Setting rules, boundaries and goals for themselves is what differentiates the top hotel marketers from the average ones. Rules go beyond making sure top marketers perform consistently: they force them to get creative.
This is because constraints make us creative. They take away the paralysis of choice (think: writers block) and force us to work to make something great within a set of limitations. Consider A/B testing as an example: you’re working to optimise a page or a newsletter’s performance, but changing only a few variables to make sure you’re getting usable results.
So, rules are a good thing – they give us patterns and systems, which we as humans naturally form anyway. What are the rules the best hotel marketers use to thrive, and how can you use them to help your hotel?
Let’s find out.
1. Build Relationships:
With the ascent of social media and blogs, building relationships has become essential, especially in the hospitality industry where a human touch is key. This is why the best hotel marketers make it a habit to build relationships. When they forge relationships with other businesses and marketers, they build their own reputation and can become sought after influencers.
You can build relationships by doing something as simple as sharing a blog post on social media, or doing something as generous as referring clients to other marketers. Things like guest posting on others’ blogs, co-hosting webinars and providing free advice can also help.
Here’s a great example: 5 LinkedIn Experts Share their Top Strategies. In this post, Melonie Dodaro, a LinkedIn marketer, shares LinkedIn marketing tips from 5 marketers. She includes their tips, their photos, and links to their websites and LinkedIn accounts.
Melonie doesn’t write about what she thinks about these tips. Instead, she places the limelight on these 5 experts. This significantly solidifies her relationship with them – imagine how pleased you’d be if someone wrote an article all about how great your advice is!
A post like this will also get her post more traffic, because the (widely followed) people mentioned will share it with their followers. The relationship she built will continue to get her traffic, clients and backlinks for a long time.
2. Read a Lot:
Top marketers are always eager to learn new marketing methods. So they read a lot. Books, blog posts, articles – any and every credible source is a way to gain new and valuable knowledge for them. They’ll actually spend more time reading non-fiction in their downtime than flicking through Netflix, because they are driven to learn, and because they’re genuinely passionate about marketing.
You can effortlessly find out what marketing books you should read by using Amazon. Just head over to a category like Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and look at a few of the more popular options. Alternatively, use our good friend Google to find a blog post (more reading!) with a few recommendations for you.
You can also contact marketers directly to ask them what books to read – many of them are interested in helping you grow!
Lastly, don’t read just for the sake of reading. Read with plenty of conviction. Highlight text and take notes whenever you can.
Top marketers also take courses on sites like Udemy.
3. Invest in Tools:
There are literally thousands of marketing and productivity apps and tools available today, and most are very inexpensive. By using these tools, marketers can accomplish tasks that used to take hours and days in minutes. This is why the best marketers invest in plenty of them.
Having tools lets you create more and better seasonal offers, competitions, display ads and every other type of tool in your hotel’s marketing arsenal.
The marketer’s tools arsenal should consist of email marketing tools (Aweber, Mailchimp, Leadpages, Unbounce, etc.), social media marketing tools (Buffer, Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, etc.) and productivity tools (Evernote, Todoist, Rescue Time, etc.).
One productivity tool to take a look at is TimeDoctor. TimeDoctor is a tool to tell you exactly where you’re spending your time at work, avoid distractions when you’ve been on social media too long, and can be used either by you alone or by your whole team.
Here’s a list of 42 marketing tools used by some of the top marketers. Take a look, pick out a few of your favorite tools, and get started. You might need to invest some money purchasing or subscribing to these tools, but the time you save will be definitely worth it. If you are on a tight budget, you can typically use free alternatives or free plans offered by them.
4. Outsource When Necessary:
Marketers might make it a habit to learn new skills, but they don’t try and do each and every task. They know that there are only so many hours in a day, and that they should spend them doing what they’re best at. They learn many skills but only master a few – and for a top marketer, that’s exactly what they should be doing.
They have the knowledge to outsource things they struggle with to people who are great at them. Learning new skills actually makes it easy for them to outsource the right person.
If you want to become a top marketer, you too should outsource everything from virtual assistants to designers to writers. If you have already built up a network of relationships, finding the right talent for the job should be a painless process.
5. Test Everything
The best marketers understand that every hotel is different – business hotels will have successful strategies that will fall entirely flat at luxury hotels, and what appeals to a young couple won’t be important to a solo business executive. They know that one formula doesn’t fit all. So, they implement new marketing methods and test them to make sure their techniques are working. They don’t make assumptions or leave anything to chance.
These tests are conducted by studying analytics, using heat maps, scroll maps and also viewing recordings of how their visitors are behaving onsite. They also conduct split tests to see which version of their marketing method performed best.
Along with the tools linked above, Sumome is a great tool you can use to analyse your website and conduct split tests.
6. Share Everything
In the past, when a marketer discovered a new marketing method or found that a tweak in a landing page got them strong positive results, they kept the idea to themselves.
They were afraid that if they shared the information, their competitors would use the same technique to get the same results or perform better. But the modern hotel marketer doesn’t do this. The modern marketer is an open book. They share their latest tips with their audience, either in a report or a blog post. This sounds a bit crazy, right?
However, having and sharing unique information helps build relationships and gets a ton of social shares and backlinks. These are instrumental in boosting your website’s performance, building your reputation and giving yourself authority and credibility.
An example is this post from Brian Dean on how he increased his search traffic by 110% in 14 days. He doesn’t hold back – instead, he shares exactly what he did to get more backlinks and search traffic. This helped him write a unique post which got 400 likes on Facebook.
7. Create Strategies
Do you know why 80% of businesses fail? It’s because they have no strategy. They create companies thinking that they’ll do a bit of this and that, and customers will automatically fall into their lap. Usually, nothing works and they end up failing.
The best hoteliers and top hotel marketers don’t do this. They have guest personas, so they know exactly who they’re targeting and who to build their strategy around. Their marketing is well planned, and they’ve got it down to a science – or as close to a science as marketing ever can be! They start by doing a lot of research, choosing their marketing methods, and then devise a strategy that will help them achieve these marketing goals.
To find success as a marketer, make sure your marketing is structured and planned around a central, documented goal.
Building relationships, reading, investing in tools, outsourcing help, analysing, sharing and creating strategies are the 7 rules the best hotel marketers impose on themselves. It helps them achieve results most marketers can only dream of.
What other rules do the best hotel marketers impose on themselves? Do you place any rules on yourself? Let us know in the comments below.