The hotel industry is extremely competitive, and several different hotels will often be competing for the same potential customers. As a result, it is crucial that hotels use a variety of marketing strategies to make themselves visible and to promote their hotel as the best available choice.
Below, listed are seven fundamental hotel marketing strategies, to ensure they remain competitive.
- Make your hotel brand website a visual treat for visitors
Your hotel website is an important marketing tool, while also serving as the single most important distribution channel, as it is the only one that can be used to generate direct sales. Through your website, visitors should be able to find out important information about your hotel, see photos of hotel rooms, and make bookings. It goes without saying that you should, therefore, ensure that you have an efficient booking engine installed.
Your chosen booking engine should be easy to use and should require as few clicks as possible to make a booking. The website design should be visually appealing and easy to navigate, with clear tabs to make bookings and fast loading times. It is also imperative that your website is optimized for viewing on mobile and tablet devices.
- Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices
Having a website is one thing, but its value is limited if it is not easy to find. For this reason, search engine optimization is extremely important. By optimizing your website with the use of keywords and other SEO tactics, you can boost its visibility on search engines like Google and Bing and attract more visitors.
In addition to researching high-value keywords related to your hotel and placing them in content, headings and image ALT tags, you have to use other SEO best practices. Make sure your business listings are all consistent and use the same format; claim your Google My Business page, in order to reap local SEO benefits; and write engaging, high-quality meta descriptions, which will draw search engine users towards your website.
- Market your USPs
When it comes to building hotel marketing strategies, it is vital that you have something which makes your hotel unique, or which makes it stand out from the pack. There are many different approaches you can take to this, but a great way to market your hotel is to create a clear identity and convey that identity throughout all of your marketing channels.
Why should people stay at your hotel, rather than a rival hotel? Is your building unique? Do you have an interesting back-story? Is your service a cut above the rest? Do you have a different pricing strategy from your rivals? Is your location special? Does your hotel have a particular theme? Are your rooms decorated in a way that makes them stand out? You need to establish exactly what your USP is and make sure everybody else knows it too.
- Connect with Online Travel Agencies and GDS
Online travel agents are an important distribution channel and the likes of Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com are great for generating increased exposure. This will allow guests who may not have encountered your hotel through other channels to find you and book a hotel room. Today, the majority of mobile bookings come through OTAs.
Furthermore, a presence on global distribution systems (GDS) will ensure your hotel is available for travel agents to book for their customers. This is especially important because global distribution systems have an enormous reach and will potentially give you access to customers in parts of the world you are not currently able to target effectively through your various other marketing methods.
- Work closely with local authorities
It is also worth speaking to your local tourist board to find out the various ways they can assist with promoting your hotel to visitors in the area. Similarly, communicate with any local business authorities and see if they would be willing to promote your hotel as a venue for conferences, training sessions or other business functions.
To achieve success here, it is important that you produce and distribute plenty of marketing literature to the various local authorities and that this literature is eye-catching, professional and persuasive. You should also make sure that you are listed on relevant websites and your listings are as a complete and up-to-date as possible.
- Proactively utilize social media
In the modern, digital world, social media is one of the single best inbound marketing tools available to hotel owners and marketers. As well as allowing you to post promotional posts to an established audience, paid advertising on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram enable you to reach out beyond this audience and target other people in specific locations, or with specific interests or qualities.
Online Reputation Management is a very important aspect in the hospitality business. Social media competitions can be a great way to spread the word about your hotel, while Twitter hashtags can help hotels to spark conversation and keep it all in one place. Moreover, LinkedIn is a great tool for keeping in touch with business partners and high-value clients and can be used as part of a social selling strategy.
- Use content marketing progressively
Finally, a content marketing strategy will ensure fresh content is regularly added to your website and can be used to draw visitors in or keep them coming back. Additionally, content marketing can be used as part of your SEO strategy and this content can also be shared across the full spectrum of social media platforms to increase views.
Examples of content you can produce include a blog, which should be updated regularly, web articles, which can be used as part of a link building strategy, and video content, which can be more overtly promotional. Generally speaking, the best content is useful, shareable and either help its audience or provides valuable information.
With the hospitality industry being so competitive, a strong and diverse marketing mix is essential. It is especially important that you work to differentiate your hotel, optimize your website for maximum search engine visibility, have a presence on GDS and OTAs, and use things like social media and content marketing to attract attention.
Martijn Barten has over 10 years of experience in developing, implementing and managing revenue management processes and strategies for individual properties and multi-properties. Martijn is specialised in optimising revenue by combining revenue management with marketing and sales strategies. Currently, he is working as a freelance revenue manager on several projects in the field of revenue management, online distribution and marketing strategies for hotel and resort companies. His expertise also translates well to other industries such as car rental companies, theatres and OTA’s. Have a look at his website Revfine.com for more information and practical revenue management tips.