How to Market a Hotel to the Modern Consumer
The hotel business is extraordinarily competitive. No matter how nice your hotel is, you need a strong marketing focus to get the word out about your facilities. So, how can you effectively market your hotel for today’s customers? A multi-faceted marketing approach is appropriate.
According to a 2016 study, 95% of consumers search for locations online before traveling. This leads to price comparisons and usually online booking for accommodation. Because of the huge amount of online research done by consumers, it’s wise to have a thorough online marketing campaign for your hotel. These are the components that will have the most effect for marketing a hotel online:
- Create and Maintain a Website
Allowing potential customers to come directly to your site to check out what you have and book their stay makes it easy for them to choose you over your competitors. For this to work, you must set up and maintain a great website.
Include high resolution pictures of rooms, dining areas, common areas, pools, gyms, or any other facilities you may have on your grounds. It can be helpful to hire a professional resort photographer to capture your grounds in a realistic, but enticing way.
Once your website is complete, you have to maintain it to make updates, put up new pictures, and refresh the content occasionally. If you don’t maintain it, you may not be able to keep getting new traffic, because search engines may not prioritize your site. You may also give out misinformation that dissuades guests accidentally.
- Optimize for Online Searches
To get your website listed higher on Google, Bing, or other search engines, you should practice Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles in your webpages, writing, pictures, online posts, and other content. It’s useful to add broad keywords and location-specific keywords to your website to help you get your website listed on the earlier pages of search results.
- Set Up Online Business Profiles
You can claim your business on websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp and put up a profile about your business. You can give all the details about what you offer, upload your professional photos, and talk about your location, linking to your website and other contact information. People tend to trust these sites and use them to help find a great place to book a hotel.
- Manage Reviews
You cannot and should not delete negative reviews. But, it’s a great idea to respond to every online review you can. This is a good marketing technique because it’s a free way to show potential guests that you’re listening to the concerns of your guests and you’re willing to respond to them. Those guests who are considering booking at your hotel may be more convinced if they see you paying attention to reviews with personalized responses.
- Create Email Marketing Channels
Create avenues to get the email addresses of potential guests as soon as possible. Automated emails at strategic times can encourage consumers to choose your hotel over your competitors by creating a sense of familiarity. Ask for email addresses in exchange for discount codes or promotional offers. Ask consumers to input their email when starting the booking process, whether they complete it or not. Then, automate your email service to try to retain guests who may not complete booking or why have signed up for potential discounts.
- Video Content
One of the best ways to market online right now is through optimized video content. Making professional, promotional videos for your hotel and spreading them around on social media, YouTube, Vimeo, and your website will help you catch attention and attract people to look at your hotel further. You may consider informational videos that mention your hotel for a more evergreen effect, or promotional videos with a shorter lifespan and a specific purpose.
- Social Media Marketing
Being active and engaging on one or more social media networks can make it easier for people to find your hotel when searching for a place to stay. It will also keep you fresh in the minds of those who have followed you on social media, whether they’ve used your services before or not. Keep in mind that social media highly dependent on forms of media to attract more attention. Using a platform like Instagram or Facebook will be more effective if you have unique, high quality images.
Online marketing can focus on local areas or reach distant consumers, but an effective local area marketing strategy can also boost your reputation. If you become a well-known hotel in your local area, you can get more recommendations and word of mouth advertisement, as well as attracting locals to use your services too.
- Promotional Activities
Many businesses have promotional events or activities to try turning a quiet period into something more profitable. Local promotional marketing can increase the amount of guests you get during slower periods of business, but it may also help locals and travelers consider you as an option for special events and holidays. Keep track of what’s happening locally, any widely celebrated holidays, and special events which you can create promotional advertisements for.
- Local Business Partnerships
Partnership with other local businesses can help you offer more to your guests, which makes you a more attractive option for a hotel. For instance, if you don’t have a spa on your premises, you may look for a local massage parlor or spa to partner with and offer packages with their services. Keep in mind that partnerships mean you will have to give them some sort of benefit as well instead of only focusing on your benefit from the deal.
- Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Listings
Most towns, cities, and small local areas have websites and organizations that can help people find good locations for dining, hotels, and tourist attractions around that location. Try to submit your hotel to that list. People coming to stay in your area are likely to check out these types of websites, and they may have a better chance of finding your hotel if you’re included on the list of local hotels.
- Local Event Participation
Instead of just offering promotional offers during events, it can be useful to get involved in the events as well. Participation can be tailored to fit the audience of the event as well as how likely you are to find new customers based on your involvement. This is a good way to get your name out to locals and anyone traveling in for the event.
- Loyalty Perks and Programs
Guests are more likely to return to a hotel if they get some sort of reward for their loyalty. Even if they liked it during their first stay, they may look for other options if you don’t have something that entices them further. Small discounts, perks, and added benefits for returning guests or long-term guests encourage people to come to your hotel repeatedly and recommend it to others.
Hotel marketing needs to be competitive. While some of the most effective marketing will happen online, it’s still important to keep the local population in mind, especially when you are considering how to fill your hotel during non-peak periods. The right marketing strategies will go a long way towards helping people not only find you, but to book with you as well!
Georgi Todorov is a digital marketer, specializing in Outreach strategies and Influencer Marketing. Besides his passion about digital marketing, he has graduated from university with a bachelor degree in Cultural Anthropology which makes him extremely curious about anything “foreign” and “international”. He is always happy to talk with new people and you can reach him at his Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. He has recently started his own blog about digital marketing DigitalNovas. Georgi is also a partner at FortuneLords and PR expert for AdaptRM.