What modern hotel marketers can learn from advertising of the past

  Posted in Sales + Marketing

Some vintage hotel marketing can work for modern hoteliers.

In the same breath as the mantra ‘new is always better’ seems to make sense, it also unearths the realisation that it’s the wrong advice to be following.

In the lightning pace of today’s society, it may seem like guests are shouting at you to constantly provide something new, something upgraded, or something that excites them. And only a fool would fail to listen to their customers.

However, the way in which you deliver what your guest wants doesn’t always have to be completely reimagined. New marketing strategies aren’t always the answer – and aren’t always necessary. Yes, new technology and data gives you greater insight and more potential to impact prospects, but there’s a lot to be said for sticking to tried and true advertising principles.

We’re talking about taking lessons from ‘Mad Men’, Mexican street vendors, and vintage travel posters. Here’s what you could do with your hotel advertising now – that worked perfectly in the past.

Lesson #1
Give your brand a narrative

Humans love nothing more than a good story; one that makes them feel. Once they ‘feel’, they’re more likely to act which is exactly what you want – the action being a booking. Advertising of yesteryear was very much focused on this and it’s driven companies like Coca-Cola to global success.

Have the time and patience to craft a story for your hotel brand that will ignite the imagination of your potential guests and make them familiar with your business. Think of ways to present your story with some originality and uniqueness so you can stand out from the almost literal wave of ‘oceanfront’ hotels, for example.

At the same time you need to recognise people nowadays have ever shortening attention spans, so you need to tell your story succinctly. Make your brand statement clear from the outset of any marketing activity you employ.

Consistency is key. If people are only going to be looking at your hotel for a short time and catching glimpses here and there of your brand as they research, you need to make sure the picture you paint holds the same message. This way, travellers will more easily recognise you and have some confidence in your ability to deliver a great guest experience.

You need to recognise the need to tell your story succinctly. Make your brand statement clear from the outset of any marketing activity you employ

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Lesson #2
Be as visual as possible

Once again this is a great tactic to capitalise on the sense of wonder and awe great visuals can instil in travellers. It allows them to imagine themselves in the destination. In the past, travel posters and billboards had to accomplish this when there was very little else to rely on.

Examine some of the best examples you can find and take a similar approach to any design or imagery you use for your hotel. Always keep in mind what kind of brand you are and who you’re trying to attract – then match this to the visuals you use.

Whatever you do, don’t rely on stock images too much or poor quality photos that make your property look dated.

Lesson #3
Don’t waste time on dead ends

The best marketers have historically understood you can’t be everything to everyone; they knew when to push and when something was a lost cause.

A lot of people may show interest in your hotel while they research for a trip. You need to identify which of these look right for the markets you usually attract and convert at a high rate. If they fall outside of your criteria, your efforts may be wasted. For example, a business traveller might not be the right fit for your all inclusive package including surf lessons.

By the same token, if a guest’s interest is peaked and they match the profile of your usual clientele you need to nurture this relationship. Make contact with them through online remarketing or email (or whatever is most relevant to their initial interaction), giving them a little more information, highlighting your best features and solidifying your business offering.

By maintaining a connection, you can stay top of mind when the traveller decides to make a purchase decision.

Lesson #4
Zero in on your guest personas

Traditional marketers would often work towards a niche, targeting their products very specifically to a preferred segment. You need to do the same.

How specific you are is up to you. You may simply identify millennials as your target or you could go further and target travellers who work stressful jobs if you’re a resort, people on health fads, or adventure junkies if you’re located in rugged terrain etc.

It doesn’t matter who your key audience is, just as long as you know who they are and develop a strategy to get their attention.

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