Hotel marketing has exploded in recent years. This after the hospitality industry began recovering from the devastating impacts of travel restrictions across the planet. Hotels with solid marketing plans are destined to attract more guests than those who don’t. Because if you’re not putting yourself out there – people might not know you’re there in the first place. So, if you’re looking for a complete marketing for hotels guide, you’ve landed on the right page.
1. Establish a hotel marketing strategy
Like with most things in life that are worth doing, having a plan of action is beneficial in countless ways. Establishing a marketing strategy is a vital first step to setting you and your hotel up for long-term marketing success. Here are a few questions that your hotel’s strategy should answer:
To whom will you be marketing?
Heard of a customer persona? It’s a detailed archetype of your most common client. Or the type of people most likely to engage with your marketing content.
For example, your most common hotel bookings might be corporate men aged 40 and above booking stays for business travel. This content will differ from content aimed at young women frequenting your hotel’s spa.
Why are you marketing your hotel?
Another important question to ask yourself before going ahead and posting marketing content. Are you hoping to secure more bookings from an audience that already knows about your hotel? Are you a new hotel looking to launch yourself into the market with a brand awareness campaign?
We have found that sharing content without a purpose lacks direction, cohesion, and impact. Also, without clear goals for your marketing, it’s more difficult to establish your return on your investment.
What will your marketing include?
This is where you get down to the nitty-gritty of your hotel marketing – your content. This includes the images, videos, PDFs and text you plan to share with your followers. This is important because your hotel’s marketing is the first impression on potential guests that might not know you.
Aim for engaging content like videos, polls and others, but remember to start small. Professional videos are costly and difficult to make. So, consider starting with images and text, working to more engaging marketing content as your skills improve.
Where will you share your marketing?
A final question to answer in your hotel marketing strategy is where exactly you plan on publishing your content. Having a Facebook page is great but this alone isn’t enough to compete in the hospitality industry.
Today, an integrated marketing approach is required, where you’re relying on more than just social media to reach your audiences. Consider sharing your marketing content as email newsletters or on a website. You can even share content as print marketing in magazines, newspapers, or in the form of posters.
2. Claim and activate marketing channels
Step two in our guide to marketing for hotels involves claiming and activating the above-mentioned marketing channels. We suggest starting off with establishing a dedicated website for your hotel. If you’re part of a hotel chain, make sure your property has a dedicated page on the parent company’s website.
Most hotels and other accommodation providers will use email as their primary manner of communication with guests. This would imply that hotels have a sizeable database of email addresses that have been contacted over the years you’ve been in operation. If your guests are opted-in to receive promotional communication from the hotel, you have an extremely valuable resource in an email database that can be sent marketing content directly to past guests’ inboxes.
Social media marketing
If you don’t already have a social media presence for your hotel, consider establishing a Facebook page and a LinkedIn Business page for the property. Facebook is where you’re more likely to reach leisure travelers, and LinkedIn is where you have a better chance of reaching business travelers. Avoid trying to be on every social media platform you can think of. This will put too much pressure on your marketing team, especially if you’re hoping to see unique content on each platform.
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing
Remember that hotel website we said would be a great idea to start with? Other than ensuring that your guests (existing and potential) can find you when searching the internet for hotels, having a website is a prerequisite for PPC marketing. PPC, or pay-per-click marketing, involves advertising your marketing content on search engines like Google and social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn. As the name suggests, a budget is set for the advertising campaign, and you only pay something when a potential guest clicks on your piece of content.
3. Decide on the types of marketing content
Step three is an important step in our marketing for hotels guide. As we mentioned, your marketing content is the face of your hotel and will inform you of your first impressions with potential guests. For this reason, deciding on what that first impression will look like is vital to attract likes, shares, and bookings for your hotel.
Email marketing, specifically sending out newsletters, provides a great way to reach your audience directly with personalised marketing content. You can also add in email signature marketing, which involves promoting a useful piece of marketing content in your hotel’s email signatures. Recipients of your emails can then click on these and be taken to a specific website page, piece of content, or booking platform.
Social media content
Social media pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and others are great for easy community management, because all your customers or guests can be found on at least one social media platform. But, as we discussed earlier, don’t fall into the trap of attempting to present your hotel on as many social media platforms as possible. Consider starting with one or two, like Facebook and LinkedIn, and add in new ones once you’ve mastered the first two.
Using online adverts (PPC marketing) is arguably the quickest way to attract traffic to your hotel website. But expect to bid against your competitors to get your marketing content to the top positions on search engines. Popular PPC marketing channels for online adverts include Google Ads, LinkedIn Business Manager, and Facebook Business Suite.
4. Establish a content sharing schedule
If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can go and manually upload your hotel’s marketing content. While this is time-consuming, it does put you in complete control. However, your time is valuable, which is why content sharing platforms like those below are important. Here’s a list of the most popular social media scheduling platforms used by hotels today:
You’ll also want to establish a marketing for hotels sharing schedule. This includes how many days of the week to post, which days, posting times and how many posts per month.
5. Test, measure and improve your marketing
A final step to take when marketing a hotel is arguably the most important, though very few hotels implement it. The last thing you want to see when scrolling through your hotel’s social media feeds are posts with zero interactions. Worse still is seeing your social media followers unfollowing your pages. That’s where testing, measuring, and improving marketing for hotels come in.
Testing hotel marketing
Testing marketing content involves creating content aimed at different guest archetypes and publishing this content on your channels. By publishing diverse marketing content – instead of just one type – you get a picture of which is loved by your audience the most. So, how do you tell which are the best? That’s where measuring comes in.
Measuring hotel marketing
Getting marketing for hotels right also takes some research. This includes research into the types of content your most successful competitors are publishing. Your content research will involve looking at how pieces of content you publish are being seen, commented on, and shared. You’ll quickly get an idea of which marketing material is performing best on each of your marketing channels.
Improving hotel marketing
Testing and measuring hotel marketing content both lead to the most important part. That is using this information gathered to improve the content you’re creating. We’ve seen that publishing content blindly month after month will do little more than lead to follower drop-off. This leads to fewer followers actually seeing your marketing. But when you’re actively improving content that is clearly not performing well, you will be exposed to more online users. You’ll also receive more engagement and ultimately more bookings.