Hotel marketing requires a strategy that recognizes the need for a strong online presence. It’s not enough to be listed on online travel sites anymore – guests will also research your website, look up what others have said about you, and look for what you say about yourself.
We’ve compiled a thorough list of hotel marketing ideas from around the web and from the pros to get you started.
Customers in loyalty programs return twice as often. Did you know that Square has a loyalty program? Square offers a great free POS system, which can be expanded to include a loyalty system. You can customize the program to give rewards based on visits or amounts spent and manage it all from your Square dashboard. Once you have this in place, you should see more frequently-returning customers. To get a free, 30-day trial of the Square loyalty program, you’ll first need to click here to set up your free Square account.
One of the biggest barriers that people face in choosing a hotel is knowing what their room will look like. By providing a virtual tour, you’ll give your prospects an idea of what they should expect so that they can visualize the value of what you can provide immediately. View Brandon’s article, which includes 13 hotel marketing ideas.
Jignesh Gohel, Founder & Marketing Head, OLBUZ
Content marketing is one of the best and most effective ways to increase your hotel bookings. I have been working with many clients from the travel and hospitality industry, and have successfully implemented this practice for quite some time. First step in this practice is to find out all of the different questions or problems your target audiences have and create detailed content solving those problems. This will help to build their trust in your hotel or brand and will increase the chances of converting them into customers. I’d suggest going to Quora and finding a list of questions related to places near your hotel location. You will find bunch of queries associated with the location, like best places to visit around / things to do around / best food to taste in “___” city, etc. Create content on those topics and you are done!
For hotels, there are very few websites more crucial to marketing than TripAdvisor. In fact, 60 percent of American travelers consult TripAdvisor before booking their hotel. If there’s one place to represent yourself in a pristine manner, it’s TripAdvisor. View these tips from Hospitality Net on how to increase your ranking on the popular website.
Make your advertising budget go even further with some help from the pros at Hibu. They are one of a select few, officially-badged Facebook Marketing Partners in the US that also specialize in supporting small businesses. Hibu offers social campaign creation, management, and monitoring, and they’ll even run social advertising campaigns for you. As a full-service digital solutions provider, they also offer website design, search engine marketing and optimization, display advertising, digital listings management and other services that will boost your online presence. Click here to get in touch with a representative today.
As a small or independent hotelier, you have the luxury of creating a blog to further engage your guests. But blogging can be tough if you don’t know what to say. Here are 12 content ideas from HotelContractBeds to help you develop a hotel blog and keep the ideas rolling in.
Having multiple positive reviews on TripAdvisor is extremely important. Hotels with lots of reviews can attract new guests due to popularity. In this article, Mark Hayward lists four ways to ask guests to review your hotel. Keep in mind that it’s not permissible to ask for positive reviews, but if you provide a good service, reviewers should leave a good review.
Hotels stand to gain a lot by marketing on social media. You can use social media to speak directly to your guests and foster relationships. Need help knowing where to start? This guide from Moneytized will give you easy, actionable steps (and reasons for doing them).
How can you use social media to market your hotel? Xotels’ Patrick provides 10 great ways to boost your online reputation with the aid of social media platforms such as Facebook.
Marc Prosser, Co-founder, Fit Small Business
In the hospitality industry, nothing is more important than your guests. Knowing how to best serve them and communicate with them is key to having them come back. Utilize email tracking software like Freshsales to run email campaigns that will send targeted offers to your clients, encouraging them to make return visits. Click here to start using Freshsales’ free software.
11. Create Special Packages for Group Events
Maksym Podsolonko, CEO, eazyplan
Small hotels have numerous marketing opportunities when it comes to hosting group events, but they are usually overlooked.
- Family and friends reunions. Create special offers for private groups up to your capacity. Include a special menu and drinks package and throw in a small accommodation discount to increase your revenue.
- Offsite meetings. Reach out to local businesses with a special offer for half-day, full day and multi-day meetings. They need the rooms for management meetings away from the regular employees, marketing research, groupthink sessions and so much more. Postcards addressed to the assistants of different departments in a company will bring a much better result than Facebook ads.
- Intimate weddings. Did you know they are becoming a trend? Weddings for only closest friends and relatives of up to 20-30 guests are becoming very popular. Target them before everybody else does and get a nice revenue from your food and beverage and rooms departments.
Did you know that your hotel loyalty program can market for you? Hotel Business Review breaks down why hotel loyalty programs really do work, and they’re not just for the big brands – small, ultra-boutique hotels can also get in on the action.
Simon of Journey takes us through eight ways to effectively market an independent hotel. He touches on the importance of branding using video, your website, offline methods, and more. Wherever you tell your hotel’s story, be consistent.
Are you flexible to the market around you, or are you simply focused on getting heads on beds? Sam explains the virtue of swaying with market demand and provides four examples to back up his expert advice.
Gavin Graham, Fit Small Business
Do you know how your hotel stacks up against the competition when potential guests are searching online for a place to stay? Make sure your hotel is listed in as many online directories as possible so more guests can find you. Yext is a free tool that lets you scan local listings across multiple sites so you can see where you show up and make sure all of your information is up to date. Click here to scan your listings for free.
16. Create Digital Guides
Sophia Borghese, PR Consultant, La Galerie Hotel
Fewer people (especially those in the younger generations) are picking up hotel lobby brochures. However, these people still need advice about what to see and do. In a fully-lit city like New Orleans, there are a ton of things for people to do, so knowing where to begin can be hard. With our digital marketing, we’ve created numerous city-related guides to help our visitors. For instance, we’ve done guides for Mardi Gras, Festival Season and more. We find that people like having a guide they can check on their phones.
Determine what makes your hotel unique and what makes it stand out from your competition. Then make sure you are the best in town for the niche you have decided to dominate. In this article, Udemy covers this plus 10 other tips for marketing your hotel.
There’s a lot of discussion about the impact Airbnb will have on the hotel industry. In order to stay competitive, hotels need to strengthen the weaknesses that entice consumers to choose hotel alternatives. In this article, eHotelier explains four ways hotels can better compete against Airbnb.
19. Develop a Relationship with Local Tourism Boards and Chambers of Commerce
Matthew Aversa, Chief Executive Officer, Twenty One PR
For hotels, it’s important to stay in touch with the local tourism boards as well as other associations that could further business. Tourism boards assist with placing events and reaching out to press around the country, and are valuable resources for staying in touch with other local businesses. Tourism boards, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), and destination marketing organizations have the job of bringing visitors to an area and promoting the businesses in that area. Therefore, it’s important to have a good relationship with them.
The vast majority of hotel reservations these days come from online bookings. Since these guests can be looking at your site at any time of day, there’s no guarantee that their questions will arise during your help desk’s normal business hours. Freshchat gives you the power of AI to provide automated live chat for hotels, 24/7, 365 days a year. Best of all, the basic version of Freshchat is free to use. Click here to try it yourself.
21. Become Your Guests’ Virtual Tour Guide with a Mobile App
Jason Donahue, Co-Founder & CEO, Sidewalk
As customers increasingly seek out local experiences when they travel, hotels are wise to look to non-traditional ways to reach their guests where they are. The solution: create an experiential product offering that engages guests and potential customers beyond the hotel lobby. Sidewalk is an app that helps brands engage their customers through self-guided urban walks. The Sidewalk app navigates customers around the city at their pace and schedule, and shares neighborhood context and personal recommendations. We work with hotels to create walks for their guests that showcase the hotel’s brand, voice and local expertise. By demonstrating expertise and “shared experiences,” brands are more likely to create relationships with their customers.
22. Incentivize Customers to Market on Your Behalf
Jeff Kear, Owner, Planning Pod
You should offer awards and incentives to guests who make fun or quirky videos of your hotel and post them to social media. Videos are by far the most viewed items on Facebook, and Google continues to push YouTube videos in its rankings, so online video marketing can be a great niche to appeal to younger demographics. You could offer a discount to anyone who posts a fun video about your property to YouTube or Facebook, and you can also add the video to your YouTube channel and promote it there.
23. Market the Area, Not Just the Hotel…
Richard Gornall, Proprietor, The Hideaway at Windermere
Holidaymakers want an experience, not just somewhere to sleep. Your hotel obviously plays an important part in this, especially if you offer spa features and other experiential activities, but don’t overlook the importance of marketing the town, city, or area where your hotel is booked. If you do have a countryside hotel, pick out some of the best walks and trails, offer details of local bike hire companies, and offer everything your guests can use to improve their stay.
24. …And Partner with Local Establishments
Scott Selenow, President, Immerse Agency
Weave your hotel into the fabric of the local community by developing partnerships with local institutions, venues, museums and cultural centers. Provide some space for them to display rack cards and coupons in the hotel, which will act as added value for your customers, and in exchange require them to place a link on their website for out-of-town guests to take advantage of your hotel deals. Generating these partnerships won’t cost you a penny and will pay dividends when you have ambassadors for your hotel working at local institutions in the community.
Advertising your hotel on search engines is a great way to get in front of potential guests when they’re looking for a place to stay. Although most people stop at advertising on Google, you shouldn’t overlook other search engines like Bing. With over 30% of the search engine market share and 5 billion monthly searches, Bing can help you reach even more potential guests. Click here and get $100 advertising credit when you spend $25.
26. Publish Newsletters That Include Special Discounts
Begin a newsletter campaign that past guests actually want to read. Tons of businesses, including hotels, have really boring emails. They do newsletters, maybe because it’s just commonplace and industry standard. But the reality is that more and more, customers are getting bored and tired of reading generic, self-promotional emails. So if you run a newsletter (or are beginning one), consider focusing it around special deals or discounts that only subscribers can get. Or run a giveaway for a free stay. You also might consider highlighting your favorite restaurants or cool things to do. Think about what information your guests would like to receive, and (realistically) how often they’d like to receive it. Hint – it’s probably not every day. If they don’t delete or unsubscribe, you’ll be able to stay front of mind.
27. Create a 3D Interactive Map of Your Hotel
Chris Munz, VP of Business Development, Concept3D
A 3D map and in-depth virtual tour can be a significant competitive advantage for hotel marketing teams. Boutique and mid-sized hotels in particular benefit by being able to highlight the unique spaces, rooms, dining and amenities that make them stand out. These tours can be shared in many different ways for marketing, from a website pop-up to email reminders and digital marketing campaigns, and are extremely powerful in-person. Being able to provide 360-degree images – all stitched together so people can walk around digitally – creates an immersive experience that can only be matched by standing in the room or location itself. Using a virtual tour, people will remember your hotel for sure.
28. Harness the Power of the “Selfie Generation”
Brandon Wright, Marketing, ThoughtLab
Millennials crave three things: experiences, Instagram, and avocado toast. Take advantage of two of these three loves by creating an environment that begs your guests to share their vacation memories from your hotel on social media. Have an empty wall? Invite an artist to paint a mural so beautiful and unique that guests can’t help but pause for a picture. Tying your brand to the positive memories made and shared by your guests will increase not only organic reach, but brand loyalty.
29. Challenge Online Travel Agents Through PPC
Richard Plant, Head of Digital Marketing, Up Hotel Agency
All hotels need visibility on OTAs (i.e., Booking.com, Hotels.com). However, this shouldn’t be prioritized over taking direct bookings. Hotels can lose approximately 20 percent of room revenue from room nights through OTAs. Small hotels should therefore be challenging for price parity with OTAs. To achieve this, they should be looking to bid on their own brand through Google AdWords (PPC) to appear amongst the OTAs in Google searches. Smaller hotels should also be looking towards appearing in meta search. For example, The Athenaeum are pushing direct bookings, and are therefore successful in appearing above the OTAs in terms of the PPC ads and meta search on the right hand side of the Google search.
30. Actively Remarket to Become More Visible to Decision Makers
Mark Irvine, Sr. Data Scientist, WordStream
As a recently married man, I can vouch for the fact that even if I find a hotel I love right away, I’m seldom the key decision maker in my own purchases. Since we’ll have to coordinate our travel with our partners, family, and friends, we’re likely to search several times over a few weeks before ultimately booking our rooms. Knowing this trend, it’s particularly important for SEMs to make the best of remarketing and RLSA to keep your brand front of mind for purchasers during this decision process.
31. Continuously Improve Your Website Experience
Natalie Athanasiadis, Owner and Head of Digital, Digital Visibility Group – Melbourne
Revisit the website experience you are providing. Ask yourself questions like is the booking experience seamless? Is the content on page answering the questions potential guests will have prior to booking? Are our call to actions prominent and driving conversions? Making sure you have the best website experience all around for your potential guests means they will be more likely to book with you directly instead of bouncing off your site to book through an online travel agency platform.
32. Offer a Complimentary Stay to Travel Writers and Bloggers
Jeffrey R. Orenstein, Ph.D., Travel Journalist, Simply Smart Travel
One tactic that seems to work well is to offer a complimentary stay with amenities to travel writers who have readers in the demographics/geographics of your target market. It is very likely that they will write a fair and usually quite good article about the property.
Take advantage of peak periods by sending your email list a promotion so that people have an incentive to book at your hotel instead of your competitor’s. This article from SiteMinder discusses six ways to promote your hotel and increase revenue using email marketing.
34. Make Sure You Have a Fully Filled Out Google My Business Page
Alex Bar, Third Temple Digital
It is always a good idea to add specific information about the hotel on Google Business Listing (pricing, bedrooms, stars). Doing this increases the chance that your hotel will pop up in Google searches before the organic search results. A lot of people first check these suggestions because they usually provide the most basic information very prominently.
Setting up a Google My Business page for your hotel is free and easy to do. Learn how to set it up here.
In this article, Michael Leander discusses three common mistakes hotel marketers make when displaying their product online. He points out how hotels can go wrong with their well-intentioned marketing strategies by calling out hotels who get it wrong, and explaining how they can get it right.
36. Partner with a Sports Team Coming to Your Area
Ishveen Anand, OpenSponsorship
Piggyback on sports events being held in your area by hosting athletes or partnering with the team/event. Sports events bring in a ton of tourists, and sponsoring the athletes or events will give you visibility and access to all the fans.
37. Create a Package That Includes a Local Activity and Market It on Facebook to People Interested in That Activity
Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen Agency
Put together a series of packages that include amenities at the hotel that coincide with area/regional “things to do.” So, if the area is known for local wines or horses, for example, tie in a program that would include things at the hotel that engage those interests (e.g., a wine tasting at the hotel). Then, you can market it on Facebook based on people’s interests (such as people who have wine or horses listed as an interest) as opposed to just randomly trying to market to “travelers.”
View our guide to Facebook advertising to learn how to set this up.
38. Use Instagram to Give People a Glimpse of What Your Hotel Looks Like
Mindy Scraper, Mindy The Lion
Consumers are using Instagram as a primary method of research to decide which hotels and resorts feel like the best fit for their needs. There’s an assumption that hotel-generated web content can be misleading, so consumers have turned to social media to peruse user-generated content of the property to see what the resort “actually” looks like. Their first impression is often the hotel’s own Instagram page, so it’s important to run a well-groomed account that greets these researchers with authenticity and professionalism.
39. Avoid Getting Caught Understaffed with Smarter Staff Scheduling
Ryan Fyfe, CEO & Founder, Humanity
Hotel guests hate waiting. They don’t like waiting for you to show them to their rooms or to get a drink at the bar. Happy, satisfied guests who never have to wait to be served are more likely to give you free marketing via word of mouth, right? How can you make sure that your hotel is never understaffed, but at the same time, keep your labor costs down by not blindly overstaffing? You can do so by using advanced, data-driven employee scheduling software.
Over to You
We hope you enjoyed these hotel marketing ideas! Have you found success marketing your hotel in a way that wasn’t mentioned in this article? Let us know in the comments section below.
If you have the items above in place but still need more creative ideas on how to market your hotel, check out our Ultimate Guide on How to Market a Hotel.