Combine a strong belief in analytics with creativity and you get the expert behind Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s unique marketing strategy. We asked Josh Herman, the property’s Director of Marketing & PR, to share his perspective on how to be successful in digital marketing.

Read this article to learn:

✔ Why you need to take the guesswork out of understanding your customer
✔ What Fontainebleau Miami does to appeal to affluent customers
✔ How data-driven marketing drives efficiency, revenue and market share

Josh Herman | LinkedIn
Director of Marketing & PR
Fontainebleau Miami Beach

John McAuliffe: If I just started a job as a digital marketer at a hotel, what would you recommend I focus on?

Josh:
The first thing I would say is to start by getting to know your customers. We see millions of customers a year come through our doors at Fontainebleau, but I bet if we lined up a dozen of our leaders and asked them to describe our ideal customer, you’d get a dozen different answers. Everyone would paint a different picture of the customer – it’s impossible not to.

That’s why it’s so important to use our data to get a clear picture not just of our customers, but our best customers.

John McAuliffe: What data points would I want to look at specifically?

Josh:
I can tell you that for us, we focus on the following:

  • What kind of experiences does the guest engage in on property?
  • Where do they spend their money?
  • What do they like to do?
  • What feedback do they give us?

We assemble all of these data points together to paint the picture of our ideal customer which becomes the foundation of every piece of marketing. The data really takes the guesswork out of understanding our customer.

John McAuliffe: Has your data ever surprised you?

Josh:
I’m a strong believer that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. The customers that you may perceive or assume to be the biggest spenders may not actually be once you look at your data.

The customers that you may perceive or assume to be the biggest spenders may not actually be once you look at your data.

As an example, Fontainebleau has a young, hip, ‘cool place to be’ image in the marketplace. It’s a true celebrity “see and be seen” destination, and an image we’ve worked extremely hard to build. I was surprised that our data told us that certain times of the year we do a significant amount of family business. Or, certain times of the year our customer base can really vary in age or geographic location.  So we adapt our marketing programs and messaging accordingly.

John McAuliffe: Is the Fontainebleau website built on data?

Josh:
Very much so. We have so many rooms and so many room types. Many of them are suites, which carry a certain price point. We’ve built our imaging and messaging around things that appeal to the type of customer that is affluent enough to purchase suites and higher categories of rooms as well as on-property experiences and services. We know that lot of the beverage and wine and the high-end restaurant program really appeal to the affluent customer. That’s why you’ll see a lot of imaging around dining.

John McAuliffe: Has this approach improved your website and marketing performance?

Josh:
Yes, definitely. Using our data and really focusing our marketing spend on the best type of customer for the hotel has allowed us to be so much more efficient with our spending and drive increases in market share.

Our digital marketing efforts and the customers that we target online produce such a significantly higher ADR than customers that we’re not targeting or customers that book direct without seeing our ads, or book through an OTA, wholesaler, or any type of third party.

Customers that we target online produce such a significantly higher ADR than customers that we’re not targeting or customers that book direct without seeing our ads, or book through an OTA.

John McAuliffe: Do you think this data-driven approach to marketing would work for me at a mid-range hotel?

Josh:
Absolutely.  It’s our job as marketers to make sure that we’re appealing to the right types of customers and its data that helps us allocate our marketing budgets toward targeting the guests that have the highest propensity to book and have a great experience. Everyone has a target customer base, regardless of property size, image, etc.

As a luxury property, if we attract customers that can’t afford to be here or are not going to take advantage of all the great amenities then shame on us because we’re not doing our job from a marketing perspective. The same applies to any property.

John McAuliffe: Any final words of advice for me?

Josh:
Almost everyone wants to talk about data, but I’d say the vast majority of people are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do with it. I suggest setting yourself up for success by finding a technology tool that can help you collect, organize and analyze your data so you can take action on it.

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