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Hotel Marketing 101

Hotel marketing involves a wide variety of tactics to achieve success. Learn more about tips to keep in mind when marketing for your hospitality clients.

Hotel marketing involves a wide variety of tactics to achieve success. Learn more about tips to keep in mind when marketing for your hospitality clients.

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HOTEL MARKETING <strong>101</strong>:<br />

Tips and Tricks to Market Your <strong>Hotel</strong>,<br />

Casino, and Resort


INTRO<br />

Right off the bat, let’s get something straight<br />

that is commonly overlooked:<br />

Digital hotel marketing is a collaborative<br />

partnership between a hotel’s <strong>Marketing</strong><br />

and/or Revenue Management departments<br />

and the digital agency.<br />

The common goal: “Heads in beds and butts<br />

in seats.”<br />

Let’s look at some of the common<br />

problems hotels face in a digital marketing<br />

environment, and ways to combat it.<br />

We want to keep your EBITDA shining, your<br />

RevPAR high, and your CFOs happy!


RIDE THE HIGHS AND ROLL<br />

WITH THE LOWS<br />

Trying to fill rooms during peak season is easiest, and a time we take<br />

for granted, and then reminisce on fondly when low season hits.<br />

During slow seasons, try to focus more on year-over-year trends<br />

rather than month-over-month. Try to avoid a knee-jerk reaction at<br />

any declines and ask the questions:<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

What did we do last year to incite more visits during historically<br />

slow periods?<br />

Was there any difference in entertainment artists, venues that<br />

closed down, or conventions that aren’t around this year?<br />

Can this decline in performance be attributed to new/missing<br />

campaigns or tactics?<br />

Has budget changed from month-to-month or since last year?<br />

What data does your Convention & Visitors Authority have on<br />

visitation stats from last year, and how can you predict next<br />

month?<br />

Finally, be honest. Are you driving enough awareness? Or are you just<br />

focusing on remarketing and direct conversions, thus slowly whittling<br />

away at your pool of guests, making it smaller and smaller until all<br />

your usual guests are gone?


BUILD RELATIONSHIPS,<br />

DRIVE LOYALTY<br />

Just like real life relationships, building that guest relationship takes<br />

time! You don’t get awarded with brand loyalty after one interaction;<br />

it’s an ongoing flirtation that leads to a healthy, long-term relationship.<br />

A resort should keep surprising your guests with delightful moments<br />

(and fun deals) that keep the relationship exciting.<br />

Try geo-fencing an offer around high traffic areas with your coolest<br />

dining discounts or show ticket deals.<br />

Reward guests for their gambling activity with points, offers,<br />

merchandise and experiences can easily transfer over into your<br />

marketing tactics.<br />

Extend a leg of your marketing channels to support new loyalty<br />

club sign-ups. Even though loyalty clubs need to have an in-person<br />

registration to ensure the person is 21, you can still offer incentives<br />

online to get them there.<br />

Offer “walk-in verification” reports. You can see how many people<br />

were served a mobile ad and then walk into your property in the next<br />

30 days, so you have some type of “conversion” that reflects the reallife<br />

scenario.


SIZE UP THE COMPETITION<br />

If you’ve got some budget to spare, it’s time for competitor conquesting!<br />

With Paid Search, you can bid on your competitors search terms (you just<br />

can’t include their trademarked terms in your search ad copy).<br />

You may pay a higher cost-per-click and have a lower quality score<br />

because your website is technically unrelated to the keyword, but it’s<br />

probably worth it if you sway a non-loyal customer over to your side.<br />

With Display, you can utilize the same geo-fencing tactics to mark a<br />

latitude-longitude coordinate around your competitor property and serve<br />

all their guests your banner ads for your (much cooler) hotel and its (way<br />

more interesting) venues.<br />

DON’T FORGET ABOUT CONTENT<br />

Just like the importance of upper-funnel prospecting tactics, you shouldn’t<br />

ignore organic search marketing and the long-term game.<br />

Explore the top experiences in your city and create as many blogs and as<br />

much content as your brand can muster. When your site ranks on the first<br />

page of Google for general keyword terms that cost an arm and a leg on<br />

paid search, this is a huge win.<br />

In order to do that, you must spend the time in writing those blogs about<br />

what people actually care about. For example, want to show up for “best<br />

steakhouses in Vegas”? Write a blog about the actual, best steakhouses in<br />

Vegas, and branch out from the obvious choice of just your steakhouse.<br />

Promote it, revisit topics, repeat.


UTILIZE ALL OPTIONS WITH<br />

FULL-FUNNEL MARKETING<br />

We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a full-funnel<br />

marketing approach year-round.<br />

“Feed the beast,” as we like to say, with higher funnel awarenesstype<br />

campaigns like prospecting and video marketing to grow your<br />

audience, and get them to your website.<br />

After that, your remarketing campaigns (on any channel) should offer<br />

them a discount to push them over the edge and decide to book.<br />

The purpose of these high-funnel tactics is to shout with a megaphone<br />

that “Our brand exists!” Users will rarely be ready to book a room after<br />

seeing one video ad, so don’t ask “how many conversions did we get”<br />

from your awareness video, if you can help it.<br />

Aim to reach all areas of potential hotel conversions, including affiliate<br />

marketing and venue partnerships. Offering deals to your partners’<br />

unique audiences can multiply your reach by sharing with their<br />

audiences as well (email lists, social followings, their website, etc.).<br />

Lastly, if your booking engine is up-to-date and has a solid DataLayer<br />

in its backend that allows for easily-integrated technologies like<br />

Google <strong>Hotel</strong> Ads or metasearch engines like Kayak, TripAdvisor,<br />

Trivago, etc. - do it. These are turnkey, trackable revenue streams<br />

waiting on the table.


FINAL THOUGHTS<br />

In a hotel/agency partnership, everyone is doing their best to drive as many<br />

impressions and clicks to visit your website. What the user does at that point is<br />

up to them, and the website and offers featured on it are the deciding factor.<br />

Choose wisely in those matters, and your guests will do the same.<br />

IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT OFFER<br />

<br />

A resort or dining credit offer with hotel booking - some type of value add.<br />

Especially if your rates suck and there’s nothing Revenue Management can do<br />

about it.<br />

<br />

Book 2 nights, get 3rd free. “Extend Your Weekend” offers that push Monday/<br />

Tuesdays and Wednesdays/Thursdays around the weekend dates users are often<br />

looking for. Or simply “Get 25% off a midweek day to extend your weekend!”<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Complimentary upgrade to a Suite<br />

10% off mobile bookings<br />

Midweek BOGO<br />

Book on X dates, get show/dining discounts/Get x% off rooms when you book<br />

show tickets<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Early Bird offers - 20% off when you book 14 days before arrival<br />

Book by X date, get a complimentary room upgrade/value add<br />

Stay in an off-peak month, get a big discount/free night for your summer vacation!<br />

Supply them with a voucher or unique promo code for 25-30% off a room if<br />

they’ve stayed in non-peak dates.<br />

<br />

Airline vouchers - Rarely seen or used, but totally possible if you know the right<br />

people. Offer your guests gift cards for airfare (that you’ve bought directly from an<br />

airline at low hard costs). You can limit it to just your hotel’s city, or users can use it<br />

to go anywhere they like.<br />

<br />

“No resort fee for bookings on X date!”<br />

IMI.biz

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