Using Advertising Principles In Your Hotel’s Marketing


Alex Corral

Nov 7, 2016


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You are presenting an ad to millions. Among them is a percentage, small or large, whom you hope to interest. Go after that percentage and try to strike the chord that responds.

Claude Hopkins

Few things withstand the test of time in hotel marketing. Things change from one year to the next, and it seems like there’s a new platform sprouting up every few months.

You have to be on Facebook, Google, & Bing, to name a few. How can you keep up? You just learned a new platform/tool, and now there’s something else that requires your attention. It can get frustrating.

I recently read Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, and it got me to thinking. How can hoteliers keep up? Better yet, how can they be sure that they will work? I chose these three advertising truths because of their indiscriminate nature across platforms.

Whatever platform you choose to advertise on, the underlying principles will be the same. Following these truths, allows you to market your business more efficiently. Greater efficiency leads to better results.

Advertising is Salesmanship

The first thing that you must always keep in mind is that advertising is salesmanship. There is no other way to look at it. Digital advertising isn’t an exact science. You have to think of it as another form of sales. Ask yourself this one question: What does any good salesman do before they go in to make a sale? The answer is that they do their homework, and so should you.

Doing your advertising homework is simple. It all starts with knowing who your customer is. If you don’t know who the customer is, how can you come up with messaging? How will you know that it is effective?

Great salespeople know their features and benefits inside and out. They also know their customer’s pain points. Why is digital advertising any different?

Hint: You have to understand the customer persona on a granular level if you hope to succeed. Understand the customer’s needs and wants and speak to them. If you are not what they are looking for, don’t force the sale. If you have what they want, make it as easy as possible for them to get it.

Be Specific

Once you understand that advertising is salesmanship, you need to get specific. The more specific you can get, the better.

Being specific is a top priority when you’re advertising your property. Most visitors are aware that you’re trying to sell them on booking with your hotel. Every hotel has “the most comfortable beds.” They also all tend to be “relaxing and boutique.” People tend to see right through the buzzwords unless they are correct about the hotel. Some hotels are, in fact, boutique, some are quaint and comfortable. Ask yourself what makes your hotel different.

Focus your advertising on whatever you came up with. What is it that makes your hotel stand out from the competition? Who do you service the best? Once you know that, you can move on to the next step of advertising. You can find the people that are looking for precisely what you have to offer.

It’s a tough question to answer, but I promise you it will be worth it.

Hint: A good place to figure out specifics that matter to your guests is reviews sites.

Make sure that you do not sacrifice your data set for granularity. The more specific something is, the fewer people that are out there looking for it. A smaller data sample size means less confident data. Less confidence typically equals less actionable data. Effective advertising is finding a sweet spot between granularity and volume.

Direct Mail Vol. 2

Direct mail in this day and age? What on earth can it teach us about digital advertising? It can show us a lot.

We connect digital and direct because they boil down to the same fundamentals.

It would be best if you charted everything out in direct mail advertising. It would help if you priced everything out — the cost of postage, printing costs, labor costs, etc. It would be best if you accounted for all these factors. Your success or failure depends on it. The ROI hinges on every aspect of its creation. Why should things be any different when talking about digital marketing for a hotel?

You need to test and measure everything. The advertising needs to justify itself, and the only way to do that is with a strategy. If you go in with a measurable plan, there is a better chance that you will succeed.

The addition of new technology makes things more complicated for the average hotelier. Marketing your hotel should not be one of those things. Many of the technologies that we use change and strategies have evolved. Luckily for us, they all boil down to these advertising laws that have withstood the test of time.

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