We all are in the hunt to gain a competitive edge. Aren’t we? Staying aligned with the focus of this portal, in this post, we have discussed a few of the best Hotel industry marketing strategies along with most trusted hospitality marketing tools.
This post also covers a few useful tips for a successful hotel marketing plan.
Some key and essential marketing trends and strategies have entered the hospitality industry and they have become impossible to ignore.
In order to survive the tough industry in these harsh contemporary times, it is essential for players in the sector to arm themselves with modern marketing strategies that can allow them to stay afloat as well as attract new customers.
Thus devising strategies that work well in the hotel industry would hold the key to success.
We will cover this post in three sections:
- Best Hospitality Marketing Strategies
- Some great marketing tools for an organisations success
- Tips to create an awesome hotel marketing plan
Given the rapid and non-stop pace of new developments, technology has now become commonplace and important in the travel industry.
Hotel owners must now take steps directed at maximising their marketing efforts to adapt to the changing needs of the consumer and to better compete with other players in the industry.
These are a few of the best hotel industry marketing strategies:
Digital Presence holds the key
Few of our earlier posts have already discussed a few of the advancement in technology for the hospitality industry.
Embracing technology is the key to stay competitive today.
Unfortunately or fortunately, it is no longer sufficient to just have your hotel listed online.
In this digital age, it is vital to ensure that you have a firm digital presence. As such, social media must become a vital marketing strategy.
Image by Pip Growth Marketing
To ensure success, every hotel must now invest in a quality website that can also facilitate online bookings.
Your Hotel Website design should be of top quality. In short, it should be a visual treat for potential customers.
With review sites such as Trip Advisor now playing a vital role in influencing consumer decisions, it is important to get involved to get a share of the hotel industry market size.
Get started now if you don’t already have an enviable digital presence.
2. Customer Insights are everything
Hotel industry marketing strategy will now have to take into account customer insights into their marketing campaigns.
The success of a hospitality establishment depends entirely on the perception that the customers have; if they find faults, customers are not afraid to share with other customers online about the various issues that they have encountered.
Focusing on customer service in the hospitality industry is the key to sustained growth.
As such, when conducting any hotel industry market research, hotels must gauge who their customers are, and what they need in terms of service and entertainment so that as a business, you can improve on these things.
Customer insights can be implemented easily as long as hotels ask the right questions.
Image Courtesy- Digital Spark Marketing
3. Content is the King
You probably found us on the first page of Google.
Consider searching for most of the things regarding the hospitality industry and you would find us somewhere at the top.
The key reason for our search ranking is our focus on content. We create, on this Global hospitality portal, what we believe is fit for our readers. We create comprehensive content to ensure that it is helpful to our target market.
Same is true for the Hotel industry.
Content has become instrumental if hotels want to rule various hotel industry market segments.
Aside from the obvious need for an online presence, hotels have to make their websites engaging as a way of marketing to a wide pool of clientele.
Online content is an affordable alternative to get into modern methods of digital marketing.
Image by- Pixel Road Designs
It can be through articles, through infographics or videos.
4. Direct marketing
Direct marketing that includes leaflets and promotions are also still beneficial and will continue to play an essential role in the Hotel industry marketing strategy.
It is also important to influence the customer to retain them for the lifetime.
Direct Marketing in the Hotel industry is still a potent force in acquiring customers. The hospitality industry is all about service and it’s by the direct interaction that customers can be retained.
The image below gives a snapshot of the Customer lifecycle of an example customer in the hotel industry.
Image Courtesy- Hotel-Executive
5. SEO and E-mail Marketing
This again is one of the most useful and one of the top hotel industry marketing strategies in this technology era.
Everyone is online and mobile in this era and thus it is important to stay ahead of the competition by a fair margin.
Hotels have a list and e-mail id of all the customers but they don’t use it.
It is important to have repeat sales and thus e-mail marketing is crucial to retain existing customers and make new ones. Shoot your best offers to customers through emails and see the impact.
Also, it is important not to have an impeccable Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your hotel website to ensure organic growth online.
According to Hospitalitynet, proper SEO and e-mail marketing should be a key component of the Digital Marketing budget for hotels.
6. TV and Newspaper Advertisement
Marketing strategies such as TV and Newspaper advertising are still instrumental, but they are also quite expensive.
Top Hotel chains across the world still shell out a huge part of their marketing budget for advertising in Newspapers.
Probably, the return on investment is not as high with digital channels taking lead as far as return on investment is concerned.
This used to be one of the key marketing strategies of the hospitality industry in the past. However, competitors like Airbnb and others are forcing the hotel industry to come out with innovative and cost-effective marketing techniques.
Check out the recent study by Statista about Direct Marketing channels.
Now, compare them with the study by Nielson and Profitworks.
The data in the Nielson survey is from 2009 and the digital presence has only increased ever since.
While advertising still have a long-term return on investment, but the affordability issue and ease of promoting through digital channels make Newspapers and TV advertising less attractive.
7. Social Media Promotion
This seems to be one of the crucial hotel industry marketing strategies in the current era.
While social media promotion is a no-brainer today and most of the hotels are already paying huge attention to promoting everything on social media. This at times is even close to over promotion.
However, social media is now stacked and it is important for the hotels to allow some money to paid social media promotion.
Even on an experimental basis to start with.
Paid media like Adwords or Facebook adverts might seem like a thing only for the leaders of the game.
However, you can start for as little as $2 a day depending on the location. Try to get visible and integrate paid search marketing into your marketing strategy.
Rate Gain advises social media marketing as one of the key marketing strategies for the hospitality industry and probably the most effective one today.
8. Go Fast and Go Mobile
This could have been covered in the Digital marketing or website section but with Google now going gaga over mobile sites, we have decided to give a special mention to going mobile.
Going mobile going forward is going one of the most effective hotel industry marketing strategies. Well, it already is extremely effective as on date.
Also, building an app has never been easier.
It not only helps in enhancing the user experience but lowers your marketing costs in the long run.
Spending time and money on having a super interactive mobile site or app is well worth.
Now let’s discuss some of the useful marketing tools for the hospitality and tourism industry.
Top Marketing Tools in the Hospitality Industry
The Hospitality industry is growing at a tremendous rate.
Even the competition is becoming more fierce. Marketing is decisive in terms of giving a competitive advantage to hospitality organisations.
This article thus focuses on the most trusted marketing strategies and tools in the hospitality industry.
In this section, we have covered five broad categories of marketing tools to help your hospitality business shine.
We have also ensured that there are enough advanced resources as well to help the marketing strategists out there.
Top Marketing strategies for the hospitality industry ride on these tools.
We will first discuss the broad categories and then try to subdivide the categories further.
Top Marketing tools that would still hold the key to success in the hospitality industry are as follows:
Content and Media as a Hospitality Marketing Tool
Hotels and other hospitality organisations work a lot on word of mouth publicity.
Content helps you send clear messages across your target segment.
Plus, you build an organic presence across the globe.
Content marketing is becoming a clear winner these days as far as top marketing tools in the hospitality segment is concerned.
Content is equally effective in social media and e-mail marketing.
NetAffinity in one of its articles on Hotel Marketing tools has organised a few of the great resources to help build content, to do keyword research, to create better digital presence and more.
Use Evernote, Quora, Canva, Keywordtool, Buzzsumo and other tools to organise content ideas, create content and then promote them effectively.
If you have already built a website then, it’s probably the time to refresh the design for better conversion.
Content is the king.
After you have made a website and ensured that it is a quality one, you would want your audience to know more about your business.
Image courtesy- Visual
Put simply, if your hospitality organisation doesn’t have a website, it doesn’t exist.
If your organisation doesn’t have an eye-catching and attention-grabbing website, you are losing big on potential business.
Plus, not having a decent website, dents your chances to become a brand in the hospitality industry.
Thus, we have started with the website while listing the top marketing tools in the hospitality industry.
A website not only gives you an opportunity to sell yourself but also gives you various other benefits like:
- Adds credibility to your hospitality business
- Provides free marketing
- Opportunities for digital marketing
- Easy to sell your packages or products online
- An easy way to announce promotion and business news
- Helps build a global brand
- Helps in expanding to bigger markets
and much more.
2. Social Media Marketing & E-mail marketing Tools
Social media marketing today is one of the most important ways to promote your business.
A lot say that the social media space is stacked as of now. Competition is fierce but so are the opportunities.
If Hospitality businesses are to thrive, they would have to depend heavily on social media promotion and e-mail marketing.
If you don’t believe us check out the Social media research summary for 2018 by SmartInsights.
The sheer volume indicates how important digital marketing strategy is to the hospitality and travel industry which pretty much targets the globe as the audience.
Similar is the story with e-mail marketing. E-mail marketing can give you a big marketing boost.
Here are a few points to prove that e-mail marketing can be one of the most trusted marketing tools in the hospitality industry.
- Shorter Sales cycles
- Better engagement with existing client
- A great method to promote new products
- Low-cost marketing
- Better conversion rates
- Can help in getting referral sales
- Integrates well with social media
- and many more
Social media might be stacked but there are still a lot of marketing tools relevant to the hospitality industry which can be used free of cost.
Use these to promote your hospitality business and get ahead of the competition.
Here you can find 10 Free Google tools for marketing your hospitality business.
Image Courtesy- Staah
3. Printed Advertisement and Events
While the above marketing tools explained how digital platforms can help skyrocket your hospitality business, one can’t undermine conventional wisdom.
The Hospitality industry is more about face to face interaction and word of mouth publicity.
Here’s where the printed advertisement and events come in handy.
It helps you get uninterrupted attention.
The attention span is extremely less on digital platforms. Events can thus be big winners.
If you were wondering about the popularity of the Food & Beverage Shows around the world, you now know why.
A lot of the best Hospitality magazines are full of advertisements both for their online as well as printed formats.
The response rate and conversion are still high while the competition is driving the cost of these marketing tools down.
Try organising an event to showcase how your hotel or restaurant is way better than the competition.
You might make a lot of customers for a lifetime when you meet them in person.
4. Automation Tools for a bigger reach
The list of marketing tools in the hospitality industry might sound overwhelming.
So many tools. Which one to select and which one to discard?
A lot of Hotel Management Software help automate a lot of things for hospitality businesses. These include distribution systems, property management systems and more.
But, did you know that a lot of hospitality marketing tools can also be automated?
Right from social media marketing, to customer reach out to content promotion. A lot of these can be automated by using the right tools.
Image Courtesy- EvoSuite
There are a lot of providers of these automation services who can help improve the profitability of your hospitality business by a few button clicks.
Google them out and get the best fit for your organisation. Most of these would have free trials before you are forced to shell out a sum of money.
So, try them out and retain the one that fits your need and budget.
5. Customer Acquisition and retention tools
Customer acquisition and retention are two of the key hospitality Marketing Strategies. The whole aim of marketing is to acquire the customer and then retain as well as upsell.
There are a lot of marketing tools in the hospitality industry that can help in this whole process.
To acquire customers, you have to create a proper portfolio or a mix to ensure you reach out to the right people and grab their attention.
So, let’s sum up the ones mentioned in this article and few others through this image by an article published on Medium.
So, try out these to check which work the best and create an excellent portfolio.
Some initial workout and research are well worth the effort given the lifetime benefits you can expect to reap out of the effort.
Now comes the terms of customer retention.
The Hospitality industry is already quite good at it through various Customer loyalty programmes.
Don’t forget other tools like VIP clubs, Passes, Vouchers etc.
However, a little bit of innovation and some use of technology can help provide an unparalleled user experience and a better retention rate.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) solves much of the puzzle stored in the minds of customers.
The hospitality industry is already testing a lot of AI-related tools and we have already covered a lot of them on this portal.
Now moving on to some tips to create an awesome hospitality marketing plan to ensure the continued success of your hospitality organisation.
Top Tips for a Successful Hotel Marketing Plan
We are into a digital era. It is often said that if your business is not online, it does not exist.
Marketing your hotel business has thus become multi-dimensional.
Gone are the days when people used to rely only on word of mouth, newspaper advertisement, leaflets and sales personnel. In the current internet era, a small marketing team is good enough to manage a multinational business.
Thus, it is extremely important to curate a perfect marketing plan. Let’s cover a few tips for a successful hotel marketing plan in this section.
Before we head on to the points to create a perfect hotel marketing plan, let’s first discuss what exactly a marketing plan is.
“A Marketing plan is a part of the overall business strategy that contains the blueprint of overall organisational effort in terms of marketing, advertisement etc in the coming financial year.”
There is a lot of things that must go into the process to devise the best hotel industry marketing strategies. An understanding of the hospitality ecosystem holds the key but there are other important things that need to be considered while creating a perfect hotel marketing plan.
Let’s begin discussing a few of the strategies and top tips:
Align the hotel marketing plan with the corporate objective
Have a look at the corporate strategy of your hotel first. It is crucial to know the below before even proceeding with the hotel marketing plan.
- The mission of the Hotel and the corporate mission for hotel chains
- The vision of the leaders / top managers
- Budgeting- how much to invest and what return to expect
- Assumptions in collecting data and devising an action plan
Once the above is clear, move to the next steps.
A proper Market research is a must
This is crucial. Lots of hotel marketing plans lack this fundamental thing. There is little market research before devising a good plan.
Even before collecting data of the market segment for your hotel, it is important to ask yourself a few questions.
Who are my customers?
Who are my key competitors?
Is the market growing or stagnant?
What’s the demographic detail of the existing and potential customers of the hotel?
and similar questions.
Then based on the answers collect data which are easily available on the world wide web. Once the key areas to collect data are figured out, it is easy to get data without even a need of hitting the road. The old school style of collecting data has been replaced by the emergence of worldwide web and market research firms.
Carry out an in-depth Hotel Industry Analysis
It is extremely important to do some background research of the industry you are operating in. It is like studying the route before thinking about the destination. This can be extremely important when you plan to market your hotel as if you get the people or price wrong, it can lead to a downslide of turnover and profits.
the key areas to look at while doing the analysis are:
- SWOT Analysis – Hotel industry SWOT analysis and then an analysis of your hotel individually can give good bird’s eye view of the overall market.
- PESTLE Analysis – This covers even the macro environment and should be used especially when the marketing plan is for a group of hotels.
- Marketing Mix– 4 Ps and 7 Ps and 4 Cs
Check the below image from Traveltech Strategies for a snapshot on what to consider for devising a good hotel marketing plan. Have a look. There are more variables to consider than what you would have assumed. It is these variables that could give your hotel a competitive edge.
Is the hotel marketing plan innovative?
If you are not stressing on innovation, it is extremely difficult to gain a competitive edge.
There are hundreds of new hotels opening in all regions of the world and the customer is expecting more and more at a lesser price. Thus it is crucial to get innovative to ensure more bookings and sales for your hotel.
Innovation can be either transformational or incremental. For your hotel marketing plan, look for incremental innovation in areas like:
- How to get better customer visibility
- How to create a better reputation
- Getting better screen time
- marketing services in an innovative and customer-friendly manner
and there is transformation innovation most of which at this time is dependent on artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The hospitality industry has witnessed a lot of top innovation. It is important to keep being creative and innovative in how you and your team approach hotel marketing.
Extra focus on Digital marketing
It is crucial to go with the flow. Digital Marketing trends in the hospitality industry must be assessed and considered while creating a hotel marketing plan.
The top focus should be on:
- Data-driven marketing
- Marketing automation
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning
- Chatbots and personal assistant features for better customer service
- Mobile-first strategy
- A proper content management strategy is a must for your hotel.
The image below displays that your hotel could find itself in the bottom half if the content strategy of the hotel is not documented. So, it’s a must to have one in the hotel marketing plan.
Image Courtesy- HotelSpeak
Try not to be in the bottom 40% and definitely not in the 6% who don’t even bother to have a content marketing plan embedded in the marketing plan for their hotel.
Teamwork- Listening to others is a must
The hotel industry is all about people and service. It is crucial to understand both the internal customer and the external customer.
The internal customer is the team and a plan on paper is not good until it has the potential to be realised and executed well on the ground by the team.
so, it is crucial to listen to others to device a great hotel marketing plan.
Invest in a Better Website for brand building
This topic has been beaten to death and we have mentioned the importance of the website in this article already.
But, reminding this again is worth it due to its immense importance in every successful marketing plan.
This definitely is one of the crucial and most important tips for a great marketing plan.
In today’s technology-driven world, a website is one of the best marketing tools for hotels.
Website is your organisation’s identity in the current era.
People first see the website of the hotel before even looking to buy any of the services on offer.
Thus, it is important to put up a strong first impression.
Over time it helps to create a good reputation and brand. It should be used in conjunction with social media marketing.
Study your competition and give them a place in the marketing plan
Competitor analysis is crucial. It is important to understand who the competitors are and which of the competitors can become an opportunity for the hotel in future.
Competitor analysis help in benchmarking and understanding the customer overlap.
It also helps in creating a better plan than competitors and then outpace them in growth.
A clear and decisive action plan is a must
Now for last but not the least. A tip towards creating a great hotel marketing plan.
The plan that stays on paper is of no use. There must be a clearly achievable and decisive action plan well documented. This is to guide the team to follow a path for achieving the results that the market plan strives to achieve.
A lot of points should be considered to take a holistic approach towards marketing strategy for your hotel.
Image Courtesy- MBAskool
A clear, concise and inclusive hotel marketing plan needs a lot of groundwork.
A lot of expertise, hard work, precision and experience is involved in devising top marketing strategies to ensure that your hotel gets more bookings and improves in customer base and reputation.
We hope the above-mentioned points would help your hotel move in the right direction as far as marketing for growth is concerned.
Here you go. 8 obvious yet underutilised hotel industry marketing strategies.
There are a lot of other marketing strategies that can be used by the hotel industry to gain and retain a competitive edge.
Technology today is coming up like a quick fix solution to everything. However, we must not ignore the conventional wisdom as we stressed in this post.
We covered a few of the most trusted marketing tools in the hospitality industry. Hopefully, we will be of some help in helping your hospitality business shine a bit more.
Check out another extensive guide of 58 marketing tools in an article on Hubspot.
Get the best out the digital marketing channel. The image is a good recap of what you should be considering.
Image Courtesy- Boston University
However, also remember that Old is Gold.
Nothing would beat a personal interaction in the hospitality industry.
The events, telesales and leaflets can be offbeat for other industries but they continue wielding magic in our very own hospitality world.
Hope you liked the list of few of these simple yet powerful hotel industry marketing strategies. There is a lot more information about the Hospitality industry at this all hospitality portal.
So, please keep checking back or use the search box to carry on exploring more about the Hospitality and travel industry.