David Atkins
Jun 1, 2013

Developing Your Digital IQ

Developing Your Digital IQ

David Atkins
Jun 1, 2013

The one constant in digital marketing is change. However, there are some individual and organizational traits that lend themselves well to working in digital. We call these traits the digital IQ of an organization.

How an organization that is in constant change adopts the right attitudes and generates the right outcomes to become a digital leader, is a question that many clients find difficult to answer.  Some considerations for these clients who wish to become more digitally savvy are detailed below.
Start your digital examination at the root source – with the mission, culture, business practices and resource deployments – regardless of the type of business you operate.

At the end of this article, there is a digital IQ test to help determine what you know and what you may need help with as you continue (or start) to evolve your business toward winning and retaining customers in an always-on digital environment.

Perhaps the best place to begin any examination of business is with how well you have articulated your mission for internal and external audiences. You know that you have a clearly articulated mission when everyone in your business knows what their job is and why they need to do it.

Oftentimes a business’ mission does not lend itself to clear goals or to specific and timely measurements that tie to desired business outcomes. In the rapidly evolving digital space, it is impossible for your teams to find success if the goal posts are constantly moving. The design of digital goals and metrics should account for change, encourage rapid failure, and yield constant direction and accountability for decisions regarding resource deployments and investments.

Examine and adopt appropriate core values to hire the right type of people for digital roles – people who are comfortable with ambiguity, maintain a positive outlook, and display constant curiosity when testing hypotheses and finding both positive and negative outcomes.

IT, IS and operations leaders should design with flexible, adaptable systems in mind so that when change comes, integral systems – be they people, processes or technology – can more easily be extended or leveraged to create new and often unforeseen capabilities.

A business that wishes to find digital success needs to be a publishing business in addition to running its core business.  Marketing and sales business leaders as well as senior or C-level executives should educate themselves thoroughly on how digital publishing businesses operate and deliver content and context in exchange for value (a part of succeeding at content marketing, content curation and content distribution).

Running a digital publishing business to fuel hotel bookings across audience segments from consumers and business travelers to groups and meetings requires a written strategy. If you do not have one, you need to develop a plan – one that you revisit and update regularly as the digital world continues to evolve.

Do You Have A Written Digital Strategy?

Digital Strategy and Roadmap Planning
Unfortunately, many hotel businesses are operated on strategic and business plans that were developed more than three to five years ago, before the advent or broad adoption of many now commonplace consumer digital media platforms.

Similar to the approach that businesses should take to form an overall three-year strategic plan, the formation of a proper digital strategy should include your leadership team, representation from each of your business units, your key business metrics, your current financial performance, your short and long-term business goals and a keen understanding of how your current non-digital business processes impact the service level you are able to provide to customers, vendors and partners. And a member of the C-suite should be selected to serve as a single cross-functional digital champion.

Without these elements in your digital strategy, it becomes very difficult to prioritize digital initiatives that impact the full spectrum of your business. Digital requires an end-to-end understanding of how customers of all types and flavors will interact with your business – they do not see internal silos from the outside looking in – so you need to be proactive about creating seamless experiences as these will govern how and where to invest people, time or technology as well as how best to leverage or engage partners and vendors to extend your capabilities and service offerings.

Phasing in capabilities and a constant methodology of testing, failing, succeeding and optimizing are essential methods to assuring market alignment in digitally savvy organizations. Testing helps to identify whether a new concept has legs that are strong enough to knock an initiative off of the priority list for the near term roadmap. It is important to articulate needs and requirements on 6-month, 12-month and 24-month horizons. Anything longer tends to lead to misalignment. A detailed, phased roadmap should include multiple tracks of development for people, processes, product and platforms.

To assure that the digital roadmap is clearly communicated and the business case for sought capabilities is aligned with business goals, use transparency in selection criteria, allow broad access to the roadmap and set up a regular and crisp process for reviewing items on the roadmap and ranking them.

The way in which your customers use digital to connect to your business makes it difficult to know what to do first. It is a classic situation of  “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” It can be daunting when you are faced with rapid change and difficult not to feel overwhelmed. Many businesses are unable to focus and therefore do everything for everyone, while others choose to wait out the storm and pick a direction after other early adopters have survived the crucible. Those that lack focus often become deeply fractured businesses with competing customer demands. Those that wait often lose momentum (and market share) to first movers.

Hospitality professionals should be encouraged to experiment so long as they know what their top key performance indicators (KPI) are, how to use them and are able to quickly recognize when what they do is moving the needle in the right direction. The selection of KPIs for digital hospitality leaders might include a revenue indicator, a unit volume or RevPAR indicator, a customer satisfaction indicator, a digital top-of-funnel measure like pure reach and a digital bottom-of-funnel measure such as percentage of stays that recommends/reviews. The metrics should be realistic and have annual and quarterly goals associated with them that align to your budget, your customers, the seasonality of your business, the audience mix, the booking mix and the channel mix, among other items.

The metrics should account for how your entire business is measured and be tied directly to organizational, team and individual goals and actual outcomes so that no one is in the dark with regard to every day priorities and making the right choices around the investments of resources.

As hospitality professionals reach their day-to-day realities and exceed their business goals, it is important to aspire to emulate or surpass market leaders in their competitive sets, in their industries, as well as to businesses and brands outside the industry that excel in digital execution. This type of benchmarking practice requires measuring and trending internal performance, seeking insight, developing commentary and proposing small tests to optimize outcomes. It also requires using second and third-party analytics tools for comparisons for at least a six-month cycle so that you can incorporate observations, best practices and key learning into your daily efforts (monthly is recommended once your team becomes accustomed to the real-time nature of optimization).

Without data about what is happening across the digital landscape and especially on your own digital assets, it will not be long until your business is left in the dust by competitors that are continually optimizing their approaches. The frequency with which you must engage with performance data is daily. This practice is essential to reinforcing your investments in people, time and technology.

Beyond data you generate and/or license from second and third-party providers, part of your digital strategy should be obtaining relevant data from partners who seek to help you build your business. For instance, the majority of the online travel agencies (OTAs) have useful data you can obtain that includes well more than room nights booked and advanced booking windows.

The transparency you create internally for digital operations should be extended to your partners to create better alignment and clearer goals. Sharing data, especially free data, will have far-reaching effects on your understanding of your customer and how they interact with – and create value for – your brand directly and indirectly, on and off of your digital assets.

Building a Digital Center of Excellence
The path to success may have many origins and potential outcomes. We suggest that a business should aspire to a crisp and clear vision for how it will prove success and the types of outcomes that will transpire as a result. In a recent brainstorm, one client articulated that he could imagine the day when Harvard Business Review came to write a case study about the digital center of excellence that drove his business to exceed its financial goals in a scant two years. This aspiration is a perfect catalyzing action because it articulates a vision of rapid change and wildly recognized success, and it also articulates something that most companies in the midst of change do not invest heavily in: education and training.

There is a variety of personnel development initiatives and opportunities that a hospitality business can invest in.

Peer training can be very effective on a number of fronts. It gives the curiosity seekers and risk takers in your organization a moment to shine; it helps create role models for internal risk taking and the sharing of learning and best practices; it helps create a broader understanding of what people across the organization are doing, which in turn helps your people understand the impact their actions have on internal and external stakeholders. This type of sharing can become an informal mechanism to build trust that is required for true collaboration.

On the subject of digital experts, you should be inviting outside experts to provide differing perspectives that fuel a healthy debate. No one person knows everything about digital; within the right context, everyone benefits from a debate that combines multiple perspectives. Create an advisory group that will provide candid advice about digital initiatives. Debate is healthy and if feasible within your culture, speeds decision making rather than impeding it.

Another role that digital experts play is helping develop strategy and facilitate discussion of your roadmap at your quarterly, bi-annual or annual business reviews. The advantage of using outside digital experts that are not associated with your existing agencies or vendors is that these people can remain independent of selling you something. The key to running a business review exercise is to invite stakeholders from across your organization within various functions and at a variety of reporting levels so that there is a healthy exchange of ideas and perspectives on your company, your culture, your processes and your customers’ needs.

Mandating industry conference attendance for your digital team may seem counterproductive when you have an always-on business to run. Digital industry shows are extremely important to folks in the hospitality industry. The practices you seek to build already exist in many other industries. Attendance at a digital event is the quickest way to inject best practices and infuse some of the energy from people who live on the cutting edge of your business. Business leaders who directly oversee digital initiatives should attend at least two events per year and the cross-functional leadership that indirectly manages digital initiatives should attend another two events to four events per year.

Most digital professionals are already spending 12 hours a day doing their jobs, so it is understandable when they say they have trouble finding time to read the myriad digital blogs, digital marketing magazines and newsletters, digital research studies, digital economy white papers and case studies. As long as you are reading multiple sources daily, along with reviewing your digital performance against goals, asking yourself questions about why things are as they are and trying new things to figure out the answers, you are probably doing enough. Take back 15 minutes every day from meetings that others schedule on our calendars so that you can dedicate yourself to this. List ideas that intrigue you from the headlines, read internal reports or set up an RSS feed of the digital experts you respect. If you aren’t sure what to read or who to follow on social media, ask your advisory board for suggestions.

Building a digital center of excellence requires the same practice of benchmarking as any other digital initiative. If you truly want to know where you stand, create a digital aptitude benchmark.  Pick organizations that are similar in terms of size as measured by top-line revenue, bottom-line revenue or number of people, but lie beyond your competitive set and outside of the travel and hospitality industry. Select a large benchmark group that aligns with specific goals you wish to achieve or with specific initiatives you plan to launch or have launched so that you can quickly assess your level of success.

Building Flexibility
In the digital space, where constant change is the norm, agility and flexibility are highly valued qualities to maintain when building systems and platforms. Too many hospitality businesses invest in an all-in manner. While digital platforms do not change as quickly as campaign or program initiatives may, you must apply the same portfolio management strategy to digital platforms as you do to marketing initiatives and tactics. In a fluid market, the leading businesses leverage change to their benefit; they seize market direction and turn it into business momentum to keep apace of change. This suggests that operations, IT and finance must find ways to be as flexible as marketing and sales and apply a test-before-you-invest methodology to forecasting, accounting, data storage, contracting and service agreements.

At the core of such flexibility are investments in customer relationship management (CRM) systems. CRM platforms, properly implemented, help organizations  quickly access, share, report, analyze and recommend solutions to solve customer problems across digital (and non-digital) touch points such as websites, email, bookings, mobile, social, travel reviews, consumer preferences and on-property activities. What you choose to invest in CRM is going to dictate what you get out of these platforms. To be certain, such an investment goes beyond the initial build costs to the pain of adoption by the business, ongoing costs of training, maintenance and add-on capabilities and creating a culture that enjoys capturing data, not for data’s sake, but because of the opportunities it creates to enhance the customer experience and generate material gains in RevPAR and loyalty communications.

Collaboration and Cross-functional Ownership
Every new digital platform offers the opportunity to reinvent your business to gain new efficiencies, reduce duplication of effort, and potentially, reapply human capital to higher uses. Even if you were to build the Rolls-Royce of digital platforms, without thorough adoption and a wholesale change in internal processes, the investment will come to naught.

Efficiency gains do not come without a lot of work and a clear understanding of who is doing what across the organization. You may need to create new cross-functional leadership, and where appropriate, matrix teams to drive alignment so that silos do not persist. One small step, for instance, to getting such cross-functional collaboration includes instituting short weekly status meetings of ad hoc, matrix teams that use well-defined objectives and milestones to maintain progress and alignment on incubating initiatives.

As mentioned above, many hospitality businesses fail to leverage digital partners to the fullest extent possible. If you know what you want and what your partners want from doing business with you, you are in a great position to create a win-win. It is perplexing when hotel clients say they do not understand how (or worse, do not want) to do business with online travel agents (OTAs). The OTAs are now more than 15 years old, yet many of the hotels we speak with still view them as a new black box or a necessary evil. Many hospitality businesses have never been able to align their interests with the OTAs and this tends to lead to dissatisfaction and distrust. The OTAs provide undeniable audience awareness that hospitality businesses could not afford to create on their own. As a result, the OTAs offer direct booking and heavily influence indirect bookings on hotel, airline and attraction sites.

What is apparent is that the OTAs continue to out-innovate and out-invest their ecosystem stakeholders. Some say this is because they do not have brick and mortar service costs to support. While this is a valid point, we believe the reason that the OTAs continue to lead the way in the travel industry is that they are built on a native approach to making markets – their purpose is to create value between buyers and sellers – by staying aligned with the way buyers consume media and buy travel products.

The way OTAs service consumers and ecosystem partners is reflected in the way they organize their businesses; they tend to be flatter, they tend to take more risk and to produce, and share and mine data to extend their value to both buyers and sellers. Hotels and other travel ecosystem stakeholders should take more risk so they do not fall behind the OTAs each time consumers shift platforms (think about the ways the OTAs and other new players are extending their value propositions in mobile).

Without a formal digital strategy that focuses on the key metrics that matter to you, many hospitality businesses will again become uncomfortably dependent upon third parties by default. Competing strategies can still produce a win-win, but you will need to be more transparent with your partners (including OTAs) about your metrics. If OTAs can help you achieve your goals, you should share your thinking with them.

Content Creation, Content Hosting and Distribution
When the digital space emerged, the mantra was content is king. Over the past 15 years, content has been assailed, sullied, dragged through the mud and has bounced back to prominence from headlines claiming that “content is dead,” “data is king,” to the more recently invented disciplines such as “marketing newsroom,” or “context is king,” which claims that data or information without context is worthless.

While the definition of terms and the semantic intricacies of this debate are continually being redefined and reinvented daily across the digital landscape, the evolution of digital media might best be reduced to understanding how the exchange of content for value has changed. Newspapers paid for content production and asked consumers and advertisers to pay for the news; the first online portals distributed news without paying for the majority of its production and charged advertisers to appear beside it; Google freed data for consumers, but charged for advertisers to be quickly found by consumers; blogs and social networks allowed consumers to create content or simply to align themselves to content that was meaningful to them; mobile created the opportunity for consumers to consume and interact with content where and how they choose.

In all regards, the mantra “content is king” is back in vogue for every business that aspires to be successful in its digital efforts. It is imperative to create the right content so that your target customers will correctly perceive your brand; content policies will dictate what to do when they write reviews, share photos or videos; and platform investments for hosting, distributing and user interactions will provide the means for how they choose to receive and act on context-related offers such as time and date-sensitive deals, while the seamlessness of the content experience you create in your digital offerings will mean that customers can book a stay at your properties where and when they choose.

All of these capabilities rely on content creation, curated content and content distribution. These disciplines are far afield from running a hospitality business. Without a robust content management system (CMS) and a digital asset management (DAM) platform to tag and manage the rights and uses of your digital assets, you will be running behind your competition as the pace of digital continues to increase.

Building the right content hosting and distribution system is only half of the challenge. Hopefully, you have a dedicated content team that understands the complexities of creating an earned media strategy and produces SEO-optimized content for websites, blogs, email, social, video and mobile efforts that support your business goals and objectives.

Beyond the content creation resources, you will need additional business resources that are charged with creating a traffic strategy that generates traffic to, from and between your digital assets, across all channels, using various mediums (articles, photos, videos) and targeting specific audience segments. This content programming team should be charged with analyzing how customers engage with your digital assets, recommending and testing new initiatives to increase content creation, build, package and tag curated content, as well as planning when, how and where to capture and to share user-generated content (UGC), especially user reviews that may exist on travel review sites.

To borrow a line from "Animal Farm," “All user reviews are created equal, except some user reviews are more equal than others.” At many industry events, we hear people say that user reviews captured by internal system X are all that matters because the reviews on the Internet are subject to improper influence or fraud.

We beg to differ. Most end users do not place any value at all on internal systems that reward property managers based on feedback collected via checkout follow-up processes. User reviews that can be found on the Internet are consistently rated among the top three influencers of travel bookings. This means that OTA and review sites matter more to your reputation and future business than any internal customer satisfaction ratings.

OTA reviews directly influence bookings on their own sites as well as indirectly influencing booking on other sites across the digital landscape, including yours. In the United States, TripAdvisor matters more than other review sites due to its brand recognition, reach and volume of reviews.

If your business doesn’t have a review strategy, you are behind the game. This is more than answering each review: you must create a plan for how you will drive incremental positive reviews so that your guests extend the ability to market your offerings for you. A current or former guest needs not be a loyalty member or a highly engaged brand advocate to generate new awareness. To remain on top of daily reviews requires investment in systems and work flow to coordinate repurposing and/or provides timely responses from your complex of internal moving parts across IT, operations, customer service, marketing and sales.

Architecting for Digital Success
At the heart of any traffic generation plan is a hearty investment in search engine optimization (SEO), which is also called natural search or free search, although nothing is really free when you invest resources to do it right. Search engine optimization begins with setting a strategy for the content you want search engines to associate with your brand, your products or your service offerings. Setting this strategy is not as simple as picking keywords because it also involves architecting your domain from the top level to the bottom, from consumer and B2B messaging to back-end page schemas and meta text so that search engines automatically score your pages well and display your property higher up in the organic search results.

A majority of SEO efforts in the United States will be aimed at optimizing your domain for performance on Google. Like many other digital initiatives, SEO requires cross-functional collaboration and a shared understanding of how value is created for your brand and for its target audiences.

When crafting an SEO strategy, develop a strategy that aligns efforts and resources from operations, marketing, sales, IT and public relations toward a two-pronged SEO goal: first, increase the rank of your brand on search engines, and second, increase the authority of your digital assets to keep your brand in front of target audiences and become a trusted resource in your industry or area of expertise.

Authority is established principally by how your site is architected for search engines to read it. SEO best practices are constantly evolving, so you need to understand the signals that the search engines use to evaluate the authority of sites in your area of expertise.

A fully developed traffic strategy supported by a properly architected website and teams that keep abreast of SEO best practices are all essential elements of your digital business initiatives. Mobile and video SEO are two newer disciplines within SEO and require their own efforts and investments to make them effective.

For most hospitality companies, direct email is still an important marketing initiative because it provides a way for your business to reach out to customers and re-engage them with special offers and invite guests to special events as well as, on the backend, to associate otherwise anonymous user behavior across channels and platforms with a unique user who may or may not be a member of a loyalty program. As such, planning how to capture email addresses in exchange for real value propositions that resonate with end users becomes a very important plank in your traffic strategy and user engagement initiatives.

Basic email benchmarking should exponentially increase revenue for a hotel, unit, cluster or brand. Email open rates should exceed 25 percent if you have the right list and have tested and settled on the right content for the target audience. Email is as valuable in B2B customer communication as it is in B2C, so think carefully about how and when you invest in this for your group and meetings business. Are your email vendors giving you advice and benchmark support? If not, you might want to ask for this type of advice when you consider a new vendor.

Carefully monitor direct email programs, not only for receipt and open rates, but also for content topics and offers that resonate with targeted audience segments. Once tested against a small portion of your email base, these topics and offers can be sent to your entire list and/or repurposed into blog, social or mobile content.

In the social channel, assign a business owner tasked with meeting the goals and objectives of your brand marketing, PR, communications (MarCom) or customer service teams. Choose a person who is capable of representing the brand in its entirety and will ask for help should the occasion arise – particularly in the area of crisis communications.

It is imperative that your business have written social media policies developed principally by marketing and customer service departments with support from legal and human resources so that expectations and permitted uses of this technology are communicated and consistency is maintained when addressing employees, customers and vendors. The best social media policies are truly cross functional in their development and deployment.

In the mobile channel, different businesses have different objectives and levels of investment. Leaders in the space are focused on enabling bookings, content distribution, B2B engagement, onsite activation and post-trip experience sharing. Others are only focused on providing a means to have customers engage with their brands. As with social media, assign a specific business owner who can think broadly about how mobile impacts your business and then draws together a cross-functional team (including sales, marketing, operations, revenue management and customer service). This matrix team will also need to align with the top-level KPIs for your goals and objectives. Mobile doesn’t work well when it is operated in a silo. Consumers do not know why your offering is not seamless and rather than bear with you until you figure it out, they will abandon your mobile site or app for a competitor’s. The latest data suggests that 15 percent to 20 percent of travelers (a gain of more than 300 percent  in a single year) are already shopping for hotel rooms using mobile sites. Bookings on mobile lag behind shopping, at least for now.

Digital Business Dynamics
Depending on where you operate and your mix of business, the percentage of your business that is booked on 48-hour cancelation windows will be vastly different. Just as you erected rate fences to manage couponed rates in the early days of discounting and had to relearn how to maintain those fences to protect rates from cannibalization through offerings in Groupon or LivingSocial, you need to understand the dynamics of how mobile travelers – and especially mobile business travelers – search for, book, cancel and ultimately pay for room nights. If you are not actively monitoring the impact that mobile is having on your revenue mix, you must get a firm handle on who, when and how mobile bookings are made.

Another area worthy of investigation is Internet usage on property since many room rates are bundled with free Wi-Fi. You need to assure you are, at minimum, covering your costs for consumer streaming. Beyond a financial analysis, work with your vendors to gain insight into how your guests use the Internet on property and how to improve or reinforce your core offerings to drive guest satisfaction and incremental revenue. You may be able to use anonymous or aggregated usage data to validate future roadmap investments that you see in on-property usage of the digital access points. Research the type of devices that guests are using to better meet their needs – for instance, tablet usage on property typically represents an entirely different set of usage scenarios than the use of a PC or smartphone. Without understanding how guests use their various devices to access entertainment or search for restaurant information, you may be missing out on in-room pay-per-view revenue or an opportunity to capitalize on your guest’s desire to eat on or near your property. Similar to device usage, analyze the digital behavior of your target audience segments, such as group business/meetings, as these insights will help you identify areas in which digital will support or reinforce your key value propositions.

We know that it seems like a great deal to track, but the first step toward becoming a business with a high digital IQ is tracking how your customers interact with your offerings. Tracking and analyzing digital customer usage data in both aggregate and individually will help you to develop a smarter portfolio investment strategy and prioritize your digital roadmap.

David and John Atkins help clients put these best practices to use. Contact them at and follow David on Twitter @atkinsdavid.

Deploying a Digital Philosophy
What to look for:

1 Devotion to constant curiosity, learning and adaptability

2 A culture that reinforces the deployment of metrics and a practice of measurement that helps turn immediate results into insights and new opportunities to test variations until a winning solution is found

3 A business management practice that rewards individuals and organizations for transparency and collaboration above effort and fiefdoms

4 A flexible and responsive roadmap for systems and budgets based on market conditions and KPIs

The most beneficial personnel development initiatives tend to encourage the development of a learning culture

Peer training – as simple as brown bag presentations that show how one person or team used its goals, metrics, hypotheses and testing to prove business value before recommending a heavier investment from management.

Leveraging digital experts on an as-needed or periodic basis – say monthly – to help drive marketplace understanding, facilitate an agenda-less, open dialogue or provide feedback on a large potential investment.

Attending digital industry events helps connect your people with others with similar challenges who can help them make informed decisions about how to approach a new issue or initiative.


Red Roof Inns
Builds Digital Acumen to Become No. 1 in the Economy Sector

Red Roof Inn® embarked on a digital IQ program in 2010 with an outside digital strategist to augment internal teams and agencies. This program was designed to further define a process and product roadmap to execute and led to a cross-functional digital acumen, intellectual curiosity and digital IQ, allowing the business to grow in unforeseen ways.

Red Roof now counts itself as one of the lucky few in the economy segment that has led its respective category with TripAdvisor Awards for Excellence three years running, leading to RevPAR and occupancy gains that are material to the overall business and outpacing its competitive set.

The Red Roof team aligned its digital strategies across the organization with technologies and tactics, including industry-leading search engine optimization (SEO), a focus on making investments where appropriate, and knowing how to test, measure and invest its limited resources for overall success.

Red Roof is frequently curious and looks to expand its digital footprint, and it knows when digital is aligned with the customer it unifies the brand across many front and back-of-house initiatives from improving the booking process to offering free Wi-Fi to creating curated content and distributing it across social media. Using seamless digital touch points, Red Roof connects guests before, during and after their stays.

“We are focused on our customers, and digital is integral in this focus,” said Andrew Alexander, President, Red Roof Inn. “With more than 350 properties, driving digital acumen within the organization and gaining alignment across every function was a daunting task. By making the right technology choices, carefully investing in website and mobile development, and connecting our digital initiatives to the on-property experience, we are leading our category and serving consumers the way we aspired to doing when we started down this path.”

Digital IQ Test

1. Which items below are "digital" assets you can leverage for a hospitality business?

a. Expedia

b. LinkedIn

c. FourSquare

d. Room 77

e. LivingSocial

f. Salesforce

g. Omniture

h. Adobe Asset Manager

i. All of the above

2. What does CMS stand for?

a. Content Measurement and Statistics

b. Content Management System

c. Customer Management System

3.What does DAM stand for?

a. Digitally Aligned Metrics

b. Digital Asset Management

c. Digital Always Matters

4. How often do you update your budget?

            a. Annually and it is pretty rigid

            b. Annually but we have some small amounts of flexibility

            c. Quarterly and we have flexibility within tolerances

            d. Annually and we revisit it quarterly based on market conditions

5. When was the last time you had a cross-functional leadership meeting?

a. Last week

b. Last month

c. Last quarter

d. Last year

e. We don’t have time for that; we are too busy running the business

6.Who owns your social media strategy?

a. CMO

b. Chief Customer Officer

c. CEO

d. Marketing Manager

e. Social Media Manager

f. Some 20-something in the corner

g. Not sure.

7. Who owns your mobile strategy?

a. Director of digital platforms and e-commerce

b. Mobile channel manager

c. A digital agency of record

d. CMO

e. Chief customer officer

f. Some 20-something we just hired

g. Not sure

8. What is SEO?

a. Search engine optimization

b. Service excellence organizations

c. Systems equity and opportunities

9. What is your average email delivery rate?

a. Less than 3%

b. Around 3%

c. 3% to 5%

d. 5% to 15%

e. 15% to 25%

f. 25% to 50%

g. 50% to 75%

h. 75%+

10. What is your average email open rate?

a. Less than 3%

b. Around 3%

c. 3% to 5%

d. 5% to 15%

e. 15% to 25%

f. 25% to 50%

g. 50% to 75%

h. 75%+

11. How much of your business is cancellable within 48 hours?

a. 0-5%

b. 6-25%

c. 26-50%

d. 51% or more

e. It varies depending on occupancy rates

f. It depends but we have fencing rules we have in place

12. How many top-level business metrics should you use to run your business?

a. 1-3

b. 3-5

c. 5-10

d. 10+

e. We are a public company. Wall Street cares about different things.

            f. We are privately held. Our owners drive it like the wind.

13. What percentage of your guests use their tablets while on your property?

a. 0-5%

b. 5-10%

c. 10-15%

d. 15-20%

e. 20%+

f. I don’t know and don’t know where to look for that information

14. How many inbound links does your website have?

a. No idea

b. 0-100

c. 101-1,000

d. 1,001-3,000

e. 3,000-5,000

f. 5,000-10,000

g. 10,001+

15. Where are the most important reviews about your property found?


            b. Yelp

            c. TripAdvisor

            d. Igougo

             e. Citysearch

             f. Medalia

             g. The OTAs (or an OTA)

             h. They all matter equally

16. What is SoLoMo?

a. An unrecorded Beatles song

b. So Long Mobile

c. Social Loses Momentum

d. Social Local Mobile

e. None of the above

17. What analytics package(s) should you be using?

a. Google Analytics

b. Omniture

c. MixPanel

d. Compete

e. Quantcast

f. Nielsen

g. Localytics

h. All of the above

18. What percentage of U.S. guests access the Internet via your offerings (i.e.: Wi-Fi; Ethernet) while on property?

a. 0-5%

b. 6-10%

c. 11-20%

d. 21-30%

e. 31-50%

f. 51-75%

g. More than 75%

h. I don’t know and don’t know where to look

19. What percentage of U.S. group or meeting business accesses the Internet via one of your offerings (i.e.: wife; Ethernet) while on property?

a. 0-5%

b. 6-10%

c. 11-20%

d. 21-30%

e. 31-50%

f. 51-75%

g. More than 75%

h. I don’t know and don’t know where to look

20. Who manages your OTA relationships?

a. I don’t know what an OTA is

b. I do personally

c. My team does on property

d. My brand does remotely

21. How often do you receive benchmark data from your OTA partners?

a. You mean OTAs share data?

b. Daily

c. Weekly

d. Monthly

e. Quarterly

f. Annually

g. My brand gets it for me

22. What CRM do you use?

a. Sugar

b. NetSuite

c. Salesforce

d. Libra OnDemand

23. How often do you personally educate yourself on something digital for your business (reading email or using social media for personal use doesn’t count)?

a. Daily

b. Weekly

c. Monthly

d. Quarterly

e. Annually

            f. Who has the time, I have to run a business

To find the Digital IQ Test answer key, click here.

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