Search marketing remains the most effective way of generating direct revenue for the global hotel industry, despite the rise of social media, it has been claimed.

InterContinental Hotels Group Asia-Pacific vice-president of distribution marketing and revenue management Jos Weesjes told 4Hoteliers that social networks are useful for raising awareness of a brand online, they have not had an immediate impact on bringing in customers.

He said online marketing services should still be geared towards search engine optimisation in order to win new business.

"The key is consumers are shopping between brands and to make their decisions on hotels, they go through four or five searches, so you have to make sure you are there at every search point," Mr Weesjes remarked.

Once a company has developed an effective search engine marketing strategy, he added, it can look at adding rich media ads such as pop-ups, banner ads and videos to engage its audience.

InterContinental operates approximately 4,200 hotels in 100 countries worldwide. The company has around 180 million visitors a year.

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