Industry Update
Opinion Article27 February 2019

For Your Inspiration: Online Marketing Tactics for Hospitality Business That Worked In 2018

By Derek Gallimore, Founder of Outsource Accelerator

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Instilling digital marketing strategies to your hospitality business can do you wonders, but with hundreds of strategies available (and new strategies continuously popping every year), how can you determine which strategy would work for you?

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If you're looking to revamp your hotel, resort or restaurant marketing strategy, take a look at these 10 online marketing tactics tried and tested by hospitality businesses like yours!

#1: Kenshō Boutique Hotel in Mykonos and Mövenpick took vlogger and influencer marketing as their marketing leverages.

Influencer and vlogger marketing has been widely embraced by all audiences, no matter the niche. People trust influencers and vloggers more than brands because they give authentic feedback on things, places and events they're promoting.

Kenshō Boutique Hotel in Mykonos took this leverage as part of their summer marketing campaign. They've invited top Greek lifestyle vloggers for the first Hotel Social Vlog event. By combining content, video, vlogging, and influencer marketing, their videos garnered more than 500 thousand views and 1 million engagement mostly on IG.

Mövenpick also benefited from vlogging x influencer marketing. Together with iAmbassador, they invited five bloggers to their hotels in Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Tunisia and Phuket, and a videographer to film the Mövenpick Nile cruise aboard the SB Feddya.

The bloggers created content covering their experiences and feedback on the hotels/resorts and shared them on Facebook, Ig, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. These content were then used for Mövenpick's two-day #StayMovenpick social media campaign. As a result, they've generated 27 million tweet impressions, thousand page views, likes, retweets, pins and shares!

#2: Park Plaza Hotels and Resorts sold London to travelers around the online world.

One factor that affects a person's decision to book or try out your place is the number of activities available within your area. Are there clubs, bars, scenic attractions, tours, street performances and more that they could try out after checking your place out?

These are what exactly Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts highlighted with their London Revealed marketing campaign, which won them the Best Use of Social Media Marketing in last year's Hotel Marketing Awards.

The campaign was able to deliver a balance of promoting London and their hotels by with a magazine-type website packed with content about what the city has to offer - from hidden beaches to bars, events and scenic destinations to try.

#3: InterContinental Hotels encouraged travelers to explore the world with podcasting.

Here's a unique but proven idea to sell your destination: podcasting.

Traveling bears stories, and what better way to tell travel stories than to narrate it? Take the Stories of the InterContinental Life podcas t for example! The series explores and focuses more on stories of traveling, and entices listeners to get out there and discover the world around them. They do a great job convincing listeners and building authority in the travel niche!

And if your property is based in the US, or your target customers are Americans, it might be ideal for you to take advantage of the 12 million+ population of podcast listeners!

#4: Hyatt Hotels garnered 20 million page views by bringing Dua Lipa onboard.

Joining in with what's trending could do wonders for your hospitality business. When Hyatt Hotels practiced this marketing tactic by partnering with Dua Lipa for her "New Rules" music video, it gave their Unbound Collection the exposure they've expected! They also revealed some behind-the-scenes with Dua, which gained Hyatt Hotels' channels 20 million page views and 1.6 billion views for Dua's video. The video was also a finalist at the Shorty Awards.

#5: Beach Terrain Inn increased total booking by improving their website.

A website full of information - rates and rooms and menus- is plausible, but an interactive website will bring your marketing to a notch! Through interactive points in your website, you can provide more engagement without the actual interaction!

Plus, it's 10x better than staring at a website full of text and static images. And 90% of website visitors today expect businesses to have interactive websites too.

Beach Terrain Inn knows that if they take this leverage, they could provide a better user experience with their site AND increase bookings and sales too. So they partnered with Travel Tripper, who introduced their new RezTrip booking engine to the inn's website. When implemented together with digital marketing strategies, the hotel has enjoyed a 58% increase in bookings and website revenue by 52% YOY.

#6: Hebs Digital and a Miami hotel utilized Facebook Dynamic Ads for travel and earned 10x ROAS.

Using Facebook's Dynamic Ads can help you promote an itinerary to people who are ready to book a trip to your place or still looking for travel ideas.

When a Miami Hotel partnered with Hebs Digital, they utilized dynamic ads in their marketing efforts to drive more traffic to their website and increase their booking rate.Within seven months optimizing dynamic ads, the hotel enjoyed a roaring 500 thousand impressions, 6 thousand website clicks and 71 bookings for a 10x ROAS!

#7: Applebees increased their IG following by inviting patrons to be their "fantographers."

Instagram has been gaining massive applause from customers and businesses alike. In fact, people looking for restaurants (and even hotels/resorts) check a potential place's IG account first before heading there.

A research discovered that 18-35-year-old restaurant goers spend five whole days a year looking for food pictures on IG. 30% of them even said they won't go to a restaurant with a weak IG presence.

Applebees, a restaurant chain in the US, took these statistics in mind for their IG marketing campaign. In their #fantographer campaign, Applebees encouraged diners to upload photos of their Applebees experience with the hashtag #fantographer.They also promised to post the best ones to their IG profile.

As a result, they gained new 4,500 IG followers and 25% increase in engagement, and they didn't go to the hassle of creating various content.

#8: Mayfair Hotels & Resorts went from 2.39% to 2.13% conversation rate in two months by improving their PPC campaign.

One common mistake most businesses make is launching AdWords campaign that, when clicked, directs to the homepage of their website instead of a specific landing page. This is acceptable if you're running a single hotel, resort or restaurant, but if you own a chain of hotels like Mayfair Hotels and Resorts, potential guests will have a hard time looking around to your site.

So they partnered with Guaranteed SEO to organize their PPC campaign. They tweaked the campaign to allow more accuracy on keyword targeting, bid control, and conversion tracking. The landing pages were also changed into pages that direct guests to the specific pages of their hotels.

As guests became more comfortable with this setup, Mayfair's bookings have increased. The reorganization brought 2,227 clicks and 21.3% conversation rate in just two months!

#9: Redsalt Chophouse and Sushi utilized a Kitchen Dining System (KDS) to their resto with Toast.

Restaurants are upgrading, and Kitchen Display Systems are becoming a thing now. It increases kitchen efficiency by 150%, allowing you to manage orders, view recipes easily, manage cooking times and delivering food orders to the right customers with routing. Especially handy during busy days!

Since they've implemented a cloud-based KDS like Toast to their resto, Redsalt Chophouse and Sushi has seen a drastic increase in their efficiency and customer satisfaction. According to Christopher Staples, Director of Hospitality Marketing, Toast has enabled them to deliver accurate orders to guests, drinks are getting faster to tables, and the overall guest satisfaction has improved.

#10: Harington's Hotel manages online reviews with a review platform like TripAdvisor.

In a recent study by PhoCusWright, it was revealed that 83% of respondents said reviews influence their decision to pick and book the right hotel, resort and/or restaurant. 68% of the respondents also revealed that reviews help them learn more about a place/lodging/attraction.

"It [also] gives us a way to improve the service and the quality of product that we offer…In the last three or four years, in particular, we've really focused more on it. We can see the level of repeat bookings we're getting has increased as well." says Peter O'Sullivan, owner of Harington's Hotel in Bath, England.

TripAdvisor leads the list of the biggest review platform for hospitality businesses out there. As of to date, you can find 661 million reviews for 7.7 million hotels, resorts, and restaurants.

Only 44% of restos use platforms for reviews, so if you decide to manage your resto's reviews with a platform, you're getting ahead of the competition!

Key Takeaway

There's no definite/constant strategy guaranteed to work for your hospitality business. Social media marketing may work for the others, while some might see struggles with it. In the end, it all falls down to how you better understand your target customer/client's needs, and how exactly you'll convince them that you could provide the comfort, relaxation, accommodation and five-star quality service they need and deserve during their travels!

Derek Gallimore

Derek has been in business 20 years, outsourcing six years and based in Manila, Philippines – the world’s outsourcing capital – for over four years. He has worked in five countries and traveled through dozens more. His personal experience with international business and extensive travel means that the concept of outsourcing came naturally to him.

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