As it might seem that with the hospitality industry moving towards providing a digital guest experience, inside communication in hotels is no longer an essential point of attention. The truth is with all of the recent changes towards digitalisation and focusing on guest experience, communication in the hospitality industry is more crucial than ever, and now even on a larger scale. Your job now is to provide effective communication inside your company on multiple channels to create the best experience for your guests.
What is effective communication in the hospitality industry?
Effective communication in the hotel business is a two-way process of exchanging opinions, knowledge, ideas, findings and data between the management and employees in a way that the message is received and understood clearly.
Two-way communication is absolutely crucial to
- keep employees engaged and increase morale to keep the employees connected to the company
- solve problems better and faster
- encourage the free flow of information in both directions
- facilitate constant growth of both management and employees.
The goal of effective communication in your hotel is to provide working communication channels and to convey clear information amongst your team to create a better customer experience.
An important factor in delivering information effectively is to use the types of communication and the medium in the right way. This increases the odds of the receiver getting the message, understanding it correctly and remembering it.
The types of communication in a workplace are:
- Verbal and non-verbal communication.
Verbal communication is the use of words to share information and is also the most used type of communication in hotels. This is the easiest way to share ideas and when done right you can avoid misunderstandings easily.
Non-verbal covers pretty much everything else: body language, tone of voice, eye contact, intonation and facial expressions. It is an important addition to verbal communication if congruent to get your point through. When used correctly, good non-verbal communication leads to better communication with less confusion, and better rapport.
- Formal and informal communication.
The purpose of formal communication is to get the information across in a professional business manner. Use formal communication when communicating with people outside your company, sending the first email to someone and communicating certain types of official information with your staff.
Informal communication is a casual conversation between coworkers or depending on your company, also between you and your staff. It is important to get to know your employees and always communicating formally is not the way to get there. Often an informal conversation is the best way to get two-way communication going, and build trust and company culture. But do keep in mind that you are still at work and it is crucial to keep a balance between formal and informal communication.
- Horizontal and vertical communication.
Horizontal communication is the communication between individuals, teams, groups, or departments in an organisation at the same hierarchical level. You can benefit from it by having a more open discussion and better collaboration which leads to less duplication of work where responsibilities may overlay and better innovation. Conflicts and issues are solved more quickly. The only downside of this form is that it slows things down as everything needs to get checked and confirmed by management.
Vertical communication happens between people, teams, or departments of a company at different hierarchical levels. For example, between you and your staff members. It works both ways, it is the exchange of information between all members of the company. Vertical communication is essentially two-way communication.
- Written and visual communication.
Written communication is anything that involves writing it on paper or typing it into a message. It includes emails, Slack, texts, PowerPoint presentations or notes for references, info sheets on the wall and so on. It is a great way to do follow-up, explain a process step-by-step, provide status updates or just have some long-term information (for example goals for each month) provided in the staff room for the team to go over when needed.
Visual communication handles more than just words, it is images, graphs, videos and other visual displays to get the message across. Visual communication is a great way to get the audience’s attention and deliver the message across using a mixture of communication styles. Use visual aids in your presentations, when trying to explain difficult topics or sharing a large amount of data. Showing visual data and graphs is also a strong tool to be clear and factual in your message.
5 Key Elements For Hotels To Improve Communication
1. Set up channels for communication. Sending information via different channels is an important way to deliver the information right and get the staff more engaged. Set up digital and mobile channels to reach all employees, also the non-desk ones. Deliver big news or changes first verbally to create trust and openness. Send in the documentation or other formal stuff via email, so it doesn’t get lost in the chat. There’s information that’s not urgent but needs to be seen and understood by all the staff members – put it on a board in the staff room. Choosing the right medium for each piece of information you need to deliver is a crucial point of effective communication.
2. Understand and know your staff members. Getting to know your staff members and how they operate is a must to deliver information. People are different and that’s why you have to individualise, not only your guests but also your staff members. Understand your staff, know their professional goals, how they interact and how they engage the best. In addition to being fundamental to leadership, knowing your employees is also a way to more effective internal communication.
3. Make sure your communications are well-timed. Deliver the information, both urgent and non-urgent on time. Non-urgent information is not something that has to be found out last minute, it is information that doesn’t need immediate action but still needs attention and time to prepare. Not being able to deliver timely communication will lead to staff having low morale and being incapable of providing a good guest experience.
4. Get feedback and follow up. Encouraging your employees to share their feedback creates stronger two-way communication and establishes company culture. By asking for feedback you are letting your team know that they are involved and heard which as a result helps with building trust and higher work morale. Letting your employees communicate with you also gives insight into any issues that the management might not be aware of.Hold weekly informal meetings to follow up with last week’s events, goals, and problems and find out your employee’s views and feedback on them.
5. Emphasise the importance of communication with your staff. Make sure your team knows that communication is the number one priority at work. Encourage them to take time weekly or even daily to inform themselves about any news or updates within the company. Strong internal and external communication is the key tool to success and needs to be at the core of each staff member to be effective.
There are several types of communication and different ways to improve each one of them. Work out a plan and challenge yourself and your staff to start setting up communication. Prioritising communication in your hotel will benefit you in multiple ways. It increases the performance and morale of your employees. It allows you to have better results at every level of the organisation and make better use of resources. It favours making quicker and clearer decisions and therefore gives you more time to focus on your job.
When figuring out the best way to build or boost your guest satisfaction in your hotel, following your guests on an emotional level is a crucial step. Despite emotions being known as a relative aspect, an emotional journey map provides a clear understanding and data of your guests’ feelings throughout their stay. Learn how to upgrade your customer journey map with this innovative technique.
What is an emotional journey map?
The emotional journey map is a UX research technique to visualise and map customers’ emotional experiences through their interactions during various actions of their stay.
It is an extension of the usual experience journey map that visualises the process that the guest goes through to accomplish a goal, but an emotional journey map gives this some more closure.
Simply said, it allows you to know how your guest feels at each touchpoint with you during their whole hotel experience.
The emotion can be represented by a graph from moments of frustration to delight or by adding pictograms or emoticons to the specific steps of the journey.
The goal of emotional journey mapping is to understand customers’ emotions and improve the quality of your guest experience, providing consistency and a smooth experience at all touchpoints on the journey.
Why do you need an emotional journey map?
An emotional journey map allows you to add another objective dimension to your customer journey map to see the emotions your customer goes through at every stage of the experience. This can help your team to make sense of and have a visual aid of the systems and learn to improve the quality of your guests’ touchpoints. An emotional map will increase your customer satisfaction, positive feedback and reviews, bookings and revenue.
It helps your hotel team to
How to create an emotional journey map?
1. Create a user persona – to get started with creating the map we need a user. User persona will represent an average guest or one type of guest (if you would like to create a map for each customer group) of your property. Each user has different expectations and needs so it is good to be comprehensive and create multiple maps to understand different personas present on your property.
- Draw a simple picture of your user.
- Give them a name.
- Make sure to specify who the user is.
- Use the standard user story format: As a… I need… so I can
Example: As a young 32-year-old mother of 3 children…
2. Create a scenario – going forward we need a scenario that addresses their expectations and what they need to accomplish their end goal. The scenario could be about experiences with events, processes or objects. Use scenarios that are likely to happen or have already happened in your hotel.
Example: As a young 32-year-old mother of 3 children I need a hotel that has child care and entertainment facilities so I can relax and rest after a long work year without always taking care of the kids.
3. Goals and tasks – now it’s time to identify the goals and the tasks. Each journey has different goals with separate tasks.
A goal is a higher-level action the user needs to complete. For example, in this case, the mother wants to relax and rest from a long work year.
A task is a lower-level action the user needs to achieve the end goal. For example, in this case, a mother needs to find a hotel with childcare or entertainment opportunities.
‘Therefore, the mother has to complete the task of finding the right hotel to reach the goal of a relaxing holiday.
- The customer journey is to go on a vacation with children.
- The goal is to relax and not worry about the children 24/7.
Solution: in addition to entertainment facilities have a person who keeps an eye on the children, so the parents don’t have to at all times.
- The task is to find a hotel that offers what the family needs.
Solution: market your hotel well and highlight all the facilities and experiences that you offer, so the possible customers have a clear image of your property as the right place to book.
Try to come up with 1-4 goals and 1-10 tasks per user persona.
4. Use contextual inquiry research and in-depth customer interviews to gain understanding and real data.
- You aim to ask questions to better understand their world, the context and their experiences with your hotel.
- In these discussions, you’ll also be asking the customers about their emotions connected to their experience to understand how and why they felt a certain way at each touchpoint, stage and interaction during their journey with you.
- Listen actively and try to also get information out of analysing how they speak or what words they use to describe their experience.
5. Making sense of all the data
- Use affinity clustering to organise all of your customer discussions, experiences, emotions, feelings, thoughts and customer actions according to their similarity, relevance and importance.
- Have a team work through the data to form patterns.
- Sort the conversations into clusters by customer journey stages, steps, thoughts and feelings during each interaction.
- Themes emerge and this is when customer emotions are identified.
6. Connect the individual evaluation points based on the data to form a line.
- Draw a line graph to illustrate the story of a person’s emotions throughout the different touchpoints and interactions. Do so for each different persona created. Use colours to distinguish them from each other.
- Emoticons and an emotion graph show the customer’s highs and lows throughout the whole journey, from the beginning to the end.
- Add customer’s words, sayings, and expressions to give closure to the perspective.
7. Analyse the journey and generate improvements.
- Evaluate both, highs and lows to gain insight and understand the journey.
- Bring out points and opportunities to improve the customer’s experience interacting with your property.
Keep in mind
- Base your emotional journey map on research and not opinions.
- Start small and be efficient.
- Identify and focus on what is the most important.
- Embed it into your organisation and engage the whole team to lean into it.
- It has to be organic and continuously evolve.
The importance of guest experience in the world of hospitality is rising at a high pace. To be successful and remain competitive, hotels must provide an excellent experience rather than just reaching the basic level of expectations. Your hotel has to provide a stay beyond the guest’s hopes. So how do we achieve that? What do guests long for? This article will answer all your questions, but first things first.
What is guest experience?
Simply put, the guest experience is the overall satisfaction of your hotel’s guests before, during and after their stay. More explicitly it means that at each stage of their stay certain aspects create an emotional reaction, which helps customers determine if the experience reaches their expectations. During this process, a decision, whether to also recommend your hotel to fellow travellers is made.
These groundbreaking aspects can be anything from a simple booking and a quick check-in pre-stay experience to a smiling and helpful staff member at the hotel lobby during the stay.
Why is it important?
In the present-day digitalised world, hospitality in general relies on online reputation. Travellers research and make their decisions based on reviews and pictures more than ever before.
Increase guest satisfaction
According to Tripadvisor’s statistics, up to 81% of travellers frequently read reviews before booking a place to stay, with 78% focusing on the most recent reviews. Furthermore, the top reason (87%) for people writing reviews is simply to share good experiences with fellow travellers.
For this reason, complying with travellers’ needs and expectations is the most important thing to do. Satisfied guests contribute to your hotel’s positive reputation management and boost revenue through referrals and repeat business.
Keeping your customers happy is the key factor in bringing in new potential guests. According to a study by Bain & Company, acquiring a new customer can cost 25-95% more without satisfied guests. Focusing on guest experience increases guest satisfaction which as a result creates long-lasting relationships with the right customers, brings in new ones and keeps your costs down.
How to achieve an excellent guest experience?
Top-notch guest experience can be achieved by truly understanding the emotional journey map and analysing how to make each touch point pleasant and easy for them. If you don’t have one, make one: here’s some help with that! https://guestjoy.com/blog/emotional-journey-mapping—what-is-it-and-how-you-should-do-it/(opens in a new tab)
Once you have found the positive experiences that seem to work, it’s time to evaluate the outcome. Ask for feedback, consider it and create a loyal relationship with the customer.
The 3 main components of the guest experience
The key to enhancing the customer experience is to concentrate on those 3 components also known as “the three C’s:”
Your guests long to be heard, informed and taken into consideration. Good communication skills by your staff and contact options in your hotel allow you to listen to your guests’ needs, answer questions and solve problems and value their feedback. Guests will be more open when they feel connected, which leads to better guest experiences and customer loyalty.
Try enhancing your communication by
- sending a detailed pre-arrival email to simplify the check-in process.
- Encourage your guests to get in touch either at the property or online by making it easy for them.
- answering their questions and solving problems quickly.
- thanking them for staying with you, asking for detailed feedback and considering it.
Read about the importance of the hotel’s external and internal communication here (link to article)
Guests are becoming more and more time-poor. Doesn’t matter if it’s a business trip and working or holidays and spending days discovering the area. Guests need convenience, they need a worry-free stay.
Try enhancing your guests’ convenience by
- providing a self-check-in option and having a ‘skip the queue’ key pick-up desk.
- working together with local tour guides and restaurants to save guests some time with research.
- provide a transfer from an airport.
- include a special requests section when booking a room so that you can provide essential amenities for each type of traveller.
The highly competitive hotel industry is constantly raising the bar for guest experience and therefore a big part, if not the most important one of it, is now personalisation. Giving each customer choices to create their stay according to their expectations and helping them experience the place the way they want to, is the real key to your guest’s heart. This also allows you to show that you care about your customer and the things they care about.
Try giving your guests more options by
- offering personalised packages (for example spa treatments for bleisure travellers, tour buses for Boomers, local food/drink tasting experiences for Millennials or Gen Z travellers etc.)
- Let your guests decide when they need housekeeping (a sign of environmental sustainability).
- asking about any special occasions.
- having different ways to contact the hotel staff (telephones in the rooms for older guests, online self-service for the younger crowd.)
Other notable points of creating an excellent guest experience are:
- Clean and tidy hotel
- Safe and secure
- Aesthetic and comfortable
- Electric sockets and lamps next to the bed
- Noise control
- Helpful attitude by staff members
- Fast service time
- Good value for money
- Provide free and fast Wi-Fi
- Share clear directions about getting around the property and the local area
Know your customers to provide an experience exceeding their expectations: the types of guests
When in the process of working with the three C’s, it is also important to know your main crowd and audience to enhance the experience towards their profiles’ desirable preferences. Different profiles are attracted by various styles of hotels and that’s why it’s crucial to know which ones your place already appeals to. And then make it better!
- Born between 1946-1964.
- A few longer trips a year.
- They often have a higher travel budget and more time to spend.
- More likely to unplug their phones and communicate in person.
- They are after an authentic local experience through food and culture.
- More likely to book sightseeing tours with pick up and drop off through hotels.
- Like going for loyalty programs.
- Born between 1981-1995.
- They make up 31% of the world’s population with an estimated 200 billion dollar spending power.
- More likely to book shorter vacations with different destinations to fit working schedules and see more places.
- Technology users – booking trips and researching.
- They want to experience a new culture.
- Like sharing their travels online.
- They get inspired by social media posts, mostly Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
- Gen Z
- Born between 1996-2010.
- Technology users and less likely to unplug.
- Like doing their research based on others’ experiences.
- Don’t like sightseeing that feels too touristy and tend to not visit insta famous places.
- Desire flexibility.
- Eager to learn and experience local life.
- Budget-conscious, but ready to spend more if it means experiencing something special.
- Environmental consciousness – they appreciate sustainable choices.
- Business or bleisure travellers
- Travelling for one purpose: work.
- Their days are long and full of meetings.
- Interested in restaurants and cafes with a calm working atmosphere.
- Need a high level of convenience and comfort when coming back to the hotel to rest.
- Bleisure travellers also make time for leisure activities and might extend their business trip into a long weekend to see the sights.
- Slightly more millennials than boomers are doing multi-generational travels.
- Mainly doing research and booking online (74% in the past 5 years).
- They want to have shared experiences.
- Prefer to have a learning element in their travels.
- Tend to choose hotels that have kid-friendly programs/amenities and events.
- The main goal is to book a place where everyone is entertained and happy
- Wellness travellers
- Mostly females between 18-34.
- They travel to take a break from stressful everyday life or to boost their physical and mental health.
- They find retreats via Google search, friend referrals and Instagram posts.
- Mental health is ranked as the top wellness priority.
- Also interested in working out and other wellness options.
- Environmentally conscious – sustainability influences their decisions.
- Prefer all-inclusive packages – they want to switch off from their everyday life of making decisions.
Guest experience is a hospitality business’s main indicator of quality service. To remain relevant, it can’t be anything else than excellent. Polishing your hotel’s ability to deliver a top-class guest experience can be done by knowing your customer, understanding their needs and style of travelling and giving them what they expect at every touchpoint they have with you, from pre-arrival to post-stay. Exceptional guest experiences also launch a positive cycle of high guest satisfaction and a good online reputation which in turn will lead to more new and repeat business while keeping the costs down.
The digital guest experience continues to be the golden pathway toward an excellent customer experience. The world and how we live have already changed and now is the time to change how our organizations operate as well. Your customers expect personalized experiences that resonate across all your channels. And this is something a great digital guest experience will achieve. This is where your future success lies.
What is a digital guest experience?
Digital guest experience is the aspect of your CX journey that refers to all of the online interactions a customer has with your property. It is your online presence, social media, your hotel’s website, a mobile app or any other virtual touchpoint. Essentially, any engagement between you and your customer through the Internet is considered a digital guest experience.
The goal of digital customer experience is to process and deliver a smooth experience across individual customer touchpoints by using unified digital communications as a service.
Know what your guests need
The modern-day guest is always connected, therefore prefers to self-serve and have instant personalized communication with the property. And that at every point of the customer journey.
- Personalized self-service
- To feel safe, secure and clean
- Convenience and comfort
- Instant communication
Research shows that only 8% of the guests would feel comfortable checking in and out at the front desk and up to 40% of guests are more likely to still leave a positive review if an occurred problem is solved quickly. To provide this high level of fast communication, convenience and choice, technology and digital guest experience come to the rescue.
“Hotels now have the choice to act upon the guests’ demand for a digital option such as digital check-in, mobile keys and more. Digital alternatives are no longer cool “add-ons,” offered only by early adopters, but a hygiene factor that guests expect as part of their hotel experience,” according to Zaplox’s President & CEO, Tess Mattisson.
Trends influencing the digital guest experience in hotels
Ahh.. digitalization – the rise of digital technologies to change business models and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities. Everything and everybody is online! It is a trend affecting every industry and perhaps in a good way.
In the hotel business, it allows you to
- fully know your guests: their profile, purchasing behavior and unique preferences.
- create a hyper-personalized experience and serve customers to get what they want almost exactly at the moment they need it.
This data also helps you in analyzing strategies already at work and make smart decisions about managing your hotel even better.
Staying unique in a competitive market
Most travelers prefer hotels that have a good ratio between the value of their money and a unique localized experience. If they feel your services and the quality of stay are offered at a good value, they tend to be less critical and more likely to give you a break with minor inconveniences.
Guests also appreciate a property that knows its niche. While it might seem that digitalization shapes all businesses to be no different from each other when it comes to the pre-stay experience, it can actually help you enhance the unique image online that your property has. Make sure to find the perfect visual aids and a style of engaging with the customer to create an unforgettable experience.
What makes a good digital guest experience?
- Simple and convenient digital experience for users browsing websites and channels to become potential guests.
- Prompt and effective communication across all channels – answering questions, and solving issues.
- Providing a personalized service experience – understand your guest and their needs, and give every guest the service they need.
- Simple systems and actions for all users.
- Consistency is the key – provide a consistent quality of all the steps on the customer experience journey across all channels.
Tips to improve the digital catering of your modern traveler at each stage
This is an underestimated part of the guest experience. Pre-stay is the time when your guest can let you know their expectations before arriving at your property. Having control over your own booking engine lets you prepare for each guest’s needs to create a customized experience.
- Personalize – let your guest choose how they would like to enhance their experience at your property.
- Simplify – make the check-in process smoother and more convenient.
Here begins the reality if your property has reached and exceeded the guests’ expectations. A high level of attention by your hotel’s team can make your guests’ stay more memorable. Good service and efficiency go a long way.
- Help – provide information and the comfort of communicating any issues or questions instantly if they should occur. This allows you to solve them and not risk breaking your guests’ good experience.
A positive guest experience ends with a post-stay follow-up about their stay with you. This helps you collect feedback and increases guest loyalty.
- Understand – thank your guest, gather immediate feedback and create surveys to get an idea of your guests’ experiences.
- Invite – encourage guests to continue engaging with your property by creating bring-back campaigns.
In the hotel industry, everyone wants to stand out and make their guests feel special. Most of all, they want their guests to return. And I’m sure you do too!
Presenting your potential customers with last-minute offers or a welcome drink upon their arrival will only get you so far. To be successful in such a competitive industry, you must guarantee the best professionals are on your team. Although this strategy applies to all departments, hiring a talented hotel marketing manager is halfway to success!
Key responsibilities of a hotel marketing manager
Simply put, a hotel marketing manager is responsible for developing a marketing strategy and promoting the hotel business. Their central goal is to increase hotel revenue and profitability.
To do so, your marketing manager must know your hotel business inside out. Moreover, they must build an effective strategy that matches your hotel’s vision and brand tone. You want to keep your potential guests close, not push them away!
To help you find your rock-star marketing manager, I’ll let you know about their key responsibilities:
- Build hotel marketing plans to promote and develop the hotel brand;
- Use customer satisfaction surveys to improve customer relationships;
- Create a customer loyalty program;
- Develop strategies to encourage customer reviews;
- Define budgets for advertising;
- Comply with the marketing budget goals;
- Achieve revenue goals;
- Build solid partnerships with advertising agencies and third-party channels;
- Monitor competition;
- Supervise the marketing team;
- Present creative strategies to bring in more direct guests.
Since digital marketing is the cornerstone of hospitality marketing nowadays, you might want to hire a professional with a deep understanding of these strategies. It’ll save you time and money!
What profile should you be looking for?
Now, you’re getting to the fun part: finding the ideal candidate! But first, you must know what features your candidates must have. I’ll give you a few hints!
A degree in marketing or business management is a must-have for a marketing manager position. It’ll provide the candidate with the essential knowledge only a college degree provides.
Ideally, look for someone with experience in sales or demonstrable experience as a marketing supervisor. Additionally, try to find a candidate who worked in hotel customer service teams, such as receptionists or concierges. This way, you’ll have a professional who knows hotel operation and business management.
Although most of the marketing manager’s daily tasks take place inside an office, sometimes they also represent the hotel in hospitality events. Thus, to act as the hotel’s spokesperson, there are a few traits your candidate must have:
- Exceptional communication and negotiation skills;
- Strong analytical expertise;
- Striking decision-making experience;
- Use creativity to develop new strategies;
Nevertheless, always consider your hotel’s needs when hiring a marketing manager. Every hotel has its own peculiarities. As a result, what works for your competitors, might not work for you!
According to Salary.com, the annual salary range of a hospitality marketing manager is 92,000$ to 130,000$, while the average salary is 110,000$/year in the United States. However, the salary range might vary according to the hotel location, candidate experience, and hotel budget.
When it comes to the hotel industry, marketing plays a key role! Every organization relies on powerful marketing campaigns to promote business. As a hotel marketer, your job is to build a bullet-proof campaign that your guests won’t resist!
What is hotel marketing?
Before we get started, I’ll give you a quick definition!
Marketing for hotels refers to all actions taken to promote a hotel. It sounds simple, right?
Yet, as you become an experienced hotel marketer, you’ll discover how complex your job can be. You’ll realize that hotel marketing affects and is affected by other departments within the hotel. Moreover, global incidents that are way out of your control will also influence your hotel business.
The secret is to find a strategy that helps you foresee upcoming events and take your hotel business forward!
Why is hotel marketing important?
Even if you’re new to the hospitality industry, you know that without clients, you’ll have empty rooms in a hotel struggling to survive. So, your goal is to generate hotel revenue by encouraging potential customers to make a reservation!
How can marketing strategies for hotels help you reach your goal?
– Understand customer’s behavior and needs;
– Find gaps in the travel industry;
– Show your guests why your hotel suits their needs;
– Contact your most loyal customers.
Hotel marketing offers incredible opportunities to promote your hotel. All you need is to focus on the right hotel marketing ideas!
Key components of hotel marketing
Knowing the hotel industry like the palm of your hands will come in handy when planning your marketing goals. However, it’s not enough. You must know which marketing strategies will make an impact on your hotel brand.
Ever since the Internet, the world has never been the same! But I’m sure you already know this! Regardless of the industry, businesses worldwide had to adjust to a new reality, where consumers are well-informed and in control of their purchases.
And the hospitality industry is no different!
With online marketing, hotels are open for new reservations 24h! Travelers can book a room at any time, wherever they are. For hotel owners, this is an excellent opportunity to find new markets, rely less on traditional word-of-mouth, and get more direct hotel bookings.
So, what must you know about hotel digital marketing?
It’s the starting point of any digital marketing strategy. Any reliable business has its own webpage. So, if you want your customers to take you seriously, you must build an engaging hotel website design. It’s your opportunity to build an online presence. Moreover, it will be your home online and how you present yourself to potential customer.
Travelers will check your hotel facilities, which services you provide, and where you’re located. Take one step further and add a booking engine to your website. This way, potential guests will check your room availability and make a direct reservation.
While building your website, always remember to provide an excellent user experience and a design that matches your hotel brand. To help you stand out from your competitors, use content marketing to build blog posts focused on your target audience.
Search Engine Optimization
You simply can’t design a digital marketing strategy and not include this powerful tool. I’ll be clearer… One cannot exist without the other!
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, makes your hotel appear on the first pages of any search engine. Why is it so important?
Google, the world’s number one search engine, ranks websites using crawlers and indexing pages according to their authority and relevance. Besides, the artificial intelligence supporting Google’s search algorithm recognizes and understands the meaning behind each search query.
This means that your hotel will appear on the first search results page, even when the travelers aren’t searching for your hotel’s exact name. They might be looking for the best place to stay at your location or the closest hotel to an event they will be attending.
Although it sounds simple, any SEO strategy takes time and effort to accomplish the desired results. So, you should focus your hotel marketing efforts on these concepts:
- Keyword research – helps you understand your guests’ needs;
- Original and engaging content – allows you to stand out from your competitors and rank for specific search queries.
- Technical SEO – programming stuff that will make your website incredibly fast.
- User experience – simplifies the guests’ journey and increases conversion rates.
- Backlinking – your guests and other businesses will build links to your website, helping you be recognized as an authority in the hospitality industry.
Google helps businesses worldwide by providing incredible marketing tools.
One of them is Google My Business. Once you create a company profile on the search engine, your hotel will be listed on the results page, similar to a digital business card. There your guests can find guest reviews, your address, contacts, and location on Google Maps.
Additionally, you can use Google Ads to build an advertisement campaign. It’s an excellent way to reach out to potential guests.
Yet, there’s another tool Google developed, specifically for hoteliers.
Google Hotel Ads is a metasearch engine where travelers can find all the information they need to book a room. How does it work?
When a guest searches your hotel name on Google, they’ll see your hotel details, availability, lowest rates, and location. This is the Local Universal option.
On the other hand, with the Map Results option, when a potential customer isn’t sure where to stay and searches for “hotels in New York”, Google Hotel Ads will display a map with all the hotels listed on the search engine in that specific area.
Once a customer selects your property, Google will show them the best available rates in online travel agencies and your website. In a few clicks, you’ll receive new bookings with little effort.
After your digital marketing strategy is set, you must analyze its results. Google Analytics offers you thorough information on how well your campaign is doing.
So, what data can you retrieve from Google Analytics?
- Analyze your website performance
- Know who your potential guest is and where they’re located
- Understand how clients find your hotel website.
This information will help you optimize your website performance, improve your SEO and feed your hotel marketing plan.
In its early beginnings, social media platforms intended to connect us with our friends and family. Today, it’s one of the most powerful tools in hotel marketing.
- Your hotel gains more visibility;
- You get instant feedback from your guests;
- It’s easier to identify customers’ needs;
- Increases direct bookings;
- Improves brand awareness;
- Boosts your online reputation.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg!
Social media channels are where people spend most of their time online. Also, it’s where people find inspiration for their next travel destination. So, if you don’t want to miss out on the chance to promote your hotel, you must build a social media campaign, have an active presence and develop an online reputation.
Depending on your target audience, define which social media platform best suits your needs. If you’re a business hotel, perhaps LinkedIn will help you gain visibility with business travelers. On the other hand, if your target market are newlyweds or families with small kids, Facebook and Instagram are your best options.
Either way, there are some content ideas you can use in social media posts:
- Post high-quality photos of your hotel facilities and services. Potential guests want to know what you do best;
- Share your customers’ positive reviews;
- Promote your location;
- Increase direct bookings with special offers;
- Take advantage of user-generated content;
- Engage with followers through contests and giveaways.
Social platforms are a great reputation management tool. Moreover, you’ll be closer to your hotel guests, inspiring them to leave positive reviews and make a reservation!
Marketing in hospitality is a colossal task that you can’t take on your own. Besides the significant amount of information you need to build a successful hotel marketing plan, you must always be on the lookout for the constant changes in hospitality. Building partnerships will help you promote your property to a broader public!
Especially when you’re starting to promote your hotel, third-party channels will help you gain much-needed visibility. They have the clients you need. And you have the facilities travelers are looking for. It’s the perfect combo!
So, who are third-party channels exactly?
Third-party channels include all companies in the global distribution system, online travel agencies, and metasearch engines. Whether your potential guests search for your property online or through a travel agent, they will find all the information they need with a push of a button.
Besides making it easier for guests to book a room, for you, it’s a fantastic opportunity to promote your hotel across different markets. To make your life simpler, consider getting a channel manager. It will help you upload your rates and availability, showing them in real-time to anyone making a new reservation.
To make this partnership work, you must guarantee all third-party channels have the same information. As a result, both guests and partners will see you as a reliable hotel brand and you’ll elevate your reputation.
Of course, these benefits all come with a price… Third-party channels will charge you a commission on each new booking. However, you shouldn’t focus solely on this. In the business world, you must invest to profit!
As a hotel marketer, this may be the last thing on your mind. However, local partnerships are one of the best resources of a successful hotel marketing plan.
This strategy promotes your hotel by showing off your location’s best features. Wondering what kind of partnerships would benefit your hotel? I’ll give you a few examples:
- Guided tours;
- Beauty services;
- Doctor’s house call;
- Dog sitting;
- Laundry services;
I could make an endless list. However, you must ask yourself this: What services your hotel lacks that would enrich your guests’ stay? Aim for those! Contact local businesses and negotiate a partnership that’ll benefit everyone!
Improving guest experience
And here’s the final key to a successful hotel marketing strategy!
Investing all your time and money in an unbeatable marketing campaign is worthless when your customer service fails. In simple words… your guests will come with high expectations, then they’ll leave your hotel hoping never to return!
How does it affect your business?
Well, bad experiences are easier to remember. According to Association for Psychological Science, it’s a survival instinct inherited from our ancestors. If a guest had such an unpleasant stay at your hotel, why should they ever return?
Furthermore, an unhappy guest is more likely to find other accommodation options among your competitors and leave negative online reviews for everyone to see. In the end, the cost of poor service and a bad review is shattering.
As a hotel marketer, how can you improve customer service?
Get a customer relationship management system! This powerful software, also known as CRM, will assist your hotel staff in providing exactly what guests are expecting.
A CRM, like GuestJoy, connects you with your guests and gathers their preferences to help you build a more personalized customer experience and improve positive reviews. With GuestJoy you can speed up the check-in process, sell additional services and manage your clients’ feedback.
Moreover, you can set up an email marketing campaign based on what your guests enjoy the most. Use their email address to present special offers and encourage your guests to leave a review.
Also, consider gathering with team leaders of other departments. It’s your chance to find out your guests’ needs and how you can solve them.
Finally, your human resources department can help you hire the best talents and identify your current employees’ training needs. Although these strategies aren’t directly related to marketing, they will definitely impact your marketing strategy.
The internet changed how people travel. As a result, the hospitality industry became increasingly fast and constantly changing.
This is why marketing in hotels can be overwhelming.
As a hotel marketer, you must have a broader view of global events while paying attention to the details that will elevate your customer experience. Moreover, building a successful hotel marketing strategy involves understanding the industry’s past while setting your eyes on the future.
Fortunately for you, there have never been so many tools to help you manage the information flow and accomplish your marketing goals. Get your GuestJoy demo today! You’ll see how easy it is to fulfill your guests’ needs.
Hotel marketing helps you reach out to prospective guests and promote your business. And without it, you would struggle to succeed!
This portion of your daily job is probably the most important. As a hotelier, you must promote your hotel’s facilities and services, attract new guests, and encourage loyalty. Sound simple?
Well… hotel marketing is much more than that!
Considering the hotel industry has over 700.000 hotels worldwide, investing your time (and money!) in an effective hotel marketing strategy is paramount. Although travelers’ needs change over time and global events affect the way people travel, all in all, the hotel marketing principles remain the same.
In this article, I’ll offer you a complete overview of hotel marketing so that you can successfully promote your hotel.
What is hotel marketing?
Hotel marketing refers to the tools and strategies set in place to promote a hotel. The purpose is to bring in as many new guests as possible, and to retain past customers.
In simple words, potential guests are eager to travel and possibly visit your hotel. All you have to do is show them your hotel’s best features!
Knowing your target audience and your competition well will help you achieve your goals. If you succeed, then your hotel will be taking more bookings than ever before.
Why is hotel marketing important?
Without guests, there’s no business. Showing potential guests that you are available and why they should choose you over your competitors is the role of hotel marketing.
Additionally, it’s your chance to build a brand your customers trust. And if they trust your hotel, then they are more likely to tell their friends, and book with you again for future stays!
- Knowing your guests
Once you understand what your guests want, it will be easier to offer exactly what they are looking for. So, how will you find out your guests’ deepest desires?
Well, a good place to start is with the online reviews for your property! You’ll have an insight into as to why they booked a room at your hotel. Also, you can find out what services your guests enjoy the most. Was it the superb dinner they had in your restaurant? Or the relaxing massage in your spa? Perhaps it was the wifi connection speed?
With this information, you can offer each guest precisely what they’re after!
- Showing your hotel off
Making guests aware of your hotel’s best qualities is crucial. It might be sprawling gardens in a country estate, a stunning beach view, or something else unique at your property.
Making potential customers familiar with the best things about your hotel is key to winning them over. Some common ways to raise awareness to these things is to use email marketing, social media, or user-generated content.
Another way to do it is using promotions and special offers. Everyone loves a good deal, and I’m sure your guests are no different! When business is slow, presenting lower rates or a complimentary room upgrade will definitely capture your customer’s attention.
- Keeping your guests close
Top-notch service is the key to success. But in order to encourage a guest to return, you must keep them close. How? Using modern-day technology, of course!
Digital marketing plays a key role when it comes to customer engagement. Through social media, you can show your long-time customers what you’ve been up to. And through email marketing, you can send them exclusive one-of-a-kind offers!
Digital marketing in the hospitality industry
The rise of the internet was a turning point in world history. Every business worldwide faced a new challenge: adapt or cease to exist. As a result, marketing strategies changed drastically. They became more focused on the company’s online presence and customers’ buying intentions.
Considering people spend most of their time online, most hotel marketing campaigns happen on the internet. If you are not using digital marketing, then you’re missing out on incredible opportunities!
- It’s measurable
Through digital marketing, you can actually measure your campaign’s effectiveness. Explore Google Analytics to learn more about how your visitors discovered your hotel. This is also a great tool to find your target audience, understand user behavior, analyze conversion rates, and improve ads and SEO content.
- It’s cost-effective
In the old days, marketing was only accessible to big companies. Advertising was expensive, leaving small companies out of the competition. However, since digital marketing is considerably cheaper, any hotel can benefit.
- It helps you find your audience
Through online marketing, you can find specific customers. Depending on their demographics, location, and preferences, you’ll have the chance to develop a strategy focused on promoting your hotel to the right visitors.
- It’s where people spend most time
According to “Digital 2022” report, an average internet user spends around 7 hours online! Whether it’s professional or personal usage, we spend most of our waking time browsing the web. This is why the internet is the perfect location to promote your hotel! People go online to search for accommodation options, compare rates or check on guest reviews before booking a room.
- It’s personalized advertising
With online marketing, you can direct your message to specific groups of customers based on their preferences and make them feel you are speaking directly to them. Email marketing is the most used option when it comes to personalization. You can segment your audience, and provide personalized information on promotions and services that truly captivate your guests.
Hotel marketing strategies
Over the last century, travelers’ needs shifted, and the hospitality industry needed to adjust on several occasions. As a result, hotel owners are avid “people-readers”, constantly identifying new trends that satisfy the modern guest and lead the hotel business forward.
Define what makes you different
Research your competition. Learn how they work. Find out their strong points and weaknesses. Finally, ask yourself some questions: Why is your hotel better than the one down the road? What do you offer that your guests won’t find anywhere else?
This exercise is the perfect opportunity to realize how your hotel will stand out among others. Focus on showing potential guests something that your competition lacks.
Are you targeting families? Or maybe you offer pet-friendly accommodation, where families can enjoy their vacation at your hotel with their fur babies!
Map the booking journey
A customer journey map is a powerful tool since it helps you understand why some of your guests take long before completing a reservation. Additionally, you’ll have a clear insight into your customer experience and how you can improve. So how do you go about it?
- Create a buyer persona
- Define your goals
- Identify the touchpoints and stages
- Retrieve data from customer surveys to compare results
- Map future customer journey stages
Reward direct bookings
Every hotelier knows how important direct bookings are to hotel revenue. Besides saving a massive amount of money each year, direct bookings are also proof your guests trust your business!
So, why shouldn’t you thank them?
A complimentary room upgrade, a fruit basket in their room upon arrival, or a special discount are small gestures your guests will definitely enjoy! Let them know you appreciate their preference. That they are valuable to you. That you care about their happiness!
Promote the location
Marketing your hotel is important. However, potential guests aren’t booking a room only because of the amazing and expensive décor! They want to explore the surroundings. To explore your location’s history and culture!
Show your customers why they should stay at your hotel:
- What is there to do?
- What can they visit?
- What tips can you offer that only a local would know?
To complete this “information package”, you can build partnerships with local businesses. This way, you can offer services that you don’t provide on your hotel property and will help your guests learn more about your location.
Invest in the marketing budget during the reservation peak season
Do you know when your property’s occupancy is at its highest? If you don’t, then you’re missing out!
Knowing the time of the year when your customers book more rooms is a great marketing opportunity! Explore the advantages of email marketing or social media advertising to reach your target audience and get more bookings. Is there a world-class event happening close to your property? Learn what that specific audience is looking for, and present your hotel as a perfect solution.
Improve your customer service
Yes… I know you’ve heard it a thousand times… But, the truth is that your customer service must be top-notch from the very beginning and even after your guests have checked out!
You might have a bullet-proof marketing strategy, but if your customer service fails, all your efforts will be in vain. Ensure that your staff are well trained. A customer-first mindset is a key to guaranteeing your hotel is successful. However, to accomplish this goal you must provide your employees with the right tools.
Build a customer loyalty program
Repeat business is important to any organisation. But in the hotel industry, it’s essential. Having returning customers means that you’ve successfully met their expectations. So, providing them with exclusive offers, such as special rates or free room upgrades, is a way to reward their loyalty. Additionally, you’ll ensure that they will keep coming back!
Most hospitality businesses segment their customers into different levels, depending on the previous number of stays. Each new reservation will grant points or discounts that can be redeemed on the next reservation. Find out which enrich your guest experience and what services you can offer.
Take advantage of technology
Nowadays, visiting a distant hotel is easier than you think! With virtual reality, you can offer potential guests a guided tour of your property. Show them the stunning facilities and incredible services you have at their disposal in promotional content.
Provide guests with the means check-in online or visit a virtual concierge. This way, your customers will be able to make restaurant reservations and spa appointments or check for information on activities and places to visit from the convenience of their own smartphone or computer.
5 ways to successfully promote your hotel
Although marketing offers several strategies to promote your hotel, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Regardless of the approach you choose, it must be aligned with the campaign goals and property needs. To help you get started, I’ll let you know the best ways to make your hotel stand out!
1. Build a strong online presence
Most of your guests are miles away from your location. Yet, you can still keep in touch! Developing your hotel’s digital presence will help you reach a wider audience while updating your most loyal customers. How?
- Web design
This is your digital “home” and where you present your hotel to potential guests! So, it’s important to guarantee they will easily find what they’re looking for. A user-friendly web page will help your guests virtually explore your property and make a reservation.
- Content marketing
Your website can be so much more than showing great hotel photos and booking a room! Along with your user-friendly website, you can build a blog and offer video content, presenting the services provided, your location, and events happening in and around your hotel.
To do so, I’d suggest getting a content management system. It will help you organize and schedule our posts and avoid duplicate content. The best part is that it is so easy to use you don’t need a team of experts to take full advantage of its potential.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In today’s digital world, SEO is definitely the most powerful tool you’ll find!
When people search online for their next destination, they often choose the first results appearing on the search engine results page. Why? It’s simple! Travelers understand Google ranks the most reliable options for their search query first. In their minds, booking a room with a hotel raking first place is likely a safe choice.
Because of this, if you’re looking to outrank your competitors, then you must definitely invest in SEO. It will help you please Google’s algorithm and lead you to top page results.
- Use on-page SEO so that Google sees you as a reliable source of information. Keyword research, optimized visual content, and backlinking are a few strategies that will definitely help you.
- Paid advertising will only take you so far. For Google’s algorithm, organic traffic is much more valuable since your website gets visitors without you investing money. You’ll get better results if you improve your website content and use social media to promote your business.
Google Analytics provides clear information to understand user behavior and intention. By monitoring your SEO strategy, you’ll be able to make needed changes that will help you reach your goals.
- Conversion rate optimization
Once potential customers visit your optimized website, you must do everything you can to ensure they don’t leave without booking a room!
Improving your CRO, or conversion rate optimization, means that you are actively guiding your visitors through the sales funnels and convert them into paying customers. You can set an e-mail marketing campaign and dedicated landing page providing an exclusive offer, or developing an optimized website and prompting visitors with calls to action.
Remarketing is another strategy you can use to bolster your conversion rate.
Imagine someone visiting your website. You can clearly see what they were looking for but, for someone reason, they left without booking a room. Why did that happen? Maybe they found a better offer elsewhere? Or maybe, they just didn’t have enough time to complete the reservation!
With remarketing, you’ll be reminding your visitors about their buying intentions so that they return and finish the booking process. Email marketing campaigns and social media ads are usually the most used options.
2. Manage your guests’ preferences
In a people-centered business such as the hotel industry, knowing your guests well will help you succeed. As your hotel brand grows, so to does your customer base. For that reason, it becomes increasingly harder to know every guest by name.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is the perfect tool to help you meet your guests’ expectations. Besides saving contact details, you’ll have the opportunity to collect detailed information on their preferences and reservation records.
With a CRM platform, you’ll have a unique database to keep your customers engaged. Besides, you can use this valuable information to build a loyalty program and boost repeated guest reservations.
3. Email your guests every now and then
Email marketing campaigns are a cost-effective strategy that’s perfect for up swinging direct bookings and increasing customer loyalty.
However, before reaching out to your customers, ensure that you have their permission to use their contacts for marketing purposes. In Europe, the United States, and Canada, for example, there are strict regulations when it comes to data protection.
A CRM tool is key to building an email marketing campaign. You can segment your guests and offer them valuable and exclusive offers they will love.
4. Engage your customers through social media
Scrolling through social media has become a routine for most of us. Without even realizing it, we find ourselves reading the news headlines, checking on what our friends have been up to, and following our favorite celebrities.
For hotels, this is the perfect opportunity to promote business! Besides posting content on hotel facilities and services, you can use it to engage with customers. Offer last-minute deals or limited availability for exclusive offers. The fear of missing out will be so overwhelming that your guests will definitely book a room!
5. Work side by side with third-party channels
I know that as a hotelier, commissions are at the front of your mind when it comes to third-party channels. Even though you might be eager to convert these commissions into direct revenue for your hotel, they do serve a purpose: third-party channels help you gain visibility with a broader audience that you would struggle to find on your own!
- Global Distribution System (GDS)
Travel agencies and travel operators use this system to get better deals with hotels when making a reservation for their clients. For hotels, it means defining contract rates, allotments, booking windows, and blackout dates that no other partners will have access to.
If you’re new to the hotel industry, this might seem tricky. Yet, with a channel manager, you’ll be able to upload the contract information to the system. This way, your hotel availability is always updated.
- Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
As a traveler, if you haven’t booked a room with a tour operator or directly with the hotel, chances are that you used an online travel agency. The same happens to your customers!
Popular platforms, such as Booking.com or Expedia, show your property to millions of potential guests worldwide. By defining the search filters, travelers will find your hotel, among others ranking for similar rates, services, and location.
Because of that, you must use high-quality photos of your hotel and encourage guests to leave positive online reviews on their stay. Hopefully you’ll outrank your competitors, and potential guests are more likely to book their stay with you!
Another way to use third-party channels to your advantage is using metasearch. Ever heard of this before? In a few words, metasearch engines, such as Trivago or TripAdvisor, gather information on hotel rooms and present it to potential guests.
For guests, it’s easier to compare rates and services and find the best deals. However, their journey to complete the purchase will be longer, as they will be redirected to different third-party websites.
To overcome a high abandonment rate, guarantee that guests will see the same rates for each room type or use a remarketing strategy. If your guests get lost along the journey, they will easily get back on track to complete the reservation.
How to build a solid hotel marketing strategy
Designing a marketing strategy is key for your business to succeed! Whether it’s a boutique hotel or an international hotel chain, you can get great results with proper planning. Now that you know which marketing strategies professionals use, it’s time to put your knowledge to good use!
1. Build a business summary
The marketing plan intends to provide clear information on your hotel to marketers and other professionals dealing with the communication strategy. For that reason, start by clearly identifying your hotel. Include the hotel’s name and location. Additionally, state your mission, vision, and values.
2. Conduct extensive market research
A comprehensive analysis of your competitors and customers will help you identify the right resources to reach your target audience.
Identify the market and your competitors
Start by researching the current state of the travel industry. Then, decide which date is most important and how you’ll use it to predict future trends and growth projections.
At this point, you can use a SWOT analysis to identify your competitors. It will be your chance to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You’ll be able to state what their business lacks and how you can fill in the gaps.
Identify your target audience
Your ideal customer will be the one buying your services. That’s why you must know who they are! Once your market research is complete, it will be easier to identify who is more likely to stay at your hotel. That will be your target audience.
Demographic information, such as age and gender, will help you understand your customers. However, it is also important to consider their location, profession, education level, preferences, and needs.
3. Define your marketing goals
Your goals should be crystal clear! People around you must understand your vision and what you hope to achieve. Besides which, it will be easier to analyze your campaign success in the future.
One way to master your goals statement is to use the SMART strategy. This method stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
How does this apply to you?
Let’s say that for your next marketing campaign, your goal is to increase your revenue on direct bookings by 15% until the end of the year. Using the SMART strategy, it would look something like this:
- Specific – ask yourself who should be in charge of this goal and what you need to accomplish it. Be as detailed as possible.
- Measurable – using numbers is a great approach to attain a measurable goal. In this example, the 15% increase is as clear as it can be.
- Achievable – identify which strategies you must put into action to attain your goal. It can be offering a lower rate for repeated guests or walk-ins or depend less on online travel agencies.
- Relevant – for your plan to succeed, it is important that your goals are meaningful to your company. It will allow you to focus on what’s important.
- Time-bound – when mentioning “until the end of the year” you are identifying until when you will take this goal into action.
4. Pinpoint your budget
Establishing a budget is a crucial phase where you guarantee you have enough resources to accomplish your goals. Once you’ve done your market research and identified who’s your target audience, it is time to decide how much you are willing to spend. A well-designed financial plan will help you decide on the marketing channels.
5. Marketing channels
Now is the time to set your plan in motion!
Decide how you want to reach your audience. If you’re just starting and are lucky enough to have a big budget, then go for sponsored content, pay-per-click, or native advertising. On the other hand, if you’re managing a hotel with a small budget, then put all your efforts into social media, email marketing, and personalized advertising.
With these tips, I’m sure you’ll create a thriving marketing plan!
Key concepts you must know
- Allotment – refers to a number of rooms hotels must always have available to a specific travel agency.
- Blackout dates – Upon signing a contract with a travel agency, the hotel defines specific dates that cannot be booked by travel agents.
- Booking window – refers to the period between a reservation being made and the guest’s arrival.
- Brand awareness – refers to how familiar customers are with a brand and its products or services.
- Conversion – refers to the moment when a visitor turns into a paying customer.
- Consumer behavior – studies how customers satisfy their needs and desires when choosing, buying, and using goods or services.
- Marketing channels – refer to the activities, people, and organizations that promote products and services to customers.
- Personalization – refers to using personal information to promote products and services to a targeted customer.
Hotel marketing plays a vital role in today’s travel industry. Considering accommodation is one of the largest expense people have while planning a trip, it is no wonder it quickly became a multi-billion dollar industry.
For this reason, hotel marketing has the job of connecting the right guests with the right services. It offers them the opportunity to enjoy the best customer experience, starting with the booking process.
However, the success of any hotel marketing strategy lies in other equally important factors. Impeccable customer service will highly affect your guests’ intent to return. Consequently, it will affect your ability to attract new customers and increase revenue. And, with a less income, it will be harder to improve your hotel facilities or pay better wages for high-performing employees.
As you can see, an effective marketing strategy will help you bring in potential customers and win repeat business. Yet it still matters to all departments within your hotel.
Guaranteeing your strategy is aligned with the service provided isn’t always easy. However, GuestJoy will help you achieve your goals effortlessly. With GuestJoy, you can present upsell opportunities, concierge services like online check-in, collect feedback an encourage positive reviews online, and much more. Take a moment out of your busy schedule and request a demo today!
For further readings, we recommend you the following articles:
- Hospitality Statistics – https://hoteltechreport.com/news/hospitality-statistics
- The future of hotel marketing – https://www.cvent.com/en/blog/hospitality/hotel-marketing-trends
- Modern History of the Hospitality Industry – https://hoteltechreport.com/news/modern-history-hospitality-industry
- COVID-19: The great hospitality reset – https://hospitalityinsights.ehl.edu/great-hospitality-reset
Today, information is available anywhere and at any time! As a result, the modern-day traveler is well-informed and in control of their travel plans. They know exactly what they need and where to find it.
As a hotel owner, your digital marketing plans must focus on promoting your property where your potential customers are. However, the internet is a vast place. So, how will your clients find you?
I’ll show you bullet-proof digital marketing tactics you can use!
What is hotel digital marketing?
First things first! Do you know what digital marketing for hotels is?
Basically, it refers to all tools you use to promote your hotel on the internet. The goal is to build a reputation online and become a recognizable hotel brand. You’ll be closer to your customers and potential guests. From posting on social media to contacting your guests via email, the options are endless.
Why should you promote your hotel online?
An effective digital marketing approach will help you eclipse your competition, making it easier for your guests to find you online and book a room!
Key hotel digital marketing strategies
In such a vast world as the internet, how will you know where to promote your hotel? Or what’s the best strategy to reach your ideal customer?
In hospitality marketing (as in life), climbing a mountain only seems impossible until you take the first step!
1. Register your hotel on Google
Google is the number one search engine worldwide. It’s the primary source of information on any topic. And it’s also where most travelers search for their next destination. So, it’s paramount that you use Google My Business and Google Hotel Ads.
How does it work?
Google My Business lists your hotel on search engine page results, similar to a digital business card. When searching for your hotel online, your guests will see your hotel name, contacts, location on Google Maps, online reviews, and services available.
This strategy will help you gain more visibility and organic traffic. Besides, your guests will easily find your contacts and address. Booking a room or contacting your hotel has never been so simple!
The best part? Google My Business is free to use!
On the other hand, Google Hotel Ads allows potential clients to see and compare room rates and availability online when looking for your hotel.
When they decide to book, Google Hotel Ads will display a direct link to your website. It’s a great way to increase revenue and not pay a commission to OTAs.
2. Build your hotel website
It’s the best strategy to present your hotel online! It’s your digital home. And where you show potential guests all your hotel has to offer! Besides, your website is the perfect tool to increase revenue through direct hotel bookings.
Here’s a few digital marketing tips you must have in mind!
Smartphones are the most used device when browsing the web. In fact, it’s where people spend most of their time online. So, to reach your target audience, the user experience must be your priority.
When searching for their next destination, travelers prefer user-friendly websites where it’s easier to navigate and find clear information. If your website displays information in such small letters that you’ll need a magnifying glass, then potential guests will look elsewhere!
Use content marketing
Travelers are looking for the ultimate experience! With so many hotels to choose from, why book yours?
A well-defined content strategy will help you present your hotel differently. Build a hotel blog to promote your location and services. It’s a fantastic opportunity to show landmarks and activities close by.
How to take advantage of content marketing?
– Interview the hotel staff about their role in the guest experience;
– Create video content on local landmarks;
– Offer high-quality content about local culture;
– Write about what’s new at your hotel;
– Remind your guests about upcoming events.
Regardless of the type of content you choose, remember to prompt potential guests to book a room.
Call your guests to action
Your website is up and running. And your blog is ready to educate potential guests about your location. But, there’s one thing missing…
What’s worth having a mobile-friendly website if your guests can’t book directly?
Encourage them to start the booking process using several call-to-action opportunities. Yet, you must be careful not to overdo it. Otherwise, they will be put off by your pushiness.
Additionally, use a built-in booking engine. It’s a great way to convert! As a hotel marketer, it’s your chance to increase revenue, rely less on third-party channels, and provide real-time availability.
3. Invest in SEO
For travelers to see your website, search engines must find it first! And to do so, you must use search engine optimization, or SEO, the cornerstone of digital marketing!
The impact of SEO is staggering! It helps your hotel build a solid online presence, gain visibility and increase organic traffic. How? It will make your website rank first on the search engine results page.
So, how can you use SEO to your advantage?
Analyze website data
Google Search Console (GSC) is a powerful tool that helps you analyze the website’s performance. How powerful? It allows you to gather precise information on your guests’ behavior and how they navigate your website.
What data can you retrieve from GSC?
- Your hotel website’s average position to a query;
- Which is the click-through rate;
- Identify your high-ranking pages;
- Compare your website performance on mobile devices and desktops;
- Check which websites link to you.
There’s much more in-depth information you can collect from GSC. Yet, these are a good starting point to plan your digital hotel marketing strategies!
Do you know what words your guests use online when searching your hotel? If you don’t, then you’re missing out!
Keywords represent travelers’ intention when looking for your hotel online. When you analyze which keywords they use, you can build a strategy focused on solving their needs.
How to use keywords to optimize your website?
- Target long-tail keywords;
- Keywords should naturally fit your high-quality content;
- Avoid keyword stuffing. It sounds robotic. People and search engines don’t like it!
These strategies will help search engine crawlers find your website. As a result, you’ll rank higher when travelers search for their next trip!
Optimize On-page and off-page SEO
Optimizing your on-page SEO means you’ll present information that search engines will easily find. Use target keywords in titles, headings, descriptions and content. It will help your rank on the top results page!
On the other hand, off-page SEO helps you build your website’s authority. How? Through backlinking!
As a hotel marketer, use this strategy to have high authority websites in the hospitality industry pointing to your hotel website. The reward: search engines will see you as a reliable source and rank you higher!
How to build a backlinking strategy?
- Post relevant content that’s valuable to your guests;
- Partner with travel bloggers to share engaging content on your hotel;
- Publish articles about your hotel on high-authority hotel industry blogs;
Once you’ve optimized your off-page SEO, monitor your backlinking strategy performance. If there’s a broken link pointing to your website, your ranking position might drop.
Improve your website’s loading speed
No matter how good your hotel’s digital marketing campaign is, a slow website will undermine all your marketing efforts.
Potential guests know there are other hotels around the corner and won’t wait for your website to load. As a result, they will leave before completing the booking process. Additionally, search engines will notice your website’s loading speed and penalize your ranking position.
4. Social Media
Social media is a must-have in hotel digital marketing. Social media content helps you reach your guests, build brand awareness, and get more direct bookings.
Why is social media critical to hotel marketers?
Online users spend one-third of their time on mobile devices. Moreover, almost every online user is active on social media! Thus, if you’re not promoting your hotel on social media, you’ll be missing on fantastic opportunities.
However, before posting on every platform, you must choose one that suits your digital marketing goals.
As a hotel marketer, Facebook is the perfect digital marketing tool to build a meaningful relationship with your guests. Besides engaging with customers, you can build a Facebook group to present your latest special offers, hotel trivia, and positive reviews. Additionally, use Facebook Ads in your remarketing campaign. It’s the perfect tool to improve your conversion rate!
It’s the most popular social media platform among younger generations. In fact, 71% of its users are millennials. Why should you remember this number? Millennials travel more than the previous generations and make up the grander portion of current travelers.
So, sign your hotel up on an Instagram business account and show off your hotel’s best features! Post stories and reels to show what’s new. Engage with followers through polls and surveys. Build a give-away campaign to find new followers! The options are endless!
Moreover, your potential guests find inspiration on travel related content! So, why not use influencer marketing to promote your hotel? Influencers’ followers might become your new guests!
If you’re looking to promote your hotel to corporate markets, LinkedIn is the platform you need! LinkedIn users are professionals looking for relevant information for their businesses. So, you must target B2C clients. How? Post engaging content highlighting your conference rooms, company retreat services, or team-building facilities to event professionals.
5. Email marketing
It’s one of the oldest techniques in digital marketing! And the one most hotel marketers prefer!
Studies show email marketing offers a staggering ROI of 36$ per each 1$ spent! It’s the most cost-effective strategy! Yet, there are other benefits in using email marketing.
- Email users are everywhere;
- It’s less intrusive than a phone call;
- Helps you build brand awareness;
- Allows personalization and automation;
- And it’s the fastest way to communicate with your guests;
- It’s a great tool to promote customer retention.
Yet, to successfully build an email marketing campaign, you must follow a few steps.
Build a contact list
It’s the first stage of every email marketing campaign!
Ask your guests to fill out a contact form upon arrival at the hotel. As an alternative, use your optimized website to encourage potential guests to subscribe to your newsletters.
Regardless of the method you choose, guarantee you have your guests’ permission to send them promotional content. You don’t want to be labeled as a spammer!
Personalize your emails
Once your contact list is ready, segment your email audience, build specific landing pages and send them personalized offers. Depending on your digital marketing goals, you can develop an email marketing strategy focused on family vacationers, corporate travelers, or backpackers.
Reach your guests on the right moment
Email marketing and customer journey mapping are the perfect combo! Together, these strategies will sky-rocket your chances to convert!
Once you’ve identified your guests’ needs during each stage of their customer journey, you can guide them through the email funnel.
I’ll give you an example.
Joe is an old guest that subscribed to your newsletter a while ago. He read your latest email and visited the personalized landing page but hesitated in booking a room.
You can help Joe decide! Provide further information on your customer service. Let him know how your hotel has changed since his last visit! Offering a special discount, VIP amenities, or a late check-out might help Joe decide.
Send follow-up emails
A few days after your guests’ check-out, send them a satisfaction survey and thank them for choosing your hotel. They’ll feel appreciated and you’ll collect precious data on how to improve your customer service.
Use email marketing to build an online presence
You can’t optimize emails to achieve the highest rankings on Google. However, you can use this strategy to generate organic traffic.
Ask your guests to visit your website, follow your hotel’s social media pages or leave positive reviews on Tripadvisor. It will help you bring in new visitors and build a reputation!
How can you take your email marketing campaign to the next level? GuestJoy helps you find your guests wherever they are through email marketing. Segment your target audience, use customizable templates, and send them personalized information that will help you convert!
Whether you’re running a small B&B or an international hotel chain, hotel digital marketing will help you promote your property worldwide. Besides, it offers you a varied selection of methods and strategies that you can tailor to your hotel business needs.
One of those tools is GuestJoy! Alongside email marketing, GuestJoy software helps boost your reputation online, connecting your guests to TripAdvisor and Google. Additionally, you can send your guests surveys that will allow you to monitor your hotel’s performance. Book a demo, and explore GuestJoy’s services.