Do’s and dont’s For hotel marketers

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Do-and-dont

Hotel marketing is not an exact science: every hotel or chain is different, with its history, the location of its hotels, reputation, target market and style being different. Getting it right is therefore not a simple task. The ideal approach for one kind of hotel may be entirely inappropriate for another one. ¬†Even so, there are many dos and don’t that are quite generic, with a range of potentially calamitous errors just waiting to be made, and conversely a number of very wise steps that marketers can take, but many fail to do.

The following are some of the big dos and don’ts that will make the difference between success and failure.

Do use popular channels

Since the earliest days of marketing the key has been to get the message to as many of the right people as possible and that has included print, radio, TV and now the internet and smartphones. As an example of this, Google + is a medium now used by 540 million people and 17 per cent of them use it to help decide where to stay when on holiday, according to travel site Leonardo. This means the medium can be highly effective. Of course, it is important to use these channels the right way. For example, marketing via Google + will be done best with an excellent cover photo and content should always be over 100 characters. Beware not to make it too lengthy, however. In addition, build an online brochure out of the pictures and make sure you interact well with potential consumers to make your communication more personal. This means getting to the heart of effective content marketing, which avoids in-your-face direct marketing.

Don’t assume hits means customers

Using online channels like Google + to market a hotel may be a good move, but it is important to properly measure success. It can be very easy just to look at the number of hits and declare a high number to be a sign of success. However, that is not the case. A high bounce rate may be one very obvious indicator that all is not well, but so too is failure to achieve the kind of interaction noted above. One way to get this wrong is to only post about the hotel. Content that lacks variety will not be very interesting, with the consequence that people will soon stop reading it.

Do take notice of growing demographics

Demographic trends are a key issue for marketers. Whether the population is getting wealthier, such as in times of economic growth, cutting back because of a recession (creating phenomena like the ‘staycation’), getting older or more ethnically diverse, it is important to make sure you target markets with large numbers of people with appropriate services. This is particularly true when a particular group has more spending power. For example, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) market has increased, as members of these groups are known to have higher incomes. At the same time, even among groups without high incomes, such as the elderly, the sheer size of the demographic means the potential collective spending power is high.

Don’t leave people out

That said, be aware that there are many markets that may not be immediately obvious. Niche groups are a key for many tourism and hotel firms – indeed, the LGBT market is an example of it – but so too are others such as adrenaline junkies, eco-tourists, sports fans, religious travellers and so on. While these groups are not necessarily homogeneous and many who could be included in them will be agreeable to more than one kind of holiday, marketers may find there are some groups they miss out when marketing a hotel – even if there are local attractions that may entice some of these groups.

Do understand overseas markets

One thing marketers should do is carry out good research, particularly on overseas consumers. While domestic changes in tastes and demographics may be well known, it is also important to consider what is happening elsewhere if a hotel chain likes to attract overseas visitors. Among the factors to consider is where people are coming from. There is no point, for example, in seeking to attract large numbers of tourists from a country with a poorly-performing economy whose currency is weak compared to the pound. By contrast, booming economies with a fast-growing middle class will have more spending power and will be emerging as potential guests. Attract them before your competitors do.

Don’t drop clangers

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, beware the kind of clangers that occasionally get marketers into trouble. Culturally insensitive messages are an obvious no-no. So too is content containing potentially inflammatory views that may polarise the audience between those who will agree strongly and those who will be vehemently in disagreement.Giving offence or making bad mistakes is particularly dangerous in the online realm, as there is always the risk of things going viral. That may prove to be a very effective piece of marketing – but only for your rivals.