Having a strong online presence is essential for hotels. The vast majority of bookings are now made through apps, websites, and mobile devices. Whether you’re a small independent hotel or part of a large conglomerate, a digital Ïmarketing strategy is needed.
The reality in 2023 is that even if your front desk staff is excellent, rooms are beautiful, and service is phenomenal, no one will notice without an online presence. It’s not enough for hotel’s to have a great experience, you also must be able to deliver what you offer to the right people online.
Combining the avenues in this guide will lead to an effective strategy. Through creating valuable content, improving SEO, following effective website practices, and being strategic about the marketing process, you can revamp your digital marketing to be a powerful source of growth.
Creating quality content is a key part of the marketing process. Your hotel has a story. It’s your job to communicate that story to potential guests around the world, and content creation is the vehicle for you to do so.
One doesn’t need to look far to see the power of content marketing in the hotel industry. In 2015, Marriott International launched a site with blog posts, travel tips, and extensive breakdowns of locations around the world for tourists–Marriott Traveler. By 2018, Marriott Traveler was visited by more than 3 million people across the web. The effect was significant. People flocked to the hotel’s landing pages from the site, and revenue increased by more than 200 percent year to year.
The success of Marriott Traveler shows the power of content. However, your hotel’s content doesn’t need to reach millions of people to be effective. In a crowded digital landscape, hotels that provide valuable blogs, newsletters, and engaging social media posts to their target audience will stand above the rest.
Starting or improving a content marketing plan is a difficult task. We’ll break down the types of content hotels should create, how to keep new content ideas consistently coming in, creating a content schedule, managing social media, and other topics to optimize your content marketing strategy.
Telling your hotel’s story never ends. Content marketing requires work on a regular basis and refining your process over time. This guide will help get you started.
Email marketing varies depending on the type of hotel. Hotels part of big hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton, or Hyatt hotels have less control in their email strategy compared to independent hotels. This is because large corporations control the emails their hotels send, making them consistent across the board, compared to independent hotels, which can develop a more customized list and cater specific email content to different segments.
Having an effective email marketing strategy will build strong relationships with guests, generate leads and bookings, and often help in obtaining repeat business and upselling. Additionally, email can be useful for restaurants, spas, and other parts of your hotel. Even in bigger brands, the other aspects inside a hotel like restaurants can have much more control over their email marketing strategy then with the hotel rooms. For all of these cases, specific messages can be tailored to guests based on their past behavior and visits.
The strategies listed below will help your hotel utilize email to its full extent. However, as mentioned before, hotels should be careful about their email rules if they’re part of a corporate brand.
Sending effective emails isn’t much different from creating blog/social media content at its core: you want to deliver a quality message to the right people. This means honing in on the types of emails you want to send out, developing a list with the right people, optimizing your writing to draw high levels of engagement, and measuring your success in an intelligent way. We’ll cover these areas from start to finish to get your hotel a strong start in email marketing.
While hotels owned or managed by corporate chains have little flexibility when it comes to their brand website, independent hotels and hotels within big brands that have permission to build a second independent website (vanity site) can utilize more of this advice in this guide. Your website is often the first impression that guests get of your hotel. Not only is it key for generating bookings, but it’s also your ambassador that tells your story 24/7.
Optimizing your website is essential to a strong digital presence. A great website will appear high on search engines, sell the experience through a combination of visuals and effective copy, and provide important information to guests.
With the right execution, independent hotels and vanity sites have the power to turn their website into their strongest advocate with a very custom experience that should show online what guests feel on property. For hotels websites within bigger brands, hotels still have some control and should do all the opportunities that make sense for them within the scope of the bigger brand.
Search Engine Optimization
Improving your hotel’s visibility on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines is a necessity in the digital age. It doesn’t matter how exceptional your service is or how compelling of a story you have–if no one sees it, no one will book a room.
Putting effort into your SEO and moving up search engine rankings will greatly increase the traffic to your website. Even being a few spots above your competitors in a simple “hotels in (LOCATION INSERT HERE)” search will give you an important edge.
Working on SEO means defining your target audience, writing quality content, using the right keywords throughout your site, and utilizing links and metadata. There’s a lot to cover, but if you take the right steps and follow these best practices, your hotel will move up the search engine rankings in due time.
Putting together a paid advertising strategy for your hotel is a difficult task. Not only is your hotel competing against competitors in your area, but also booking engines that show your own services but take their own fee from your bookings.
Choosing the right campaign, platform, target and writing ad copy effectively is a task that you may want to prioritize people with experience to help with because of the various levels of success it can bring. Paid ads need to be goal focused. As Google, Meta, and other platforms have become a pay to play game, it’s important to understand where your money is going and whether it’s accomplishing what you want it to. But if done right, it’s very effective. With billions of users on Meta and Google and other sites, ad campaigns done the right way will optimize your hotel’s presence across the web.
Your content, website, email, SEO, and paid ads practices must tie into a broader marketing strategy. This final section will cover how to combine the elements of this guide in an effective manner.
Goals, a timeline, and a budget are the three key aspects of any effective business plan. The objectives you set should be quantifiable, tied to a deadline, and backed by a specific budget you are willing to spend. Marketing your hotel is a long-term process. Here, we’ll cover how to stay organized and on-track throughout it all.
The six sections of this guide contain the strategies and tips needed to make your hotel’s digital presence a valuable asset for attracting guests. Creating relevant and useful content, improving your website and SEO, running email and paid ad campaigns, and tying all marketing initiatives to a goal, timeline, and budget will turn your online presence into a more valuable advocate.
With so many moving parts that change each year, coordinating your digital marketing efforts can be difficult. Hiring a proven agency will make the process easier and more effective. Specializing in design, marketing, and strategy, 97 Switch has a proven track record of working with hotels.
Interested in learning more? Connect with us.