Marketing a hotel effectively takes a different mindset and skillset than marketing other types of businesses. Essentially, the product you are marketing is also a service, and that service is to offer a “home away from home” for a variety of different client groups.
Some of those clients will be seeking a low-key rest-stop between daily tourist activities. Other clients will need a working business center to serve as a center of operations in between meetings. How can you successfully sell and market your new hotel to each of these different client groups? The most accurate answer is: you can’t.
In this article, learn how to build an effective sales and marketing strategy that plays to your hotel’s strengths and targets the client group(s) seeking those strengths.
First, Assess Your Hotel’s Overall Situation
If your newly acquired hotel is in distress in one or more relevant areas, you may want to consider working with a Hotel Receivership strategist to first bring it to a place of fundamental business health. In this way, you will launch your sales and marketing campaign from a place of competitive strength in the local community.
It is also very important to develop your sales and marketing plan before you launch any public campaigns. The best outcome is always that each marketing initiative is fully funded from your Hotel Finance budget before you launch – this prevents sudden awkward periods of “radio silence” that can create client distrust in the consistency of your offerings.
Realize Some of the Best Marketing is Low-Cost or Free
Today’s clients increasingly rely on independent third-party review sites and online networking to help them make choices about everything from where to go to where to eat to where to stay. This marketing is incredibly powerful, yet it is not costly. In many cases you won’t pay a cent for it. But the key is developing relationships with the major influencers in relevant market areas:
– Trip websites. TripAdvisor, Yelp, Kayak, Skiplagged, JetSetter. Forbes is just one of the many heavies weighing in on the best trip websites to consult. The key here is to pick the right websites for your target market (i.e., Skiplagged for out-of-the-way cities, JetSetter for luxury lodging).
– Social media. Want to become an influencer in the world of hotel booking? First, you have to build relationships with existing influencers on social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. They are relatively easy to find, because they are the ones with all the followers. Offering freebies, extra perks, reciprocal guest posts and exposure are all ways to come to these influencers’ attention.
– Online reviews. Marketing services exist to help you create a steady stream of positive online reviews. Positive reviews on sites like Booking.com, Trivago, Expedia, Hotels Combined, Agoda and Priceline can be very influential for travelers looking to book a hotel. Even more importantly, you must have a plan for how to turn any negative reviews into positive ones, as these will be one of your most important sources of new and repeat business.
– Local businesses. Getting out and about in your local community is still a great way to generate “boots on the ground” business for your new hotel. Focus on businesses that are likely to send clients your way – airlines, train and bus operators, taxi and rental car services, visitors centers, businesses with out of town guests, local tourist attractions, etc.