Marketing is close to the single most important focus for your hotel. The opportunities and abilities encompassed by marketing are vital to the successful distribution of your rooms.
An effective marketing strategy allows you to target more of your chosen audience in specific ways more likely to encourage bookings.
The overall goal of marketing is to build relationships with customers and create brand affinity so that when anyone thinks of a taking a trip, their first instinct is to research or book your hotel.
Some marketing plans are certainly more effective than others and your budget should be distributed accordingly. We’ve come up with the most important marketing channels for your hotel that are likely to produce revenue boosting results.
5 hotel marketing investment strategies
1. Social media
Social media is becoming an increasingly large driver of traffic as more and more people start to use it every day and additional platforms emerge.
Social media is now used by most people as an integral part of their life; to read news, view entertainment, chat with friends and family, plan and organise events, and research businesses and services. Anything popular with consumers should also be a priority for marketers.
The main things hotel marketers should focus on with social media to increase engagement include:
- Aesthetic appeal with high quality images, a prominent logo, slick design
- Accurate and up-to-date information and descriptions
- Quick response time to messages, posts, and comments
- Instant booking options
- Launching hashtag campaigns and competitions
- Include media such as videos to inform, entertain, and entice bookings
A very small amount of traffic to your website actually converts to a sale. It’s reported as few as 3-4% of visitors to your site will make a booking.
Retargeting is a strategy that can bring back some of the remaining 96% and turn them into bookings. There are a few ways you can retarget:
- Site retargeting
When someone visits your hotel website you can attach a specific code to their browser as a cookie. This cookie then follows them and targets them on other sites with your branded ads.
- Email retargeting
You can also ‘chase’ people who open your email but take no further action in the same manner as site retargeting.
- Search retargeting
This takes into account the keywords people use on search engines like Google. If they search for a weekend away in your area, they can be targeted with your ads.
3. Online travel agents
While OTAs might impact your direct bookings, they must be looked at as part of your digital strategy. Their ability to drive up occupancy and reach newer, bigger markets is invaluable to hotels.
OTAs have massive marketing budgets, and they dominate the search engine results page for just about any travel-related keyword so it makes sense to work with them as a distribution partner.
They provide hotels with an invaluable marketing tool by listing the hotel as part of its inventory. When 52% of travel consumers online discover your hotel’s website through an OTA, and 76% of online travel bookings are made via them, this is a massive potential audience that you’re missing out on by not using these platforms.
4. Search engine optimisation
There’s a vast amount of detail that hotels need to be aware of in regards to SEO optimisation but it’s imperative they get it right. Not only do you need to play by the rules of the search engines to rank highly but you need to provide answers to the questions or topics people are looking for.
SEO needs to be a long term plan and investment not a three month blitz that is delegated or forgotten about. Here are some of the main features of SEO that hotels need to perfect on their website:
- High quality images on the homepage and throughout the website
- Regular updates of content and images
- Keyword and meta titles/descriptions for every page
- Mobile-friendly browsing
- Visible ‘book now’ button
- Clear branding and display of business logo
- Appearance on online review sites
5. Data research and analysis
While not strictly marketing, data research and analysis is an incredibly valuable resource for your marketing strategies. Focusing on data gives you accurate and predictable information on customers, competitors, and the industry as a whole. Without it you won’t be able to track the behaviour, pricing, or trends you want to shape plans of action.