HOTEL MARKETING 101:
Tips and Tricks to Market Your Hotel,
Casino, and Resort
Right off the bat, let’s get something straight
that is commonly overlooked:
Digital hotel marketing is a collaborative
partnership between a hotel’s Marketing
and/or Revenue Management departments
and the digital agency.
The common goal: “Heads in beds and butts
Let’s look at some of the common
problems hotels face in a digital marketing
environment, and ways to combat it.
We want to keep your EBITDA shining, your
RevPAR high, and your CFOs happy!
RIDE THE HIGHS AND ROLL
WITH THE LOWS
Trying to fill rooms during peak season is easiest, and a time we take
for granted, and then reminisce on fondly when low season hits.
During slow seasons, try to focus more on year-over-year trends
rather than month-over-month. Try to avoid a knee-jerk reaction at
any declines and ask the questions:
What did we do last year to incite more visits during historically
Was there any difference in entertainment artists, venues that
closed down, or conventions that aren’t around this year?
Can this decline in performance be attributed to new/missing
campaigns or tactics?
Has budget changed from month-to-month or since last year?
What data does your Convention & Visitors Authority have on
visitation stats from last year, and how can you predict next
Finally, be honest. Are you driving enough awareness? Or are you just
focusing on remarketing and direct conversions, thus slowly whittling
away at your pool of guests, making it smaller and smaller until all
your usual guests are gone?
Just like real life relationships, building that guest relationship takes
time! You don’t get awarded with brand loyalty after one interaction;
it’s an ongoing flirtation that leads to a healthy, long-term relationship.
A resort should keep surprising your guests with delightful moments
(and fun deals) that keep the relationship exciting.
Try geo-fencing an offer around high traffic areas with your coolest
dining discounts or show ticket deals.
Reward guests for their gambling activity with points, offers,
merchandise and experiences can easily transfer over into your
Extend a leg of your marketing channels to support new loyalty
club sign-ups. Even though loyalty clubs need to have an in-person
registration to ensure the person is 21, you can still offer incentives
online to get them there.
Offer “walk-in verification” reports. You can see how many people
were served a mobile ad and then walk into your property in the next
30 days, so you have some type of “conversion” that reflects the reallife
SIZE UP THE COMPETITION
If you’ve got some budget to spare, it’s time for competitor conquesting!
With Paid Search, you can bid on your competitors search terms (you just
can’t include their trademarked terms in your search ad copy).
You may pay a higher cost-per-click and have a lower quality score
because your website is technically unrelated to the keyword, but it’s
probably worth it if you sway a non-loyal customer over to your side.
With Display, you can utilize the same geo-fencing tactics to mark a
latitude-longitude coordinate around your competitor property and serve
all their guests your banner ads for your (much cooler) hotel and its (way
more interesting) venues.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT CONTENT
Just like the importance of upper-funnel prospecting tactics, you shouldn’t
ignore organic search marketing and the long-term game.
Explore the top experiences in your city and create as many blogs and as
much content as your brand can muster. When your site ranks on the first
page of Google for general keyword terms that cost an arm and a leg on
paid search, this is a huge win.
In order to do that, you must spend the time in writing those blogs about
what people actually care about. For example, want to show up for “best
steakhouses in Vegas”? Write a blog about the actual, best steakhouses in
Vegas, and branch out from the obvious choice of just your steakhouse.
Promote it, revisit topics, repeat.
UTILIZE ALL OPTIONS WITH
We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a full-funnel
marketing approach year-round.
“Feed the beast,” as we like to say, with higher funnel awarenesstype
campaigns like prospecting and video marketing to grow your
audience, and get them to your website.
After that, your remarketing campaigns (on any channel) should offer
them a discount to push them over the edge and decide to book.
The purpose of these high-funnel tactics is to shout with a megaphone
that “Our brand exists!” Users will rarely be ready to book a room after
seeing one video ad, so don’t ask “how many conversions did we get”
from your awareness video, if you can help it.
Aim to reach all areas of potential hotel conversions, including affiliate
marketing and venue partnerships. Offering deals to your partners’
unique audiences can multiply your reach by sharing with their
audiences as well (email lists, social followings, their website, etc.).
Lastly, if your booking engine is up-to-date and has a solid DataLayer
in its backend that allows for easily-integrated technologies like
Google Hotel Ads or metasearch engines like Kayak, TripAdvisor,
Trivago, etc. - do it. These are turnkey, trackable revenue streams
waiting on the table.
In a hotel/agency partnership, everyone is doing their best to drive as many
impressions and clicks to visit your website. What the user does at that point is
up to them, and the website and offers featured on it are the deciding factor.
Choose wisely in those matters, and your guests will do the same.
IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT OFFER
A resort or dining credit offer with hotel booking - some type of value add.
Especially if your rates suck and there’s nothing Revenue Management can do
Book 2 nights, get 3rd free. “Extend Your Weekend” offers that push Monday/
Tuesdays and Wednesdays/Thursdays around the weekend dates users are often
looking for. Or simply “Get 25% off a midweek day to extend your weekend!”
Complimentary upgrade to a Suite
10% off mobile bookings
Book on X dates, get show/dining discounts/Get x% off rooms when you book
Early Bird offers - 20% off when you book 14 days before arrival
Book by X date, get a complimentary room upgrade/value add
Stay in an off-peak month, get a big discount/free night for your summer vacation!
Supply them with a voucher or unique promo code for 25-30% off a room if
they’ve stayed in non-peak dates.
Airline vouchers - Rarely seen or used, but totally possible if you know the right
people. Offer your guests gift cards for airfare (that you’ve bought directly from an
airline at low hard costs). You can limit it to just your hotel’s city, or users can use it
to go anywhere they like.
“No resort fee for bookings on X date!”