Now that it has become safer to travel, the industry is coming back into its own with increased booking rates and sales. Before the pandemic, major and minor hotel chains and privately-owned hotels and motels were already online. Many of these online services have majorly expanded, and the competition is fiercer than ever.
The rules have changed of late and will continue to do so as newer technologies change the playing field. The only way to stay in the competition is through a rock-solid digital marketing strategy designed to increase hotel bookings.
Essentials of Hotel Marketing
Even if your hotel already has a website, it needs to be freshened up from time to time. A good time for this might be the change of the seasons, with accompanying images and videos. Word Stream explains that new incentives also grab consumer attention, which you can tailor to holidays, weather conditions, and different target audiences.
A 15% discount for first-time customers, a Valentine's spa weekend with reduced rates, offering complimentary breakfast, or letting kids stay free during the week are all ideas worth considering.
Once you have laid the framework for a fantastic website, you will need to make it easy for potential customers to find. For 75% of travelers, the first step of planning a trip is using a search engine. When they enter words in a search box, the properties that do not use the best practices for search engine optimization (SEO) will not rank high on the search engine results pages (SERP). Most people do not scroll down all that far on SERPs or even look on subsequent pages, so SEO should be a priority.
SEO is more technical than writing quality, informative and engaging written words, images, and videos. It involves keyword research, and once you find the most popular ones used in searches, you can incorporate them into your website's content. Shorter keywords might include "hotels near me," "last minute hotel deals," and "luxury hotels."
For the best results in 2022, though, long-tail keywords that are more specific and local ones are recommended. Examples of longer-tailed keywords include "luxury hotels in Santa Barbara" or "boutique hotel in Singapore with rooftop bar and pool."
Hotel Social Media Marketing
You can also incorporate social media into a hotel's marketing plan, and if you are not doing this already, your competitors may be one step ahead of you. Post tempting pictures of the refreshing swimming pool, the nightly entrée special, and guests relaxing on that fantastic rooftop bar. You can use the different platforms to attract new customers, build brand awareness and stay connected to guests who have stayed with you.
You can post longer videos on YouTube, but for other platforms like Facebook or TikTok, you'll want to adjust your strategies accordingly. Sharing photos and videos of smiling employees is another great strategy, including ones where they interact with happy guests. Instagram is also trending towards longer-length videos, which your hotel may be able to use to your advantage. Hotel Tech Report describes a video shared by Hilton on Instagram that can serve as an inspiration for what you might want to post.
This particular video told the story of one particular employee, a former refugee who became an apprentice at the chain's Frankfurt City Centre. This video is an excellent example of choosing trending content and resonates deeply with audiences. This post got more views than any of the company's other video content, along with 28 times as much comment volume.
Remember, your content does not have to be as polished as major chains post. Do not ignore user questions and comments; doing this is nothing but a huge, missed opportunity.
Forming Partnerships with Other Businesses
Hotels that exist in vacuums can also find it harder to get more bookings. In other words, hotels that do not have specific amenities like restaurants or other desirables like gyms and spas might not be as appealing as those that have them. This area is where the idea of partnering with local businesses can help and is much less costly than undergoing significant renovations.
Hotel Tech Report shares another example that can illustrate this strategy: Boston's Lenox Hotel did not have room for an on-site spa, so they joined forces with G20 Spa + Salon, which is across the way. Hotel guests can book spa services through the hotel and receive a 10% discount during the week. These offers can draw customers in; other ideas include a deal on room service provided by the restaurant up the block or a free yoga class at the gym next door.
More Hotel Marketing Ideas
Most people in the hotel business know what remarketing is. If you don't, remarketing is when people book hotel rooms and cancel late or do not show up. Properties remarket their rooms to resell them to other guests, and the rooms often get snapped up when the staff utilizes the right tactics. You can send emails and other ads to people who visited the hotel site recently, offering incentives like a free night or a percentage off to close the deal. You can also use social media for remarketing rooms.
One of the most vital aspects of retaining customers once you have their interest is a smooth booking process. If someone is confused or frustrated when trying to book a room, they might give up and look elsewhere, even if they are patient.
Your website must be user-friendly, fast, and free of glitches; website errors cost hotels money. Potential customers with lousy booking experiences often never return and might share poor feedback with your audiences. Hotel websites need to be mobile-friendly, too, because many travelers plan trips on phones and tablets. The easier it is to find and book on your site, the more business you will do.
Here is a final suggestion: to ensure that your website and platforms perform at their best, have employees, friends, or family do test bookings. Let them go through all the steps of searching for your hotel, choosing and booking a room, and have them share feedback with the management. The best way to do this is while you are watching, but either way, this kind of information is priceless and shouldn't cost you a thing!
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