The digital revolution has completely changed the way the hospitality and tourism industries market to consumers. Today, hotels have plenty of competition online. The key to hotel marketing is standing out among the brand clutter. Below is a list of marketing tactics that, in our opinion, every hotel should include in its annual marketing plan.
1. Boost online reviews
Travelers rely heavily on hospitality ranking sites such as TripAdvisor.com when booking hotels. According to hospitalitynet, 54 percent of travelers won’t book a hotel if it doesn’t have reviews on TripAdvisor. The more popular your hotel is, the higher up on the list your hotel will appear, therefore it’s imperative your hotel’s profile is pristine on these sites. Bolster your hotel’s presence on hospitality ranking sites by strategically encouraging guests to provide reviews. But don’t stop there! Listen to your guests’ reviews to learn how you can improve the customer experience at your hotel.
2. Targeted digital advertising campaigns
Digital advertising allows hotels to hone in on their target audience and spend marketing dollars in a smarter way. Something to consider is targeting consumers searching for lodging accommodations in your hotel’s area. There are a few ways to do this. First, use Google AdWords to ensure your hotel is one of the first listed when potential customers search relevant key words on Google . Another is by implementing a display campaign, which serves your digital ads to your target consumers. Retargeting consumers who have visited your website through digital and social media advertising is a great tactic to supplement both of the previously mentioned tactics.
3. Engage with existing guests
Research has shown that loyalty programs, or frequent guest programs, can be a very important decision-maker, especially for frequent travelers, when used correctly. Ensure success with your hotel’s reward program by offering real, desirable awards or implementing a ladder system where rewards improve at each step. Incentivized guests to keep coming back!
Another way to engage with existing guests is through email marketing. If used properly, email marketing is a great way to notify guests of upcoming events, promotions or specials. Communicate with guests before during and after their stay to share helpful tips about your hotel, recommended dining options (in the hotel and around it) and activities to enjoy in the city.
4. Website optimization
If your website is not user friendly, your booking rates are suffering. The user experience is essential to selecting a hotel. Two of the biggest mistakes a hotel can make include: poor visual depiction of the rooms and difficult online booking process. The hotel room is the product and guests want a clear understanding of what the room is like. Detailed pictures, pictures from different views and even a video tour of the room can help customers better understand your product. If guests have complications booking a room with your hotel online, they are more likely to give up and book a different hotel. Ensure the user experience is simple and positive from the time they search for a hotel until they complete booking the room.
5. Event promotion
Hotels make for great event venues. If you’re hotel is hosting an event or convention, capitalize on the event by distributing a press release to target local and industry media. Garnering publicity for events can not only help boost awareness and attendance at the event, but also position the hotel as a viable venue for future events. Continued publicity can help increase potential guest bookings as well by keeping your hotel top of mind among target audiences.
Including these marketing tactics and more into your annual plan will help build awareness, popularity and, best of all, bookings at your hotel. Positioning your business properly and in front the right target audiences will help strengthen your chances of achieving those marketing goals. Good luck.
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