8 Proven Digital Marketing Strategies For Smart Hoteliers
In recent months, the world has again seen a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases. Most of us thought the pandemic was almost completely stopped. Who would have thought that we should go back to social distancing? Experts are now suggesting that we may soon expect another wave with the Delta variant. Well, this is the world we live in – completely unpredictable. But vaccination campaigns across countries have been successful and travelers are starting to prepare for their leisure trips. This is good news for the hospitality and tourism industry!
As a general rule, before you start any marketing campaign, set your budget. If you are able to maintain your marketing budget in this time of crisis, there is more that you can do. However, if you are facing financial crises, a short break may be necessary. Make the most of available historical data and research before spending even a single dollar. The travel market, in times of crisis, is the most unpredictable bet. You don’t want to end up spending more than your expected net income. If you currently spend 10% of your gross income on marketing, you avoid going below 5%. You may also want to explore a medium risk digital marketing plan as the world begins to open up.
Here are 8 very effective and easy-to-use digital marketing strategies to promote your hotel:
- Test your marketing material
There are a lot of things you can do while you wait for the season to pick up. Since most businesses have quickly taken their operations online, you can also improve your marketing performance by testing the content you share on social media. If you haven’t updated the content elements like photos, videos, testimonials, reviews, etc. the time has come. You can start by examining each room inside and out. Then make sure you have high quality images that can be reused on other channels. If you have a website, start sharing user testimonials and important updates using the blog session to generate social shares. You can also analyze the traffic to your site to get an idea of the potential guests you can expect.
It may also be possible to optimize your call to action and keywords to make it easier for users to book. Teaming up with local businesses can add a range of new products and services that you can advertise to attract your guests once the travel ban is lifted.
2. Capture a video for use on social networks
While we all recognize that a video is an important tool for digital marketing. However, it seems like we’re still stuck with lighting, editing, etc. Well, now is the perfect time to record and schedule your videos. Besides being entertaining, they’re great for search engine optimization or SEO. Video is one of the most popular among all other types of content. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the video marketing landscape has undergone massive change. The need to have professionally shot, aesthetic videos is a thing of the past. 93% of marketers confirmed that video can be used by both marketers and consumers as a trust-building tool.
Repurposing your video blog post with the transcripts included or taking screenshots and using them as images on social media is a great way to build audience loyalty. You can also use video recordings with Instagram’s latest Reels feature to multiply your reach. To add a more human touch, interview your customers and employees who can share more information.
3. Schedule a webinar or create a frequently asked questions video
Scheduling and conducting web sessions can be an effective way to answer frequently asked questions about your hotel, amenities available on site, benefits, new products and services. It can also be a way to introduce new team members and is a particularly effective marketing tactic in business applications, as 91% of professionals say webinars are the best content format for their favorite content to study. If webinars aren’t for you, create an FAQ video and post it on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and other social portals. You can also create an FAQ section which can be added to your site highlighting recent hygiene and sanitation changes you have undergone.
4. Improve your online review strategy
If you don’t have a plan or template for responding to online reviews yet, it’s time to create one. If you have been successful in providing top notch customer service, your website will be filled with online review. Take time each day to respond to these comments and reactions. You don’t have to go back and answer all the questions, but make sure the most recent reviews get thoughtful answers. It will also be a good idea to train your staff on how to handle customer feedback. Write a few sample responses that your team can use. Equally important is teaching your staff how to react to negative reviews. Direct your staff on how they can report legitimate customer service issues to the right people. Give them the tools they need to track reviews and receive notifications. Show them what to expect when they measure the value of monthly reviews and reports. Managing your online reputation is just as important as providing on-site customer service.
5. Evaluate and improve your digital marketing
Having a strong digital footprint as part of your marketing strategy is critical to the success of your business. Digital marketing is imperative at this time, especially after COVID-19. Digital marketing is faster, cheaper, and more efficient than traditional marketing plans. An email or social media campaign can deliver a marketing message to a focus group of targeted consumers for a fraction of the cost compared to a TV ad or print campaign. It’s important to segment your audience based on your goals. Consider reading trends and learning tools that can help you take advantage of digital media as a sales channel.
6. Update “Google My Business” and your hotel’s website to attract customers
If you work outside of your regular hours or take special precautions to prevent the spread of COVID19, let your guests know. Adding these changes to Google My business will help you build trust among arriving guests. Update your hours of operation and description, share necessary precautions and guidelines, highlight any deals or discounts you are offering, and make sure your contact information is correct in case people want to contact you . Also take the time to update and / or repair your website. If you don’t have a website yet, use this time to create a new site. To prepare your hotel for the next stage of business, your customers need to know that you are completely transparent and trustworthy.
7. Design an awareness strategy
Reaching out to your former guests during the pandemic can be a great initiative to strengthen your existing relationship. Carelessly check your guests to make sure they are in good health. It’s a great way to let your customers know that you care. You can also check if your customers are receiving and interacting with your content through email and social media. Try to maintain a relationship, but avoid advertisements related to the crisis. Get creative and think of ways to reassure, socialize, or provide support during COVID19. Hosting an online video space once a week for your guests to chat informally and network is a powerful tactic for bonding and building trust with people.
8. Analyze your existing data
Analyzing the data you have can be instructive. Review your online analytics and sales or lead data. Ask questions about who might be your potential customers? What are the needs of your potential customers and why should they choose you? Compare trends offline and online and find out what you can fix today that you never had the time to do. Think about the data and opportunities you missed in the past. Identify bugs and issues on your website. Instead of sitting on the sidelines wondering what happened, take the initiative to reach out to former customers for their feedback. Don’t let your hotel or resort turn a crisis into a business downturn. Use the time to invest in your customer and their needs.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global paradigm shift. With travel almost overnight around the world, OTAs have decided to halt all digital marketing campaigns. Holdings booking, the parent company of Booking.com cut its marketing budget by 56% in 2020. As owners, we understand that the unpredictable market can be stressful. There is no sure way of knowing when or how travel will resume “as usual”. However, being prepared with a recovery strategy is the easiest way to get back to business. It’s important to keep up with trends and have a clear understanding of what travelers will be looking for when they go out again after nearly two years in quarantine.
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