Even the seasoned of the hoteliers you know don’t have it easy marketing their hotel businesses. In today’s world of internet prevalence, coupled with the explosion of smart phones and social media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to come up with a strategic marketing plan for your business.
But if everything was to be summed up in one sentence – a good hotel marketing strategy is one that puts you in a favourable spot to work on establishing a strong online presence.
No long ago all you had to do was come up with a list of travel sites and apply to be listed with them. But things appear to have changed. The guests you’re likely to attract to your hotel prefer doing their own research and scouring the internet themselves for recommendations and reviews.
So to what extend does your hotel keep up with the latest marketing trend?
It bears hammering in that the digital world of marketing is super-shifty. What worked about a year ago might be completely useless today. And nothing you can think of makes the hospitality business an exception.
For starters, hoteliers are beginning to come to term with the fact that a good chunk of their marketing budgets should be better off directed to growing their online presence. A few years back they’d have preferred using the cash to secure an ad slot on TV or paying for ad slot on a local newspaper.
There also was a time when travelling and lodging was too costly and only affordable to a small section of the population. But all that appears to have changed such that an average spender can now afford to travel.
As the population grows and traveling becomes a norm among average spenders, the expectation modern travelers have rises. Then there’s the issue of too much info and interconnectivity among generations, which makes the hotel industry more competitive than it was a few years back.
Travelers are not limited as to the number of destinations they can travel to. This has brought with it a stiff competition, and consequently forced hoteliers to look into modern digital marketing approaches to capture the interest of modern travelers.
You can promote your hotel on almost any known online platform out there. This is important as each platform offers a unique digital marketing opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
Gone are the days when travelers could randomly pick a hotel they find on the SERPs or travel sites. Nowadays, they seem to be more concerned with the experience they’re likely to get.
One way they do this is by checking the reviews the business has. What do past clients have to say about the experiences they encountered? And on the off chance that a great majority of them are NOT impressed by the quality of your rooms or the services they received, then there’s a huge possibility a great number of prospective customers will fall off before they even get to try you out.
It’s a common thing when businesses rebrand or change how they choose to drive traffic. That’s because digital marketing is fast emerging as one of the leading drivers of businesses.
Travelers looking for where to travel next will prefer soliciting recommendations from fellow travelers than hearing it from you. Goes on to show that any digital marketing strategy you employ should be more targeted at converting the bulk of the travelers you get into your brand ambassadors instead of saturating any digital platform you get with salesy ads and posts.
That’s because the virtual world tend to trust peer reviews even more compared to brands. They’re the fortifiers of quality and once a number of them vouch for your product or service, then that’s reason enough to convince an online buyer to consider trying you out.
Start by Developing a Fully Functional Website
The website you develop for your hotel doesn’t have to be complicated, but well-calculated and functional enough to match the needs of your company. Even more important, the site has to be well-optimized for mobile, considering the bulk of the customers you’re likely to get will be browsing the net from a mobile device.
The menu you use must be easy to download. The phone number must be clickable, and the images you use must be clear enough to display the exact nature of your hotel and everything else you’re offering.
Here is the thing – the website must be simple and direct to the point. You want your visitors to land on your site and with only a few clicks, be able to make a reservation.
It’s also important that your website features a vertical section that your visitors will be using to scroll to the content they need. That should include your contact info, photo gallery, booking section, working hours, and menus.
Own a Google Business Listing Account
A Google map listing should help you secure a top slot on the result pages of Google. Every time someone searches for something, Google displays what’s commonly referred to as a Local 3 Pack.
For instance, when someone searches for “fancy hotels in Singapore.” The local 3 pack will show at the top with a map and three fancy restaurants as specified.
To come up with a list of restaurant to display in the local 3 Pack, Google has to take into consideration a number of factors. Among them is proximity, and which accounts for about 19% o f the chance you have, and Google reviews which carries with it 13% of the weight – according to MOZ.
Suffice it to say there’s no way you’re going to secure online visibility if you don’t own a business listing account for Google. So it’s important that you start by creating one, and most importantly, make sure every single one of the information you provide is accurate.
Here’s the link to follow to begin the process of creating one: Google My Business.
The Social Media Marketing Strategy to Adopt for Your Hotel
There’s no way you’re going to realise online success without working on a solid social media marketing strategy. After all almost every single one of your targeted customers can be found on social media.
The problem comes with conjuring a working plan and strategy, leave alone executing one.
The problem with the approach many hoteliers take is that they randomly pick any self-proclaimed social media marketing expert to help them manage their social media pages. More often than NOT, they end up filling their pages with rushed content, mediocre images, and forced online content with little to zero value to prospective customers.
While this may come off as the cheapest option they have at hand, what’s at stake is that the effort applied is likely to land your business into greater harm than the expected good.
To be on the safe side, it’s important that you hire a hotel marketing agency to help you out instead of assigning the task haphazardly to someone with zero experience and expertise on how to go about it.
That being said, here are some of the common mistakes hotel managers make while attempting to self manage their social media accounts:
- Interconnecting their social media accounts. Each social media platform you know is meant to serve a different function. While you may automate the process by interlinking one or two accounts, odds are good the effort applied might NOT be doing your business any good unless you learn to calibrate and adjust how you post and even structure the posts you make.
- Displaying your social media feed on site. There’s absolutely zero value in displaying your social media feed on your site. You can display the page instead on your site for your site visitor to consider liking it. But with social media feeds, nothing you post gets to add any value to your site or contribute to your search engine ranking.
- Overusing hash tags. Don’t overpopulate the posts you make with unnecessary hash tags. Before you even think to use one, first ask yourself about what you wish to gain from them. And in the event that you can’t come up with a clear answer for each one of them, then you’re better off NOT using them in the first place.
Also, instead of focusing on an endless list of randomly generated hash tags, why NOT pick a few and focus on them instead.
Not working on a sound system to come up with original photos every month for your hotel. You’ll admit a lot has changed since you started your hotel business. It could be that your hotel looks much better now or your quality of service has greatly advanced over time.
Neglecting their local audience
It’s common for hoteliers to target a national audience, while paying zero attention to their local audience. And it’s all because most of them assume local prospects will get to know about them and their business by proxy.
Social media marketing has never been easy as many marketers would love to assume. If you’re NOT willing to give it a thorough thought and come up with a sound social media marketing and promotion strategy, then don’t expect much from the campaign you run.
Email Marketing Strategies for Hotels
Even with the invasion of spamming, email marketing still remains as one of the most effective digital marketing strategies to employ. Looking back, social media happened and that was thought to be the end of it. But it persisted and even evolved to be one of the most effective digital marketing tools floating about.
For hoteliers, email marketing is a crucial marketing tool that no serious marketer can afford to turn their back on. You’re expected to constantly supply your customers with a series of rich content on specials offers and room information. With an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp, you can easily work on creating a solid mailing list that you’ll be targeting with your content regularly.
Needless to say it takes time to collect a significant number of emails that you’ll be targeting with your content. Most hoteliers don’t warm up to the strategy because of this. But once you’ve mastered the craft and have invested enough time in it, you’ll live to admit that it’s one of the most effective marketing strategies no hotel owner can afford to ignore at this time and age.
Don’t spam or overdo it in a manner that appears to bother your guests. It’s also important that you don’t beg or force the customers you get to leave their email addresses with you. Instead install a Wi-Fi connection and ask the guests you get to enter their email addresses for a password. That’s in addition to collecting their email addresses using a pop up subscription form you’ve installed on your website.
You want your website to appear on the first few pages of Google. You have two options to make this happen – one is through SEO and the second one is through Google Ads.
With SEO, it’s going to take you weeks or even months for the effort to pay off. But with PPC or Google Ads, your ad will be ranked in a matter of days.
So yes, if you’re a new brand and are looking for the fastest way to pull traffic off search engines, then Google Ads is a viable option.
Even better, Google recently introduced a hotel feature into their standard ads line-up. So whenever a person searches for a hotel, Google will be promoting your hotel in a specific search unit by ranking it atop the traditional results depending on your bid amount and their quality score.
Keep in mind that Google also has a unique way of displaying different hotel on Google maps. So it’s important that you try to integrate the ad with your Google map account for convenience.
This is important as the first thing travellers do while searching for a hotel is scouting their destination. If you can afford to take advantage of this early on, then you stand a chance to be among the most visible hotels in your area of operation.
The search unit presented is even more pronounced when viewed on a mobile page. That’s mostly because it occurs on the first page, showing everything you want your guest to know about your business – including your contact info, reviews and thumbnails. You may also decide to display your standard rates and working hours.
Search Engine Optimization
As already mentioned, modern travellers tend to have a special preference for doing their own research. Travel agents may chime in with their recommendations, but at the end of the day, the decision they make will be mostly influenced by the research they carried out on their own.
Come to think of it, the first step to doing your own research involves running a set of keywords into your preferred choice of search engine and clicking through the first few pages that show up.
That’s exactly what travellers also do while conducting their research.
So by working on SEO and learning more about leveraging title tags and meta description, then there’s an incredible amount of traffic you’re likely to drive through search engines.
Search engine optimization is better approached as a long time marketing strategy for driving organic traffic. If done right, there’ll come a time when you can completely rely on it for business.
It’s a Wrap
Digital marketing can be a complex undertaking. But if you can afford to direct all your focus on potential guests and the strategies mentioned above, you should have an easy time making a difference to your bottom-line. It’s to be however noted that the quality of your hotel and the services you provide are the leading marketing forces your business has.
Focus on making the hotel environment comfortable and clean enough for the guests that visit you and then follow the strategies mentioned above to increase their number and get to retain a great majority of them.
For more strategies or help with any of the strategies we’ve mentioned, you’re free to get in touch with MediaOne today for a free SEO consultation.