If you run a hotel or hospitality business, you know just how hard it can be to maintain occupancy levels throughout the year.
If you haven’t seriously considered online marketing as the solution to this – you’re seriously missing out.
Online marketing is the best way to reach a global network of potential customers for your business. The catch is that you have to do it the right way.
This is why we’re here to give you our views on the 3 best ways to market your hotel and/or hospitality business online.
All these tips are taken from our own industry experience, but as always what works for one business may not work for another. The best way to use this advice is to try it out for yourself and see what works – or consult a professional if you can’t get it to work.
1. Search Engine Marketing for Hotel and Hospitality Businesses
Travel is a time-sensitive offering for most people. What we mean by that is that anybody looking to book a hotel is very rarely going to be doing it impulsively – it’s going to be at a very specific stage of the process they use to book their entire trip.
Why do we bring this up? Well – more so than most businesses, as a hotel and hospitality business you want to be considering how you can reach consumers at this critical decision-making point.
This is where the vast majority of your online bookings are going to come from.
And – what’s the best way to reach people who are searching for things online? Using Search Engine Marketing (SEM), naturally.
Organic Search Engine Marketing for Hotel and Hospitality Businesses
Organic search engine marketing (interchangeably called SEO – Search Engine Optimisation) is a great long-term strategy for any hospitality business.
It differs from paid search in that it’s the process of trying to get your website or content to rank higher in a search engine for “free” – rather than paying for preferential treatment.
Using content marketing in concert with a solid SEO strategy lets you rank highly for organic search positions in search engines like Google – meaning you get “free” traffic to your website from highly relevant, interested, consumers.
The downside is that it can take a very long time to get going – and you need to be deliberate with the keywords you target.
As a starting point – consider how people would search for accommodation in your area, rather than just for your business.
Paid Search Engine Marketing for Hotel and Hospitality Businesses
Paid search is an amazing lead generation tool because similarly to free search engine marketing, it lets you reach highly relevant and interested consumers.
The difference is that you pay the search engine for preferential treatment, or placement, bypassing their algorithms or other ranking processes.
The main advantage is that this lets you appear at the top of the search results instantly – where organic search may take months to “get going”.
It can also let you rank for highly competitive keywords that you wouldn’t be able to compete for organically.
Moreso than organic search, however, you want to be very purposeful with your choice of keywords – to ensure they all have the best chance of actually converting.
Since you’re spending money on it – you want to ensure a good ROI after all.
2. Online Remarketing for Hotel and Hospitality Businesses
Did you know that the average booking abandonment rate for the online travel sector is as high as 90,74% according to one source – and 84,63% for online hotel bookings specifically?
This is why it’s so incredibly important to consider remarketing strategies for your hotel or hospitality business.
Remarketing gives you another shot at converting this large majority which “bounces” from your website. An effective remarketing strategy can sometimes double conversion rates instantly.
The platform you use to remarket a consumer should be contextual to where they engaged with you from – and you want to avoid “spamming” or “chasing” them across the web by taking remarketing too far.
We like to differentiate between “direct” and “indirect” remarketing. Direct meaning directly contacting them with a strong CTA like, “complete your booking and receive a 10% discount”. Indirect being a gentler reminder to keep your brand top-of-mind, like showing display ads specifically to previous website visitors.
Direct Remarketing for Hotel and Hospitality Businesses
The most effective direct remarketing platform to look at first is email. There are some ethical and legal considerations to keep in mind – so be sure to get permission first – but it remains an amazing platform for “re-converting” consumers.
This can take the form of either a reminder email to encourage consumers to complete their booking, perhaps with a discount attached, or a more traditional newsletter designed to encourage past customers to book again.
Indirect Remarketing for Hotel and Hospitality Businesses
Indirect remarketing can perform amazingly for hotel and hospitality businesses too – in particular, we recommend social media and display remarketing for this.
You want to subtly re-emphasise the benefits of your business, such as nearby travel destinations or scenic vistas, and drive consumers towards coming back to your website and making a booking on their own.
This is more challenging to measure than direct remarketing – but it can have incredible results as a long-term strategy.
3. Social Media Marketing for Hotel and Hospitality Businesses
Last, but not least, social media marketing is another great platform to look into for hotel and hospitality businesses.
Mostly because it actually ties into both of the above-mentioned strategies.
Each social media platform can be considered its own “search engine” of sorts – and organic sharing is a powerful resource for hotels with a strong visual appeal or well-known surrounds.
Social media can also be a great remarketing platform, as we’ve already covered. It lets you re-emphasise the main benefit of your business – and convince people through the simple principle of exposure.
The main thing you want to keep in mind is that social media doesn’t work for the “hard sell” – in other words, subtler marketing strategies are the way to go. If you try and sell people a service they’re most likely going to “shut down” – because that’s not what they came to the platform for.
We hope this gave you a starting point for the best ways to start marketing your hotel or hospitality business online.
One last piece of advice – think of your marketing strategy as a holistic whole.
If you’ve given something an honest shot and it isn’t working then you can obviously afford to scrap it and move on, but don’t underestimate the value of subtler strategies in the long term.
In keeping with this – it can be useful to look at long-term trends as well as short-term performance. For instance – maybe bookings are down from last month – but where are they compared to last time this year?
Are you looking at a seasonal fluctuation or an actual decrease in business?
All important questions to consider when taking the long view – so don’t be afraid to analyse and try to come up with an answer for yourself.
If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast.
This article was brought to you by Syte.
We’re a specialist e-commerce and lead generation digital marketing agency dedicated to driving up your bottom line.
If you need any help running your hotel or hospitality business’ online marketing strategy, feel free to reach out with the form below or check out our case studies page to see what we’ve been able to do for our clients.