Taking a proactive marketing approach in a very competitive hospitality industry is important in order to stay one step ahead of other hotels in your market. If you’re with a national brand, understanding the marketing campaigns the franchise places and resources offered to assist your property at a local level are good starting points.
Preparing a marketing plan that targets your current and potential guests will help maximize your exposure and revenue opportunities. The comprehensiveness of the plan depends on the level of marketing originating from the brand. If you’re an independent property, the scope is much greater.
1) Look at the overall marketing strategy options, including digital, traditional media and partnerships. Identify methods to reach your target audiences with the right messages during the decision-making process. Take advantage of the co-op or other marketing programs your franchise offers to assist at a local level.
2) Many chains will offer a combination of reservation platforms and digital marketing channels at a brand level, for instance:
- Reservation website, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, metasearch, social media, review platforms, content marketing and email campaigns
3) You know your market, property and customers better than anyone. Therefore, the more time and thought you put into providing the brand with pertinent information will help bring more revenue to your hotel.
- Photos: Presenting compelling property photos is critical in an online world. Put yourself in the prospective guest’s position to showcase rooms, amenities and other features. Photos of the exterior with signage and even the parking lot are part of the decision-making process. Show a sunny day; water down the parking lot to hide imperfections; take the photo with cars in the lot. People look quickly and will move on to another hotel if photos are not high quality and represent your property in a positive light.
- Description: Think about your target audience and the needs they want to satisfy by booking a room and the overall hotel. Use descriptive copy that conveys the comfort, value and exceptional service they will receive.
- Location: Common activities travelers do are dining, shopping, sightseeing and entertainment. Provide comprehensive information to the brand about the area’s highlights, including attractions, restaurants, business centers, etc. The descriptive copy and keywords associated with terms travelers are searching for will help your hotel get booked.
4) Marketing is not all up to the brand. You need to play an active role with supplementing the brand’s advertising with local and regional strategies. A few examples include:
- Google My Business listing: It’s free and doesn’t take long to set up. Local search results are very important and offer the opportunity to showcase your hotel’s profile.
- Travel association listings & marketing: Take advantage of opportunities with the State Division of Tourism, Convention & Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Some listings are free and many of the paid ads are much less expensive than you can get on your own.
- Social media & public relations: You can take control of your reputation management, by communicating with current and potential customers through social media. And also have the opportunity to build awareness within your community with PR strategies that are very cost effective.
- Email campaigns: The brand may have an email marketing campaign, but you should also collect email addresses from your customers to communicate with them about their stays, special promotions, local area events and other topics.
The bottom line is to align with your brand and take advantage of its programs. Provide the best possible information that will be circulated throughout the central reservation system and all distribution channels. Develop your own marketing plan to identify local marketing opportunities to use in conjunction with the brand’s campaigns. It’s an ongoing process and can be updated and adjusted as you go along, but if you make the commitment, the revenue opportunities will continue to expand.