September 17th 2019
4 Minute Read
Marketing and hospitality has changed dramatically in the hotel industry in recent years. Whether it is fueled by changing consumer trends, rising customer expectations, increased use of mobile technology, or disruptors challenging the market, you can be sure that nothing ever stands still. What’s more, old marketing methods no longer work and new ones come and go.
Nowadays, your customers are interacting with you and your brand both before they check in, for example as they research their trip on your website, Google or TripAdvisor, and very likely afterwards if they post a review, or share their holiday snaps on Facebook. In fact, it is very probable that they are posting about you during their stay, too.
But what does that mean for you and your hotel? Quite simply, businesses that fail to adapt will not survive. So, how do you harness those interactions to devise a winning hotel marketing strategy you can implement to both keep on top of things and stay ahead of the game?
First of all, let’s make some assumptions. You run a good hotel or hospitality business, so you have got the basics covered.
You’ve worked hard to make your hotel stand out, and different from your competitors. You’re visible on all the major social networks, post regularly and interact with your followers. You’ve claimed your TripAdvisor page and you are listed on OTAs, such as booking.com and Expedia.
But while that may be a welcome revenue stream for your business, ultimately they will be in the box seat when it comes to levying increased commission charges. While also retaining all the information about your customers so you can’t market to them directly. So by all means use them, but to succeed in the long run, you need a hotel marketing strategy where you own the customer.
So how do you regain the initiative?
Follow these five steps to turbocharge your hotel marketing strategy and put your business on a winning course
1. Build a direct relationship with your customers
This is absolutely critical if you are going to succeed in the new relationship era of business. The rise of OTAs has commoditised your products and services and worse they are the ones who have a relationship with your customer.
To win, you must take back control of this relationship. And the only way to do this is to find out how they feel by getting feedback from them and responding to it, turning it into a two-way conversation. So, stop waiting for the OTAs, who doesn’t really care about your customers, to deliver guests to your door and nurture that relationship yourself. Speak to them, excite them with offers, reward them for their loyalty and own that relationship yourself.
2. Make sure you collect your customers’ data such as email addresses and mobile numbers when asking for customer feedback
Start harnessing your feedback and start a conversation with your customers and we guarantee that you will add jet fuel to your business.
By actively taking on board the comments you receive from your customers, you’re putting yourself in a powerful position to identify and respond to problems and issues as they arise and to unearth potential new opportunities from the people who matter most: your customers.
That turns your hotel marketing strategy from something that sits on the shelf or on a computer into a responsive living plan of action.
Don’t forget though, you need to capture your customers’ marketing data and get their consent for you to use it so that you can build your own marketing list. This allows you to reach out to them through multiple channels including email. This is really important as their data and insights are like marketing gold dust for your hotel, so make sure you are doing all you can to capture and manage it. Don’t just leave it to others.
3. Get to the top of online review websites by actively managing your online reputation
We now live in a real-time social media world where opinions can make or break your business in a heartbeat. Yet less than 10% of companies manage their online reputation.
Gone are the days when you could wait until your next management review meeting to deal with any negative feedback and complaints. Now, It is vitally important that you find out how your customers feel before any negative comments make their way online.
Most companies carry out some kind of feedback survey but they are asking the wrong questions, or too many. They only need to find out the answer to The One Question: how happy are your customers and employees?
Once you know, you then need to ask your happy customers to tell the world, while resolving unhappy customers’ issues before air their thoughts online.
Before you know it, you will be rising up the TripAdvisor rankings and improving your Google review snippet, driving loads of new business through your doors.
4. Create a rewards program with your happiest customers offering them incentives and offers
Creating a reward program is a fantastic way of getting more value out of your marketing list both for your hotel and, of course, your loyal customers.
You can use your list to offer additional value to these customers such as loyalty clubs with free upgrades to encourage more repeat bookings, or exclusive events using your onsite facilities such as your restaurants and gyms.
Rewards programs keep your customers engaged with your business, and what’s more, members spend up to 18% more than those who are not part of a program.
5. Create a referral program where your happiest customers can recommend new visitors to you
Getting your happiest customers to tell people about you is the cheapest and most effective way of getting new business. People are likely to buy based on the recommendations of their friends and family. So why not tap into this and create a referral program of your own where they’re incentivised to recommend?
Equally, if they have had a great stay at your hotel, don’t forget to ask them to post a review on TripAdvisor, too.
Start generating more business
By following these five steps you will transform your hotel marketing strategy into something guaranteed to deliver results. Happy customers will help you generate more business and create success as a result.
The best way to grow your hotel is by taking control of your customers’ marketing data, finding out how they feel using real-time feedback, then acting on it.
The One Question is a platform which enables you to carry out those steps easily and efficiently to help you grow your business faster than ever. To have a chat about how it could help you grow your business, book an online demo here.