You may be firmly placed in the hospitality industry if you are a hotel owner, but the truth is that in this modern world, you must also have one foot in the marketing industry too. No property can exist in a bubble and without at least some form of promotion, you are likely to lose business to your competitors – after all, guests cannot stay with you if they can’t find you.
However, marketing can seem like a complex challenge if you have never been trained in it. With so many ways of carrying it out, how will you know if you’re choosing the right one?To help you out, we’ve put together a top ten list of our favourite marketing techniques that also happen to be big news for 2017 and beyond. Let’s take a look.
1.Persona profiling You probably want to appeal to as many different guests as you can, but it’s actually better to narrow down your focus and aim to concentrate on the needs of a particular subset of visitors. If you take a look at your data, you should notice that you have more of one type of guest than another. For example, you could see that you record lots of business traveller traffic and not many honeymooners.If this is the case, then you can market your hotel as a great base from which to do business, paying particular attention to highlighting services like free Wi-Fi and one-day dry cleaning. Alternatively, if you discover that you’re really popular with hen parties, put together a spa package and promote that.If you’re not collecting enough data about your guests to carry out persona profiling, it’s easy to start doing so. Just ask people to fill in a quick survey after they return home or even put a tick-sheet in their rooms to leave behind when they check out. This should really help you to understand your typical customer and start determining what they want.
2.Social media opportunities hotel social media is hugely important and it’s essential for brands to have a presence if they are to engage and communicate with guests past, present and prospective. Building up a personality on sites like Twitter and Instagram can also help travellers to see how approachable you are, plus you can become a thought leader if you share useful articles and link to upcoming events in your area.Don’t forget that there are also great chances to advertise your hotel business on social media through paid ads, which are relatively inexpensive and can be really specifically targeted to your desired audience, right down to their gender, for example.This just isn’t possible on other advertising channels, so it should offer unparalleled return on investment if you have a particular campaign you want to push. People are likely to be receptive to (not-too-pushy) ads during their downtime, so this is a great technique to try.
3.Re-marketing is a process by which you can spot visitors to your website and then track them using cookies so that you can put your ads in front of them again once they have navigated away. It’s how you suddenly see a raft of ads for craft stores after checking out scrapbooking supplies, for example.You can do the same for your hotel, which helps to boost brand awareness and keep your property fresh in their mind should they go back to the booking process.
4.Email marketing There are regularly claims in the media that email marketing is outdated and going the way of the dinosaurs, but this simply isn’t true – it’s actually still really effective. You should aim to build up a list of subscribers based on past guests and people who have expressed an interest in your website, then target them with carefully tailored messages encouraging them to make bookings. We’ve covered how to compose these messages in detail in past articles so do check our archives, but quick tips include highlighting special events, putting together relevant offers and sending out discount codes that might prompt people to click through and make a booking.
5.Engaging people with video content has become huge news in the world of marketing because so many people are now watching online clips. According to YouTube, there is a 100 per cent increase in consumption every year, while Insivia.com points out that a third of all online activity is spent watching videos. With the average user exposed to 32.2 videos a month and 80 per cent able to recall a video ad they had seen in the past 30 days, you can’t afford not to be a part of it by creating and uploading your own promotional clips.
6.Mobile-friendly sites This is more about continuing the booking journey than reaching out to people in the first place, but it’s vital to ensure that travellers can visit your website from any device, particularly since StatCounter reported that mobile and tablet internet usage has now exceeded desktop for the first time worldwide. Don’t put visitors off with pages that won’t load!
7.Make the most of localIt’s easy to forget, but local listings such as business directories and online maps can be really useful as lead generators for people searching for accommodation in their own vicinity. Make the most of it by keeping your details updated and optimising your headers, title tags and meta data.
8.Consider OTAs You will have to pay if you include a middle man in the booking process, but sites like Expedia do have a global reach that can help to put your hotel in front of millions of guests that wouldn’t have seen you otherwise, so it’s worth considering whether the outlay is worth the payoff when it comes to your marketing strategy.
9.Content is still king Never create content just for the sake of it, but pieces like blog posts, listicles and how-to videos can be really great for inspiring travellers if you post them regularly and keep your target audience in mind. Don’t forget to add share buttons too!
10.Never underestimate Reviews from satisfied guests can be a fantastic marketing tool, so share them across social media if you have them and publish them prominently on your website. You could also invite people to share their favourite holiday stories on a dedicated page on your website.Implementing any of these tips could really help to raise your profile, so why not give them a try?