The importance of having the right hotel marketing strategies is difficult to overstate, as it is a key part of launching a hotel, optimising the number of bookings you generate, building brand awareness and managing your reputation. In this article, you will be able to learn more about some of the most important strategies to adopt at all times, as well as some specific strategies to focus on during the COVID global pandemic.
- 6 Specific COVID & 12 Essential Hotel Marketing Strategies
- 6 Specific Hotel Marketing Strategies Due to COVID
- 1. Highlight Safety in Hotel Marketing & Guest Communication
- 2. Increase the Emphasis on Leisure
- 3. Focus on Local as Opposed to International
- 4. Provide Value & Flexible Cancellation Policies
- 5. Take the Time to Analyse Your Data
- 6. Let Potential Guests & B2B Clients Experience Your Hotel From a Distance
- 12 Essential Hotel Marketing Strategies
- 1. Go Live With a Great Website
- 2. Follow The SEO Staples
- 3. Differentiate Yourself From The Rest
- 4. Get Recommended by Real Authority
- 5. Promote Yourself With Online Travel Agencies
- 6. Global Distribution Systems
- 7. Appoint a Sales Rep and Reap The Rewards
- 8. Get Savvy With Social Media
- 9. Keep an Eye on Reviews and Recommendations
- 10. Personalisation Marketing
- 11. Invest More During High Season
- 12. Make Sure to Know Your OTAs Inside-Out
- The Latest Hotel Marketing Trends in The Hotel Industry
- Want to Learn More About Hotel Marketing Strategies?
6 Specific COVID & 12 Essential Hotel Marketing Strategies
Adopting the right hotel marketing strategy in the right situation is crucial, but some strategies are applicable at all times too. Below, you will see a breakdown of both some “all-time” hotel marketing strategies, along with some strategies that serve as a response to the coronavirus pandemic and associated changes to consumer behaviour.
6 Specific Hotel Marketing Strategies Due to COVID
The following are some of the strategies that those concerned with hotel management will need to consider in response to the COVID global pandemic, which has disrupted the entire travel industry.
In terms of responding to the threat of coronavirus and the changes in behaviour from customers, arguably the single biggest marketing message that hotels need to get across is that safety and hygiene measures are in place. After all, for guests to stay with you and enjoy their visit, they need to feel that their risk is as low as possible.
Communicate the hygiene and safety measures you are taking on your website homepage, on social media, during the booking process and in your pre-stay communication. Make sure you update descriptions on third-party platforms and look into ways you can go above and beyond, such as using contactless check-ins and payments.
You can read more in our “Hygiene is the New Marketing Message for Hotels” article.
Those in the hotel industry need to contend with the impact COVID has had on business customers. With more people working from home, the widespread cancellation of business events and restrictions on mass gatherings, business travel has been hit especially hard. If this is a key focus for your hotel, you may need to shift focus.
Although leisure travel has been impacted too, it has not been hit to the same level and there are still ways to appeal to leisure travellers, especially if you focus your hotel marketing strategies on families, couples and groups of friends. You will also need to make sure you use distribution and communication channels that allow you to reach these guests.
Highlight activities like tours and visits to local landmarks, and promote facilities that will appeal to leisure guests. Take a look at how rival hotels that specialise in leisure travel are marketing their properties too.
With travel restrictions, some countries requiring people to quarantine upon entry or return, and the overall fear of international travel increasing, some of the most effective hotel marketing strategies during the pandemic are those which focus on attracting local guests from the same country, or from neighbouring countries with similar rules in place.
Focusing on the local market may mean highlighting facilities like your restaurant, gym or meeting rooms and it could also involve promoting one of your hotel rooms as a temporary office, which can be ideal for those working remotely.
Some hotels are also targeting local markets with things like food delivery. A hotel marketing strategy that can be extremely effective here involves turning food delivery into an experience. This means ensuring food is presented well and also including extras with the meal, such as candles, or a QR code with a romantic Spotify playlist.
With people feeling more reluctant to stay in hotels during the pandemic, it is more important than ever to highlight your USPs. People need to be convinced, so focus on what separates your hotel from rival properties, whether that is your design, your location, the quality of your facilities, the reputation of your restaurant, or nearby attractions.
It is important to focus on the idea of value and providing experiences. You do not necessarily need to cut your rates to attract guests, as long as you deliver value for money. This could mean offering extra services, like room service breakfasts, complimentary drinks, massage services, bike rentals and other things your guests will remember.
You should also respect the fact that coronavirus is going to be on people’s minds and they may wish to cancel their booking, or reschedule for another time. Try to offer a generous and flexible cancellation policy when possible.
5. Take the Time to Analyse Your Data
One of the best hotel marketing strategies involves capitalising on the availability of website data, turning to tools like Google Analytics, and using this information to understand which demographics are most interested in travelling to your hotel, or most willing to do so. In doing so, your main target demographic may need to change.
Use your property management system to explore different groups within your customer base and analyse the data. Which demographics are most likely to travel? Which demographics are least likely to travel? What are the main areas of weakness and what can you do to address the issues? How much growth potential does your hotel have?
Once you have these answers, you can start to think about changing some of your marketing messages.
6. Let Potential Guests & B2B Clients Experience Your Hotel From a Distance
Within the context of COVID, many travellers need to be convinced that their visit will be worthwhile and virtual reality tours for hotels provide the ultimate way to experience a hotel or restaurant during the decision-making phase. This will allow potential leisure, wedding or event customers to get a clear impression of the facilities from afar.
Accessibility to virtual reality tours has greatly improved in recent times and most modern VR videos are web-based and can be viewed on any device with a web browser, including computers, mobiles and tablets. Of course, the experience and overall immersion can be enhanced further through the use of a VR headset.
Read “6 Reasons Why Every Hotel Should Have a Virtual Reality Video” for more information.
12 Essential Hotel Marketing Strategies
There are a number of hotel marketing strategies that can be implemented at almost any time, regardless of external circumstances. Below, you will be able to read more about these “all-time” approaches.
Your website is the most important distribution for your business and the crux of any good online marketing strategy. No matter which hotel marketing tactic has directed a potential customer to your website, this is the place where people can learn more about your individual business and decide whether or not to book a stay with you. It’s also the only online distribution channel where you can generate direct online sales, so it’s crucial your website has a booking engine to handle self-service reservations. As more internet users rely solely on their smartphones and tablets, a mobile-friendly website is necessity these days.
More tips about how to create a perfect hotel website are described in the article “8 Tips To Gain More Bookings With Your Hotel Website”.
There’s no point in having a website if it’s difficult for potential customers to find via their preferred search engine. Make sure you’re following SEO (Search Engine Optimization) online marketing basics like ensuring your content is rich and relevant, with strong keywords and keyword combinations that give your website the best chance of being clicked upon. Consider likely search terms when planning your hotel marketing SEO campaigns and don’t forget to combine your main keywords with strong secondary ones like the name of your local neighbourhood or district.
More tips about how to rank your website higher in Google are described in the article “5 SEO Tips for Hotels to Improve your Ranking in Google”.
3. Differentiate Yourself From The Rest
To really contend with the competition, your hotel needs to offer something unique and distinctly different to entice potential guests. Your hotel marketing campaign needs to be equally individual. Quality customer care needs to be at the core of everything in the hotel and hospitality industry. Going that extra mile for your guests can yield massive returns. Make sure you’re doing something different, from providing customers with a little treat at check-in, to nabbing local press and PR connections to shine a light on hotel marketing events.
4. Get Recommended by Real Authority
One surefire way of securing new customers is to get your hotel listed with local tourist offices. Whether it’s a printed flyer in bricks and mortar office, or a prominent link on a local tourism website, you’re guaranteed to take premier listing over many rival competitors. If you’re looking to appeal to the business traveller, nearby convention and exhibition centres are also a great place to promote your hotel. It’s also worth talking to local marketing and event companies in the region as many of these may only offer part-package deals to their own customers, meaning you can cover the accommodation needs and bolster your bookings in quieter seasons.
5. Promote Yourself With Online Travel Agencies
In the modern digital age, no hotel can secure regular business without capitalising on online travel agencies and travel brokers. A simple listing can generate thousands of bookings in the long term, but it’s worth remembering that each time a booking is generated through such an agency, a commission will be applied. Never rely solely on online travel agencies when it comes to your hotel marketing efforts, ensuring such websites are used to generate additional sales, rather replace your direct sales efforts entirely.
Find more detailed information about online distribution channels in the articles “The Most Important Online Distribution Channels for Hotels” and “Hotel Distribution Channel Manager: What Are the Advantages?”.
6. Global Distribution Systems
A GDS system (Global Distribution System) is a network that enables automated transactions between travel service providers (airlines, hotels, cruises and car rental) and travel agencies. When connecting your hotel to a GDS provider your hotel can be booked via hundreds of travel agencies worldwide. You can also use such systems to target specific travellers, including those venturing from home turf on business.
More detailed information about GDS systems and what the benefits are for hotels, you can be read in the article “Global Distribution System (GDS): What Are the Benefits for Hotels?”.
When it comes to hotel marketing strategies, you should always take the best practice in hospitality out into the field when promoting your business. If a local business is regularly recommending you to potential customers, make sure you’re maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship with strong incentives. Appointing a dedicated sales representative is definitely worth considering for hotel businesses looking to expand. Any good rep should be taking stock of potential companies in the area worth making a connection with, while ongoing procurement efforts to lock down new partnerships should be at the forefront of any hotel marketing effort.
8. Get Savvy With Social Media
If you’re not utilizing social media in your online hotel marketing campaign, start now. It’s free to create accounts with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Instagram and YouTube and it’s never been easier to create dynamic social media pages in moments. However, there’s no point in launching a social media presence if you don’t mean to maintain it. Make sure you’ve got at least one person appointed to keep your hotel marketing social media message live and engaging. Fresh content is pivotal, so make sure you’ve got a content delivery schedule. If you’re strapped for time to create new content, consider launching a hotel blog you can link back to from your social pages regularly. More social media tips about how to promote your hotel, you can be read in the article “7 Social Media Marketing Tips to Promote Your Hotel”.
A great review can earn you a new customer. A poor review can cost you hundreds. Try to encourage better reviews and recommendations from previous guests by engaging them after checking out. Your hotel could feature dozens, if not hundreds of times on review websites, so you need to ensure that each page is loaded with positive reviews and complimentary content. Monitor reviews on the most popular sites, taking note of any bad reviews and engaging dissatisfied guests with helpful and constructive feedback. Neutralise negative feedback wherever you can.
Find more detailed information about managing online reviews in the article “9 Tips to Manage Online Hotel Reviews”.
10. Personalisation Marketing
For hotel owners and others operating in the hospitality industry, it is essential to find ways to stand out from rivals and appeal to potential customers. One of the best ways to do this is to deliver tailored, individual marketing messages. In the article “5 Ways Personalisation Marketing Can Benefit the Hospitality”, you will find out more about how to achieve this through personalisation marketing and learn about some of the ways this concept can improve marketing efforts and revenue generation.
One of the most important hotel marketing strategies to capitalise on can be summarised by the saying ‘make hay while the sun shines. Through historic and on-the-books data, hotels should be able to determine precisely when their peak season is, but also when customers are most likely to actually book hotels for that peak season.
For example, it may be that the peak season is in the height of the summer, and the majority of those bookings are made in the early spring. Regardless, it is important to invest more in ad spending and other marketing strategies in accordance with when bookings are most likely to be made, as this helps you to maximise your peak season earnings.
12. Make Sure to Know Your OTAs Inside-Out
Most modern hotel marketing strategies will try to get the most from online travel agents, with two of the biggest examples being Booking.com and Expedia. Regardless of the OTAs being used, however, it is essential that hotel marketers take the necessary steps to optimise their online listings.
You can learn more about Booking.com, the Booking Extranet, and how to get the most from that particular platform by reading the “Booking Extranet: 10 Strategies to Increase Your Revenue on Booking.com“ article.
Meanwhile, you can learn more about Expedia and its in-built management platform, the Expedia Extranet, by checking out the article “8 Tips & Strategies to Use the Expedia Extranet to Get More Bookings”.
For marketers operating in the hotel industry, there is a wide range of hotel marketing strategies to turn to. In the article “Hotel Marketing; The Latest Trends in the Hotel Industry”, you will learn more about the latest hotel marketing trends.
Hotel marketing strategies are one of the key ways in which hotels are able to reach out to potential guests and explain why they should visit. Many of these strategies can be used at all times, but it is also important to respect the disruption that coronavirus has caused and implement some specific COVID-related strategies too.
Want to Learn More About Hotel Marketing Strategies?
Marketing plays a crucial role in helping hotels maximise bookings and revenue. It is the main way in which those in the hotel industry are able to reach out to potential customers, conveying their unique selling proposition and brand values. In the following articles you find more essential hotel marketing strategies to boost your revenue:
- List of Online Travel Agents (OTAs) to Increase Your Hotel Bookings
- List of Corporate Travel Agents for Hotels to Gain More Business Travellers
- 8 Ways to Improve Customer Experience in the Hospitality Industry
- What Are The Benefits of Virtual Reality Marketing?
- 5 Ways Personalisation Marketing Can Benefit the Hospitality Industry
- Hotel Advertisement; 10 Effective Hotel Advertising Strategies