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When peak season hits, the pressure heats up for hotels to fill rooms to capacity. More than any other time of the year, guests are actively searching for properties, so how can a hotel maximize this golden opportunity? For marketers, the key to winning seasonal business is a digital strategy centered around location, context and relationships.
Strike while the iron is hot
Invest! Now is the time to use your marketing budget funds. There’s more opportunity going into the market, so don’t hold back on digital advertising. While there is no perfect budget allocation ratio for season vs. shoulder, it’s important to take this time to analyze your strategy on a case by case basis, market to market; however, the bottom line is – invest.
Partner with the CVB
The Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is your best friend during peak season. Engage in a partnership, get their media calendar, learn where the CVB is spending advertising money and piggy-back off their efforts in the same spots. The synergy is unbeatable. It’s also beneficial to know the heads of marketing at your local CVB, so participate in CVB events and network.
Identify new flight routes
During peak season, new direct flights pop up to handle demand, which means more potential guests for your hotel. Identify those new routes and place ad buys around them. Geotarget paid search, display, video and social ads to these seasonal markets, they could be in your competition’s blind spot.
Invest in a “hotels near me” search campaign
Seek out travelers who haven’t booked a hotel yet, and show them your hotel is nearby and ready to accommodate. With the added tourism in the market, both drive-in and fly-in, consumers will be searching for different businesses in the area. Serve up location-specific PPC campaigns and optimize your ads for “near me” searches.
Maximize impression share
Get in front of every traveler looking for you. That means increasing your search ad spend on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Make sure brand campaigns are at least 95% impression share—this will prevent competitors from stealing your customers. Check your remarketing campaigns: are they remarketing to your entire cookie pool? Remarket to potential guests with creative content that reflects what they were engaging with on your website. If a visitor spent a lot of time on your golf page, serve them a golf-centered ad. Mirror your approach to their behavioral and intent – they’re already interested in specific aspects of your hotel, and your digital marketing efforts should take advantage of that.
Contextual keyword campaigns
Contextual programmatic advertising allows you to target and advertise to consumers based on the content they are searching for or reading online. Imagine someone is reading “Top 10 Things to Do in Denver,” on USA Today.com, searching for Denver flights or reading about an upcoming music festival in Denver. Those searches represent potential hotel guests. Tap into contextual programmatic advertising to reach these travelers and deliver the right message at the right time –when they’re actively thinking about that trip.
Events & activity content
During peak season, there’s an abundance of festivals, concerts and events in your area. For example, Chicago is known for its block parties during the summer. Showcase that your hotel can elevate the event experience and you’re more likely to fill rooms. Create a special weekend package with a free ticket to the festival. Buy digital advertising space utilizing event keywords and interests. Market your strengths related to the event. If you’re close to the concert, promote your location in your advertising. If your hotel is miles away from the event? Mitigate it. Advertise that your hotel offers a shuttle with drop off at the festival gate every hour, or market your hotel as a great place to escape the noise and traffic after the show.
In closing, make the most of the peak season – it’s your hotel’s best time to shine, so use those marketing dollars and be smart about digital advertising. With a proactive approach, you’ll be filling rooms in no time.