It’s the little things that often take the most time when it comes to hotel marketing. Once your team has a consensus on the best ways to drive direct bookings for your hotel, approval for your budgets and know what campaigns you want to run, it should be smooth sailing… right?
Nope. Not usually, anyway! There are dozens of small and not-so-small problems that crop up when you’re trying to execute a book direct strategy, and it’s the hotel marketer’s often thankless job to make sure little problems are fixed before they cause bigger ones.
We at Net Affinity have a lot of experience ironing out those problems. Our work with hundreds of hotels gives us familiarity with both the trials of hotel marketing and the rewards of overcoming those trials.
If you’re a hotel that doesn’t work with a digital agency, but still wants top-notch work, we wanted to give you a collection of tools to help you on your way.
Here are 12 great tools to help your hotel marketing when you’re driving direct bookings:
A digital version of the classic test for ads – can you see the most important elements of your campaign’s ad sets at a glance? For that matter, are the important elements of your website standing out? The squint test will show you if your ‘Book Now’ button stands out, from your Facebook ads to your hotel website’s homepage.
Need a little inspiration for your hotel marketing? Coolors is an app that you can use on your desktop at work or on your iPhone, and it lets you instantly generate color palettes for any ad campaign. You can ‘lock’ your brand colors in so that the palettes generated will automatically complement your hotel’s branding. It’s intuitive, easy, and free to use.
Canva makes it incredibly easy to create engaging visuals. The simple drag-and-drop system allows you to quickly cook up visuals that compliment your content. There are also plenty of free layouts, images, icons and templates for you to choose from.
This tool is for Facebook. As experienced hotel marketers will know, Facebook rejects ad images that are more than 20% text. Unfortunately, it sometimes interprets straight lines, like those found in buildings, as text. This tool lets you know when you need to make a change before your ad gets rejected!
Campaign Tracking and Reporting
Every hotel marketer knows the headache of typing in “utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=…” over and over again. While creating links that let you track your campaign’s success on different platforms is essential, it’s also a time-killer. This UTM builder lets you quickly create UTMs to track your content everywhere, auto-fills fields, and you can save presets for common campaigns. Best of all, it’s free.
The Bounce App is an easy way to share results with your team or your boss. It lets you grab screenshots, write notes and feedback on that screenshot, and share it easily with others. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make the difference!
Hotel Website SEO and Content
Easy to use, easy to understand, and gives you extra information about your hotel’s competitive set every time you visit their website or even make a search for keywords important to your hotel. You can analyze either your own hotel website’s content or a competitor’s to see how they’re likely ranking on search engines. With the paid version, you can also check keywords to see which are most competitive or difficult to rank for, get instant page optimization suggestions, and more analytics.
The SEO Content Editor is designed to help you write the right content for your hotel marketing and website. It gives you a research tool and suggestions to find the right keywords for your content. It also gives you an SEO score for any page’s content, including whether you’ve got your meta titles right, your keywords are being used the right number of times, and the little technical things that prevent you from focusing on just writing good content.
How’s your hotel’s Facebook page doing? What time should you be posting to reach your audience? How do you compare to similar pages? If you’re not sure about the answers to those questions, LikeAlyzer gives you an instant, free, in-depth look at what you’re doing right and wrong. It also provides 5 instant recommendations to improve your page performance.
Buffer is, hands down, the easiest and most effective to schedule and manage social posts we’ve found. You can connect it to every channel you’re on – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more – and schedule the same post to multiple channels in a single click. You can also schedule posts to go out at times that Buffer knows are the most effective, see your best-performing posts and more. The fee plan offers all these features, plus a few more.
Want to get in on a hashtag but not sure if it’ll work? Run it through RateTag to see what kind of reception you’re likely to get! IT tells you which hashtags are over- or under-used, and which are likely to get exposure now or later.
SocialMention lets you search for your brand or for related terms you want to know about. It tells you who’s talking about you, and how they’re talking about you, on all social channels. Consider it an all-in-one alternative to constantly monitoring all your social channels, all the time!
These tools are designed to help the savvy hotel marketer cut unnecessary work, and get deeper insights into their own marketing, along with competitor’s marketing and websites.
You may have some hotel marketing tools of your own that you can’t live without – share them in the comments below!
Words by Tayor Smariga.