Hospitality Marketing

6 Must-Haves for Great Hospitality Marketing

By: Frank DePino | August 11, 2021

As the 2020s have gotten underway, the hospitality industry is perched on the verge of a resurgence. Now is a smart time to reevaluate the marketing strategy your hospitality business is using. What components does a great hospitality marketing plan have?

Here are the must-have elements of hospitality marketing:

  • A well-built website
  • Abundant reviews and testimonials
  • First-page Google ranking
  • Paid media
  • Fresh branding
  • Email marketing

Whether it’s one of the above areas your current marketing strategies lack or several, you’re going to want to keep reading. In this guide, we’ll talk further about hospitality marketing and then delve deeper into the above crucial marketing tactics. 

Let’s get started.

What Is Hospitality Marketing?

We’ll begin with a definition of hospitality marketing. 

Hospitality marketing is a form of marketing that’s centered on improving customer satisfaction, which is truly the heart and soul of the hospitality industry. 

Whether your hospitality business focuses on travel and tourism, food and drink, or accommodations, the marketing tactics you use will build awareness, promote services, increase revenue, and boost customer conversions.

How to Get More Bookings for your Hotel

How Can I Get More Bookings?

Is your hotel looking to increase its bookings through this year and into the next? Hospitality marketing and the tactics we’ll delve into ahead are the best way to do that. 

You can also employ the following marketing techniques. 

Word of Mouth Marketing

In today’s technological age, word-of-mouth marketing tends to get discounted, which is a mistake. Word-of-mouth promotions remain a viable way to increase brand awareness and position your hotel positively in the eyes of potential customers.

Plus, best of all, word-of-mouth marketing is free and hands-off. The customers and leads practically do all the work for you.

How does a hotel start a word-of-mouth marketing campaign? Here are some strategies to implement.

  • Create share-worthy experiences: When staying at your hotel is so good that guests just have to share their experiences, word-of-mouth promotions will usually follow. Determining what makes an experience share-worthy will vary based on your audience segments. Above all else, make sure that what you’re doing is customer-centric yet unique.
  • Incentivize your audience: Although most consumers don’t necessarily realize that they’re engaging in word-of-mouth marketing by sharing their experiences, for those that do, they’ll wonder what’s in it for them. Whether you offer your customers a free gift, a special discount code, or a free night at the hotel, make it worth their while to promote you.
  • Utilize user-generated content: User-generated content or UGC is a great way to get your word-of-mouth marketing campaign rolling. Whether users post photos at your hotel with a hashtag or they make a video reviewing their experience, share it all!

Differentiate Your Hotel 

Hospitality marketing is all about what makes you stand out from the competition, so you must know what that is. You can’t say it’s your approach to customer service, as any hotel would say that about themselves. What is it really that sets you apart?

Perhaps your hotel is in a historic town or it’s one of the most eco-friendly buildings in your state. These are the qualities that make your hotel special, so harness them! 

6 Components of a Hospitality Marketing Plan

6 Components of a Hospitality Marketing Plan

Now that you’re thinking of ways to get people talking about your hotel, it’s time to create a comprehensive hospitality marketing plan. Per the intro, here are the 6 must-have parts of that plan. 

Have a Great Website

Today’s consumer expects every business big or small to have a full-bodied website. You need an appealing homepage that will captivate a user’s attention when they land on it. An about page will inform the site visitor of your hotel’s history and its staff.

Your site should make it easy for users to schedule a stay at your hotel. Perhaps you add a CTA button that reads “book now” (or something to that effect) that hovers above the fold even as the user navigates through your site.

Provide several links and CTA buttons for booking a stay. This way, no matter where on your website a visitor lands, you can gain their business. 

You also want to make it easy for site visitors to connect with you, so post your social media handles and other contact information in an accessible part of the site.

Your website should have forms such as opt-in forms to capture a lead’s contact information. You can also use lead magnets. 

Make sure as well that your website is mobile-optimized, meaning it’s accessible in its original form for mobile users. If your text placement is off, the images are misaligned, or the user experience is generally bad on mobile devices, you could lose out on potential customers. 

If you need some ideas for how to design your hospitality website, this post courtesy of our blog should inspire you.

great hospitality website

Get Good Reviews

The next part of your hospitality marketing plan is to garner positive reviews. While building a website is an active component of your marketing plan, reviews are more passive. 

That being said, everything your hotel does from the moment a customer walks through the door to when they leave your parking lot will influence the kind of reviews your customers will leave.

In taking a customer-centric approach, think of how you can make a customer’s hotel experience better every step of the way. For example, instead of the customers having to open the doors to the lobby themselves, perhaps you hire someone to do it for them. 

The front-desk service should be amiable and knowledgeable so guests feel welcome to go to the front desk anytime, not only to check in or out. Perhaps you provide pamphlets on local attractions, or you ask your guests while they’re checking in if they’d like recommendations on activities. 

Hotel rooms should be kept clean, as this is the least your customers expect out of you. To surpass their expectations, you could have staff fold towels in the shape of an animal and then put the towel art on the bed. You could even let guests take home the soap or shampoo. 

The above examples are only a smattering of ways you can make the hotel experience a positive one for all your guests. When guests are pleased with your level of service, they’re more willing to leave testimonials and reviews. You can anticipate these reviews will be positive.  

If you’re not getting as many reviews as you want, send text messages or emails after a customer’s stay asking them to leave a review. Incentives such as discount codes can increase the number of reviews you receive. 

When you get a positive review, be sure to comment on it. This reinforces your passion for customer service and will further cement your reputation in the mind of your customers. 

hospitality reviews

Rank Well on Google

Another must-have in your hospitality marketing plan is a high Google ranking. Ideally, you want that first slot on the first page when a user looks up hotels in your city or town. The problem is that all your competition wants the same. 

So how do you rank well on Google? You have plenty of tactics to employ, so let’s talk about them now.

  • Work on your on-page SEO: Your website is instrumental in increasing your Google rank. Your keyword should be in the first part of your title tag, as Google currently favors the first few words of this tag. 
  • Take advantage of LSI keywords: Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI keywords aren’t the main keywords themselves, but related terms. Although on their own, LSI keywords don’t seem like much, when you add them up, they tell Google that your topic is hospitality. 
  • Don’t lag behind: Test your website loading speed. A slow-loading site will not rank on the first page of Google.
  • Master search intent: Write content that accounts for search intent. In other words, why is someone searching for what they’re searching for? If you can anticipate and fulfill search intent, your Google page rank can go up.
  • Produce high-quality content: The content that goes on your website should be sharable and valuable. This way, people will want to link to it. Long-form content is one such example, as are videos, flowcharts, and infographics. 

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

10 Website Must Haves to Drive Traffic & Generate New Leads

Does your website have all 10? Learn the secrets to driving more traffic to your website, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing sales.

Build Paid Media Campaigns

Another tactic to have up your sleeve for your hospitality marketing campaign is taking advantage of paid media. This form of digital marketing is promotional, encompassing content such as paid social media posts, display ads, video ads, and paid search results.

The key when using paid media is that your ad should look as native as possible. That doesn’t mean solely blending into the social media platform of choice, but your ad can’t feel like an ad. 

People don’t like ads. According to video resource Wave.video, in a survey of 1,015 people, up to 90 percent admitted they skip the pre-roll video ads. If they can’t skip the ad, these people will use different sources rather than watch an unskippable ad. 

You want people to pay attention to your paid media, which means producing content with the feel of a social media post.

Paid media is a great avenue for retargeting or going after a potential audience group for a second go-around. Although it’s tempting to reintroduce the ad you used the first time around, that’s not going to be effective.

Instead, your paid marketing campaign must keep retargeting ads fresh. This can cause leads to give your hotel another look. 

hospitality website

Have Fresh Branding

Businesses must have a brand, so if you don’t know yours, now is a good time to create one. We recommend a brand guide as part of your hospitality marketing, which will help you solidify your hotel’s brand. 

What goes into a brand guide? First, you need a mission statement for your hotel. Then write a vision statement, which is future-minded. You currently provide your visitors a great experience. How can you make that experience even better? Where do you want your hospitality business to go?

Then break down your target audience. You should have information on your audience courtesy of market research. If you haven’t surveyed and segmented your audience, you need to do that now.

Then you can begin to identify the personality trademarks of your brand. Is your hotel a friendly brand? More than likely, yes, but maybe you’re not so funny. Do you have a quirky side or are you more upscale? Choose three personality traits to start with. 

Finish writing your brand guide by determining your hotel’s values or guiding principles. These are pillars of your successful hospitality business that your staff upholds every day.

Once you understand your brand, then it’s about communicating it effectively and consistently. If you have several members on your social media team or 10 sales reps who respond to emails, all communications must embody the brand. 

Falling off-brand can hurt your reputation and cause you to lose customers. 

hospitality email marketing

Use Email Marketing

Our last hospitality marketing strategy is this: use email marketing. We talked earlier about the importance of opt-in forms on your website to build your email list. Once you have a sizable email list, it’s time to start sending them content.

Besides the initial welcome email, you should have a monthly or quarterly newsletter that informs your audience of what’s occurring within the hotel. Don’t make the newsletter dry and boring though, as then your audience won’t care. 

Keep the content exciting. Perhaps you can present behind-the-scenes views of your hotel and other exclusives that aren’t available on social media. This will drum up more interest in reading your newsletter.

Email your audience offers and deals as well. You can personalize these discounts to make them even more irresistible. On a customer’s birthday, for instance, they get a special discount code that’s only good for a month. 

All emails should be segmented according to your audience data. You also want to personalize email content whenever you can. Automation makes it easy to send emails all day and night long without physically having to sit at a desk and do it. 

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

10 Website Must Haves to Drive Traffic & Generate New Leads

Does your website have all 10? Learn the secrets to driving more traffic to your website, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing sales.

Conclusion  

Hospitality marketing strengthens your brand and your commitment to customer service. The 6 measures we discussed today can improve your hotel’s visibility, increase your customer base, and pad your sales.

If you need help getting your hospitality marketing campaign off the ground, count on us at Mediaboom. We’re a digital marketing agency that provides website design, advertising, and marketing services for industries like hospitality and healthcare. With our guidance, your hotel can achieve more of your marketing goals. 

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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