By Cloudbeds | Published in January, 2020
Putting together hotel marketing ideas for your property is an ongoing and crucial task. Thankfully, hospitality is an exciting product that has infinite potential for emotional resonance with your audience and creative hospitality marketing agencies coming up with innovative campaigns every day. Still, many hoteliers and hosts fall into the same stale marketing routine for their property. Unimaginative marketing campaigns can make your property seem outdated or uninteresting in the eyes of consumers. With Gen Z travelers becoming the largest generation of consumers worldwide, it’s even more essential that your hotel marketing is modern and appealing to your ideal guest.
When it comes to marketing ideas for hotels, there are two main types of strategies: outbound marketing and inbound marketing. Outbound Marketing, also known as push marketing, involves creating and promoting offers and ads that are pushed out to your audience. On the other hand, inbound marketing, also called pull marketing, aims to draw your audience in by using your brand to create loyalty. You can and should use tactics from both types of strategies for a well-rounded hotel marketing plan.
Here are some creative inbound and outbound hotel marketing ideas you can start applying at your property right away:
🔊OUTBOUND HOTEL MARKETING IDEAS 🔊
#1: Create Event-specific Packages
Events are a major driver for bookings. Even so, many properties miss out on incremental revenue by neglecting to build unique packages. The goal is to appeal to each event’s specific demographic with a tailored offer. Take a good look at the types of people attending an upcoming event: what are they looking forward to? What are the most stressful parts of the experience? Translate the answers to these questions into a package that you can charge a premium for.
For example, for a sporting event bringing many people to town, craft a package that includes things like special room service breakfast on gameday and transportation to/from the venue. These value-added items allow you to charge a premium price for the package.
#2: Lean on Local Partnerships
To start, make a list of potential local businesses and people that may benefit from a co-marketing arrangement. There are all kinds of businesses and organizations with needs for accommodation, like small travel agencies and tour operators. See if you can make a deal where they recommend your property to their audience in exchange for a commission fee.
The right partnerships can beef up your hotel’s package offerings. For example, you can advertise partnerships with local tour companies that provide your guests with discounts on activities. Co-creating clever packages in collaboration with your local partners can lead some fresh takes on what you can offer potential guests in advance of their stay.
#3: Re-target Past Guests
The majority of independent properties don’t have loyalty programs – but that doesn’t mean that efforts to attract return guests should be abandoned. In fact, loyal guests can be more genuine with independents, because their loyalty comes from an appreciation for their experience rather than just points.
Use your guest data from your PMS to re-target past guests with loyalty-based email offers, such as blanket discounts (“10% off”) or special rates. The promotions should be advertised as more than just price cuts, but created specifically “for repeat guests only.” The offers could include bonus experiences, such as a welcome cocktail, or 2-for-1 spa treatments.
Another key benefit of creating past-guest email marketing lists: these emails can be used to create custom audiences for ads on social media platforms. You can then re-target past guests – as well as find other potential guests with similar characteristics.
#4: Target Group Business
Large groups often book at larger hotels, but smaller groups are often looking for an independent property that’s more likely to provide a unique and more personalized experience. Don’t overlook the following three types of groups, that can be marketed to with optimized landing pages on your website and hyper-targeted digital advertising.
- Intimate weddings – Many people favor smaller wedding gatherings with fewer than 30 guests. Use photos from past events to showcase your property’s potential.
- Family reunions – develop reunion-specific packages that may include custom menus and group room-rate discounts. This can make your small property a perfect candidate for reunions.
- Corporate groups – If your property doesn’t have meeting space to accommodate business groups, you can still reach out to local tour operators and travel agencies to set up a commission deal for them to recommend your property for smaller groups that will appreciate your property’s unique features without needing it for meeting space.
INBOUND HOTEL MARKETING IDEAS
#1: Rethink Instagram
Instagram remains one of the biggest social media platforms that you can use to showcase your property and interact with guests. According to Instagram, users miss up to 70% of the content posted on their feeds. To combat this, Instagram has evolved its algorithm to prioritize relevant content that users are most likely to engage with. This means that the content you post to your feed must be thoughtful and well-targeted to specific audiences. Instead of focusing on promotional material, try using user-generated content by incentivizing guests to share about their stay and use a unique hashtag to promote your property.
Another key evolution is the massive popularity of Instagram Stories: 500 million users engage with Stories every day. Without using Instagram Stories, your hotel marketing is missing out on one of the main ways people use Instagram. It’s essential to build out a strategy that includes posting to both the feed and the Story. On the other hand, if you’d like an expert agency to help you out with your strategy, look for options that cater to hotels such as social media management by HotelMinder.
#2: Host a Networking Event
One of the best ways to build awareness of your property is to have people experience it! Consider hosting a networking event for your local community, such as for a local business, alumni, or community college group. This way you can build a community around your property that will benefit locals and guests alike.
You can also create an event with one of the local partnerships you may have acquired from your outbound hotel marketing efforts. For example, the Riviera Palm Springs partnered with the local Animal Samaritans to create a monthly Yappy Hour with benefits going to the shelter. Events like this create a win-win for your business, the community, your guests, and your partnerships.
#3: Use your Blog to Speak to your Audience
Your blog is the heart of your brand. It works as a touchpoint across different parts of the guest journey, building a bridge of communication between you and your audience. Potential guests can learn a lot about what they can expect from a stay, while past guests can be re-engaged with unique and interesting content.
Your blog can also act as a travel guide, providing inspiration and in-destination ideas for travelers. Local tips and current hotspots can sit alongside interviews and profiles of locals to showcase what makes your destination unique. When thoughtfully implemented, these articles, photos, and videos can then be repurposed for use on social media, display ads, and email marketing.
#4: Use Reviews in your Hotel Marketing
Your property’s good reviews are an excellent resource for marketing because they demonstrate social validation. You can showcase a slideshow of your best reviews on your website and even share some on social media as well. Don’t forget to thank your guests for their stay!
Reviews can also come from non-public sources, such as a grateful note from a large party or in an email from a guest. Ask for permission to share their kind words and positive experience and then showcase them proudly on social media, as well as your website and marketing materials.
As you can see, there is e a wide variety of both outbound and inbound hotel marketing ideas you can use at your property. A strong marketing campaign will use a combination of both types of strategies and adjust budget and tactics based on the audience response. These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to check out the Tips & Tricks section of the Cloudbeds blog for more useful ideas and advice.
Interested in learning more about Cloudbeds? Get a free demo to see our award-winning hospitality management suite in action!