Previously, we presented an outline for preparing a local marketing plan for your hotel. Understanding you most likely have a limited budget, here are a few tips to generate awareness and revenue at little or no cost for your hotel.
1) State Division of Tourism listing and marketing opportunities
- Your State Division of Tourism is specifically marketing to business and leisure travelers who are planning trips to your city and state. Many states offer free listing opportunities on their websites and in the annual travel guides. They may also offer enhanced listings for minimal fees. Are you taking advantage of these?
- Many offer important traveler information covering feeder markets where consumers are coming from, demographic traveler profiles and other valuable information you can use for marketing your hotel.
- Some offer free press release distribution to their travel industry partners, as well as the opportunity to post hot deals for your hotel. There are also states that offer co-op marketing programs with very cost-effective print and online advertising.
- Take the time to get involved with your Division of Tourism office to understand all of the opportunities and take advantage of these no-cost and low-cost marketing channels.
2) Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce
- Consider getting involved with either or both of these organizations. They have marketing campaigns targeting travelers specifically coming to your area.
- Similar to the Division of Tourism, these organizations offer online listings for hotels, restaurants, convention centers and other things to do in the area. People search for hotels near these places, so if you’re not there, you’re not found.
- These organizations may also offer cost-effective advertising opportunities that you can take advantage of to increase your exposure to potential guests.
3) Social media
- Social media continues to grow in importance and is the fastest-growing category of internet marketing in terms of attracting new users.
- The typical traveler uses social media throughout the entire process of traveling: to dream, research, plan, book, share and review. And it’s more important than ever that you be present every step of the way. Social media is one of the critical tools to interact with both potential guests and current ones because it allows you to establish a one-on-one relationship and customize your posts to their needs.
- You will be able to receive automatic feedback on how users react to your social media messages. However, in order to engage your audience, you have to offer something of value in return. In addition to rate specials, updates and promotions, you must provide them with useful travel information and help guide them through their travel experience.
4) Google My Business
- Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your business profile and business website on Google Search and Maps. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your business profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.
- Local search is an integral element of a comprehensive digital marketing campaign, and Google My Business is a huge and ever-growing factor.
5) Email marketing campaigns
- You should be collecting your guests’ email addresses and communicating with them directly. From a “Thanks for being our guest” to special promotional offers, emails are a very inexpensive marketing channel to keep your hotel top-of-mind and continue to build loyalty for future visits.
6) Partner with a complementary business
- A great strategy to gain more exposure and reduce ad costs is to contact another business to share ad space and develop co-promotions together. For instance, partner with a local restaurant, funeral home or university to co-market your businesses with enticing offers to out-of-town guests, while increasing your marketing reach and lowering your marketing spend.
Start the marketing process with these cost-effective marketing channels and build from there. It will be worth your time to expand your exposure to potential guests, resulting in more revenue for your hotel.