5 Effective Hotel Marketing Strategies for Each Stage of the Funnel
Table of Content
What is Hotel Marketing?
Why is Hotel Marketing Important?
Hotel Marketing Industry Overview
What is a 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?
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
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.
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?
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.
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.).
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.
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
Let customers dream and plan at the same time by having an engaging website design.
Include the right accommodation type for the target audience.
Create an interactive questionnaire that will give travel suggestions for undecided customers.
Use pay-per-click ads to maximize the website traffic.
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
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
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
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.
By including good visuals or naming some activities they can make a clearer idea in their heads about the experience at the destination.
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.
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
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.
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.