The times, they are a-changin’ – and boy they are changin’ quickly. I doubt that Bob Dylan had hotel marketing in mind when he wrote those words, but they are certainly appropriate these days. With new technologies like AI, chatbots, VR, AR, automation, smart this, that, and everything else, it is getting harder and harder to keep up. And while I cannot overlook the importance of keeping up to date, it is also important that you are laying down a strong foundation before jumping on the bells and whistles.
To help you do this, we’ve put together a list of five essential strategies to lay the foundations of a strong hotel marketing plan.
Collect the data you want to report on
An effective hotel marketing plan should start with your data collection strategy. It is a common misconception that an email address is all you need, but as personalisation rapidly becomes the pinnacle of marketing, a simple email may not be enough. Afterall, those email addresses aren’t going to segment themselves!
Collecting full postal addresses, birthdays, and/or guest preferences will increase your potential for segmentation and allow you to tailor your hotel marketing to an individual or group of guests. Which brings me to my next point….
Okay, well maybe not everything, writing a personal email to each person in your database probably isn’t feasible but if you can create the illusion that you did, then you’ve nailed it. Personalisation is the key to loyalty. The reality is that to be interesting, you have to be interested. Understanding your guests – who they are, what they want and what motivates them – will bring you closer to giving them what they want. And with all the extra data you will be collecting, you will be better equipped to understand your guests and cater to their preferences through targeted and engaging marketing.
With unlimited options and expectations on the rise, you should be making your guests feel like their every need has been anticipated and every desire fulfilled. Entice, encourage, engage and re-engage your guests with personalised, experience-driven interactions to drive direct bookings and brand loyalty, and ultimately improve guest experience.
Be easily searchable online
There is no point in having a website if prospective guests can’t find you! When you are up against the likes of OTAs, that are more than often ranking higher in the search results of your brand name than you are, your SEO game needs to be strong. Nay. Bulletproof.
The good news is, it isn’t as hard as you may think. The key to SEO is to create the content that your guests are searching for.
Aside from the technical optimisation and functionality of your website, SEO comes down to two main pillars; Relevancy and Authority. Relevancy is simple; make sure that your website is optimised with rich, relevant content and strong keywords to maximise the chance of being searched and clicked. Whereas authority just simply comes down to popularity; the more popular your site is, the more likely search engines are going to believe you are the real deal.
Get social media savvy
While social media strategy may not be anything new, the to-dos and the taboos are forever changing. With so many social media sites that already exist and even more popping up each day, where do you begin?
Fundamental to a strong social media strategy is consistency and cohesion. For starters, make absolutely sure that you have got your brand identity straight. That means your logos, colours, designs and imagery, as well as your tone of voice and message.
Once your branding is on point, link it all up! Consider how that beautifully designed Instagram post can click through to that well-thought-out landing page and encourage them to subscribe to your next killer email marketing campaign. Obviously, you should be tailoring your message to suit different social networks, but you can still be presenting a consistent and cohesive brand.
Remain faithful to email marketing
Email is still one of the most powerful methods of getting and staying in contact with your guests because it not only allows for direct contact, but also automation, better targeting and more strategic content. More specifically, an effective email marketing strategy opens up a world of opportunities in regard to leveraging the guest journey.
By implementing intelligent segmentation and automation at each stage of the customer journey, you can better manage unsubscribes, increase engagement and build a loyal following. Personalisation is the aim of the email marketing game, and fortunately, it is getting easier to achieve with the technology we have available.
To improve your hotel marketing plan, you should be asking yourself; who is staying in my hotel? Why are they staying? Where are they coming from? Knowing the answers to these questions will improve your hotel marketing strategy and bring you so much closer to giving your guests what they want.