Director of Online Marketing, Western Region
Kimpton Hotels

Lisa Demoney oversees online marketing for Kimpton’s western region, which is comprised of 24 hotels. Previously, Demoney served as Director of Online Marketing for Joie de Vivre Hospitality and managed global web marketing for Hitachi Data Systems.

Although Kimpton Hotels now controls more than 50 hotels spanning 16 states, the company originally started from a collection of independent hotels. Even as the management company has grown organically into an overarching national brand, its boutique hotels have maintained a level of autonomy and independence. Hotel personality can vary from city to city and hotel to hotel, and guests may have different experiences depending on which Kimpton Hotel they choose.

This distributed business model creates a challenge for Lisa Demoney and her marketing team as they work to build a loyal customer base for the overall brand. To overcome that disconnect, Kimpton marketing initiatives are designed and strategized corporately but acted upon at the local level, which Demoney says is unique for the hospitality industry.

“Seasonal campaigns and brand promotions take place across the entire company, but each hotel has its own website, and different people are responsible for driving each hotel’s version of the campaigns,” she says.

This approach creates much needed flexibility for Kimpton’s assortment of hotels. Among many different potential aspects of a national promotion, hotels can choose which elements fit their individual character and capabilities. Corporate-level marketers make recommendations based on data, ROI, and revenue, but ultimately the owners and asset managers at each hotel decide what to incorporate based on what is suitable for the local audience.

For example, the company currently has a large corporate focus on wellness. In implementing national marketing campaigns based on that theme, Demoney says one hotel may orchestrate morning jogs with the general manager while another partner can bring in yoga instructors to turn meeting rooms into yoga classes for its patrons. “All of our programs can really be customized to the needs and personalities of each hotel,” she says.

Additionally, with hotels located across the country, Demoney understands that different markets and locations appeal to different types of travelers, and different types of advertising work more effectively in certain markets. When her team is assessing a new marketing channel or opportunity, they will pick hotels from several regions for discreet tests, which are then used to inform the rest of their markets on new tactics and best practices.

One new area on which Demoney focuses is the social media space. Because Kimpton doesn’t yet enjoy the high profile of brands like Hilton or Marriot, the company must be very strategic about the activities in which it chooses to invest. Besides its Facebook pages, Kimpton has started building its presence on Twitter and has established Foursquare accounts for each of its hotels and restaurants. It also added booking widgets to its Facebook accounts so guests can directly access reservation engines through these new media channels. Moving forward, Demoney says Kimpton will be increasingly focused on improving its position in the mobile realm.

As Kimpton builds marketing campaigns integrated across all of these new channels, maintaining flexibility to localize and adapt national promotions to individual markets will continue to be a priority. “When it comes to finding a hotel, people tend to start with a destination,” Demoney says. “So we always consider that demographic and the location and personality of our hotels to be most important when it comes to influencing search behavior.”

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