Hotel Advertising is Getting Smarter and So Should You
By Lillian Connors, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Bizzmark
The advertising landscape in the hospitality industry has changed dramatically in recent years. With the ever-growing power of the internet, the rise of websites such as Booking an Airbnb and the increasingly intricate and complicated world of website and SEO optimization, mobile devices, user experience and all the other elements of advertising in the 21st century, today more than ever it takes a comprehensive effort on multiple fronts to reach, attract, and retain customers.
In short, hotel advertising in the Millennial era is a lot of hard work, without too many shortcuts and with countless aspects to juggle simultaneously. In order to give yourself a chance to be noticed in an over-saturated advertising market you must mount a comprehensive campaign on numerous fronts in both the virtual and the digital world. Here's a brief checklist of the fundamental areas to cover to set your hotel business up for success in modern times.
This one seems obvious, but many hotel businesses lose potential customers by overlooking their website. To repeat once again: your website needs to be clear and efficient. In the age when travelers can book accommodations on their mobile devices in a manner of minutes, if not seconds, it is absolutely necessary that visitors can easily find all the necessary information and make a booking with absolute ease and convenience. Make it fast and user friendly, make sure it works well on mobile devices, have attractive visuals in appropriate formats, use the provided user analytics to customize the experience for individual users - in short, use all available resources to create a superior user experience!
With an overwhelming percentage of prospective travelers beginning their inquiry through a search engine, it is impossible to overstate the significance of search engine optimization. Stay on top of your SEO and make sure that your website isn't slow and dysfunctional. You don't get too many chances and too much time with potential customers, so make the most of it! Additionally, as much as your budget allows it, utilize ad options in search engines (Google's Search and Display networks, Bing Ads, etc.), on social networks, and relevant travel and booking websites.
Your potential clients will need specific reasons to pick your accommodations over numerous alternatives, whether it's price, location, quality of facilities and service, and any other relevant factor. And if those factors alone are not enough to bring you a steady stream of visitors, try giving them a little extra for the money by offering discounts and special offers (and make them time-limited for a greater effect). Additionally, reward your existing customers by creating a loyalty program providing discounts and other incentives for returning visitors.
Hitting the mark
Not all hotels are the same: some cater to the wealthy, others to budget travelers, some to the young, others to couples, and so on. By now you probably already have a pretty good idea about your customer target group, and the best way to reach new customers is to nail your targeting and deliver your message to the right address. If your hotel offers a variety of services for different types of budget, have a separate approach to different audiences. Search engines and social networks usually have enough analytical data to help you narrow down your target for maximum effect.
Providing superior service
Ultimately, your existing clients are one of the most powerful marketing vehicles at your disposal. Don't underestimate the power of customer reviews! In their search for the best place available, people rely greatly on the experiences of previous customers in making their decisions. By going above and beyond to provide a pleasant and comfortable experience for your visitors you are investing in future visitors as well. Not only are satisfied customers more likely to come back, but they are also likely to spread the word about it.
There are countless other little and big things you will have to do to help your hospitality business stand out, but taking care of these fundamentals will be a healthy base for future success.