Establishing and retaining a competitive advantage over other hotels is an important goal for all such property owners, but perhaps none more so than for smaller accommodation providers and independent brands. They need to be able to get their name out there to the masses without the big budgets behind them that the chain names can benefit from.One way of doing this is through content marketing.
This is actually nothing new but continues to be a popular technique and involves the publication of material such as blog posts, social media updates and newsletters to drive engagement, awareness and trust among readers.However, it does require a detailed strategy if it is to work. Here are some content marketing basics that you should be using if you’re to make a start in this arena.
1. Know who you’re talking to Knowing your audience is essential for content marketing, so you’ll need to build up some persona profiles before you start writing anything. These are akin to character sketches of the people you know stay at your property (from data gleaned from past guests) and can be used to target future readers, whether they’re business travellers or families with children. If you know who your readers are, you’ll know their requirements and preferences and you can start building your content with them in mind.
2. Only publish professional-looking copy There’s nothing more off-putting than starting to read an article online and finding it seems to have been written by someone with English as a second language, so always ensure anything you publish has been carefully checked for mistakes. The same goes for images; if your pictures are poor, they won’t showcase your hotel at its best and people might go elsewhere.
3. Be engaging Anyone considering travel is likely to be daydreaming about destinations, so use this to sell your hotel to them. Let your content paint an engaging, alluring picture and present all of your best features to encourage them that your property is the best available.Keep things user-centred and provide content that will appeal directly to your target audience, such as Valentines’ Day-themed articles for young couples in February that link to a special romance package offers. You can update your content all year round to cater for different demographics and show you’ve really got your finger on the pulse.
4. Be useful Anyone heading to a new destination for the first time is likely to be uncertain about things like local transport links, places to eat and other essentials, so give them this information before they even get there – ideally while they’re still at the pre-booking stage.This will help to build trust and show them you’re keeping your guests’ needs firmly in mind.
5. Search engine optimisation Content marketing should always be done with SEO firmly in mind so that it reaches its intended audience and can be found organically via travel-related searches. Try researching the keywords your guests are using when they look for accommodation and then incorporate those words into your content. However, never fall into the trap of keyword-cramming – it isn’t 2007 any longer and this will be penalised by search engines. Instead, weave them in naturally and build content carefully around them.
6. Regularly update content If you’ve got a lot of content on your site, it can be tricky to keep on top of, but this is essential if you’re to look professional at all times. Transient content such as blog posts don’t matter too much, but anything evergreen such as your landing pages should be checked often and updated if they are no longer correct. You don’t want would-be guests using an old email address and their query failing to get through, as they might assume you don’t care about their question and move on to your competition. Content has an important place in digital marketing and, if done well, can lead people straight to your booking engine. Why not give it a try?