Whatever type of business you run, there is one crucial element that will help you stand out from the crowd: your marketing strategy. Hospitality marketing is one of the most competitive sectors so it’s vital that you spend some time considering your promotional strategy. Understanding and attracting the right target audience with the right messages delivered at the right time is the key to marketing in any business but particularly those in the hospitality industry, such as hotels, restaurants, resorts, tour operators, and travel agencies. The aim of hospitality marketing is to attract and retain customers, increase brand awareness, and ultimately boost bookings, revenue and profitability. So what are some of the most effective strategies to do this? Let’s take a look!
While it’s true that marketing is vital to the success of most businesses, in the hospitality industry it’s even more important. Since so much of what we do is about developing the guest relationship and creating an unforgettable experience, hospitality marketing needs to focus on the tactics that are going to help us stand out from the crowd and keep previous guests returning. Customer loyalty in our sector can make the difference between success and failure.
The single most important thing in any marketing strategy is understanding your target audience. This lays the foundation for both your choice of marketing channels and the tone of your marketing communications. Most people now start the search for their next hospitality experience online so digital channels need to be at the forefront of your hospitality marketing strategy.
To promote a hospitality business effectively, there are few key channels that should form the pillars of your hospitality marketing strategy:
Having a well-designed and user-friendly website is crucial for most businesses. However when it comes to hospitality marketing, a great website has got to be at the top of the list! With the vast majority of potential guests doing their research online, your website offers the best opportunity to make a great first impression and showcase the best of what you have to offer. Your website is the first chance to make an impression and help potential guests to visualise what their experience with you might look like.
Not only that but a well-designed website with a built-in booking engine is going to maximise the opportunity to encourage guests to book directly with you. Make sure that your website is device-responsive, meaning it can be viewed on any type of device from desktop to mobile. It should also be easy for users to navigate and easy for you to edit and maintain. Use high-quality images and engaging content to enhance the visual appeal.
SEO is essential to improve your website’s visibility on search engines like Google. Use relevant keywords that your potential guests are most likely to use when searching for their next experience, create valuable content, and optimize meta tags, headers, and URLs. A well-optimized website will help you rank higher in search results, leading to increased organic website traffic. This should help you to be more visible than your competitors and win more of those all-important direct bookings.
Social media platforms offer excellent opportunities for hospitality businesses to connect with their target audience. You don’t have to be on every social channel. Find out which channels your target audience use the most and focus on these. Visual channels like Instagram and Facebook are particularly useful when it comes to sharing enticing images and responding directly to your potential guests. Share visually attractive content, such as images and videos of your property, food, or services. Engage with your followers, respond to comments, and run targeted advertising campaigns to reach a broader audience.
Email marketing in hospitality provides one of the best opportunities to win more bookings. Whether your aim is to entice future or previous guests, you can get targeted messages to the right audience at the right time and the great news is it converts ‘lookers to bookers’ so effectively!
Collect email addresses from your website visitors and guests. Send out regular newsletters, promotions and exclusive offers to keep them engaged and encourage repeat bookings. Personalise your emails to make them more relevant to individual recipients. Another quick and easy way to encourage a guest to re-book is to send post-stay emails. These could include surveys, details of loyalty programs and time-limited incentives to make another booking.
No hospitality marketing strategy can overlook the power of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). List your business on popular OTAs like Booking.com, Expedia, and TripAdvisor. Positive reviews and high ratings can significantly influence potential customers’ decisions. Encourage satisfied guests to leave reviews and respond promptly to any negative feedback to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
Produce valuable and relevant content through blogs, articles, and videos. Share travel guides, local insights, and tips to position your business as an authority in the hospitality industry. This content can attract potential customers and keep them engaged with your brand.
You could also consider partnering with social media influencers or travel bloggers who have a significant following in your target market. Their endorsements and recommendations can introduce your hospitality business to a wider audience and boost credibility.
Customer loyalty in the hospitality sector is more important than ever. It costs way more to win a new guest than it does to keep them. So why not implement a loyalty program to reward repeat customers. Offering exclusive perks, discounts, or special packages to loyal guests can encourage them to choose your business over competitors for future stays or visits.
An often overlooked hospitality marketing strategy is to collaborate with other local businesses, tourist attractions, or event organizers to cross-promote each other. This synergy can help increase your brand exposure and attract new customers through shared marketing efforts.
Remember, effective hospitality marketing requires a mix of strategies tailored to your specific business and target audience. Analyse the performance of different initiatives, adapt your marketing plan accordingly, and always prioritize providing an excellent guest experience to encourage positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Wrapping your head around this ever-evolving online world of hospitality marketing can be a lot! It can be confusing, time consuming and adding this to your other day-to-day business operations can be overwhelming. If you’re struggling to know where to begin HiRUM’s marketing services can help. From website design & build and social media management to getting you set up on Google Hotels, HiRUM Marketing Services look after your digital footprint and help your hospitality business reach its full digital potential so that you can focus on your customer.
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