Advertisers During Recessions Do Better After

In the Omni hotel, I’m packing up and getting ready to take the train to the plane. At the final session of Travelcom, I learned some interesting things about how successful companies can do better in recessions. We heard from Kevin Kowalski, a VP at Intercontinental Hotels, owners of the Holiday Inn chain. He spoke about how bad an idea it is to cut advertising and sales expenses during a recession, and how his company increased these budgets and are now seeing 5-6% gains at this budget chain of hotels. They convinced the franchisees that ‘refreshing’ the properties with a bright green new H logo, new bedding, better landscaping and a cleaner front desk was a worthwhile investment.

Kowalski made his point by showing how before the depression, Ford Motor Co. was the indisputed leader by 10-1 in car sales. But newly formed Chevrolet was up and coming and advertised a lot more in the early 1930s, while Ford cut back. The result was a decades long lead that GM kept over Ford because they didn’t pull back.

The other speaker was from Comscore, the internet measuring company. They said that the brands that maintained display advertising presence on the web overall did much better than those who simply relied on search marketing. That it’s like an iceberg, though the direct results are more obvious up top, down below, over the long term, people are influenced by the hotel brands they see in display ads…like the ones that run on!

Now it’s time to pack up and dash…On my way out of the exhibit floor I was asked by my friends at TravelScream to tape a video. I told the audience on the Travelcom blog that I was here to evangelize about adding airport parking to travel websites, and that this piece of revenue was too often left on the table. I hope to add some new affiliates to the program soon.