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Everything you need to know about hotel marketing: Guide & free resources
Everything you need to know about hotel marketing: Guide & free resources

Everything you need to know
about hotel marketing

Think of the last time a guest found you, thanks to the stunning Instagram post of your hotel’s rose gardens. Or maybe they were attracted, given the recent publicity you’ve been receiving about your award-winning restaurant that serves up some of the freshest oysters in your region.

Whether it’s your whimsical floral mazes or delectable seafood delights, successful hotel marketing not only ensures your property attracts new and returning guests but also showcases the best of your hotel’s amenities, services, and special offers.

Here are a few essential things to consider when it comes to hotel marketing and, as we’ll get into later, your hotel marketing strategy and what tools to consider as part of your marketing tech stack.


What is hotel marketing?

Hotel marketing is all of the efforts implemented in order to increase your property’s visibility online and drive more direct bookings. It encompasses a wide range of activities and platforms, from building a website to posting on social media and investing in paid advertising to listing on online travel agencies and more.

Depending on your marketing goals, you may engage in hotel marketing to attract new and returning guests, showcase your property, or build your online presence. No matter your aspirations for your property, hotel marketing can help you to achieve all of this and more.


Uncover key tactics & channels to improve your marketing strategy.


6 benefits to investing in hotel marketing

Understanding the long game of investing in your hotel marketing can help you identify areas of your hotel that might need a little boost while also creating an amazing guest experience for your visitors. 

Here are six benefits to investing in marketing at your hotel. 

1. Increase awareness and visibility

By investing in hotel marketing, you increase the public presence of your property to potential guests. Increasing awareness and visibility is easy to accomplish with more traditional means of reach, like public relations, partnerships with local businesses, and advertising. We also see incredible growth potential via digital advertising on social media with the rise of strategies like influencer marketing and remarketing.


2. Drive bookings

When you invest in your hotel’s marketing, you have the potential to boost your property bookings. Efficient use of booking engines, metasearch, and online travel agencies (OTAs) increases engagement with potential guests and raises the visibility of your property. 

You can also encourage potential visitors to take advantage of promotions by booking directly with your website. In turn, both direct and indirect bookings increase occupancy and lead to greater hotel revenue. 


3. Build a brand

A memorable brand builds trust and engagement with customers – hotel marketing is a vital part of this process. Your hotel brand not only showcases your mission, your values, and your hotel as a whole; it’s also your voice and your personality and has the potential to position you as a knowledge expert in the hotel industry.

Investing in thought leadership by producing engaging, insightful articles and brand-driven hotel marketing campaigns helps you build your brand and gain trust with potential customers.


4. Strategic channel mix

With so many options for marketing your hotel, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Investing your marketing efforts in specific areas drives more bookings to higher-performing channels and helps build your online presence. 

Consider the 80/20 rule – 80% of outcomes result from 20% of your channels. Keeping in mind that time and money are limited, this can help you to prioritize specific targeted areas where you’d like to see growth. For example, you might say, “This month, I want to increase direct bookings, so I’ll invest more in metasearch advertising.” As we’ll touch on later, SMART goals create clearly defined, easy-to-target outcomes.


5. Understand your guests

Hotel marketing brings you closer to the people you ultimately serve – your guests! A deeper understanding of your visitors helps you to create unique guest experiences, both online and in person. 

Consider using a customer relationship management (CRM) system to collect and store guest data. Over time, you build a picture of your guests’ likes and dislikes and identify areas of improvement.


6. Increase loyalty 

Last but certainly not least, marketing for your hotel builds a deeper connection between you and your guests by increasing customer loyalty. Creating a reputable, trustworthy brand will drive your guests to book with you time and again, knowing they’re in for a flawless stay with amazing customer service.

Loyal guests, in turn, become unofficial brand ambassadors for your property, as they excitedly refer friends and family looking for a clean, comfortable, and friendly place to stay. Consider creating a loyalty program to provide incentives for writing positive online reviews and encouraging repeat visits. 


Developing a hotel marketing strategy

By now, you should understand the benefits of hotel marketing – now it’s time to develop your hotel’s digital marketing strategy! Here are six core areas to consider when building your hotel marketing campaigns.


Part of your hotel marketing efforts should involve what makes you stand out from the crowd. Your hotel’s unique qualities and how you convey that in your messaging are part of your brand. Identify your unique selling points (or USP) and incorporate them as part of the brand story you share with your guests. 


Target audience.

Efficiently identifying your target audience helps you to focus your resources and tactics to attract your ideal guest by identifying key metrics. Considering their purpose for travel, their home base, how they find out about your property, and their booking process can all be beneficial prompts to uncovering your target demographics.

You will most likely have multiple target audiences – for example, business travelers during the week and couples on the weekends. Once you identify your target guests, you can group them into market segments. When you understand their specific preferences, you can tailor your marketing ideas and touchpoints to appeal to these segments.



While not all goals are created equal, you can use the system of SMART goals to set you in the right direction. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. An example of a SMART goal could be I want to increase my occupancy rates by 30% by Quarter 4. Setting out the exact goal and the time you want to accomplish it helps you to hone in on what exactly needs to be done to be successful. 



Unless you have unlimited funds, chances are you will need to concentrate your hotel marketing budget on a few main channels. The size of your property can determine how much to allocate towards your hotel and the areas that deserve the most attention. Determining what channels attract your target audience and the highest profit margins takes time and will require some initial experimentation. 



Which digital marketing channels you decide to use as part of your hotel marketing strategies will depend on your target market, your goals, and your budget. Short burst videos on social platforms like TikTok are great for capturing attention spans and inspiring travelers, while investments in hotel advertisements on Google or Metasearch Engines can be a secret weapon for driving direct bookings. 

The channels you use will vary over time as your goals change. For example, you could focus on your OTA strategy during the shoulder and off-seasons to secure a steady stream of bookings and switch to a direct booking strategy come peak season. It’s crucial to have a hotel marketing plan in place, so you know when and where your resources are being allocated throughout the year. 


Your team’s skills, expertise, and bandwidth.

It takes a village to develop a marketing strategy. If you’re a smaller property, see if anyone on your team is interested in specific marketing areas, like social media or PR. It can be an excellent way for them to develop a skill set that can be used throughout their career while still conducting their primary role. 

Larger hotels will often create dedicated positions or, in some instances, entire teams to build and execute effective marketing strategies. Positions include social media managers, content marketing managers, PR specialists, and more. 

Lodging business owners can also work with a hotel marketing agency to outsource marketing activities. Agencies can range from full-service to niche, offering specialized services like influencer marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), or public relations. 


Learn how to create a hotel marketing strategy that drives results.


Important marketing channels for hotels

Below, we’ve outlined a few of the most important hotel marketing channels. You may decide to start with the basics, such as your website and OTAs, then expand to Google and metasearch advertising. Keep in mind these channels are not a one-size-fits-all, and their efficacy will depend on your target market and goals.

Hotel website & booking engine 

Your hotel website is the face of your brand and gives you complete control over how you want to showcase your rooms, amenities, and brand as a whole. It is ever-evolving and should be updated regularly to include new messaging, images, and videos. On your website, you can include everything from reviews to blogs to FAQS and more. You can also use accompanying tools such as Google Analytics, which uses metrics to measure and gauge visitors to your website.

A commission-free booking engine is a must-have on your website, as it enables a smooth, consistent, and streamlined guest reservation process. Integrating with your PMS and guest engagement tools provides a seamless flow of information, allowing hoteliers to automate confirmation and pre-arrival communications to enhance the guest experience.


Discover how Cloudbeds can help you build a website that converts.


Online travel agencies

Online travel agencies (OTAs) are vital to a property’s online distribution and marketing strategy. They draw in millions of travelers a year and give properties the visibility that can’t be found anywhere else. 

While OTA commissions and fees can eat into hotels’ bottom line, their marketing power is ultimately why hoteliers continue to use them. In 2023 alone, Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Airbnb, and spent $16.8 billion USD on sales and marketing. 

While these OTAs bring in massive amounts of travelers, hotels need strategies to capitalize on this traffic. This includes high-quality images and videos, compelling property descriptions, accurate amenities and services, and positive reviews. 



Metasearch sites like Kayak and Hopper act as search engines and accumulate hotel data and rates from various online sources, enabling potential guests to compare hotel booking options in one central location.

On metasearch sites, hotels compete against OTAs for bookings and, therefore, need to maintain rate parity and keep information like photos, descriptions, and availability up-to-date to win the direct booking. Advertising is another great option for hotels to boost direct bookings across these platforms. 


Social Media 

The mighty channel of social media marketing is not to be missed. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok can showcase your property, staff, and region.

Instagram is a valuable platform for driving direct bookings and website traffic, and with over 1 billion active monthly users, TikTok is an effective marketing tool for promoting your property and brand to international audiences.


Google Hotel Ads 

Another Google win for your hotel marketing strategy is Google Hotel Ads. This paid service works within your budget to drive revenue and generate bookings at a lower cost than other distribution channels. 

Similar to metasearch, potential guests often take advantage of Google Hotel Ads, given the ability to compare a range of properties on one central page.


Public Relations

As part of your hospitality marketing plan, it’s important to generate broader media interest and newsworthy coverage by investing in public relations to attract attention!

Public relations can really help you to stand out from the crowd as it places you and your property in the spotlight. Consider unique features of your property to promote or hop on new and emerging hospitality marketing trends.



With the rise of influencer marketing in recent years, we see consumers gradually turning to their favorite social media stars for hospitality industry recommendations.

By working with influencers, you tap into their vast audience base and take advantage of rich user-generated content, which often builds credibility, brand awareness, and authenticity.


Discover how to optimize your marketing channels.


Technology considerations 

To effectively market your lodging business, you need to be able to access intelligent data to create targeted campaigns. You also need to be able to deploy these campaigns across channels to reach your target audience. 

That’s where an integrated hospitality platform comes into play. With deep integrations, data easily flows across systems, providing lodging businesses valuable insights into website traffic, guest personas, revenue management, guest satisfaction, and more.

Using this data, hotels can implement dynamic pricing strategies, create targeted retargeting campaigns, build high-converting websites, develop impactful social media strategies, and so much more.

Here are a few solutions to consider as part of your marketing tech stack.

Property management system (PMS)

As your technology hub, data flows in and out of the PMS, facilitating a seamless flow of information to streamline and automate operations. 


Booking engine

 Facilitates a seamless booking experience on your website and other direct channels, giving guests real-time availability and rates. 


Channel manager

Enables hoteliers to connect to various distribution channels, including OTAs, GDSs, metasearch engines, bed banks, and more. Updates rates and availability in real-time, eliminating the need to log into individual extranets. 



As the face of your brand, your hotel website should provide a seamless user experience where travelers can easily find answers to their questions, view high-quality images, and book hotel rooms. 


Guest engagement

As soon as a traveler hits your website, you need tools to engage guests. From chatbots and pre-arrival messages to email marketing and digital check-in, guest engagement tools can be a great way to convert guests and market your upsells.



Elevate your marketing strategy with customer relationship management (CRM) software to build targeted marketing and sales campaigns. 



For properties with more complex operations, a CRS can create strategic rate plans and promotions across channels to reach a broad range of travelers and travel agents. 

Depending on your property type, size, and overall goals – your tech stack will vary and change over time. A unified platform like Cloudbeds gives hotel management the flexibility to integrate the tools they need and rewrite the rules for great hospitality. 


Promoting your business across platforms

Incorporating a mix of strategies and channels provides optimal benefits for promoting and marketing your hotel across available platforms. 

While no one channel fits all, it’s important to see what fits best for you, your budget, your goals, and your property. Ultimately, hotel marketing places you in front of active trip planners, keeps loyal guests coming back for more, and creates a stellar guest experience. What more could you ask for?


Maximize visibility at your lodging business today.

An exhaustive guide to boosting your property’s online presence & driving more reservations

Uncover key marketing tactics to turn lookers into bookers
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