As the long-awaited reopening day approaches, you need to be equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to craft a solid marketing plan. Appealing to a (somewhat) new market and setting the right rate plan in place have been areas we’ve covered in recent weeks. We’ve also been giving you marketing tips each week through our new podcast series – but pulling together your marketing relaunch plan will require more tips and ideas. Two of our senior experts Peter and Jade held a webinar this week on just that – here are a few key takeaways.
Starting with… brand awareness
Now that we’ve been given a provisional open date for hotels across Ireland, people will be dreaming of their getaways. Whatsapp groups will be lit up with potential, hopeful plans and screenshots of locations worthy of adventures.
People might not be ready to book just yet, but they’re actively looking, thinking, almost at the point of planning. Making yourself visible NOW to domestic customers is simply crucial.
Try to craft your tone and messaging with compassion and positivity. A ‘stay safe, see you soon’ type of message. Continue to provide helpful, useful content on your social media channels (e.g. recipes, self-care tips) and avoid ‘salesy’ messaging as much as possible. More on how you can utilise your social channels here.
You should also continue to communicate flexibility to customers. Let them know you can be flexible with their bookings and they will be reassured.
Beginning to amplify your message
From the week commencing 8th June, we should have a clearer view of the guidelines hotels will need to follow as they begin to reopen. As we move swiftly through each gradual phase of lockdown, bookings will increase, and we think there will be a lift at this stage.
With this anticipation of a lift, it might be tempting to go all out and shout out your sales message – but don’t. It’s still advisable at this stage to tread softly and continue to communicate by providing your useful, helpful content, alongside some soft sales messaging. Continue to highlight and amplify your flexible cancellation and booking deposit policy.
Keep the following in mind as part of your content strategy at this point:
- Consistency in messaging: If your cancellation policy is flexible, don’t be afraid to flaunt it!
- To stay ahead of the OTA’s and promote direct traffic to your website, you need to have a flexible cancellation policy
- User generated content – using the most common #hashtags on various platforms that you can make relevant to your own communication. Eg ‘Bliss’ ‘Relax’ ‘family’ ‘fun’ ‘location’ ‘Convenience’
- Telling your story through your guests – pictures, reviews, feedback and blogs – reshare, tag them, get them involved
- Competitions – be sure to follow the social platform guidelines so you don’t get penalised. They’re a great way of increasing organic engagement
Getting into it – driving bookings
From the week of 29th June, we’re expecting a more significant increase in booking activity and so it will be vital to invest in your book direct campaigns. New bookings will most likely be price driven, so focus on the value of your offers. Including safety messaging in your ads, website and rate plan content will be really key. The responsible measures and high standards of cleanliness you are implementing in your hotel will be something everyone will look for when they make their decision about where to book.
Opening up your hotel and seeing it in a new way
When the date finally arrives, your marketing campaigns should all be up and running, ready to maximise your booking potential for the remainder of the year.
We’ve mentioned this extensively over the last few weeks, but it might be time to stop seeing your hotel alone as the destination. Our collective love for travel hasn’t gone anywhere – it may be tinged now with apprehension, fear and practical or financial restrictions which means that more travellers will be looking to get their fix within the country they’re situated.
Are there businesses in your area you can partner with to build yourself up as a destination? Wherever you are, you most likely have plenty to offer. Ireland is a beautiful country with hidden and not so hidden, well known and unknown beaches, landscapes, attractions, wonders – we’ve got it all! What surrounds you and how can you leverage it? Even better if it means collaborating with your community.
When you decide on your collaborations or the areas special landmarks you want to highlight as part of your new ‘destination’ marketing, providing content on them will help to attract new guests. Can you teach them something? Can you offer them a deal between yourself and a local business? Whatever it is, don’t sell it short.
Managing your database and using Facebook ads
Some pointers on your database and Facebook ads:
- Start with a softer sell to a qualified database
- Build your qualified data base by cleaning existing one and building through Facebook lead generations and lookalike audiences
- Lead generation is the process of building interest in a business’s products or services. On Facebook, you can create campaigns using a lead generation objective that allows guests to fill out a form called an “Instant Form,” with their contact information. You can also track lead conversion events on your own website using the Facebook pixel
- Proximity Targeting: set up Facebook ads withing 1-2 km. Eg ‘We are open…come in for a coffee!’
Listen to our recent podcast that covers more on database management.