For the past couple months I’ve been helping research hotel digital marketing tips for a friend who’s opening a new hotel in Nicaragua, but these hotel promotional ideas are just a strong for hospitality marketing here in Niagara Falls, and around the world! I’ve put these online marketing ideas together to help him, and you, build your hotel with these great marketing tips for hotels.
It goes without saying that a powerful website is a must have for hotel marketing, but beyond the simple presence of a website for your hotel, there are some major elements to include in your hotels website:
Every hotel website needs to have amazing photography, specially suited to the traveler you’re hoping to attract. Using photography data from OKCupid (and Don’t be ugly by accident) to help us gauge what types of photos people find attractive enough to click on, we can predict that online photos appeal to people when they are:
You may want to dismiss this as dating advice, rather than hotel marketing at first, but let’s remember that you (and dating sites), are selling a fantasy and appealing to people in a similar fashion and the conclusion is clear, great photos will generate leads.
I’ve commented before in my post Strategies for Local Restaurant SEO that reviews, especially local reviews, really matter.
I mean, they really matter.
Like, really, really matter.
Take the time to review the rules when encouraging guests to leave reviews, and ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk of being seen to buy or influence reviews, but be sure to make all your hotel guests aware that you encourage views on websites such as AirBNB, your Google My Business page, TripAdvisor, Oyster, TripExpert, and dozens more. Plus, remember that you need to place those great reviews on your own hotel website and social media channels!
Invite travel bloggers, from private publications such as Eat Drink Travel Magazine, as well as travel groups like Travel Massive to not only stay at your hotel but to write about their experiences on your website blog. Adding a powerful WordPress blog to your hotel website and trading bloggers a place to stay, in return for exploring the area (and writing about it) is a great way to get strong search engine friendly content from your website, while building online citations, and your web marketing.
If you need a local photographer here in St. Catharines Niagara, or would like to bring a travel blogger and photographer to your hotel, message me for rates, I’m happy to apply my background in online marketing and travel blogging to your hotel.
An online citation for your hotel typically comes from a major business directory such as insiderpages.com, local.com, kudzu.com, thomsonlocal.com, yellowpages.ca, etc. These citations reinforce your business location in the eyes of search engines, and bolster your location in the results.
Local and niche citation websites are even better for your hotel, and work by enforcing your SEO presence in a local, or niche market. If you don’t have a local, or niche directory service to submit to (and even better, a local niche service) consider building one today to bolster yourself, your local hospitality business, and your niche traffic.
Creating an events section for your hotel website, and driving traffic directly to your events section with proper, Google focussed, schema tags, is a great way encourage a huge search engine traffic from both local, and visiting people.
When it comes to events at your hotel, don’t forget that there are great services online to help drive not only new business to your hotel, but free online advertising for events. When you’re hosting events for other grounds (chamber of commerce, business after five, local sports groups, not-for-profits, etc) be sure to ask them to include a note on their website with your properly formatted NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) details, to share about the event with your username, hashtags, and location information on social media channels, and to include share your event on Meetup.com, Eventbrite, Kijiji, CraigsList, etc.
On your own hotel website, be sure to have a calendar of events including all the local events you’re hosting, as well as internal events such as art gallery, special hotel events, etc to keep your schedule full. If you have special events for guests, consider adding a free mobile app (or restricted access section of your website) for guests to be informed of events while they’re visiting.
When visitors are traveling to your area, they’re likely depending on mobile devices to keep in touch with friends back home, as well as find out what there is to do at your hotel, and in the local community. Help your guests by making your WiFi reliable (especially if you want positive reviews on social media) and making your website, easy to view on mobile phones.
When it comes to hotel digital marketing tips, there is nothing more powerful than a hotel guests email for marketing, and frankly, very few things more under utilized in hotel marketing. When a guest gives you their email address, they’re inviting you to stay in touch with them, and respectfully market to them for years to come. There are a couple simple things your hotel needs to properly take advantage of digital marketing with email, such as:
Luckily, powerful tools such as MailChimp make it easy for hotel management to make the most of email marketing, and to plan and create attractive campaigns. The next step for hotels to use email marketing is to creating unique mailing lists based on guest demographics, such as age ranges, gender, language, seasons, and type/number of visits.
For example, with training companies such as Onsite-Training.com I’m sent to cities across Canada regularly. When we travel, hotels keep us informed via email of not only special deals and promotions that’ll save us money, but also events, and local attractions to keep us entertained with we’re in the city.
Keeping hotel guests informed through regularly email marketing is a great way to increase your repeat business, as well as encourage reviews, and social marketing for your hotel, but more importantly, creating a mailing list allows you to do look alike marketing for your hotel through Facebook, which allows you to find similar guests and market directly to them.
Using these hotel digital marketing tips on social media isn’t just a good idea in 2017, it’s the most important part of hotel marketing in 2017. So make sure you’ve not only created profiles for your top social media channels, but also created stickers, signs, postcards, and buttons for your guests with those social media addresses and hashtags clearly visible!
Remember, you can’t buy ads directly on Instagram for your hotel, but you can use Facebook’s advertising tools to buy ads for your hotel that will run specifically on Instagram.
Unlike Twitter and Instagram, which tends to be about posting single pictures and receiving low key interactions (likes, shares etc) by strangers, Facebook has built it’s popularity on being focussed on user generated content between friends and family. Because of this, Facebook offers a unique ability to interact with your hotel guests in a far more meaningful way. By encouraging your guests to Like your page, you’re asking them to invite you to market to them, and their family by sharing pictures of them on your page (and tagging them), being tagged in videos they share with friends, and having reviews left for future guests.
Additionally, Facebook offers tremendous paid marketing opportunities both on the native Facebook platform, and Instagram, for business marketing strategies.
Marketing for hotel industry has become easier with new lead cards for Facebook, which allow hotels to instantly gather personal details about sales leads without having people fill out forms.
Small business marketing costs with Facebook have been decreased through look alike marketing for hotels, which allows email marketing lists to be uploaded to target return hotel guests, as well as statistically similar guests.
Facebook based Internet marketing strategies can be optimized with tools designed to find audiences based on flight costs, languages, ethnic backgrounds, education, relationships, and lifestyles. Hotels can use Facebook marketing tools to focus ads on virtually any aspect of a persons profile, and include video to drive a sales message directly to specific audiences.
To get your hotel message seen, you can let an influential travel Snapchat user take over your account to reach thousands of their fans quickly using stories to reach their fan base instantly. Letting travel bloggers promote you to hundreds, or thousands of fans instantly is a fantastic way to boost your presence quickly.
Using Snapchat Geo filters allow you to add exclusive add-ons for your hotel guests, restricted to your geographical area, that they can share with their friends and family. In her great post Why Hotels & Resorts Should Be Using Snapchat Geofilters Now, author Cari Hallman explains that geo filters from Snapchat are powerful social media tools that allow businesses to appeal to a new demographic with promotions limited to their specific area.
Snapchat users tend to be younger adults, and technology savvy travellers. Since Snapchat has built their platform around the concept of images deleting themselves after viewing, it is widely used for a radically different form of micro blogging with broadcasts being throw away stories to an exclusive audience. That means that while each story may only reach a fraction of the audience a Twitter, or Instagram video will reach, these stories are opened at almost a 100% rate, unheard of in other platforms.
Hotel social media marketing isn’t a fire and forget type of marketing, it’s key that your staff (hopefully multiple staff members) be tuned into your social media constantly during business hours (which for you is always). What for, and react to people complaining about noise, posting pictures, tagging your business, using your #hashtags and remember that social media is social, reply promptly when you see a great comment, or a terrible one!
Twitter offers two exceptional tools for hotel marketing, the first is a powerful lead generation tool which allows users to rapidly fill out forms using their saved profile data (dramatically reducing mobile abandonment for lead generation) and targeted, sponsored ads designed to build your brand, or convert to hotel bookings.
Regardless of how you want to use these hotel digital marketing tips on Twitter, their tools allow rapid testing of different marketing ideas, and a way to interact with your guests quickly.
If you’re looking for more hotel digital marketing tips, we’re here to help with photography, website design, social media marketing, or simple to sit down and talk about your online needs as an outside consultant and remember, the best marketing tips for hotels will always be to keep your guests happy through a great experience, so be sure to work customer satisfaction into your hotel marketing plan, during the stay, and after!