Testing, Testing, 1... 2... 3...

So I've finally gotten around to writing my first blog entry for HPG. The title of this entry is a bit of a double entendre. Not only is this entry about testing, but people often test out their mics with the same verbiage.

I guess I should briefly qualify myself so you, dear reader, know that I didn't just pick this stuff up because I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night (though I have been known to stay in Holiday Inn Expresses). A friend of mine and I started our trip on the Information Superhighway (remember when it was called that) back in 1995 with a little company called Mindstar Web Development. Back in those days our main job was to sell our prospects on the viability of the web, let alone what they could do with it. I've been building websites in one form or another ever since.

We at HPG talk about interactive marketing as different offerings, but the reality is everything builds on everything else. The most successful campaigns are those that allow us to take a holistic approach to their marketing and distribution efforts. Our goal on every engagement is to have a cohesive message across all channels where our client's potential guest may be. Once the marketing message has been established, we refine it as necessary for each channel. For example, a television campaign will be quite a bit different from messaging in the GDS which will be quite a bit different from the 95 characters we can squish into an online text ad.

The key to success however, is to be consistent with the messaging. Obviously that's a bit easier said than done, but consider a campaign built around a 4th night free offering. We don't want to have a television commercial that says, "Enjoy everything HPG Hotel has to offer on us the 4th night when you pay for 3" and an online campaign that says "Stay 3, Get 4." This kind of disjointed campaign leaves potential guests stranded if they try to translate what they saw on TV to a later booking online.

So what does this have to do with testing? We use testing--constant testing--to determine which message resonates with the target guest. We can often hone the message online where it is relatively easy to put out quite a few different options and quickly determine which ones have the best conversion rates.  Using the example above we may come up with the following key concepts...

  • Stay 3, Get 4
  • Be our guest on your 4th night--It's on us
  • Save $99 when you book 4 nights
  • etc.

We can then come up with a few different variations of ad copy around each of the key concepts and launch a paid campaign online. With sufficient budget we can determine which message is resonating within a couple weeks and then start to build out the other elements of the overall campaign.

The other great thing about the way we work is we are notorious packrats and can use our systems to look at past performance for similar campaigns. This helps us continuously improve our track record and provide even faster returns for our clients.

Whew... that was quite a bit for an inaugural blog entry. If you made it this far I sincerely hope you feel it was worth your while. Send me any comments or feedback you have to ctopinka -at- contacthpg.com and thanks for reading!

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