Smart Hotel Marketing Strategies for More Bookings
There are two kinds of people: those who love to stay in hotels and those who don’t. I have to admit that I tend to favour the latter, and I often choose Airbnb over hotel rooms when I travel for leisure. Why? This is because it’s more affordable, less sterile, and offers unique touches that make the hotel feel homier. If the hotel can market itself well, charge a fair price, and treat me like I’m a queen, this could be a shift in my mind.
There is a lot of competition in the hotel marketing business. It’s becoming more difficult to stand out from the crowd and get more bookings, especially with websites such as Airbnb and Home Away. These challenges are well-known to hotel marketers, but they still have to meet (or hopefully exceed) their metrics that often tie to bookings.
What can a struggling hotel marketer do? How can you ensure that people find your hotel and book their stay as soon as possible? Fear not! Here are 10 tips for hotel marketing success.
You can easily search online!
Technology has overtaken everything; let’s face the facts. The days of travel agents are long gone. Travellers today are empowered to conduct comparative research without leaving their beds. Unsurprisingly, bookings for your hotel are difficult to find online. For potential bookings, you need to be everywhere online so that people can find your name in the window while looking for a place to stay.
75% of travellers are satisfied with their experience (75%). Most travellers (75%!) use a search engine for places to stay. Make sure you are on top of your SEO. Make sure your website loads fast by using the most popular hotel keywords.
Organic optimization is not enough. The SERP for hotel-related search results is heavily monetized. This means that people will see ads before organic optimization. The entire screen in the screenshot above is taken up with ads. Bidding aggressively on Google’s Search and Display Networks is a must (don’t forget Hotel Ads). Bing, Instagram and Facebook, as well as websites such Trip Advisor and Kayak.
You don’t have to limit your reach to one search engine, social media platform, or travel website. Although having a strong presence on all websites may not be necessary, you should still look at your website analytics and find out where people book from.
Remarket, remarket, remarket
Did you know that hotel bookings online have an abandonment rate of 75%? Three of four people book online, then get distracted and leave the process. It’s possible that the pizza guy interrupted their purchase, or they suspected they could find a better deal elsewhere. No matter the reason, you don’t have to give up on your job as a hotel marketing professional.
Because travellers are easily distracted by daily distractions like crying babies and pop-up notifications on their phones, and so many other options are available, remarketing is an essential component of hotel marketing.
Remarketing can help you lower abandonment rates and increase bookings. You can show enticing display ads to people who have visited your site recently to remind them that you are there and guide them through the process. To make it easier for them to book, offer them a deal.
Make sure you’re targeting the right audience.
Which type of hotel are your guests looking for? Marketers of Super 8 Motel on Route 9 need a different strategy than those of Ritz Carlton on Caribbean beaches. Different people travel and book differently. They also have different budgets. Tools like income targeting can be very useful. This may seem obvious, but many other ways to segment your audience when marketing your hotel.
Hotels often have many customers with different income levels. They may offer more expensive rooms (such as the presidential suites) or rooms that are sold at a discount price. Both of these audiences must be separated and targeted separately. Even the same hotel chain can have different audiences in different areas. These are all important factors to consider when creating your marketing campaigns.
You may have to divide your prospects into multiple campaigns to ensure you send the right message to each prospect. This is possible with tools such as Facebook’s targeting option. Make sure you take the time to identify your audience so that you can send the right message at the right moment.
This Facebook ad is aimed at business travellers with high travel budgets.
You may want to target singles if you are a young professional working in a hotel in LA’s Koreatown.
Increase your marketing budget during peak booking seasons
Your peak booking season will be different if you run a ski resort in Switzerland or a beach rental business on the Cape. You may know when peak booking season occurs, but as a hotel marketer, you might not be aware of how to budget for it. Spending more on your busiest season than your annual budget makes more sense.
Find out what slow, busy and steady times are and adjust your budget accordingly. Be sure to keep your window sizes within limits. It is often necessary to plan. However, Google and other ad platforms make budget adjustments easy on an ongoing basis. Make sure you are doing it!
Ad scheduling is another option. When are people most likely to book their travels? You might have a hotel that attracts frequent business travellers. These people may book more trips during business hours than those who travel for pleasure. Look at the data and create an ad schedule to ensure your ads run at a lower budget during peak times.
Offer incentives to get people interested
Why should I choose you over the nearby hotel – or one that is more convenient or cheaper? Your hotel must have a compelling reason for your prospects to choose yours over the competition.
You can offer prospects special incentives if there aren’t obvious reasons such as the lowest prices or best reviews. You could offer a 15% discount to all guests who are first-time guests. You can also create a sense of urgency by incentivizing people to book before you miss a limited-time deal.
The example below shows a luxury hotel in San Juan (Puerto Rico). You can find special offers in a whole section of their website. Below is a special offer for two nights or more: 30% off, 15% off