Assessing a new calendar year usually revolves around how your hotel can increase the amount of guests you attract and how much revenue you can drive. Every year brings new challenges and potential new strategies, while tried and tested methods always hold strong too. It’s important to take careful note of emerging trends, but you also need to implement plans that are effective for your individual hotel.
Here are eight tactics you should consider including in your 2018 hotel marketing plan:
Make personalisation a priority
Guests know you have the ability to personalise their experience. With technology and data systems constantly improving, there is no excuse not to understand guest preferences and deliver individually catered services.
Here are some recent stats demonstrating the opportunity:
- Over 80% of online customers say they would be open to switching loyalties if they found a service that better catered for their needs
- 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into customer service
- 94% of senior-level executives believe delivering personalisation is important to reaching customers
You can use the data you collect from online travel agents (OTAs), your hotel’s own website and direct booking engine, and if you have one, your app to develop a deep knowledge of guest booking behaviour, purchase habits, and amenity preferences. Additionally you should know the complete profile of travellers including age, ethnicity, gender, and reason for travel.
With all this information in your hands, your guests should feel like they’re staying at their grandparents house, with every need anticipated and every desire fulfilled. This is what it takes to entice positive reviews from guests who are increasingly expecting more.
51% of people use their phone for travel-related activities, so mobile is vital at hotels.
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Recognise that social media is more than a social tool
Social media has long been a playground for businesses to sell their products. Facebook alone has more than two billion monthly users and transactions on the platform are always increasing with more than 50 million small business pages currently active. Twitter and Instagram are similarly popular and even dating sites like Tinder are seeing business advertisements start to filter in.
Social sites are where consumers are most active so it makes sense that you should also be extremely active in this space. It also allows you some freedom and creativity with your marketing to capture attention. Video content is on the rise and while it’s great to build brand awareness, it can be used for strong marketing messages as well, potentially driving direct bookings. Video can stretch a lot further too with 76% of social media users saying they would share a video if it was entertaining.
Click here to read some more ways you can market on social media in 2018.
Don’t market to the ‘average traveller’
The reason this is a bad idea is because there’s really no such thing anymore! The path-to-purchase is so complex it’s impossible to use a blanket approach in the hope to successfully attract the guests you want at your hotel. Again, this is where accurate data is so important.
The places travellers can go to make a booking have multiplied significantly in recent years, as have their accommodation options. Your ability to compete directly depends on your willingness to be as visible as possible and use hotel technology to help you navigate the challenging world of distribution.
Consider a move towards native advertising
While debate may rage on and on about whether display or native advertising is more effective, some believe native ads will start to dominate more. Native display ad revenue is expected to make up 74% of total US display ad revenue by 2021, which includes native in-feed ads on publisher properties and social platforms.
For context, native advertising content is often found in an online publication, which resembles the publication’s editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser. These types of ads can certainly be more strategic and subtle – perhaps a reason why they’re set to see such an increase. As your guests become more savvy, you hotel marketing strategy should too.
Keep up with the mobile trend
There’s nothing new in saying mobile is now one of the strongest marketplaces when it comes to booking travel. People have less time to sit at home and research so whether it’s via mobile browsing or on an app, they love to use their smartphone to find deals and make purchases.
According to Google, 51% of smartphone owners use their device for travel-related activities so a mobile presence is non-negotiable for your hotel.
Remain faithful to email marketing
Longevity is the result of success so in that regard email marketing cannot be forgotten just yet. It’s still one of your best options for a good return on investment and two-thirds of consumers prefer to hear from you via email.
Email allows for direct contact, better targeting, and more strategic approach to content. When used effectively, guests will look forward to receiving your emails and engaging with you. You can read more on this here with our tips on how to improve your email campaigns.
Stay on top of your OTA profiles
Recent data has found within the last two years, travellers who visit both hotel and OTA sites fell from 40% to 30%, while those exclusively visiting OTA websites rose from 48% to 60%.
Therefore, optimising your OTA profile will not only help you accept more bookings but will also allow you to better promote the positive reviews you receive at your hotel. Once you have your reviews, it’s important to respond to them. 80% of travellers consider online reviews when they book and 85% of TripAdvisor users are impressed by a thoughtful response to a bad review.
Update your digital marketing strategy
New technology and new products from reliable sources such as Google are always a matter for the team at your hotel to take note of. Here are the factors you should typically take into account when developing digital marketing plans:
- Search engine optimisation (SEO) and content
- Website traffic
- Social media
- Pay per click (PPC) campaigns
- Domestic and international engagement
- Performance and measurement
- New action plans
As you head into the New Year, the questions you should always be asking yourself are; who is staying in my hotel? Why are they staying? Where are they coming from? If you know these answers, your job as a hotelier becomes a lot easier.