With the recent world news about fires and climate issues, the hospitality industry in Australia is fully expecting tourism to take a dip. One in 13 Australian jobs rely on tourism, according to this January 2020 government press release. The best defence is for the industry is to ramp up its marketing strategies to overcome negative perceptions.

I’ve put together some hotel marketing ideas that properties of any size can implement to reap the benefits.

#1: Deliver Strategic Content Marketing

One of the best things about content marketing is the chance it offers to inform your audience. Content like blog posts, articles and email newsletters are usually less sales-focused than advertising materials, so they have a higher credibility rating. People believe content that sounds authoritative and is aimed at educating them. The benefit of content marketing is the way it tells the reader something they didn’t know before. This can help them decided where to go to achieve their travel and leisure objectives.

How to make this hotel marketing idea work for you:

Focus on creating content that’s optimised for search engines, and which doesn’t shy away from issues on the table. Address the recent drought, fires and floods in some parts of the country from a positive viewpoint. This could include mentioning facts like:

  • how your area escaped (important info for guests coming from far away),
  • what your community is doing to help local recovery efforts, or
  • offering a special promo for those who need a break from the hard-hit areas.

Even if you haven’t been affected by any of the recent challenges, ignoring them can make you seem tone-deaf at best. Confronting the issues directly shows you’re on top of current affairs in your region and aren’t afraid to stand up and be counted.

Of course, you can also use content marketing in all the usual ways. Suggest unique celebratory options for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, or offer end-of-Summer promos for some segments of your market.

#2: Achieve Perfect Public Relations Prowess

Generating and managing publicity is a powerful aspect of a public relations campaign. It doesn’t happen without hard work and input from people who know the process, though. To achieve good public relations results, you’ll need to pitch ideas and stories to the media often. When a journalist takes up your story and runs with it in a reputable publication, though, it’s more effective than any paid advertising could ever be.

How to make this work for you:

Develop the right contacts in your local media, or work with someone who has them in place already. Brainstorm newsworthy topics that fit each publication’s target audience, style and message. Hold media functions and send out press releases. Give interviews about the topics on your local radio station or TV channel. Promote your participation in these events on social media.

#3: Perform Superb Social Media Marketing

Every man and his dog are on social media, or that’s how it often feels. That’s a good thing for hotel owners, however, because it’s a form of digital marketing that really levels the playing field. A small boutique hotel can have exactly the same presence on social media as a large chain of hotels and resorts. Often, it can be even better because there are fewer hoops to jump through to get something published.

How to make social media marketing work for you:

Create profiles on the social networking platforms used by your guests. Instagram is very popular at present, and the hospitality industry is buzzing with opportunities to take “instagrammable” selfies and videos. No matter how popular your venue is with users, unless they can tag your location their posts won’t do much to help you in your marketing though.

Optimise your Facebook business page to accept reviews, and to allow followers to post to the page. Create a Twitter hashtag unique to your hotel, and encourage your staff and guests to use it daily to increase awareness. You can also offer customer service through social media by fielding questions and complaints via Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter.

Make social media marketing work for your Hotel - Polkadot Communications

Stay active on these sites by following others, liking and commenting, so you become a member of the community and your contacts become online ambassadors. Share and repost user-generated content to create engagement with your followers.

#4: Offer Virtual Video Marketing and Tours

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, more companies in the hospitality industry are using virtual and augmented reality. These offer a unique and special way for potential guests to “try before they buy,” by taking a virtual tour of your property from the comfort of their home.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, for example, offers 360-degree video tours on their website. Users can download the videos and view them through a VR headset for a fully immersive experience. The tours don’t only cover the hotel property but include surrounding areas, local businesses, and attractions, which makes them a valuable addition to online travel guides.

How to make this work for you:

You can film a video walk-through of a part of your hotel using a smartphone, or commission your videos to be made professionally. Ever since Facebook released its live video streaming option, people ranging from pre-teens to politicians make good use of it. And you can, too. By all means, get a videographer to film footage for you, but modern tools let you be as impromptu as you like.

Live video, especially, gives you the chance to bring your hotel or resort to your target audience, in all its accessible, interactive, and up-close-and-personal glory.

#5: Optimize Your Website for Mobile

Good website design is vital for all hotels online, but it’s not enough for your site to look good on a desktop or laptop. The use of mobile devices has completely changed how people shop and travel. Statistics show that 70% of travellers with smartphones have done travel research on their mobiles. Meanwhile, 74% of hotel guests would use an app to book a room if one was available.

How to make this hotel marketing idea work for you:

Focus on developing a smooth mobile experience for your guests. Avoid using images that are too large or show up awkwardly on a mobile screen. Test every aspect of your site on mobile before assuming that it works.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create an online booking process, either. Most online travel agents (OTAs) have their own systems that you can use on your website. You can steer potential customers to these platforms to make their bookings.

#6: Source Influencer Marketing

Hotels have used influencer marketing for years. Starwood hotels and resorts, for example, has used Instagram influencers since 2014.

Campaigns involve getting travel-related influencers to promote their properties by posting photos and user-generated content about their experiences at the venues.

Source Hotel Influencer Marketing - Polkadot Communications

To increase the number of bookings, descriptions include a link to LiketoKnow.it, a European e-commerce website. Whenever someone “likes” a post, the website sends them an email with booking information. Alternatively, people can book with hotels online directly through the influencers’ posts.

How to make this work for you:

You don’t have to be the size of Starwood to make influencer marketing work for you. Figure out who the thought leaders and local celebrities are in your target audience. Invite them to become influencers for you. Give them special packages and incentives, or offer to host local events. If you give them free accommodation and other benefits, you can write off the cost to influencer management.

#7: Send Email Marketing Campaigns

Email is still an effective method of advertising, according to a report from OptinMonster. Sixty per cent of consumers prefer to get promotional messages by email instead of social media, and many sign up for mailing lists for exactly that reason. And with the multitude of email programs available, setting up automated campaigns is a breeze for anyone with reasonable computer literacy.

You can send out one-offs, follow-ups, nurturing and drip campaigns, all at the click of your mouse.

How to make this work for you:

Use email to send out “Peak and Weak” seasonal promotions, keep your hotel top of mind with regular newsletters, and make sure your followers get to know about press announcements and other news.

You don’t even need to be able to write the emails. In most cases, you can find a template that says almost everything you want to say. Make a few tweaks, add a link to your mailing list, and Bob’s your uncle.

#8: Leverage Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are big business and one of the best hotel marketing ideas out there, according to a report by USA Today. Reader’s Choice 2019 awards show Wyndham Hotels’ Rewards program leading the pack, followed by another nine big names.

These programs don’t just bring customers back time after time. They can be instrumental in attracting new customers, too. As long as the rewards are attractive enough and the company underwriting the program is reputable, people will sign up in anticipation of the rewards they will get over the long term.

How to make this work for you:

The main challenge with loyalty programs is that they take lots of planning, effort, and money to set up, which leads many boutique hotels and smaller resort chains to believe it’s not for them. Fortunately, there are a number of programs you can partner with, starting with big names like Aeroplan and AirMiles.

Many companies these days are partnering with banks and credit card issuers for their rewards programs, too. This means you get to use their infrastructure without any effort on your part.

Boost your business and get the new hotel customers you need by choosing the right marketing tools for your target audience.

Need some help?

If all of this seems a bit overwhelming at the moment, you might need some expert support. We’re happy to offer advice on anything mentioned in this post and talk about ongoing ways in which we could help you to generate more business for your hotel. All you need to do is get in touch.

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