Content marketing may seem like a buzzword, but in fact it should be a crucial part of every hotel’s marketing strategy.
Content rules the internet and, nowadays, the majority of your guests are researching and booking their travel online. To catch their eye and keep up with the competition, you need to deliver top quality content consistently.
This blog will tell you everything you need to know about mastering content marketing at your hotel.
Table of contents
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable assets, such as videos, blog posts, and emails, as marketing tools to attract and retain customers.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI), based in the US, defined content marketing as “…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content also drives traffic to your website and social media channels. What content marketing isn’t, is excessive promotional messaging.
What does content marketing mean for hotels?
For hotels and other accommodation providers, content marketing is all about showcasing your property’s unique story and brand to the types of travellers you’re trying to win over.
Ultimately your content should influence travellers to book a stay, become a loyal customer and even champion your hotel to friends, family, and peers.
The key is to first provide useful content that informs and entertains. Secondly, it’s important to deliver it consistently to establish credibility and foster engagement.
Why does content marketing matter?
Your hotel is not just a place to stay – it’s an institution and a brand. Travellers will often look to your hotel to provide them with useful information and advice, as well as seeking you out regarding policies at your property and in the local area.
It’s your responsibility to be a great host at all times if you want to ensure your guest experience is satisfactory. Content can help you achieve this.
How to create a content marketing strategy for your property
Before you begin creating any content, you first need to look at your overall marketing strategy and confirm a few important things:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are travellers to your area interested in?
- What makes your brand unique?
With this information in mind, you’ll be able to create tailored, useful, and original content for your potential guests and existing customers.
So what kind of content can you apply this to?
Types of content and topics to use at your hotel
The great thing about content is that it can be used in so many different ways to engage your potential guests. Some common ways hoteliers can use content include:
A blog is by far one of the best and easiest ways to start your content marketing journey. Simply create a new page on your website for your blog and start writing!
Your blog gives you a lot of freedom and opportunity to cover a number of topics that will be of interest to travellers and guests including local area guides, listicles of best things to do, see, or eat, write-ups of local events or attractions, how to’s, guest blogs from professional travel writers, and more.
It’s a good idea to kick-off your blog with topics that you have performed keyword research for, so you can get the ball rolling on search engine optimisation and maximise your website traffic.
Emails are still one the most useful and cost effective ways to engage prospects and customers. Email is also a great way to drive direct bookings and earn extra revenue.
Emails are an extremely versatile content tool. You can use emails to send out deals and offers, acquire new customers, retain existing loyal customers, blogs, promotions, updates on policies, traveller tips, announcements and competitions, giveaways, and more.
Make sure you’re building a strong email database by collecting guest details wherever possible.
Newsletters are a type of email you can send to people who have specifically subscribed to it, and it’s usually sent out on a consistent and regular basis. For example, you might send one newsletter on the last Friday of every month.
Newsletters give people a reason to keep opening your communications and coming back to your content, increasing the chances of you winning a booking. Newsletters are a great way to promote the goings on at your hotel and make travellers aware of any exciting activities and offers coming up.
As you’ve probably heard many times before, people always remember more of what they see and hear than what they read, so videos are a great content marketing tool if you want to maximise engagement.
You don’t have to have a big budget for producing video content either. Such is the power of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, audiences are very attuned to consuming content filmed on smartphones. If you do have the budget to go bigger, YouTube is still king.
Think about filming behind the scenes footage of staff and guests, showcase your amenities, highlight key attractions in your local area, create virtual tours, or even film mini-docos about the history and culture of your hotel or destination.
Magazines might not come to mind immediately but when you think about how popular travel magazines are, it makes sense to explore the option of creating one for your own brand.
You could potentially release your magazine quarterly and include things like recipes of what you serve in your hotel’s kitchen, travel guides on your destination and local area, interviews with interesting guests or local celebrities, articles on the latest travel industry trends.
Having your own magazine will ultimately build the integrity of your brand, increase the trust people have in you, and boost conversions.
Social media posts
The popularity of social media continues to explode and it won’t go away. Even as some platforms fade, others take their place. Social media marketing allows you to connect with audiences in a variety of creative ways, making it one of the best places to boost both engagement and win new business.
Use Facebook and Instagram in particular to post all your important updates and content as well fun material such as memes, breathtaking images, competitions, and polls.
You also take advantage of user generated content by asking guests to tag you in their posts or to ‘check-in’ to your hotel on social media.
Infographics are a quick, fun, and visual way to convey your content and help you mix up what you post on social media.
You might create infographics around how to plan and what to pack for an upcoming trip, interesting stats and figures, must-knows about the local area, rundowns of your hotel rooms and amenities, and more.
Infographics are easy to digest, making them a valuable resource for travellers who don’t have a lot of time on their hands to consume content.
Podcasts are becoming a go-to content resource for time-constrained audiences. Since you only have to listen, people can consume podcasts while working, commuting, exercising, or doing chores. This versatility makes them extremely popular and a great opportunity for your brand to make itself heard.
Hotels are a great focal point for podcasts too. You could tell a number of fascinating travel stories generated by guests, your staff, other hoteliers, and you could also partner with other podcasts or storytellers to create content each month.
If your hotel is a large brand or a group, press releases are almost essential sometimes and are a great way to amplify your brand.
If you have a compelling announcement, put out a press release and allow travel and hotel publications to pick it up and run with it. This will get your message across to a larger audience and you might even attract new guests who weren’t aware of your hotel before.
Things you could speak about include major renovations, rebranding, new features or amenities, exciting partnerships and initiatives, new management, or awards that have been won.
5 content marketing tips for hoteliers
Creating content is one thing but you also need to make every effort to ensure your content is reaching a large audience and is resonating with that audience.
Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind when implementing your strategy:
1.Take advantage of user generated content
User generated content is low effort and low cost content that can really spotlight your brand. Always make guests aware of how they can tag you in their social media posts, so everytime they post a holiday snap, their followers know exactly where to go if they want the same great experience.
2. Work with influencers
Giving up a free night to win potentially hundreds more in the future is well worth it, and this is what can happen if you are successful in getting an influencer to visit your hotel. Offer them a free stay with all services provided and simply ask them to promote your brand to their large and loyal following. You can even give them a promo code to further incentivise their audience to make a booking.
3. Partner with organisations or tourism boards
Working with travel organisations or tourism boards gives your hotel a lot of bang for your buck, since anything you produce with them will likely be marketed via their budget and resources, allowing you to reap the rewards.
Take SiteMinder customer VOMO for example, which featured as part of Fiji’s tourism campaign and included celebrity Rebel Wilson.
4. Always be helpful, authentic, and unique
Audiences can see right through disingenuous content so everything you publish needs to serve your target market first and foremost, while also helping your brand to stand out from the competition.
5. Stay consistent
To keep prospects and customers engaged and informed, you need a regular schedule of content that they can rely upon.
It’s a fine balance. If you don’t post content often enough people will lose interest, but if you post too often people will become overwhelmed and desensitised, and start skipping over your content. This is also why your content needs to be of consistently high quality.
How to use content marketing to increase bookings
One major goal for your hotel is always going to be centred on winning reservations and generating revenue. To make sure your content is working towards these outcomes, focus on:
- Optimising SEO – It’s important to target high volume keywords to boost your rankings in Google’s algorithm. However you also need to remember some of what your guests are searching for will be long-tail keywords with lower volume. You still need to create content around these because travellers will find it useful. It’s also vital to have a way to measure the success of SEO tactics, such as using Google Analytics.
- Optimising CTAs – When you’re bringing in a lot of traffic via your content you want to give yourself every chance to convert the audience into a booking. Make sure you have clear calls-to-action such as your ‘Book Now’ button on every page on your website.
- Combining content with an offer – Whenever there’s a chance to tie in any of your hotel’s amenities, services, or activities into your content – do so but make sure it’s natural and relevant for the reader.
- Exciting your target audience – Today, 84% of people want brands to entertain them, solve their problems, and give them experiences. Interactive content is also proven to increase conversions so think about giving prospective guests something fun to consume, such as a quiz, which also allows you to capture their details.
- Encouraging reviews – Reviews are almost always something travellers look at before booking a stay at your hotel, so you need to work hard at both satisfying your guests and convincing them to leave a review on your social media or on pages like TripAdvisor.
- Providing a mobile experience – With so many travellers now booking online and via their smartphones, you need to make sure your website is mobile friendly, meaning it’s quick to load, easy to read, and simple to navigate.
- Optimising OTA profiles – Your OTA profile is a major touchpoint for travellers, even if they end up booking directly. You should treat the content on your OTA profile with as much care as the content on your own website to ensure visitors stay interested in your hotel.