We can’t all be blessed with pots of cash to fill our marketing budget with, so it is imperative that hotels are able to make every penny count in their bid to reach consumers. There are many ways in which this can be achieved, but also some incredibly important reasons why working on a shoestring may be the best plan of action.
Of course, being able to invest heavily in raising brand awareness is fantastic, but if it comes at the cost of cutting corners in other areas of the business, such as the actual grounds and rooms of your establishment, then your efforts are likely to fall flat on their face. This is why marketers for smaller hotels working with limited funds need to be clever in their approach.
Online marketing is a growing industry and one that has produced positive results for hotels in recent years. But it is also a minefield for inexperienced professionals. Without the right strategy, it would be easy to sink your budget into a poor-performing marketing campaign. Creating your own effective, easy to navigate website is an inexpensive, but vital, way to market your hotel. Building your own site need not be a lengthy exercise of creating pages filled with bells and whistles, instead your web presence can be as simple and to-the-point as you wish. As long as you convey the key facts of your hotel then your site can help to attract new business. By this we mean that a visitor to your website should be able to quickly and easily find details such as your address, room information and rates, directions and parking information.
If you provide services such as food, drinks and internet connectivity then you should make sure that these are also mentioned. You must sell your hotel to the best of your abilities by really shouting about what you have to offer. All information given must be up to date as well, as the presence of outdated details or room rates gives an air of unprofessionalism. Images are also absolutely key to your web presence. A potential guest will want to see pictures of the rooms, hotel grounds, reception and any other areas that you have on-site, so if you are serious about attracting their custom then you must provide these. All of this is fantastic, but without an effective way in which potential guests can book, your website will be a failure. In this regard, keeping it simple, and therefore inexpensive, is perfectly acceptable and is sometimes even encouraged.
It often pays to not bombard the customer with an array of flashy booking options, many of which will often slow down their browsing experience, something which could lead to abandoned reservations. Those who do give up before completing their booking should be targeted in follow-up campaigns. This can be achieved by obtaining a potential guest’s email address at the earliest possible opportunity within the transaction. Once you have these details, you are able to follow-up any abandoned bookings by contacting the individual with any special offers, potentially enticing them back onto your website and into a position to book a room. You then have the individual’s details without having had to launch an expensive marketing campaign.
If an individual does not book after they have been offered a discount, you could opt to send out another email offering a slightly better offer or rate reduction, or perhaps you could give them the option of a free breakfast if this is something that your hotel offers. You have done the hard work by obtaining the browser’s contact details, so it is now up to you to maximise the chance that they will book with your hotel.
Email marketing is another solid way of generating business on a tight budget. This is particularly important as return on investment for such initiatives can reach as much as 2,500 per cent, according to the Direct Marketing Association. This means that a small outlay could produce superb results. This form of marketing is also favoured by businesses, as email is able to be monitored for click-through and conversion rates, meaning that you can see exactly what is and what is not working and then adjust your strategy accordingly, creating the ability to be agile, something that is most welcome for hotel marketers on a tight budget. Of course, a further sure-fire way of driving future business is ensuring that the hotel offers a superb stay and service for guests. Encouraging customers to leave online reviews following a positive experience will help no end with your word of mouth reputation.
The presence of review scores are also evident as part of online searches, meaning that a potential guest will quickly be put at ease if they can see that others have previously enjoyed their stay at your establishment.