Every hotel marketer knows that targeting guests and driving interest in your hotel and your brand can be tricky. It’s a crowded market place, and you’re not just competing with hotels in your proximity, you’re also competing for that direct booking as well. It’s a lot to take on, and a lot to master. But these few smart tips to get you going with an effective digital marketing strategy will help boost your confidence in the marketplace and help you target your future guests in the right way.
First things first, what is your plan? We’re living in the age of the customer, which means we need to think totally guest-centric to help drive attention. What type of campaign would you like to run and who in your team will be responsible for delivering it? Ensuring that the right team members are responsible for the right activity will help with accountability and allow you to stay on top of your goals.
Brand & personality
How do you want your hotel or brand, if you’re part of a small group or larger chain, to come across in the marketplace? Do you have a unique brand voice that you would like to convey? Whatever it may be, your brand voice should be consistent across all your activities. Whether it’s a social media post, an email, a photo or the title of a blog post, stay consistent and ensure your voice is coming through.
Creating valuable, sustainable customer relationships doesn’t always come from simply getting the guest through the door, it comes from building connections and listening to your guests. This is where you have the opportunity to convey your brand’s personality, and appeal to everyone who comes into contact with your brand. Impactful, memorable, emotional connections lead to true brand loyalty.
Now you know who you are, and you know the messages and personality you want to convey, you need to know who are you are trying to reach. This often stands in line with the type of brand you are, and the personality that stands alongside it, are you more of a hip/city property compared with luxury resort? Do you appeal to a millennial audience or are you a more family-focused property? Defining these key aspects of who you are will enable you to target your messaging, content and strategy to the right people.
Channels & content
Your audience is defined and you know how you want your brand message to come across, how do you reach those people? There are a multitude of different channels that you can use to reach your potential guests, but keep in mind budget, timing and resources. Don’t overstretch yourself to do everything, it’s far better to segment your activity to a smaller more targeted audience than pushing your team far beyond their capacity to reach everyone. Remember that your most valuable guests, will be those who connect and have the best experiences with your brand.
With the right channel, must come the right content. If resources are tight, content is something that can be outsourced, but to make sure this is done effectively, your brand voice and messaging should be shared with the writer. Using a local writer can help keep the voice consistent as their knowledge of local activities or ‘hot-spots’ will entice readers. All content must sound as if it’s coming straight from you, so keep a close watch on what’s being written and published. Is your audience responding to it? Do you find articles or posts are being shared on social media?
Timing your activity
Timing is key and can help define an emotive connection with that guest. Do you know that your property has been popular for couples’ engagements, big sporting events or even weddings? Given those external factors, perhaps you could think about your strategy and place ads or social media posts around certain times of year based on those events? Utilise programmatic advertising, AdWords or Google Display Network* to target the right kind of searches on Google or those who are searching for the right terms that match your brand and audience.
Key performance indicators (KPIs)
Last, but by no means least, you’ll need to measure your success. This can be done on a monthly basis if you’re running a long campaign, or quarterly if your resources are tight. Measuring your success and setting key performance indicators (KPIs) will help ensure you’re seeing return on your investment. Are guests responding to your campaign activities? Have you seen a spike in direct bookings over the past quarter? What were their sources of booking if so? Being able to measure everything you do will help determine future campaigns and keep your team motivated. If you know something is working, keep doing it! But always keep up the opportunity to try new tactics.
*To find out more about these tactics, keep your eyes peeled for more articles in this digital marketing series.
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