The world is different to how it was even just 5 years ago. Previously, just having a website or local business listing could get your hotel or resort bookings. Now you may be finding out that the strategies that were working for you before are no longer relevant in the world today. So if you don’t know much about marketing, and you aren’t up to date with what works in the digital age, where do you start?
Word of Mouth
You’ll be familiar with the concept of word of mouth, where one guest tells friends or family members how much they loved staying with you, and you generate new bookings based on their recommendation.
Today, word of mouth can come in many forms. Social media posts and stories with account or location tagging. Reviews on Tripadvisor, Google, Facebook. Travel bloggers. Commenting on posts, videos, images, or blogs.
Keeping on top of responding to reviews and social media engagement takes time, but engaging and addressing concerns, and taking on feedback in a professional manner can all help bolster your brand reputation. It’s also a great strategy to share user-generated content such as a post raving about their holiday!
While organic reach for posts isn’t as high as it used to be, paid social media is still a great advertising strategy for businesses that don’t have huge marketing budgets. Facebook has around 2.9 billion active users each month, and accessing potential guests on the platforms they are already using is a logical strategy.
Pair that with regular page posts that drive engagement, show off your unique accommodation offering, and display positive past guest reviews, and you might find social media users moving from consideration to conversion in the sales funnel.
Google is the world's top search engine, and ensuring that your website design and content is in line with best practice guidelines for ranking well is essential. Conversions from search engine queries are higher than other platforms where you are presenting your accommodation offer to users that may not be interested. If someone is actively searching on Google, chances are they have the intention of booking accommodation at some point, and you just need to help them understand why they should choose your property.
Google Ads are also a good option to consider. Choosing the right keywords to target for your ads could result in higher bookings. eTourism can help you determine the right strategy for your business if search engine marketing isn’t your forte.
It helps to keep in mind that bookings are driven not by which property or accommodation offering is superior necessarily, but by emotion. Aim to paint a compelling picture with breathtaking photography and persuasive copy of what a stay with you would look like. What experiences can guests enjoy nearby? What is it about your accommodation that makes it stand out and offers extra benefits, enjoyment, or convenience? How will it make them feel to holiday with you?
Start with looking at who your guests are. Do you cater mostly for corporate stays? Families? Couples? Which age group is booking with you and why? Creating a guest avatar, or a picture in your mind of who your typical guest is can help you to create content that would be interesting, exciting, and enticing to potential guests.
Whether you create content with blogs, email campaigns, social media, website pages, adverts, or all of the above, the aim is to show off your point of difference or unique offering to the right people at the right time.
In a perfect world, you could generate all of your bookings direct, and forgo paying commissions or fees right? The reality is that more and more guests are using online travel agents (OTA’s) such as Tripadvisor, booking.com or Expedia to book accommodation s, yes you need to be in that space to ensure your property yields a high return, however we still highly encourage direct bookings via your website and digital campaigns such as email marketing and social media where you can offer additional incentives such as complimentary services for booking direct.
You might like to consider that all of your efforts to market your accommodation on multiple platforms helps to build brand awareness. A guest that makes a booking with an OTA may have first heard about your accommodation via Instagram. A Tripadvisor booking may have come from a guest reading a blog about an attraction they were interested in near your location. You can’t always influence how guests book, but case studies have confirmed that an active and comprehensive marketing campaign can boost overall bookings, both direct and via OTA’s.
If you want to find out more about getting started with a digital marketing strategy, chat with us today and find out how we can help you achieve your business goals.