Innovative Hotel Digital Marketing Strategies to Maximize ROI
Hotel Digital Marketing
Marketing is an ever-evolving strategy for your business. In order to stay competitive and relevant in a fast-paced market, you need to stay aware of general and industry-specific trends that thrust your business into the spotlight.
For hotel digital marketing, the market is even more competitive and calls for specific strategies that take advantage of growing industry trends.
What Is Digital Marketing for Hotels?
The scope and opportunities for hotel digital marketing are vast in the current climate, but that also means there’s a lot more competition.
Before you can begin to develop your marketing strategy, you must answer two questions:
- What is your brand message?
- What is your key target market?
These two focus points will inform how you plan your hotel marketing strategies. The brand message will ultimately impact the types of guests you attract.
For example, you may want your hotel to be trendy and appealing to millennials, so you should consider marketing to solo travelers and young couples. You’ll also need to consider things like the location, the hotel’s size, your budget, the budget of your target customers and their reason for traveling.
Consider these types of travelers and how they fit in with your brand’s messaging:
- Value seekers: These are the customers who want to get the best out of their trip. They may be traveling with children, have a midrange income and fall between the ages of 24 and 34. These customers may use reviews to determine the best option, and they are more likely to search on mobile.
- Luxury travelers: These are customers who are focused on enjoyment and extravagance, and they’re willing to pay more for it. They tend to fall between the ages of 25 and 49. They’re more likely to seek out destinations that are more glamorous.
- Social travelers: These are customers who travel in groups of friends or family, often including children. They may appreciate babysitting services, have a high- to midrange income and fall in the 25-49 age group.
- Independent travelers: These customers like to have control over their experience and travel alone to seek out adventure and unique cultural experiences. They may be low- or high-income, relatively young and will likely share their experiences on social media.
- Researchers: These are customers who actively research both their destination and the accommodation options in the area, as well as attractions, restaurants and essentials. They’re commonly high earners in the age range of 25 to 49.
- Habitual travelers: These customers are looking for convenience and simplicity, and they routinely visit the same destinations. They’re focused on relaxation and enjoyment and are commonly in the 35-64 age range.
Identifying what kind of hotel you run, such as boutique, budget, luxury, chain or independent, will make it easier to determine which of these traveler types suits your offerings. Once you know that, it will be easier to decide how to market your hotel and who to market to.
Strategizing for Hotels
Now that you know your brand and target market, you can dive into strategizing and work toward positioning your hotel for success.
Developing a digital marketing strategy begins with identifying your brand and marketplace. Think about your marketplace image and what you want to convey to prospective customers, as well as what your customers are looking for from you.
You should also consider market trends to create the appropriate hotel marketing strategy and stay ahead of the competition. Do some research on your competitors and see how they’re using different platforms and messaging so that you can get ideas for how to best market your brand.
Once you’ve outlined all of this information, it’s important to consider your own internal capabilities and resources. If you have a team to launch your new strategy, be sure to communicate your ideas and expectations so you can work on moving forward together. If necessary, look into external resources to supplement your team and bring fresh ideas into the mix.
Once you’ve considered your brand positioning and marketing, it’s time to think to the future. Where do you want to be? This includes questions about the following:
- Customer acquisition targets: Customer acquisition is the act of gaining new customers. Acquiring new customers involves persuading customers to use your services, which is done through a systematic, sustainable acquisition strategy that evolves with new trends and changes. At this stage, you’ll consider your current customers, target customers and what new customers you’d like to attract.
- Customer satisfaction targets: Customer satisfaction is the total number of customers whose reported experience with a firm, its products or its services exceeds specified satisfaction goals. No matter how good your marketing messaging is, your reputation will precede you if you’re not delivering on your promises. Look for areas of improvement and measure your progress to ensure you’re providing your customers with the best possible experience.
- Engaging customers: Engaging customers comes down to offering real value, inspiring people and providing a “wow” factor that keeps them coming back. This will be based on your content and messaging, which should always focus on providing value first, then selling.
- Quantifiable gains: If you’re not measuring progress, you won’t know what you are and aren’t doing right. Set reasonable, regular goals and measure your successes along the way so that you can quickly discern what’s working and where you can improve for your next campaign.
- Unique selling points: Your unique selling point is the factor that differentiates your services from your competitors. It may be the lowest cost, the highest quality or something that’s never been offered before. Ultimately, it’s about what you have that others don’t, which is a foundation you can use to fuel your campaigns and persuade your customers.
Objectives are a vital part of any strategy. Defining objectives helps you determine if you’re on the right track with your marketing strategy and ensure that you’re moving toward successful campaigns.
Your objectives should be:
- Specific: Start with specific — but simple — objectives for your campaign.
- Measurable: Your objective will need to be measured and compared on occasion to track your progress.
- Attainable: Be sure that your objectives are realistic and sustainable, especially for your team, so you can increase your chances of success.
- Relevant: The objective must be in line with external factors, such as the current market and competitors.
- Time-based: Your objective should have a time limit so that you can periodically track your results. Be sure that your team is on board with the time frame.
Now, you’ll fine-tune your strategy to ensure that you’re reaching the right audience. This involves:
- Target markets: Your target market is a broad group of customers within your available market that you’ll direct your marketing efforts and resources toward. This market is the group of people most likely to use your services.
- Segments: Once you have your target market, you can divide your prospective customers into segments based on different characteristics. Your segments are composed of customers who are likely to respond similarly to marketing strategies and who share traits, such as similar interests, needs and locations. This allows you to personalize your messaging to reach different audiences within your broad target.
- Objectives: Your marketing objectives are the goals you set to promote your services to prospective customers within a specific time frame.
- Positioning: Your market positioning is the process of establishing your brand’s image or identity so that your customers perceive you in a certain way. Your positioning also helps you stand out from your competitors. You may want to position yourself by associating your brand with certain value or characteristics, competitive pricing or quality.
Marketing content, whether it’s YouTube videos, paid ads, Facebook posts, blog posts or tweets, is about storytelling.
A strategic marketing approach should be focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a specific audience and drive actions. It’s a long-term strategy that provides high-quality content to your customers that they can look forward to.
Delivering valuable content means you must know your customers. You need to know their pain points, their challenges and what they’re looking for from you. If your content doesn’t cater to the right person with the right problem that you can solve, it won’t be effective.
Fortunately, you have limitless options for content that’s effective for hotels. You can create branded magazines, webisodes and documentaries, promote a resort or spa hotel with a blog about healthy living or focus on business topics if your hotel regularly hosts meetings and conferences.
Once you’ve developed and fine-tuned your strategy, it’s time to monitor performance and make adjustments along the way to ensure the most effective campaigns possible. This involves tracking not only your campaigns themselves, but all aspects of your online presence that influence and inform your customers.
Social media is highly valuable to modern businesses. You can monitor nearly every aspect of your social media accounts, but there are four main areas you should focus on:
- Engagement: Engagement is the primary area that you should focus on with social media. It is the start for improving all of your other social media performance indicators. Engagement measures the number of likes, shares and comments that your social media activity receives. No matter how small your audience is, having engaged followers will expand your reach over time and generate more leads. On top of that, platforms like Facebook and Twitter use your social post engagement to determine how many other people will see your update.
- Reach: Reach indicates how far your message is traveling and how many people are actually seeing your posts. Measuring reach can be done with followers or fans, impressions and traffic data that shows how many people reached your website from social media.
- Leads: Though engagement and reach are important, leads determine if you’re getting the best ROI from your social media. You can measure lead generation on your social media accounts to determine which channel deserves more of your attention or if you need to change your content strategy to connect with your audience.
- Conversions: Your social media interactions should always be focused on providing value and increasing engagement for your customers, but you should still know how many of your prospective customers are actually coming to you to buy so that you can determine if your marketing efforts are successful. Take note of which social media channels produce the highest and lowest numbers to find out where your best leads are coming from.
Your website has plenty of valuable performance indicators you can measure to see if your messaging is actively converting your visitors.
- Bounce rate: Your bounce rate is the percentage of single-page site visits. An unusually high bounce rate could signal that many people are leaving your site without looking for more information, which may point to poor content or poor user experience.
- Unique visitors: Unique visitors are first-time visitors to your site over a period of time. Tracking unique visitors lets you monitor your web traffic over time and analyze periods of high and low traffic.
- Pages viewed per session: The number of pages viewed per session is an important indicator of how compelling users find your content. If you find that you have a low number of pages per session, you may need to tweak your content to make it more engaging and encourage visitors to take the next step.
- Top landing pages: Top landing pages represent the first page your visitors land on when they visit your website. This could be a blog article, homepage or another page. Ideally, you want your top landing pages to be highly optimized and encourage users to complete the desired action.
- Goal and event completion: Goal completions show you how effective your site is at converting visitors. Goals can be filtered to identify your marketing channels and determine what helped users convert. Event tracking helps you understand what actions visitors are taking on your pages, and you can track any interaction that doesn’t result in a new pageview. With this information, you can make changes to your site to improve conversion.
The first page of search results receives the majority of all traffic, so you need to prioritize key components of SEO to be found by visitors. Here are the ways to ensure that your site has the best chance of staying at the top of the rankings:
- Plan keywords accordingly. Think about what travelers search for when planning their travel and booking hotels in the area, then use those keywords strategically in your content.
- Create a free business listing that includes all your hotel’s information in the fields and makes it easier for visitors to get the information they need. This may include your hotel’s address and phone number, geo-marker, photos, reviews and other relevant information.
- Promote high-quality content. Providing value not only increases your chance of converting visitors, but it also boosts your search engine rankings.
- Prioritize online reviews. Prospective customers feel more comfortable with positive reviews. To give your hotel credibility, you need to respond to as many reviews as possible, particularly the negative ones, to show that you care about your customers and their experience.
Video marketing is becoming popular in all industries, but it’s even more effective for something as visual as travel. It’s engaging, easy to digest and easy to share with others, not to mention that having videos boosts your search engine ranking.
Consider posting video tours of your hotel or creating inspirational videos about a destination or attractions. Like other content, video should still be focused on the story. Use strong messaging, emotional appeals or personalized stories to connect with your audience.
Customers value good service over anything else. The key to establishing an effective hotel digital marketing strategy is developing a strong relationship with your customers. Use your customers’ needs to inspire your marketing content and craft a solid marketing strategy to reap the rewards.
If you want to fine-tune your hotel digital marketing strategy and reach your customers, M16 Marketing can help. We have a top-notch team of web designers, digital marketing strategists, content creators and search engine optimization consultants that can help with every aspect of your marketing strategy. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!