The best hotel marketing strategy you can implement
March 25, 2019
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 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 business? 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 probably got the basics covered.
You’ve worked hard to make your hotel stand out, and differentiate your hotel 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 an OTA, 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, and retaining all the information about your customers. 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 turbo charge 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 know how they feel by getting their feedback but then responding to it and further turning it into a two-way conversation. So, stop waiting for the OTA, 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
Feedback comes with the territory but harness it to 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 in the computer hard drive into a responsive living plan of action.
Don’t forget though, you need to capture your customers’ data from including addresses and birthdays and get their permission 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 through direct mail. This is really important as their data and insights are like marketing gold dust for your hotel business, so make sure you are doing all you can to capture and manage it and not leaving it to others.
3. Get to the top of online review websites to drive in new customers and actively manage your online reputation after people have stayed to reduce negative comments and get more great reviews
We now live in a real-time social media world where opinions can make or break your business in a heartbeat.
Gone are the days when you could wait until your next management review meeting to deal with any negative feedback and complaints. Yet less than 10% of companies manage their online reputation.
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 to tick a box. Stop doing this! The one question that really matters is how happy are they – that’s what you have to measure!
In this day and age, if you are not responding to them in real time then you are missing out on the conversation and not building a relationship with them.
Make sure you actively encourage guests to leave feedback. Ask your happy customers to tell the world about you and deal with your unhappy customers before they start spreading the word by getting one of your team to respond to them the minute they walk out of the door, if not before.
The power of this is that it you are building a relationship with them by showing them that you are on the case and willing to take on board what they are saying. And if you can respond positively, they may even thank you for it and tell others about it, all of which are going to improve your review ratings and work wonders for your TripAdvisor profile.
Do this and you will drive in loads of new business as a result.
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 business and, of course, your loyal customers.
You can use your list to offer additional value to these customers for example through refer-a-friend schemes to encourage more direct and repeat bookings which you can control, or to drive more business to your onsite facilities and concessions such as your restaurants and gyms through targeted offers or events.
Remember this about adding value and not discounting – you absolutely don’t want to get into a downward spiral on price here.
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. You probably already know that more people are likely to buy based on the recommendations of friends and family and seeking out information from recommendation and review sites such as TripAdvisor.
So why not tap into this and create a referral program of your own?
Equally, if they have had a great stay at your hotel, then encourage them to post a review on TripAdvisor, too.
Taking it further
So follow those five steps and you can be sure to transform your hotel marketing strategy into something guaranteed to deliver continuous improvement and results. Happy customers will help you generate more business and create a happier business as a result.
So if you want to grow your business and drive if forward by taking control of your customers’ marketing data and making use of real-time feedback, then we have a solution to help. The One Question is a platform which enables you to carry out those steps easily and efficiently freeing you up to do what you do best – running a great hotel business.
If that sounds like a winning solution for you then book an online demo here.