The holiday season is upon us: the weather’s colder, buildings are covered in lights, and people are on holiday vacation which means they have more time to travel. In 2014, AAA predicted that there would be over 98.6 million people traveling for the holidays. That is a very large market of people who could possibly be looking for hotels in their chosen destinations. With so much competition from OTAs and other properties, hotels have to deploy certain spirited marketing strategies to attract potential guests to book a room from their website. Below are a few tactics hoteliers can use to create effective marketing strategies for the holidays on their websites, social media, and on-site at the hotel.
The first page of your hotel website is like a virtual front door to your property. The vibe travelers get about your hotel comes from the characteristics of your site. One way to show that your property is holiday-travel friendly is by applying a Winter holiday theme to your website’s pages. Things like snow animations, wreath banners, and ornaments will make your website more fun and festive and show that your hotel can stay relevant. It is recommended that your web design doesn’t feature any religion-specific images as to not offend anyone. When your hotel site is decorated, it will be more likely to stand out among the mundane, non-festive sites.
Another way to make your hotel more competitive is by offering holiday specials. Since travelers browse several options before choosing a hotel, the one with the best deals may be their favorite option. Offer things like free parking, discounted rooms, meal and attraction vouchers, or discounted room upgrades to set yourself apart from your competition. In order to keep a competitive edge, it’s a great idea to see what competitors are offering and to be sure you are in rate parity and offer better deals than the OTAs.
Blogs, Events, and Attractions
Blogs are a very effective form of content that can help generate more traffic to your hotel website. One of the best ways to attract travelers to your website, who may be interested in staying in the area, is through writing blogs about local events and attractions. This also works well during the holiday months since travel is up and people may be searching for holiday themed events to attend. When a potential guest clicks on your hotel’s blog about a holiday event in your hotel’s local area and sees that they are on a hotel’s website, there is a high chance they will click through other pages of your site since they are already in need of a hotel. Write about events that may intrigue your target audience like Christmas plays, ice skating rinks, and holiday concerts that are in your area. This will draw people to your hotel who are looking for things to do during in the area the holidays.
Holiday Food and Beverages
If your hotel has an on-site restaurant or offers room service, another way for your hotel to get into the holiday spirit is by adding a few holiday-themed foods and beverages to the menu. Adding items like eggnog, ham, Christmas cookies, or tamales can draw people who may be missing out on a big holiday dinner with family because of business travel or vacation. Showing travelers that you provide holiday-themed culinary options may be a big plus in your hotel’s favor. Posting photos of these food on social media can draw even more attention to your page.
You’re holiday-themed pages don’t have to stop on your hotel’s website. You can also decorate the hotel’s social media profiles to make them look more festive. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all allow you to customize the cover photos on your property’s pages. This is where Christmas-themed designs can be placed to add magic to your page.
You can also use social media to promote holiday blogs, specials, contests, and more. Pictures and videos get the most engagement on social networks, so posting photos of your decorated hotel can draw more clients to your site. In order to help these posts get a higher reach, research holiday-related hashtags that receive a lot of engagement.
Contests and Giveaways
Hotel contests and giveaways are a way to get your followers engaged with your hotel on social media which can gain more awareness for your hotel and gain new followers. When posted on social media, contests and giveaways can attract a lot of attention which can in turn deliver more traffic to your hotel’s website. Good contest ideas include:
- A decorating contest where users submit their best holiday decoration photos
- An ‘ugly sweater photo contest’ where people take their best ugly holiday sweater photos
- Contests where users post videos singing their favorite Christmas songs
- Have a photo contest where guests who are already at your hotel post their best holiday-themed videos and pictures from their stay.
Contests allow travelers to directly interact with your hotel property which makes your hotel seem more alive and customer-friendly.
The holidays are a joyful time of the year. Be a part of the happiness by sprucing up your hotel and its website and social media sites with festive decorations. Being able to keep up with current events makes your hotel seem more alive and organic. Holiday specials and giveaways can also take your hotel a long way. Hoteliers must do whatever it takes to get travelers’ attention during such a busy travel time of the year. ‘Tis the season to get those rooms booked!