Unless you have just started your first enterprise or company, you probably know that the travel and hospitality industry is highly competitive, which makes it quite challenging for newly formed, smaller hotels to stay in the game (or even enter it).
But don’t let that fact scare you – by using the correct strategies you can easily convince customers that your hotel is the correct choice when it comes to accommodation. Let’s see some quick tips on achieving just that!
Find your USP
You can have the best marketing communication strategy on the Internet, but if you have nothing to communicate, then it’s basically a worthless advantage. Every enterprise, and by that logic, every hotel must have a unique trait, or at least something special to offer, that helps differentiate it from the competition. And don’t think that your low prices will do. You’re going to need something really unique.
These are called Unique Selling Points, or USPs for short.
If, for example, you are an adults-only hotel, then having a “no visitors under 16” rule is not enough. Find something that makes you more special than other adult-friendly hotels. Special does not necessarily mean expensive either – getting a masseur who offers special treatment for couples or placing a complimentary bottle of champagne in the rooms of guests on their day of arrival will surely catch the attention of couples who are in search for some special treatment. All of these extras can be offered in a “Romantic Weekend” package.
It doesn’t even have to be something completely new – many other hotels around the world have several options for these kinds of offerings. Do a quick recon on the web and you will find plenty of ideas to implement in your own hotel.
You will need the perfect website
Without a website it’s not even worth getting into the hospitality industry. A website can be of tremendous help in making your hotel visible to more potential customers. It also gives them an opportunity to check out what you are offering, which is also important, since no one would book a room they can’t even see a picture of.
The better user experience (UX) you offer on your website, the bigger the advantage you will get over your competitors, whenever a potential visitor searches for a hotel in your area. Apart from the user experience, you should also consider the following aspects when it comes to designing your hotel’s website:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Mobile-optimized or mobile-friendly design
- The speed of both your desktop and mobile site (test here!)
- A CMS that is capable of content marketing and provides complete control over its source code (which means no Wordpress, Joomla, etc.)
- Conversion tracking, which accurately shows the number of room and event venue bookings through each channel
To keep track of your conversions, you’re going to need a website which enables the gathering of data about your visitors, and a well-constructed marketing strategy, which helps you incite more people to book directly on your website.
Get you hotel listed in local directories
Google: One of Google’s free services, Google My Business is a must have for any company in the tourism & hospitality industry. Having a My Business Profile enables you to appear among the Google Maps results which pop up whenever a user searches for hotels in your area. You can also upload some photos to your profile so that potential customers can have a quick look at your establishment.
General directories: There are many directories which can still generate some traffic for your website, and some of these directories even help your website’s SEO with their link authority. It’s also advised to request your hotel to be listed on your local municipality website, as many local governmental sites are happy to promote local businesses.
The role of social media in hotel marketing
It is imperative that you create profiles for your hotel on all of the major social networks, or at least on the more popular ones (Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest, etc.) You can use these platforms to share useful information and interesting content (articles, videos, etc.) with your followers to engage them and to reach a wider audience. Try to provide useful content instead of sticking strictly to self-advertising, so that your followers will be more incited to return for more.
Make use of the story features of both Instagram and Facebook daily, which let you share brief moments from the daily life of your hotel.
While nobody likes to pay for advertising, it’s really worth investing into some more popular channels like Google’s AdWords and Facebook. With the right strategy, you can get much more reach without spending huge amounts of money for your campaigns. The popular GPS navigation application, Waze also allows companies to advertise on its platform. If your main source of customers is passing traffic, then it’s definitely worth taking a look at.
Both AdWords and Facebook provide extreme control over the targeting of paid ads – you can target by location, interests and even travel intent. It’s advisable to build remarketing lists and don’t bother with Facebook’s boosted posts – learn how to use the platform’s Ads Manager!
Some additional tips for promoting your hotel
Utilize content marketing: An interesting, useful and entertaining blog about the travel industry and/or about your hotel will attract readers like nothing else could.
Offer discounts and special rewards for certain actions: For booking directly through your website, or for subscribing to a newsletter, etc.
PR is still key: Reach out to smaller, local portals, blogs and influencers and offer them exposure for a guest blog or a review. Be careful when it comes to choosing the right influencers though, since a Facebook follower is still worth ten times more than an Instagram fan. This is because on Facebook you can ask for shares, which can lead to direct conversions and bookings, while Instagram is purely for PR purposes. An attractive girl in a swimsuit will gather tens of thousands of followers in a few days, but that’s not the audience you’re targeting.
Have excellent customer service: Quality customer management will help your brand to gain the trust of your current and future customers as well. People satisfied with your customer services are more likely to recommend you to their friends.
Keep an eye on your reviews: TripAdvisor, Facebook, Google and Foursquare all provide a platform for customers to review and rate brands and their services. We recommend that you answer these in at least 24 hours, whether they are negative or positive. Encourage your visitors to write reviews of your hotel when they get the chance (you can remind them to do so via an email the day after their checkout).
Online marketing is separate branch of marketing communication. However good your sales team is, however great your offline marketers, they will never be able to keep track of all the changes and developments in the world of online marketing tools. Google updates its algorithm almost on a daily basis, and Facebook is also going through constant development.
To avoid all the hassle of developing and implementing a complete marketing strategy, it’s better to outsource these tasks to an experienced team of marketing consultants who can boost your room and event venue bookings. How? Click here, and we will show you!