Hotels 101: Digital Marketing Strategies For Hotels In Singapore

Digital Marketing Strategies For Hotels In Singapore

Even the seasoned hoteliers you know don’t have it easy marketing their hotel businesses.

In today’s world of internet prevalence, coupled with the explosion of smartphones 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 puts you in a favourable spot to work on establishing a strong online presence.

Not 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 research and scouring the internet themselves for recommendations and reviews.

So to what extent does your hotel keep up with the latest digital 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 terms 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 an ad slot in 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 travelling becomes a norm among average spenders, the expectation of modern travellers have risen.

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.

Travellers are not limited 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 travellers.

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.

Modern Travelers

Gone are the days when travellers 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.

Travellers looking for where to travel next will prefer soliciting recommendations from fellow travellers than hearing them from you.

Goes on to show that any digital marketing strategy you employ should be more targeted at converting the bulk of the travellers 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 tends 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 restaurants 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% of the chance you have, and Google reviews which carry 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.

7 Painless Email Marketing Strategies for Hotels

The above information offers insights on how to market a hotel, but you need to focus on strategies that work to get value for money. You may think hotels have everything cut out of them from a distance. Besides, they thrive by making their customers’ desire for memorable dining and vacation experiences come true.

Behind the scenes, there is fierce competition for visibility online and offline clients. Only those that apply robust digital marketing strategies succeed. The rest end up in the bottomless pit of SERPs, spending thousands of dollars in marketing and getting no results.

Over the years, email marketing has proven to be the most effective marketing strategy hotels can rely on to retain existing clients and attract new ones. The average ROI for email is $42 for every $1 spent on the campaign.

Let’s dive in and look at 7 painless email marketing strategies for hotels.

  • Send Location Newsletters

The 4200% average ROI associated with email marketing is enough proof that you need to start communicating with potential customers via email. The clients are not only interested in staying in your hotel but also in experiencing the local cuisine and visiting various attraction sites around your location.

We recommend sending location newsletters with valuable information about the specific location of your hotel, local attraction sites, and social amenities available on your premises and around. This information will add immense value to the hospitality services that you offer.

Concisely, it will encourage them to not only book but also extend their stay to get an alluring experience of the hotel and the surrounding area. Go the extra mile to highlight attraction sites and upcoming local events that clients can attend and participate in during their free time.

  • Use it to Run Special Campaigns

By now, you already have a clue of email marketing’s potent ability to catapult your hotel to the top. Besides using email to market your hotel, consider using it to announce and run special campaigns.

Details of the campaign should be sent to the clients’ inboxes and personalised to match their unique tastes and preferences.

Personalisation will spur engagement and encourage clients to take the desired action by showing them they’re special to you. For example, offer exclusive discounts based on the client’s past bookings and vacation patterns.

Such deals will make them feel like nobody else receives them even though the same or similar offers are sent to other past clients.

Check out The Best Western hospitality hotel’s “Deals of the Week” email they send to clients weekly. They create urgency by offering time-sensitive deals to different segments of customers in their database.

Be sure to monitor the response rate to get insights into how to create special campaigns for different customers. Ideally, you should watch the number of clients who click on the CTA button contained in the email and take advantage of the offers.

  • Target Cart Abandoners

Not everyone who visits your website and fills out the booking form completes the purchase. Research shows that the travel industry has one of the highest cart abandonment rates in the online business industry. 80% of potential clients abandon online travel and hotel websites minutes before completing the booking process.

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The average cart abandonment rate in the travel and hospitality industry is 68 – 74%. It is unknown to most hotel owners that the cart abandoners are low-hanging fruits they can grab by sending cart abandonment newsletters.

The copy in the newsletter should be specially crafted to encourage the clients who left the cart to visit your website again and complete the process. One sure way of achieving this goal is by including a special offer, discount, or coupon code in the newsletter.

If you can’t offer such offers, consider offering them an extra in-house service that is valuable to them, such as special room service or spa treatment. Use the background information you have about them to know which bonus or offer will most likely help you regain their attention and interest in your hospitality services.

  • Send Follow-Up Emails

Every hotel yearns to not only attract new clients but also retain the existing ones. Follow-up emails will help you achieve this goal by re-engaging with clients several days or weeks after leaving. Ask them to submit a review of the services rendered as well as submit recommendations or ideas of what they would want to get when they visit next time.

Such feedback will enable you to fine-tune your service packages and compete effectively with other hotels. We recommend sending a simple survey with only important questions via email. Make it easy for them to complete the survey to get as many responses as possible.

If you don’t know how to write a follow-up marketing campaign, check out the recent banner by The Inn, a restaurant located at Union Square. The banner has a compelling tagline, “Tell us about your stay” to show clients how valuable they are to the inn and keep them interested in the services they offer.

  • Include More Visual Content in Email Copy

Visual content is easier for the human brain to process than blocks of text. Research shows that 80% of people remember what they see online and offline. Surprisingly, only 20% of people who took part in the experiment could remember what they read.

We are more likely to remember content presented to us in an image or video format than blocks of text. As you work on creating an email marketing campaign for your hotel, we recommend including more visual content in the email copy.

The videos should be accessible across different mobile devices, as most people nowadays use their smartphones to read and respond to emails. The same case applies to images – ensure that the photos and text are visible and readable.

Here is a screenshot of an email sent by The Rosewood Beijing to encourage customers to visit again. The modern video in the email takes potential guests on an exclusive hotel tour to give them a clear perspective of what to expect when staying in the hotel.

  • Add Testimonials in the Email Copy

Travellers consider recommendations from people who have recently stayed in a hotel as personal recommendations from family members or colleagues. Studies show that 83% of people who rely on the internet to find information about available hotel options are likely to buy a product or book a service after reading a customer testimonial.

Encourage clients to submit reviews via your website, then add them to your email copy. The testimonials will convince other travellers yet to dine at your hotel that it’s the best option in the area.

If possible, request them to record a short video about their hotel experience. You could also ask them to repost the video on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to get more exposure.

Please encourage them to do by highlighting the videos on your official social media profiles with their account username to help them gain more followers.

Special discounts and deals can also entice them to record and post their reviews online. However, for this strategy to work, the user-generated content should be authentic. Resist the urge to bribe clients with deals for posting a positive review, as that will ruin your credibility and reputation.

  • Promote In-house Events via Email

Holding in-house events is one of the best ways to entertain your guests. Apart from using email to market your hotel and the surrounding attraction sites they can visit, you can use email for event promotion.

The events can be festivals, parties, or even a conference that matters to the guests. Use emotional language to describe the event to encourage the recipients to join in the fun. Check out how Outrigger Resorts used email to promote events that were scheduled to take place in their resorts.

Be sure to include a call-to-action button under each event description to make it easy for interested clients to book seats. More importantly, avoid being too verbose as most people only spend 5 seconds reading emails. You have to pique their attention and encourage them to read the details within the first seconds.

Applying the above tips will help you get the maximum results from your hotel email marketing campaign. However, there are certain steps that you need to take for the campaign to be a success. Let’s briefly look at these steps, shall we?

  • Create an Email List

You need potential clients’ emails to run a successful email marketing campaign. Start by requesting travellers who visit your website to subscribe to your newsletter. The booking form should also have a field that allows them to input their names and email addresses before paying.

Ensure that once you get the email addresses, you don’t bombard them with too many emails. Otherwise, they may mark the emails as spam if they feel they’re irrelevant or mean to defraud them of their hard-earned money.

  • Clean up Your Email List

If you have been doing email marketing for a while but have not gotten significant results, consider polishing your list. Start by removing unresponsive recipients and those who unsubscribe to your newsletters.

Doing so will ensure that you only send emails to people who are genuinely interested in what your hotel offers. Go ahead and segment the recipients based on their past interactions with you.

For example, if a client recently visited your hotel, you can send them a follow-up email or an event promotion email to encourage them to visit again.

Concisely, evaluating your email list will cushion you from spending time reaching out to clients who are no longer in your services. Track metrics such as email open rates and response rates to know which kind of subject lines and content best resonates with them.

Don’t ignore subscribers who have failed to respond to your emails yet. Instead, strive to regain their attention by offering personalised offers. Concisely, create a re-engagement campaign for the different customer groups.

When deciding which discount percentage or coupons to offer, make sure that you involve your finance and marketing team to avoid cutting yourself too thin. That is, offering a discount you cannot afford will diminish your profits and eventually plunge your hotel into financial turmoil.

Here are two primary reasons you should consider running a re-engagement campaign in 2022.

    • Re-engaging and interacting with past clients leads to more conversions. The new income will help increase your monthly revenue and meet your daily operations without having to take loans from banks and other financial institutions.
    • You can delete the email addresses of people who are no longer interested in what you offer. As a result, you will focus more on clients who are more likely to place a reservation at your hotel.

Like other campaigns, monitor the results of the re-engagement campaign to know how to craft future campaigns.

  • Work on Ways of Growing your Email List

Don’t contradict the results you get from the first hotel email marketing campaign. Focus on finding other credible ways of growing your email list to promote your brand awareness efforts.

In the process, you will stumble on hacks and tricks that will enable you to create a high-performing email marketing campaign.

To get you started, train your staff to ask customers to indicate their email addresses when submitting the feedback form. This form should be given to them one or two days before they check out to provide ample time to fill it.

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If you send the form too late, the guests will most likely fill it in haste resulting in skewed responses.

Finally, experiment with different email templates to know which one best matches your campaign and audience. Don’t shy away from seeking professional help from MediaOne Marketing on how to run a successful hotel email marketing campaign. Call us today at +65 6789 9852 for more details.

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 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 zero value in displaying your social media feed on your site. You can display the page instead of 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 hashtags. Don’t overpopulate the posts you make with unnecessary hashtags. Before you even think to use one, first ask yourself about what you wish to gain from them. And if 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 hashtags, 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 remains 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 special 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.

Nine steps to choosing Google Ads keywords | Marketing Donut

Google Ads

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 hotels on Google maps. So you must try to integrate the ad with your Google Maps account for convenience.

This is important as the first thing travellers do while searching for a hotel is scout 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 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 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.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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