Earned, Paid, and Owned Media for Hotels in 2024 - The Complete Guide

Marketing your hotel can be very tricky in the ever-changing digital space. You know that you need to engage, but what forms of media are the most effective for your hotel?

In this article, we share what platforms you need to promote your services and the most effective ways to reach your goals. 

There are many ways to improve your online marketing; the following guide focuses on the channels of media that have proven to be effective.   

Paid media is acquired content like cost-per-click and display advertising. Owned media is the content you own on platforms under your control, such as your website, social profiles, and listings on third-party sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google Places, and other OTAs.

Earned media is the user-generated content or content your guests and other third parties post about their experience. This includes ratings and reviews, media articles, blogs, photos, videos, and endorsements like pluses, shares, and likes on social channels.

It's more prominent to use paid, owned, and earned media because guests trust the opinions of other guests more than any other advertising source.  

Well, almost. To maximize reach and impact on your business, you must commence a media marketing strategy.

Let us look at how these three forms of media can change your hotel reputation and help your business succeed long-term.

Paid Media

Paid media is one of the most quantifiable forms of media. For this type of media, the hoteliers can spend money to target customers on various online platforms to promote their business. 

It can come in many forms like Paid Search, Display Advertising, Google Ads, Sponsorships, etc. In addition, many of your big platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., offer different types of paid advertising.

With two sides to every coin, paid media can have certain benefits and drawbacks that hoteliers should keep in mind.

  • Having a paid campaign can help you reach a more extensive audience set and help you expand your reach online. 
  • Through paid ads, the hoteliers can target a specific audience and help drive high-quality traffic to your website and, in turn, your hotel.
  • And most importantly, you have the power to control the ads, including the media placement and the design and content.

With control and reach in your hands, the drawbacks are: 

  • The most significant disadvantage in paid campaigns is fierce competition. The advertising space is very cluttered, and the ones who have the higher bid get exposed to the audience. Hence, with big brands in line, smaller hotels often have to be clever in their approach.
  • To achieve maximum effectiveness, one needs to invest a significant amount of time and cost in the campaign. Due to which this form of media turns expensive.

Hence, to make an effective paid media campaign, one must ensure a perfect blend of time, cost, and efforts that will result in higher exposure for your hotel. 

There are specific strategies for a paid media that hotels can use to increase their reach in the online world:

  • Paid Search: an easy and cost-effective way to outreach your target audience. It can be customized to meet the requirements and easily applicable across different social media platforms, landing pages, and email marketing.
  • Online advertising: having an online strategy for your hotel is a must. A responsive, mobile-friendly website along with a solid SEO strategy offers a perfect blend of promoting your hotel online.
  • Display ads: Display ads can help spread awareness about your hotel among travelers. You can use eye-catching pictures to get the audience's attention. Display ads can help spread awareness about your hotel among travelers.

Earned Media

Earned Media

Earned media means when the hoteliers gain exposure organically from their guests and what others write about their hotels (i.e., journalists). 

In this way, you are recognized by your guests on various online platforms.

That includes reviews, ratings, media articles, blogs, photos, videos, and social inscribing like pluses, shares, and likes.

Earned media allows for engagement with the target group of audience, increases credibility and trust for your hotel, and brings forth an increase in direct bookings through third-party sites.

Earned media increases brand awareness. Building a strong brand is vital for your hotel’s success.

For hotels, the topmost priority in online marketing is to make sure that travelers find you when planning trips. Earned media increases traffic plus the credibility of your hotel by supporting guests via the booking process through different channels. 

Okay, so let’s talk about the disadvantages of earned media.

  • You do not have control over what the guest will write about their experience; if it’s a negative review, it can negatively reflect your hotel.
  • You can't predict the outcome. There's no guarantee in earned media, Therefore, you and it’s time-consuming.

Your brand recognition plays an essential part in attracting travelers and providing an experience worth sharing for your guests.

But, how can you generate earned media strategically?

  • Create quality content - Content is key; creating vital quality content for your brand will surely help you generate more reach for your hotel.
  • Social media interactions - You can run your brand on various social media platforms as social media interactions play a major role in generating more traffic to your website.
  • Guest reviews - Guest satisfaction should be the topmost priority of your hotel. As guests leave their positive reviews for your hotel, it will indirectly create a superior image of your hotel.

Owned Media

Owned Media

Owned media means the media channels that the hotel owns and controls. These are the channels used to deliver messages to guests as a brand.

That includes the company's website, social media profiles, and blogs.

Owned media provides inbound marketing for hotels by building long-term relationships with holidaymakers and engaging guests through direct bookings on various channels like Trip Advisor, Expedia, and OTAs. 

Let’s go through some advantages and disadvantages of owned media to understand better what outcomes can be achieved through it.

  • Owned media is owned and run by your hotel, which makes it the most cost-effective.
  • Owned media has a long-term focus that provides long-term results through enhanced services. 
  • It can be challenging to reach a specific audience as it is time-consuming. 
  • The audience can ignore owned media, and it also tends to have a somewhat limited audience.

Let’s undergo some strategies that can help your owned media reach your intended audience:

  • Website - Staying on the top of SEO will lead your website to the top of search engines. (The place where the masses of the audience begin to search for a hotel before traveling.) 
  • Social media profiles - Social media is essential nowadays; therefore, you must have access to all major social media profiles that will help you gain more customers. Many people see your hotel who can contact you directly.
  • Target audience - Narrowing down the correct target audience is imperative to ensure your message reaches your ideal customer for your hotel and its services.

With the benefits and drawbacks of every form of media, hoteliers must also understand the purpose each of them serves:

  • The sole purpose of paid media is to increase website traffic and enhance SEO visibility. In addition, this form of media aims to offer maximum reach and awareness among travelers in the digital world, resulting in increased bookings. 
  • With the earned media, hotels get recognized by their guests for the services they offer to them. Hence, word-of-mouth publicity helps build a positive attitude and enhances trust and credibility among guests. It also helps in traditional marketing and therefore increases awareness and direct bookings.
  • On the other hand, owned media is solely controlled by the hotel that enhances services and builds long-term relationships with guests. This form of media is used to communicate offers and news to guests and increase engagement.

Since every media is different and serves its purpose, deciding on an appropriate media is a big undertaking. For example, which form of media will reach your specific target audience, help you reach your goals, and be cost-effective? 

Implementing the desired media and analyzing the result effectively is no easy task. Therefore, your hotel deserves to have a professional team you can trust to take this daunting task off your hands.

INNsight is here for you. With a decade of experience in the hotel industry, your expectations can easily rest on our shoulders. Feel free to contact us and look for our complete digital marketing package specially designed for hotels and restaurants.


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