Do You Need a Hotel Marketing Agency?

Deciding if your property should hire a hotel marketing firm or build an in-house team can be tough. This post helps you understand the benefits of each to make the best choice for your hotel.

July 8, 2024

In-House vs. Outsourced: Making the Right Choice for Your Hotel's Marketing

As a small hotelier, one of the most crucial decisions you'll face is how to approach your marketing efforts. Should you build an in-house team? Or partner with a hotel marketing agency? Both options have merits. The right choice depends on your unique circumstances. Understanding the pros and cons of each approach will guide you and empower you to make an informed decision that best suits your hotel's needs. Let's explore these factors together.

In-house and Outsource Advantages

The In-House Advantage

Deep Brand or Property Knowledge

Your in-house marketing team is immersed in your hotel's culture. They are uniquely positioned to understand and convey your property or brand's nuances, values, and unique selling points. This intimate knowledge enables them to craft authentic and consistent messaging across all marketing channels.

Cost-Effectiveness for Larger Operations

For hotels with substantial marketing needs, an in-house team can be more cost-effective than a hotel marketing firm in the long run. You'll have dedicated staff focused solely on your property without the overhead costs associated with agency fees.

Greater Control and Flexibility

With an in-house team, you have direct oversight of your marketing. This allows for quicker decision-making. The ability to pivot strategies rapidly in response to market changes or emerging opportunities. In-house marketers can work alongside other departments, fostering better collaboration and ensuring marketing efforts align seamlessly with overall business objectives. This control and flexibility can make you feel more secure and adaptable in your marketing strategies.

Real-Life Examples of In-House Marketing

Professional Photography

Many hotels invest in professional photography. And if you don't, you should! For example, Cloudbeds recommends using high-quality images on your website and OTA listings to attract more guests​​. SEO (search engine optimization) and Content Marketing: SE  strategies and content marketing can drive organic traffic (read direct bookings). For instance, some hotels create blogs about local attractions and events, helping travelers plan their trips while improving the hotel's search engine rankings​​​​.

The Agency Advantage

Specialized Expertise

Hotel marketing agencies bring industry-specific knowledge and experience. They stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices, providing your property with effective strategies.

Access to Advanced Tools and Technologies

Agencies often have access to premium marketing tools and technologies that might be too expensive for individual hotels. This can give your marketing efforts a competitive edge.

Fresh Perspective

An external agency can offer an unbiased view of your hotel's strengths and weaknesses, uncovering opportunities you might have overlooked.

Scalability and Flexibility

Hotel marketing agencies can quickly scale their efforts up or down based on your needs, offering flexibility that can be particularly beneficial for properties with seasonal fluctuations.

Real-Life Examples of Outsourced Marketing

Influencer Partnerships

Some hotels collaborate with travel influencers to reach a broader audience. For instance, Hotel June uses influencer marketing to showcase its property and attract bookings​​. SEO and Metasearch Marketing: Agencies can manage complex tasks like SEO and Metasearch marketing. This ensures your hotel appears at the top of search results. This approach is especially effective for driving direct bookings​​.

Making the Right Choice

When deciding between in-house and outsourced marketing, consider the following factors:


Evaluate your long-term marketing budget. While agencies may seem more expensive initially, they can be cost-effective for smaller properties that can only justify part-time marketing staff.

Expertise Required

Assess the complexity of your marketing needs. An agency is better if you require specialized SEO, PPC, or social media advertising skills.

Time and Resources

Consider whether you have the time and resources to manage an in-house team. Agencies can often hit the ground running, but building an in-house team takes time and effort.

Control vs. Flexibility

Determine how much direct control you want over day-to-day marketing activities versus the flexibility to focus on other aspects of your business. Consider the Growth Stage when choosing a marketing agency approach.

The Hybrid Approach

A hybrid approach can offer the best of both worlds for many small hoteliers. This balanced approach involves maintaining a small in-house team for day-to-day marketing activities while partnering with an agency for specialized campaigns or supplementing specific skills. It gives you the control to leverage the strengths of both in-house and outsourced marketing.

Benefits of the Hybrid Approach

Balanced Expertise

Leverage the deep brand knowledge of your in-house team while accessing the specialized skills of an agency.

Cost Efficiency

Optimize costs by keeping routine tasks in-house and outsourcing complex or seasonal projects.


Quickly adapt to market changes by scaling agency involvement up or down as needed.

Enhanced Creativity

Combine the fresh perspectives of an agency with your in-house team's intimate understanding of your brand. Example: A boutique hotel might handle social media and content creation in-house while outsourcing SEO and PPC campaigns to an agency.

Actionable Tips

For In-House Teams

- Develop a Comprehensive Marketing Plan

Outline your goals, target audience, strategies, and performance metrics.

- Invest in Training

Ensure your team stays updated with the latest marketing trends and tools.

- Utilize Data Analytics

Regularly analyze your marketing data to refine strategies and improve ROI.


Hotels like RIU Hotels and Resorts respond personally to each guest's review and comment, ensuring guests feel valued and heard​​.

For Outsourced Marketing

- Choose the Right Agency

Look for agencies with experience and a proven track record.

- Set Clear Objectives

Clearly define your goals and expectations to ensure alignment with the agency.

- Maintain Open Communication

Regularly communicate with the agency to stay updated on progress and provide feedback.

For Hybrid Approach

- Define Roles Clearly

Clearly delineate tasks between in-house staff and the agency to avoid overlap and ensure accountability.

- Regular Check-Ins

Schedule regular meetings to review performance and adjust strategies as needed.

- Leverage Strengths

Use the in-house team for brand-centric tasks and the agency for specialized, high-skill projects.

Addressing Common Concerns and Misconceptions

When deciding between in-house and outsourced marketing, hoteliers often have questions. Let's address some of these concerns:

Common Misconceptions About In-House vs. Outsourced Hotel Marketing

If you have questions about your in-house marketing, need training, or guidance, contact us anytime. For more insights and tips, subscribe to our newsletter. If you're a small agency looking to streamline tasks with AI, we're here to help too!


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