The pandemic has uprooted us all in a number of ways. Economically, the hospitality industry is amongst those hit the hardest. It became glaringly apparent quite quickly that major changes were going to have to be made and implemented across the hotels that were lucky enough to be able to open once restrictions eased.
Your hotel’s ability to adapt and recover will continue to rely on smart, strategic marketing. Many hotels have had to shake off their pre-Covid audience knowledge and routines, and instead, vie for the attention of the domestic market who are being encouraged to take staycations.
Book direct offers
You want to continue to stay ahead of OTAs, so promote your book direct offers and make sure they’re better value.
For example – ‘We’re looking for to welcoming you back to _____! Book directly with us and get 25% off!’
If possible, offer extra points to the person when they book direct
Stay ahead of your competition by highlighting your best amenities. Take it one step further and remember how far personal touches go.
Consider the likes of:
- A welcome note
- Complimentary drinks on arrival or in the room
- Including discounts for your bar & restaurant
- Including discounts for your spa, treatments or wellness facilities
- A free room upgrade
For example – ‘Use the code ‘50OFF’ to get €50 off your next stay when you book directly with us!’
Highlight this on your newsletter, your campaigns and on your website.
If you don’t have one, now is a good time to include an action bar on your website.
An action bar is a panel that pops up from the bottom or side of your screen and it’s usually used to highlight a product or service you’re offering.
They should be eye-catching with the right image or colour, snappy copy that gets your message across and a clear call to action.
What can you use them for?
- To direct people to a specific page on your website
- An offer
- To get an important message across
People are still a little anxious about their trips for a number of reasons, so use your action bar to help reassure them.
Some good examples:
Google Hotel Ads
Google Hotel Ads is a meta-search platform originally called Google Hotel Finder that was launched in 2011. The platform displays your hotel rates in direct comparison to OTAs, enabling you to showcase your hotels on Google, across desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. To read more detail on the platform, read our article here.
Hotel campaigns let you bid for dynamic ads that appear when a traveler searches for a hotel on Search, Maps, or the Assistant. The ads appear in a hotel booking module that shows photos of the hotel, amenities, prices, and a booking link.
What are the benefits of these ads?
- They attract travelers who are actively looking for a hotel in a particular area
- They have your hotel name, price, and text call outs highlighting the unique benefits of booking through your site
- They tailor a hotel’s prices by availability and traveler’s itineraries
- They send users to a website to book, or allow them to book right there on Google
- You pay for an ad only when someone makes a booking, or you can fine-tune your bidding by factors such as device type, the traveler’s country, or length of stay
Your Google My Business account
Now is the perfect time for you to revise the basic information (content, imagery and contact us info) on your Google My Business Account!
- Update your opening hours
- If customers have asked questions in the Q&A, answer the questions
- Revise your reviews/testimonials and take notes!
Why is this important?
Google My Business is a tool that allows you to manage how your business shows up on Google Search and Google Maps, making it much easier for customers to find information about your hotel online. The information listed includes hours of operation, directions, and contact information. If you want to be found online in a local search, it’s essential that your hotel is listed under GMB. Ensure that yours is up-to-date with the correct information and optimized for the best results. This will make a big difference with not only your website traffic, but actual visits as well. GMB encourages both online and offline success for your business.
USP – Unique Selling Proposition
Definition: A unique selling point (USP), also called a unique selling proposition, is the essence of what makes your product(hotel) or service better than competitors.
How does it work?
Identifying your brand’s USP might seem simple, but it’s one that requires a fair amount of consideration. Do you want to be known as the hotel with the most spacious rooms or the one with the most beautiful view overlooking the ocean? A lot of hotels try to project themselves as being the best in every single way, but then fail to deliver. Don’t be one of these hotels! Be true to who you are and emphasise your assets through all of your marketing communications. Your company’s USP is closely linked to your brand promise and it has to be credible and lucrative at the same time.
Your USP needs to transcend the boundaries of tangible commodities and translate into an experience. Think the likes of “Enjoy your stay at X with magical views of the sunset” and “Make memories under the crimson skies at X. You’re highlighting the same feature, just with different effects. It’s important to not just identify your business’s key strength, but also to transform it into a unique offering for the customer.
Why does your hotel need a USP?
- Reaching your target audience – An effective USP gives customers a brief idea of whether the product will be useful to meet their needs. In order to create a niche for your hotel, it is imperative that you sell your product to a selected customer base that will benefit the most from your offer. In the pursuit of attracting customers, hotels often try to cater to all kinds of audiences and become unable to provide specialized services to anyone
- Highlights your uniqueness – It is imperative that rather than projecting varied advantages of your hotel, you market a single factor that others are not in a position to offer
- Strengthens brand image – A hotel needs to develop a loyal customer base to generate big revenue. This can be made possible by your USP that can establish your brand image in people’s minds. The goal should be to be remembered only by your USP, even without your hotel’s name being explicitly stated
- Sets goals for employees – Employees of a hotel need to be aligned to its USP in order to provide the best possible service to the consumers. Defining roles and responsibilities for each employee becomes easier when each one of them is bound and guided to deliver the promise stated by the USP
- Retains website visitors – The online presence of a hotel is considered successful if the number of visitors converts into the number of guests. Your USP is a great way to ensure that your target customers spend time exploring the benefits offered by you in your hotel website. Just as it is a waste of time on the part of a customer to look for hotels that don’t meet their needs, it is a hotel’s loss if a potential customer overlooks the hotel website because its novelty is not accentuated by its USP
- Allows premium rates – Since a hotel’s USP is the first thing that a customer notices, you can charge higher rates for services that set you apart
- Builds a loyal customer base – Your hotel’s USP not only attracts target customers to your brand, but when you fulfil the services that you had promoted through your USP, you also generate repeat customers. This loyal customer base can differentiate you from your rivals in the business as maximum revenue is generated by existing customers. A guest who is satisfied not just with the stay but with the food, location, service, luxury and security provided by a hotel can be a great resource for word-of mouth publicity
Why should you do it?
- 99% of us check our email every day
- More than half of us check our email before doing anything else online
- Email reaches about 85% of the people you send it to
- Email is shown to be 40x more effective at acquiring new customers than either Facebook or Twitter
- 72% of people prefer promotional content by email, compared to social channels like Facebook
It’s no longer good enough to send a blanket mail to your entire database with no consideration for who’s receiving what – an email focused on family offers might not be very relevant to someone who’s previously booked a girly spa weekend with you. You have the power to segment your contacts and use personalised messaging to engage your readers.
You can start segmenting your contacts by creating customer personas. Create these based on all the information you collect when someone checks in.
We chatted recently on our partner podcast series with Will Howes of Revinate, a hotel CRM platform that helps to consolidate your data and provide you with a better understanding of your guest segments.
Guests are no longer just reading your content on their phones, they’re booking on them too. Keep in mind that 73% of companies today prioritize mobile device optimization when creating email marketing campaigns.
Use the right kind of imagery. Your images speak more words than the words themselves! Make sure they complement the message you want to get across.
Your CTA is important too. Are you directing readers to the right landing page? Are they being directed straight to the offer once they click on it and show their interest? The same advice applies for your emails as it does across platforms – minimise the steps involved on the journey to purchasing.
Your subject line
Your subject line is the first thing your readers will see. Do NOT underestimate the importance of this one line! It has the power to pull in readers if you decide to make it compelling enough. If you can personalise the emails with names, even better. If you have your subscriber’s first names on your database, it can be done.
You may also find the latest episodes of our hotel marketing podcast helpful:
- Optimising Your Hotel’s Family Packages, Content Strategy & FB Ads
- Delving into the Marketing Funnel, Stage 1: Awareness
- Delving into the Marketing Funnel, Stage 2: Awareness
Want to know more about any of our products? Get in touch!