Industry Update
Opinion Article 9 January 2019

Hotel Advertising is Getting Smarter and So Should You

By Lillian Connors, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Bizzmark

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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.

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Let's face it: the internet has completely reshaped the advertising industry as a whole. Unlike in some simpler times, it is no longer enough to pour money into communication channels of choice. The successful advertiser of today needs to be smart, efficient, and meticulous in maximizing every available channel and platform. Even the traditionally inert educational system has begun to embrace this dramatic shift, with well-structured modern curriculums such as this contemporary master course in advertising shifting the focus away from the traditional pillars of advertising theory and placing it firmly into the context of living in a digital age, with all the specifics it entails.

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.

Smart website

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!

Optimization

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.

Perks

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.

Lillian Connors

As a senior digital marketing consultant, Lillian Connors believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale.

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