Every hotel marketing strategy begins with understanding who your target audience is and what your objectives are. As we’ve previously written, a key takeaway from the pandemic-era has been that hotels need a marketing strategy for both domestic and international guests, in the event that international travel is restricted again.
Understandably your messaging won’t be the same for these two audiences, however it's important to make sure you define an overarching strategy for both segments. Once you’ve finalised your target audience(s), you will need to focus on your key objectives and set realistic goals around how to achieve these.
For hotels it’s important to create one that not only optimises the number of bookings you generate, but also one that builds brand awareness and manages your reputation.
During the pandemic we adopted digital solutions at an accelerated rate, so let’s take a look at some of the best marketing strategies that speak to the digital world we exist in.
It’s estimated that 69% of travellers turn to search engines when they begin thinking about or planning their trip, which ranks higher than friends, family, online travel agencies and travel brand websites. This means that it is crucial for every hotel to make sure that they’re optimising their SEO strategy to garner attention.
This strong shift toward travellers researching and booking their own hotel stays means that investing in SEO is a non-negotiable. You can start doing this easily and quickly by doing prolific keyword research to better understand what it is your target audience is searching for, and turning those keywords into engaging copy and content on your website.
In this day and age data is easily accessible, so it’s absolutely essential that hotels are using insight from their data to make data-driven decisions. A powerful and easy solution to get started on this is Google Analytics, which helps businesses understand how their users engage with their website, the pages that are driving bookings, and deeper insights target audience demographics.
Hotels operate in a crowded marketplace, so why should guests choose to stay at your hotel? Rather than trying to market and cater yourself to everyone, figure out what value proposition your hotel can offer and build your marketing messaging to set yourself apart.
An example of this is positioning yourself as the ultimate tailored experience, where you might survey guests before they come to make sure all food & beverage, room service and customer service is tailored toward them as an individual, not just another guest.
Social media is one of the most crucial tools you can utilise to market your hotel and increase bookings. Your content needs to be engaging and within brand guidelines so that you define who you are clearly to your audience and become remembered for that. These channels are also the most effective way to drive traffic to your website and thereby increase direct bookings.
Social media also acts as the perfect place for building brand awareness, as well as featuring deals and promotions to capture your target audience's attention. Furthermore, it is essential that hotels utilise these channels to run paid ad campaigns, where they can also capture data around their online audience and how best to attract them.
With the majority of transactions in 2022 happening online, it is essential that hotels are marketing their brand online as much, or more than, what they do in the offline world. This extends beyond running paid ad campaigns and social media marketing.
Building a robust digital brand means that every single touch point a hotel might need to have with customers is not only online, but is optimised in a way to make their life more convenient and easy.
An example of this is making sure that every digital touch point offers guests the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience. This not only gives you data on how to improve your hotel services, but a great way to show guests that you are actively seeking their thoughts on how they’re feeling. You can read more of our previous writing on building meaningful brands here.
If there is one thing that has become abundantly clear across many industries, it’s that digital solutions is where our focus should be as operators and marketers. Marketing spend, particularly during a downturn, can be best justified when it is measured, which means that digital solutions moving forward are going to be where the majority of the budget goes.
With this in mind, it's important for every brand to do an audit on how they’re doing online. Seek out opportunities for optimisation and ensure that you are laying down a strategy with clear objectives and goals in sight.