• Toucan Insights Staff

5 Effective Hotel Marketing Strategies for Each Stage of the Funnel

Table of Content

  1. What is Hotel Marketing?

  2. Why is Hotel Marketing Important?

  3. Hotel Marketing Industry Overview

  4. What is a Hotel Marketing Strategy?

  5. What is the Travel Consumer Journey?

  6. 1st Phase - Dreaming

  7. Tips to target Consumers in a Dreaming phase

  8. 2nd Phase - Planning

  9. Tips to target Planning consumers with your hotel marketing strategies

  10. 3rd Phase - Booking

  11. Tips to target consumers in their Booking phase with your strategy

  12. Incentive Last-Minute Booking

  13. Boost Posts on Social Media

  14. Use Google Ads to Target Specific Consumers

  15. Use an Email List to Create Custom Messages

  16. 4th Phase - Experiencing

  17. Tips to create a smooth Travel Experience

  18. 5th Phase - Remembering

  19. Tips to get the most out of Happy Guests

Conclusion



hotel marketing strategy


1. What is Hotel Marketing?


Hotel marketing is a comprehensive term that encompasses the various marketing approaches and methods hotels use to grow their clientele and leave a good first impression.


Primarily, the goal of hotel marketing strategies is to maximize the appeal of a hotel in order to draw in as many tourists as possible.


Hotel brands must maximize their presence through website traffic, social media, email, and a variety of other channels because hotel marketing now takes place both online and offline.



2. Why is Hotel Marketing Important?


One of the biggest challenges in the hospitality industry facing both individual properties and large hotel chains is competition.


In this regard, hotel marketing strategies play a crucial role because they enable establishments to advertise their services and promote its distinctive qualities helping them to stand out from competitors.


In order to maintain this competitive advantage is key that the hotel marketing manager monitors the current and upcoming trends in the industry and the impact they have on the customers and tourists.


By doing this, hotel marketing managers will be able to increase the number of bookings and prospect future demand more accurately.



a. Hotel Marketing Industry Overview


Back in 2019, spending on leisure travel and business travel peaked at almost $6 trillion dollars worldwide. This is more than twice the amount that people spent globally on travel expenses in 2002.


Until 2020, the travel industry had become a highly lucrative sector in which hotel marketing had played an important role in attracting people to discover new horizons.


After a devastating period that severely damaged the industry in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, the current situation and the forecast for the years to come predict that the travel and hospitality industries will continue growing at its former pace making it more competitive.


Read on to know what are the the Most Important Performance Metrics for Hotels.



3. What is a Hotel Marketing Strategy?


A hotel marketing strategy focuses on the brand's scheme to reach its prospective customers with the goal of converting them into clients of their services.


A hotel marketing strategy must contain the firm's value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and a clear definition of the channels used to offer the services and launch the communications.


Among the most popular techniques that hotel marketing managers use to attract their guests are social media, digital advertising, email marketing, and SEO.


Hotel marketing agencies need to make sure that these campaigns are coordinated properly and directly address the hotel's desired objectives. Otherwise, they might cause a backlash against the business, making it a marketing failure.


In order to deeply understand the impact that hotel marketing strategies have on the consumer and how to implement them, we have included the Travel Consumer Journey model that will help us go through this topic.



4. What is the Travel Consumer Journey?

smiling couple on a mountain peak

This travel purchase funnel provides a clever hotel marketing strategy for marketing hotels as it helps to differentiate the different stages that tourists go through when making travel plans.


For each of the 5 phases, hotel marketing managers can plan how to best reach their target audience while also map out crucial customer touch points throughout their travel experience.




 

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5. 1st Phase - Dreaming


Before people start planning the first details of their next trip, they are fantasizing about their dream vacation. In this stage, people are just looking for inspiration about where they would like to travel next and what they would do.


Similarly to brainstorming, there is no planning involved yet. Instead, it is mostly about exploring all the possibilities that travelers come up with at that moment.


a. Tips to target consumers in Dreaming phase

  • Promote on social media to gain awareness and online visibility.

  • Use high-quality images to attract customers.

  • Inspire curiosity with interesting and relevant SEO copy.

  • Be listed on websites that rank the best hotels in a certain area or in a specific category (eg. Family-friendly, suitable for people with allergies, etc.).

For luxury travelers, hotels have to implement more sophisticated hotel marketing strategies to attract their attention.


Hotel marketing agencies should be up-to-date with the different needs that people have when looking for a suitable travel location.


One important statistic is that 72% of travelers who conduct mobile research prioritize relevant and valuable information over the reputation of the source that provides said advice.


Therefore, it is especially important to include many high-quality pictures to give people a visual impression of how their travel experience could look like.



6. 2nd Phase - Planning


Once people have decided to make their dreams a reality, they start researching the most suitable travel destinations.


This is when they are actively looking for locations, hotel reviews, prices, more specific pictures, activities at the destination, etc.


Hotel marketing agencies know that online interactions have become increasingly important when people are deciding on their travel plans.


These agencies must ensure that travelers are connecting with the corresponding travel brands through a detailed hotel marketing strategy.


With this in mind, brands need to be there when people search for specific information about a specific destination.


For example, this can include searches for hotels in Amsterdam or car rentals and flights in New York.


a. Tips to target Planning consumers with your hotel marketing strategies

The goal is to provide the most convenient option based on the query of the traveler.

This should be clear from the copy of the ads to the design of the website.


Providing the best answer with tailored information for the customers’ search queries will make the website stand out from the competition.


7. 3rd Phase - Booking


Once consumers have decided the details of their travel itinerary they are ready to proceed to make the reservations.


Depending on how intuitive or difficult it is to do a booking on the website, brands can lose valuable customers to other more user experience friendly websites.


Therefore, hotel marketing agencies should simplify the user’s booking process and make it a priority.


a. Tips to target consumers in their Booking phase with your strategy

  • Use clear call-to-actions to streamline the booking experience.

  • Add discounts to prices to make the offers more attractive.

  • Help customers fill in the forms to speed up the booking process.

  • Send a confirmation email after the reservation is done.

It is important for customers to know that there are no hidden fees when booking over a specific website.


Such fees occur more frequently when booking over an Online Travel Agency (OTA), as compared to booking directly from the service provider.


Therefore, it is more attractive for customers when they see that they can avoid hidden costs by booking directly with the hotel.


Furthermore, regarding last-minute bookings, mobile searches on Google have gone up by 85% of non-branded hotel searches.


Due to the spike in popularity of last-minute bookings in the last few years, the following paragraphs are outlining 4 tactics to increase last-minute reservations that are used by hotel marketing agencies.


How to Incentivize Last-Minute Bookings?


b. Incentive Last-Minute Booking


People are drawn to get the best deals when looking for their travel destination.


This means that hotels can, for example, give their customers the choice to upgrade to a better room for a discounted price in case there are empty rooms left.


Other methods include giving away meal vouchers or tickets to a local event to add value to the offering.


c. Boost Posts on Social Media


As previously mentioned, social media like Facebook or Instagram are powerful tools when it comes to gaining brand awareness.


When combining this knowledge with the previous point, ads can inform people about special offers like last-minute deals or local events.


Travel companies should avoid spending too much at the beginning.


Tourism marketing agencies say that it is better to first pay a low amount in order to test how well the ads are performing before increasing the budget on boosted posts.


d. Use Google Ads to Target Specific Consumers


Creating ads on Google allows hotel marketing agencies to schedule ads for specific days and times of the day.


Companies could use that to their advantage by planning different ads for people who are in the area of the hotel at the moment.


Having a planned ad schedule in mind allows hotel marketing managers to turn on personalized promotions for special occasions.


Instead of creating individual ads from scratch, they can combine features from different ads together for a dynamic ad rotation within their hotel marketing strategy.


e. Use an Email List to Create Custom Messages


The advantage of using emails in hotel marketing strategy to promote an offering to different target audiences is that tourism marketing agencies can customize the messages for each segment.


For instance, hotels can advertise family deals to bigger households or they can promote ‘staycations’ to locals who prefer to stay in their own city for the holidays.


Follow-up emails are also a great way to remind customers to take action.


By including good visuals or naming some activities they can make a clearer idea in their heads about the experience at the destination.




 

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8. 4th Phase - Experiencing


This is arguably the most important phase for customers as hotels can ensure that their guests’ expectations are met.


Hotel marketing agencies think about how they can continue serving the best experience to their consumers even after the booking confirmation.


This helps a lot as “67% of people feel more loyal toward a travel company that shares information during their trip with the aim of improving their travel experience”.


Providing useful information as well as serving their personal needs during the trip can increase the probability to boost loyalty and drive word-of-mouth.


a. Tips to create a smooth Travel Experience

  • Make sure to be present on mobile because more people are searching for nearby activities on their phones. For example, "places to eat near me" has more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 on Google Maps.

  • Provide useful information (curated maps with tourist/local attractions) for first-time travelers to ensure they have the best experience and tips recommended by locals.

Furthermore, smartphones enable travelers to be more flexible and spontaneous than ever before when venturing on trips.


Therefore, it is crucial to be present on mobile apps like Google Maps, Yelp, etc.


9. 5th Phase - Remembering


Hotel marketing agencies know those happy customers are the most valuable ones because they can boost new reservations from word-of-mouth.


Therefore, it is key to promote the best reviews as part of your hotel marketing strategy and to maintain a 4-5 star rating that grants travel brands a high level of authority and trustworthiness.


To get even more out of the most satisfied customers, companies should re-engage them and keep them involved with their brand.


That is a good way to build loyal customers who can become brand ambassadors and spread the positive word about the company.


a. Tips to get the most out of Happy Guests

  • Encourage guests to leave a positive review.

  • Re-engage customers with emails to stay as their top of mind option for their next vacation (remind them of the experience and activities they had).

  • Promote discounts for returning guests.

Customer reviews are becoming a powerful tool to attract new customers that trust and can relate to the experiences of previous visitors.


The goal that tourism marketing agencies seek with the Travel Customer Journey is to have gained loyal customers who have now become ambassadors and as such are willing to spread a positive word of mouth to other people.


Their positive experience can greatly help to gain new customers.


Read on to know what are the TOP 10 KPIs for hotels that matter the most.



Conclusion


Summing up, it is important to distinguish the different phases in which travelers are in.


Based on this, it is key to have the right hotel marketing strategy in place to capture their attention and present your offering in the appropriate way (addressing their needs and questions).


Being present with the right information at every touchpoint phase will greatly increase your brand awareness, consultations, and bookings.


 

Contact Toucan Insights NOW and Book your FREE Consultation Meeting.