Digital Marketing for Hotels
Marketing is always a vital outlet which you have to look into constantly, to keep it and your business alive and to showcase your hotel or resort. You need to take advantage of the trends, you need to be able to create new ones.
In the hospitality business this is more so the case. You’re constantly dealing with people which can be very complex – you try to accommodate and preempt at the same time, you’re dealing with guests, managing rooms, availabilities and pricing, coming up with new offers and campaigns. All the while considering your competition.
Digital marketing is evolving all the time, these are a few tips of how to stay relevant right now!
Following the SOSTAC planning system – let’s go through it:
1. Situation analysis – Where are we now?
Think about your marketplace image and what you want to convey to your potential customers. Provide relevant customer insight – you have to question: who, why, how? You would also do well to look into market trends and try to be a step ahead. Analyse your competitors and how they’re choosing to use various platforms. Also, look into your internal capabilities and resources – praise everyone and also see how you can improve them as a team.
2. Objectives – Where do we want to be?
Once you’ve dealt with where you are at the moment, think about where you would like to see your hotel/resort. Think about how you can improve the following:
– Sell (customer acquisition targets)
– Serve (customer satisfaction targets)
– Sizzle (provide the wow factor)
– Speak (engage customers)
– Save (quantified efficiency gains)
3. Strategy – How do we get there?
Use the STOP & SIT method – think about Segments, Target markets, Objectives, Positioning (OVP). Then take Sequence (trust, try…), Integration (CRM & D/Base), and Targeting & segmentation.
4. Tactics – How exactly do we get there?
You can get there efficiently through communicating the right content. This in turn requires you to create content and contact plans for your platforms.
5. Actions – Who does what and when?
These are your tactics to boost your digital marketing strategies. Examine your responsibilities and structures, the processes and systems you are making use of. Are your internal resources and skills along with external agencies doing what you want them to do for you?
6. Control – How do we monitor performance?
All these tips will maintain your social status if you tweak your platforms regularly. Yet how can you keep track of the difference in performance? You can keep track through user-experience reviews and conversion rate optimisation.
Re-targeting is also a good strategy. This will mainly target the visitors to your site that do not go on to make a booking. You track the visitors to your website and create a list based on behaviours. You then use those behaviours to track them on other sites and show them banner ads which lead back to your website.
What do you track for?
The frequency and duration spent on the site is a good indicator if you should place them on your list or not. You can then follow any patterns of behaviour that are of interest to you and do the same. This strategy might become your lowest cost-per-lead source.
You can do all this through optimizing your various platforms
SEO – increasing visibility
It’s true that Google is making it more difficult than ever for companies to see where they rank on the search engine. It is doing so with things like localised search that changes search results based on user’s location. They have also integrated a feature which influences your search results based on what your friends are clicking on. This is also why more and more organic visits to websites are showing up in web analytics software (even Google’s Analytics) as “not provided” in an effort to protect the user. Google’s algorithm for determining how a website ranks changes on a regular basis.
How to go around this
It’s simple really. Make sure that your website is designed to be indexed easily by search engines (stay away from things like Flash). It is fundamental to work on your brand continually. Write relevant content to make the search engines coming back. This is the kind of SEO you need to focus on.
Think about link building and outreach efforts – it’s a relatively low-cost form of marketing because in-house teams can reach out to blogs for links or create guest post content. Websites that are linked to you naturally are doors to your brand. Link Research Tools has a contact finder app which allows you find emails of the people who do link up to you which is pretty handy.
SEO is a constant maintenance job – you just have to begin and repeat.
This is probably the most fundamental tactic on the marketing scene, also known as pay-per-click (PPC). When people use a search engine they are further along in the buying process than someone who is just browsing and sees an advertisement.
Add Google Search Ads – take the time to create organic SEO so you can rank high on search campaigns.
You’re looking for your very specific target audience at times so this is useful to you.
This is the creative content generating traffic to your hotel/resort, literally. Anything organic is raw, yet this does not mean that there isn’t a lot of planning that goes into doing it properly.
These are the basics that never get old. SEO and email marketing – you need to use a multichannel strategy which enables you:
- Target an audience from particular locations
- Add contact details
- Target ad campaigns (by using certain keywords and locations)
- Media campaigns that attract certain groups or categories
Get innovative with marketing campaigns – it’s important to keep it fresh for yourself as well a for the image of the company and how it is perceived by the customer. This is what will engage traffic or push it away. You’re looking for more and better quality bookings and you generate these by being consistent. Choose your tools to minimize setup costs and provide maximum flexibility.
Social media is an amazing medium to build a following and start a conversation with your customers. You can also send coupons and deals to followers easily through posts. It is also worth looking into footage features in the various platforms – it’s all about the visual.
Facebook – this is an important medium to build an audience and a stable image of the company. The most engaging of hotels post 1-3 times a day, giving one liners whilst also posting relevant images at the same time.
In the hospitality business there was found to be an increase of around 55% in Likes on a page after a successful vacation. Experiment with Facebook ‘Live’ to get you going with some live footage of your hotel, so that customers can have a taste of what their experience is going to be like.
Twitter – this is a platform that is not really made use of but it is worth looking into if you want to reach a broader audience. You can use it as a platform from which your customers can easily book their reservations or make to-go orders. Their footage feature is Periscope.
Instagram – now you can’t go wrong with this. It’s a great medium you can use to simply snap some great shots of your hotel/resort and show how beautiful as well as how much fun people are having. It was found that over 76% of people post whilst on vacation – this implies that you have a lot of repost potential! Boost your image while exploring Instagram’s Stories, as you tell yours.
Whatever your social media strategy make sure that you post quality content frequently and answer your followers’ requests. It’s all about community building – it’s as much about the people conversing as about the ones listening in.
Update update update!
Your website has to be user and mobile-friendly, the latter is essential in our day-and-age. Web is the best platform to showcase what and who you are.
Ensure that your content is easy to use and access via mobile devices – check that your designer “scales up” the design for tablet and desktop screens so that the content shits to fit the screen in each.
- On your mobile your columns are stacked on each other to form a long column
- When on your desktop the columns are side by side
It’s more important than ever to keep that mobile-first methodology. Posting quality content on a regular basis is vital for your potential guests to get a sense of your surroundings, events and local attractions – this are crucial topics for your search engine too. Vacationers want the local experience.
These can be integrated easier than you might think. So many people make use of apps these days that it would be a pity not to tap into the market. Through apps travellers will be able to find deals, possibly offer a concierge service that would promptly answer questions, help customers find the nearest attractions and amenities as well as send gifts/parcels. You can also push promotional offers through apps or control internal services for staff.
Do not underestimate the power of others’ influence. Reviews can easily bring in new customers or push them away. It is the second most trusted form of information on the web.
If you use these, which you should be, make sure you know why you’re using them and that you’re using them properly and you’re good to go!
Things to keep in mind
Customers value good service over fast service
Customers love personalisation and acknowledgement – and they will pay for it. Retargeting on Facebook allows you to craft adverts and contents driven by identifying where the audience have been on the web, as well as their own preferences and interests.
Remember your customer’s name
Customers will stick to your loyalty programmes
Use your customers as inspiration – for posts, blogs, photos…