Hotel marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. There are dozens of strategies out there that your hotel can implement to increase direct bookings and drive more revenue, but you don’t necessarily need to use all of them to have a successful hotel marketing plan. A few really good strategies can go a long way, and you can focus your marketing efforts on getting those few right. Here are three of the most important tips for an effective marketing plan that you spend your energy on.
Create a Great Website
A website is your most powerful marketing tool. Every other marketing strategy leads prospective guests to your website, and your website is the one of the only places where guests can make a direct booking. Your website allows you to capture direct bookings, so you don’t need to pay additional commissions out to other parties.
Spend the time to make sure your website is easy to navigate, intuitive, and attractive. Don’t go overboard with flashy fonts or animations—just keep it simple and easily readable. Of course, people take visuals into account, so take the time to make the design attractive, and highlight your best pictures on your website.
A website is also the platform where prospective guests can learn the most about your hotel. Be informative, and communicate all of your offerings clearly for browsing visitors. In times of COVID-19, talk about all of your new policies and procedures in place to keep guests and staff safe within your hotel. Not only does your website function as an informative tool, but it also works to build trust in potential guests.
At the end of the day, your website is still a marketing tool, so the goal is to get browsing visitors to make that booking. Use a strong and visible call-to-action button to prompt people to actually take action and make a reservation.
While emails often get lost in inboxes and don’t get seen, text messages can be a much more effective marketing tool. Text messages have significantly higher open rates and engagement rates than emails do. Texting can also be a very personal way of communicating, and people also tend to respond to them much faster. Use SMS marketing to create personalized marketing campaigns that can target past guests and invite them back to stay at your property again.
Of course, the actual message matters more. Personalize the messaging to match guests’ interests and past behaviors. If they spent a lot of time relaxing at your spa the last time they stayed at your hotel, offer them a special spa package. If they really like the beach, offer them a discount on a room with an ocean view. Get creative with your messaging, and offer past guests something they can’t say no to.
Highlight Positive Guest Experiences
Online reputation management matters. Online reviews can have a very strong impact on the number of bookings your hotel gets. Having a lot of negative reviews inevitably turns prospective guests away, but positive reviews can help you earn their trust.
Highlight the positive guest experiences on your website. Having social proofs of great experiences can help potential guests make the commitment. If you’re able to, show pictures of people smiling and enjoying their experience at your hotel.
While you can’t make everybody happy, you can still respond to negative reviews and offer up a solution to their problem. By solving the issue, you can respectfully ask the reviewer to change their review to be more positive. Not only can you boost those individual negative reviews, but the act of responding and solving problems shows other people that you are committed to guest satisfaction no matter what.