Hotel owners are at a crossroads right now, as many begin to buck the trend of simply relying on hotel booking sites like Travelocity and instead begin working on their own hotel marketing efforts.
Hotel digital marketing can help your hotel, big or small, recapture some revenue lost to commissions – but that’s not even the most important reason for your brand to look deeper into digital marketing for hotels. Control of your image is a much better reason to invest heavily in hotel internet marketing.
What Experience is Your Hotel Selling?
No matter the style of your architecture or the logo on the side of your building, your hotel is a completely different experience from any other hotel anywhere else in the world.
That’s the beauty of real estate, no two places are ever the same, no matter how hard you might try to make them clones. So, whether you’re branded Marriott or you’re just The Scranton Inn, your guests are going to stay in a place wholly new to them and unique from any other hotel anywhere.
But unless you use digital marketing to show how truly special your facility is, those potential and far away guests might never stumble upon your brand. Instead, they’ll stay down the street, at the hotel with the website where they can book a room with their mobile device. It’s nothing against you, they just didn’t know you existed at all. This is the problem inherent to digital marketing. Sometimes you might as well not exist until you have a digital presence.
With a URL of your own, your hotel can capture a share of those 148.3 million online hotel bookings that are being made each year, as well as create new ways to stay in touch with former guests so they become brand advocates themselves. By distilling down what it is that makes your hotel special and translating it into digital marketing for the world to see, you have the final say in your brand’s message and your customer’s journey. Not Travelocity, not Expedia—you and your hotel team.
Getting Started in Digital Marketing for Hotels
When it comes to hotel digital marketing, it’s important to keep two things in mind: your site should be functional, above all else, and your information should be complete.
All the other “stuff,” the bells and whistles, they can come later. Go ahead and jump into marketing on social media, but keep it simple. Facebook and Instagram are great places to start, especially if your hotel is situated somewhere especially picturesque.
Try these additional tips for hotel digital marketing:
- Let visitors know about your social media. A sign in your hotel lobby and a social media icon at the bottom or on the side of your main website can tell your visitors that your hotel is up with the times and on social media. This gives them an opportunity to check out reviews, leave their own thoughts, share photos and ask you questions directly.
Make sure your hotel’s information is filled out completely on your business page and that you choose high quality images to represent your facility. Polish matters.
- Ask guests if they’d like to sign up for special offers. Once you have your website and social media marketing under control, email marketing using newsletters or special offers can be a great way to stay in touch with your guests. Also consider offering hotel loyalty programs to entice return guests.
Never force or trick them into signing up, but often people will sign up for newsletters if they think they’ll be back, just so they can keep up to date with the latest news, or if they might receive a discount on their next visit.
- Remember your hotel guests come first. No matter where you decide to go with your digital marketing efforts, remember that you’re still marketing to humans. You’re not trying to trick the search engines into renting your rooms, it’s the real, live people that you want.
So, in everything you do, from content to app development and everything in between, keep your ultimate audience in mind. Post show-stopping photos of the local scenery for those who want a peek at what awaits them and encourage your visitors to share their vacation images, too. Go viral for all the right reasons.
Along with keeping your hotel digital marketing simple and sticking to the basics, it’s pretty important that you have some way to track who is visiting and what they’re doing when they stop by your page. An analytics package can help you get more out of your website, Facebook can give you insights into your fan page visits. You can control your brand image so much more thoroughly by getting directly involved in the digital marketing for your hotel, it’s definitely worth the effort.