Hotel marketing encompasses a huge array of topics, skills, and strategies that hoteliers like you need to be aware of – and also master – if you want to succeed in optimising the success of your hotel business and attracting as many travellers as possible.
Effective hotel marketing means potential guests and customers alike will be impacted by your brand wherever and however they choose to research, plan, and book their trip.
The modern path to purchase for travellers is now so broad, you have to put a lot more focus on exactly who you’re trying to catch in your net.
This article will help you understand the full breadth of hotel marketing categories, giving you clear lessons and examples on how you take a major step forward this year and outshine your competitors, engaging prospective guests before your rivals get the chance.
There’s much to consider when developing a marketing plan for your hotel. The scope and opportunities are massive in our current climate. What offline channels are still available and useful to you? What online channels should you prioritise? How do you optimise the tools you use? How do you track and measure results to make adjustments? Who do you work with to help achieve your potential?
These are all very valid questions. However, before you reach this point there are two more important decisions to make. You must decide on:
- Your brand message
- Your key target market
If you don’t know what voice to speak with, or who you want to hear it, business is unlikely to boom. These two focus points will then inform how you plan the rest of your hotel marketing strategies, and both are linked to each other. The brand message you run with will ultimately impact the kind of guests you attract.
For example, if you want your hotel to be trendy and steeped in innovation, you should think of marketing your property to young travellers and couples. Other factors will also come into play, including the location of your hotel, its size, your budget, and the budget of travellers and their purpose for travel.
It’s important that you know your target market, so you can craft your marketing strategy and be tailored in your messages to potential customers.
Consider these traveller categories, and see which one/s align with your hotel:
- Value Seekers
Want to get the best out of their trip. Often travelling with young children, they have a medium income and largely fall between the ages of 25-34. They rely heavily on reviews to help them find what they need, preferably a trip near the beach, and usually research on a smartphone.
- Luxury Travellers
Are focused on enjoyment and willing to spend more to obtain it. They often travel in a couple aged 25-49. They seek cities that are hot and coastal and tend to look closely at online reviews.
- Social Travellers
Focus on sharing and engaging with others, usually travelling in friend or family groups. Their groups often include children so they appreciate babysitting and child services. While they have high to medium income they put a lot of faith in word of mouth and recommendations from other travellers. They tend to fall in the 25-49 age group.
- Independent Travellers
Like to have a lot of control over their trip and thus love to travel solo looking for adventure and cultural experience over any particular climate. They’re usually low or high earners who are relatively young and quite likely to share reviews and engage with social media.
Maintain a very particular approach to booking their trips. They want to make sure their experience is as good as it possibly could be. They not only thoroughly research their destination and accommodation but also restaurants and activities. Given this, a lot of it is done on laptop devices. They’re commonly higher earners travelling as a couple aged 25-49. Each stage of the journey is usually backed up listening to the voice of other consumers through sites like TripAdvisor.
- Habitual Travellers
Look for simplicity and convenience by travelling to the same destinations repeatedly. They place more stock in relaxation than activities and are commonly in the 35-64 age bracket. Mostly male, they tend to be lower income travellers.
The type of hotel you run – budget, boutique, luxury, independent, or a chain – will make a huge difference to how you market your hotel and who you market to, so the initial research and analysis you do is extremely important.
Once you have confirmed your brand and target market, that’s when you can divert your attention to all the nuts and bolts of marketing your hotel and making it a visible, viable booking option for travellers.
Let’s find out what all that means.
Hotel internet marketing
Digital marketing is something no one can deny in 2019, so much does digital media permeate the everyday lives of travellers. People now manage their interactions almost exclusively via smartphones, social media channels, and email.
It’s natural for this behaviour to flow over when they decide to go on a holiday or are required to take a business trip. Most people enjoy developing habits and the comfort of researching and booking travel on their mobile is appealing. Even those who have been slower on the uptake, baby boomers for instance, are more or less being forced in the same direction. Reports say that the online bookings make up almost 60% of all bookings. Half of those who do book digitally do so from a mobile advice.
It’s an overwhelming number which indicates the risk you run if you aren’t employing a digital marketing strategy to attract and convert guests.
One of the reasons people embrace technology and any online resource is because it clarifies and accelerates their task or experience. These virtues should be front of mind for your hotel when creating a website or an advertisement on the internet. The great thing about being online is that there are so many different ways you can engage with travellers. Statistics will tell you a strong social media presence is essential, as is a strategy around video marketing.
Because of the different platforms within digital media, the potential for hotel marketers to be creative is much greater and enables them to connect with a lot more customers. It might be the only way to reach customers on the other size of the world or specific markets like Chinese travellers. Some travellers engage with beautiful images, some prefer videos, others are content to take a deep dive into written information. Digital media allows your hotel to create this, on brand, all at the same time too. Think about what your unique selling points are and the best way to communicate these to your audience.
Most importantly, everything you communicate must be personalised wherever possible. What this means is that what you say and what you offer to customers must be tailored to their specific demographic. If they’re a young female businesswoman, you must know what a young female businesswoman wants and communicate accordingly. Personalisation is something guests thrive on and in today’s market; not providing it spells danger to your reviews and repeat business.
Types of hotel online marketing
Hotel marketing is now predominantly done online, given consumers no longer have to rely on offline advertisements like billboards, posters or television and radio advertisements.
In the past the equation was much simpler, but in recent years there’s been an explosion of complexities. Firstly, just the concept of online hotel advertising, and now the myriad of ways to explore this option and execute strategies.
That’s why there may not be a ‘right’ way to advertise on these various channels, but we can certainly offer some advice on where your hotel needs to be to attract guests and some tactics to help optimise the experience.
Hotel social marketing
With social media becoming so important in the everyday lives of consumers there is no doubt that it presents a significant opportunity for hotels to capture the attention of potential guests.
Scrolling through social media feeds has become part of the everyday for most people now, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Not all content will engage them but travel-related content likely will because it activates your guest’s imagination. Used creatively, travel content on social media can have a transportive effect on viewers, inspiring them to go on their own journey.
Social media also offers your hotel business a range of options when distributing your content, meaning strategy and targeting uses become extremely valuable. Let’s take a look at some key social media trends and see what your hotel can learn from them.