreamOfSummer hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to share their summer travel plans or receive responses from travel experts. In addition, now through May 9 travelers can create and share their summer travel “Wishlist” through an image generator on the brand’s Facebook page. Participants also have the chance to win a summer vacation via a sweepstakes.  Best Western Rewards members who stay two separate times at any of the brand’s more than 4,000 hotels worldwide a US $50 USD Best Western Travel Card® to use for their summer stays.

  • GO Veggie!

goveggieGO Veggie!, formerly Galaxy Nutritional Foods, has named Whitney Velasco-Aznar Vice President of Marketing. A global marketer, Velasco-Aznar brings more than 20 years of experience ranging from blue-chip multinationals General Mills, Nestle, Mars and Hormel Foods to startup Beyond Meat. Her experiences range from building a brand and running a business to leading teams, developing people and creating innovation. In her new role, she will direct all marketing and communications and report into GO Veggie!’s CEO, Rick Antonelli.

For detailed contact information on Corporate Marketers at these companies and the decision makers at their Advertising Agencies, get access to
Portada’s Interactive Directory of Corporate Marketers and Agencies targeting Hispanics with more than 3,000 Leading Agency and Marketing/Advertising Directors. (Downloadable into an Excel Spreadsheet for seamless integration into your own database!). If you are a Subscriber to the Directory


CHECK OUT Portada’s Interactive Directory of Corporate Marketers and Agency Executives. To acquire the database, please call Kelley Eberhardt at 1-212-685-4441