In order for the promotion of the company to be really effective, it must be adapted to the industry in which the company operates. It is no different with hotels and all kinds of tourist facilities – as these places are focused on a specific type of clientele, their advertising must take into account its tastes, needs and expectations. How to plan a hotel marketing campaign and what to do to make our business stand out from the competition?
The tourist industry is becoming more and more popular every year. We are happy to travel, get to know new places, cultures and flavors. At the same time, more and more people can afford several trips throughout the year. We do not need one weekly vacation once every twelve months. Whenever we have the opportunity, we visit other locations both abroad and in Poland. It would seem that such a situation on the market is the ideal conditions for the development of all types of accommodation facilities. Unfortunately, the huge popularity of tourism also has its negative sides: more and more hotels are being built and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get out from the competition. The more popular a place, the more objects we have to compete with. It is certainly not enough to run a good, well-maintained hotel. We also need to make sure others notice us. Even the best quality of services is not enough if we do not implement well-conceived and carefully planned marketing activities. What methods are the best to promote our hotel?
If you are not on the internet, you do not exist
Nowadays, most marketing activities take place over internet. There is nothing surprising in this – after all, most of us look for the products or services we need by entering the appropriate phrase at search engine. This is particularly the case with tourist facilities that, for obvious reasons, are far away from our place of residence, therefore the website is the only way to view a given hotel and become familiar with the opinions of other guests.
The first step to building a good site is to think about who our potential customers are. Is the offer of our hotel directed to young people who like sports and parties, or rather to older people who look for comfort and peace? We focus on couples in love or maybe families with children? Once we know what age is our target group, what is its material status, needs and desires, it will be easier for us to build a message that will go best to it. Such tools as Facebook Audience Insights, Google Trends, Google Analytics or Google Search Console will also be useful to gain knowledge about clients.
The hotel’s traction and transparent website must contain basic information about our offer, aesthetic photos that accurately show the most beautiful parts of the facility and the online booking system. The latter is a must nowadays: many customers prefer to deal with this type of matter this way, at any time of the day, without worrying about the busy line. Such a system must allow a convenient check of the price and available amenities. It is important that both the site itself and the reservation system are also adapted to mobile devices. An additional advantage may be the possibility of adding comments that will be a guide for potential guests to decide whether it is worth staying with us.
When creating a website, you can not forget about positioning. It has often been proven that the majority of Internet users stop on the first two pages of the search, without even reaching the next ones. So if we want our website to get as many new people as possible, we need to optimize it for the most popular keywords. This element should be left to professionals who have the necessary knowledge about the search and use of both general phrases and so-called “Long tails”, meaning much more detailed searches.
Of course, nowadays the website itself is not enough. The presence in social media is also very important. Profiles on such portals are one of the best (and the simplest and cheapest) ways to build a committed community around your brand. Remember that Facebook or Instagram are primarily visual channels – beautiful pictures and suggestive images work better on them than long texts. Social media is a place where we can inform our clients about upcoming events in the hotel and its surroundings, report those that have already taken place, inform about promotions and publish curiosities about both the object itself and the city in which it is located. It’s also on Facebook that guests have the chance to share their opinion about our business. It is worth using the fact that social networking sites allow for two-way communication and involve consumers as often as possible in activities related to the company. These can be all kinds of surveys (eg on how customers rate a visit to the facility, as well as expected changes, facilities and improvements), competitions or actions to persuade them to publish photos from the facility. Let’s not forget about how important regularity is. Posts on our profile can not appear only once in a blue moon – for most companies it is assumed that the optimal number is 2-3 entries per week.
Show the customer that it is important to you
A visit to a hotel is almost a holiday for many people. When going on vacation, we want to feel special and experience some luxury. Even the most beautifully decorated and most comfortable rooms are of no avail if guests are not satisfied with the quality of service in our facility. Nowadays, news is spreading fast, and unsatisfied guests often share their experiences over the internet. That is why it is so important to take care of the high level of service and to respond quickly and courteously to complaints. Removing an unflattering comment is one of the worst things we can do – we will achieve much better results, responding to the allegations. Extremely positive responses to negative comments may even be a type of advertising. Similarly, it works with all other activities that make the client feel special. One of the best examples of this type of behavior is the story of a teddy rabbit who was found by the employees of the Adare Manor Hotel in Ireland. After the first published photo of the mascot (which was published in order to find the owner of the doom) a lot of different photos were found on the hotel fanpage, where the rabbit “used” unexpectedly extended holidays: he slept in a hotel bed, lay on a hammock, visited the area and visited the restaurant. These posts met with a warm reception, and people began to make them massively available. Although the main purpose of these publications was to have fun and make the little girl, who lost the toy happy, this move turned out to be a huge marketing success.
Such situations, however, are exceptions and occasional. On a daily basis, we can take care of customers, quickly responding to their queries and regularly receiving e-mail correspondence. Keep in mind that if you do not respond to their questions, customers can go to the competition. It is also important to answer the phone, and if it is impossible – call back to the potential guest. In this way, we send a clear signal that we care about customers and treat them with respect. It is also important to treat each person individually. Instead of sending standard answers, try to find out about the needs and expectations of the interlocutor. It is good maners to call potential guests who have contacted us electronically – it has been proven that in this way we are strengthening the relationship with the consumer and we increase the chances that he will take advantage of our offer.
Do not forget about local clients
Most of us associate the hotel industry primarily with tourism and visiting guests. Meanwhile, many such objects also earn on the locals (especially off-season). There are many possibilities: from conferences and trainings, through visits to the SPA and swimming pool, to events such as First Communion parties, baptisms, birthdays, weddings, hen and stag parties and all kinds of jubilees. Remember that after the holiday period ends, we have fewer guests, while the locals less often go on holiday and therefore may be bored. It is worth to prepare a special offer for them at this time. This can be, for example, a special entry pass for the pool (eg promotion in the style of “10th visit for free”) or various discounts for residents of a given town. It may be a good idea to establish cooperation with a service such as Groupon, through which we will sell SPA packages or romantic meals in the hotel restaurant, and at the same time advertise our business among locals. We can also organize events that will attract local customers to us (it can be eg. New Year’s Eve, Halloween, Valentine’s Day for singles, Christmas Eve supper, St. Andrew’s Day or St. Nicholas’ Day for children). It is worth participating in wedding fairs, during which we will present our wedding offer. If our earnings are not satisfactory, it may be a good idea to invest in this part of the business: purchase a special banquet tent, adjust the appearance of the restaurant room to this type of events, prepare gazebos for outdoor weddings, extend the offer with attractions such as fireworks displays, DJ or wedding consultant services or decorator offer. Wedding fairs not only will allow you to advertise your services, but also to familiarize yourself with the latest trends in the industry. In today’s hotel industry there is no place for boredom and monotony – to stay afloat, you should always move with the times and constantly develop your offer.