Cornell & Vantage Strategy Study Online Marketing Practices of Lodging and Destination Organization

Apr 21, 2011

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025,


Cornell and Vantage Strategy Study Online Marketing Practices of Lodging and Destination Organizations

Benchmark study finds a wide range of marketing expenditures on social media 
Ithaca, NY, April 21, 2011 – In an effort to determine benchmarks for online marketing practices and organization structures, a new study surveyed 426 senior marketing executives in lodging and destination organizations. The study, "2011 Travel Industry Benchmarking: Marketing ROI, Opportunities, and Challenges in Online and Social Media Channels for Destination and Marketing Firms," is written by Cornell Professor Rohit Verma, executive director of the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR), and Ken McGill, executive vice president of research for Vantage Strategy. The report is available at no charge from the CHR at

"Each year well over 700 marketing executives gather for TravelCom, which is a high level marketing conference that was held this year in Las Vegas," said Verma. "One major theme this year was online marketing, but we realized that there was no overall knowledge of where the industry stands in this area. This study provides those benchmarks."

Using an internet-based survey, Verma and McGill polled senior marketers regarding budget levels, marketing strategies, and organizational structures. They found both a wide range of expenditure levels on online marketing and considerable diversity in organizational structures.

For social media campaigns, about 80 percent of the marketers said that they produced Twitter campaigns and social media promotions in-house, but such functions as search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are largely outsourced. Accommodation firms are more likely to outsource all social media functions, including pay-per-call, Twitter campaigns, and pay-per-click management. Destination marketers, on the other hand, generally handle more functions in-house.

Two-thirds of the entire sample said their 2010 e-commerce budgets had increased with respect to 2009. Sixty percent of accommodation marketers anticipated a further increase in 2011, and 71 percent of the destination marketers said their 2011 budgets would increase.

About Travelcom
The Travelcom Network (TCN) is an online platform where marketers within the travel industry can stay on top of trends, identify new solution providers and manage those providers over time.  In turn, the network provides the space for providers to better define and offer their services to the travel.

About Vantage Strategy
Vantage Strategy is an international consulting firm specializing in the travel and hospitality industry. We collaborate with our clients to create strategic solutions that accelerate market share gains by improving brand image, performance and competitiveness. Our approach combines deep industry experience with traditional and emerging research tools to inform our strategic recommendations.  We deliver implementation plans to intensify the focus on managing sales and marketing investments for the greatest return.  Results typically involve re-engineering marketing processes to provide increased product differentiation at lower marketing investment levels. We act as your trusted business advisor, to create and enhance customer loyalty, improve channel performance, maximize sales strategies, and provide the research and technology tools necessary for you to compete and win. All this translates into a unique ability to "take our clients to their next destination" by closing competitive gaps and building market leadership.

Thanks to the support of the CHR partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 81 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

Center Senior Partners: Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice,, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Schneider Electric, Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG

Center Friends: • American Tescor, LLC • Argyle Executive Forum • Berkshire Healthcare • Center for Advanced Retail Technology • Cody Kramer Imports • Cruise Industry News • DK Shifflet & Associates • • EyeforTravel • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) • • • Hospitality Technology Magazine • Hotel Asia Pacific • Hotel China • • Hotel Interactive • Hotel Resource • International CHRIE • International Hotel Conference • International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) • iPerceptions • JDA Software Group, Inc. • J.D. Power and Associates • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • LRA Worldwide, Inc. • Milestone Internet Marketing • MindFolio • Mindshare Technologies • PhoCusWright • PKF Hospitality Research • The Resort Trades • Resort and Recreation Magazine • • Shibata Publishing Co. • Synovate • The Lodging Conference • The Wall Street Journal • The TravelCom Network • Travel + Hospitality Group • UniFocus • USA Today • WageWatch, Inc. • WIWIH.COM • Wyndham Green