Trying to double the visits to your hotel’s website? SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, will play a key role in increasing your reach.
It’s by no means easy, but when you align some critical internet marketing techniques together (like email marketing and organic search optimization), you can accomplish new records for your hotel’s website.
Internet Marketing Strategies for Hotels
If you’re trying to reach more potential guests, online marketing is definitely the way to go.
However, it can be challenging to know where to start. Whether hiring specialized hotel marketers or running your own marketing campaigns, figuring out the proper approach to social media, mobile devices, online bookings, and digital marketing strategies, in general, is a challenge.
To help make things simpler, let’s break down the top seven strategies you can use for your business.
#1 Optimize for Search Engines
Search engine optimization is the foundation for a fantastic stream of organic traffic to your hotel’s website. While it takes a while to see results once you begin to implement SEO techniques on your site, the results will be stable and last even after your paid advertising campaigns have ended.
Many aspects will factor in your site’s search engine ranking, but it really all starts with the basics. Your website should be responsive, load quickly, and be easy to navigate for visitors. It should also be clean, modern, and aligned with your brand.
The content should be professional and written naturally, using keywords where they fit. An intuitive site structure, breadcrumbs, and proper use of categories and tags will also aid in your site's rankings. Look to your competitors for inspiration on design and content ideas.
When looking for keywords to rank for, focus on local search results. They will be the easiest, and perhaps the most strategic, of all the choices in front of you.
#2 Test Multiple Advertising Methods
Most hotels will use a mix of organic and paid marketing methods to provide a stream of guests to their hotel.
With SEO being an on-going and somewhat complicated task, you're likely going to turn to paid advertising to help supplement it. Paid advertising offers near-instant results (when done right), but not all advertising methods are created equal.
You have a specific location and demographics that you cater to and probably many different customer personas that represent your general guest list. With that in mind, what works great for a hotel across the country might not work perfectly for you.
All of that said, testing is essential. Before you put a lot of money into any particular platform or target group, you need to test some ads and see if they are worth scaling. This is especially true with contextual advertising.
#3 Craft A Social Media Strategy
Just about everyone is on social media these days. With platforms like Facebook snagging billions of active users every month and stretching across every single demographic, there is no wonder why your hotel should be taking advantage of social media for advertising.
Of course, there are dozens of mainstream networks out there, so how do you decide which one your hotel should focus on? Trying to be active on all of them will only cause your hotel staff to stretch itself too thin.
Even if you had all of your hotel managers (or just the one, as the case may be) trying to keep up, you’d never find enough content to be on every single network at once. That’s why you should pick 2-3 and focus on populating your pages with enticing, informative content that people actually want to read.
Make sure these posts are informative and align with what your customers and potential guests are actually interested in. Competitor research will definitely be critical to stopping you from wasting precious time.
#4 Educate Through Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most underrated marketing methods in the hotel industry by far. To put it simply, content marketing is the practice of using content (whether it's video, articles, or something else) to inform clients.
You may be informing them about your hotel's history or your modern amenities, but it will likely be on a more broader scale where you are talking about the points-of-interest around the hotel and the area in general.
This content is meant to inform and entice those who may be interested in staying at your hotel. At the same time, this content builds authority by showing them that your hotel cares about guests’ interests and comfort.
Your content marketing can be taken to the next level with Google My Business posts, a backlink strategy, and some basic keyword research. Even merely posting the articles on your hotel’s blog and linking to them from your social media profiles can have a positive impact on your site’s growth.
Of course, if you really want to get good results, you’ll want to consider popular keywords that people search that relate to your hotel and area, like “ski resorts in northern Washington” or “best places to eat in Spokane.” Then build content around this that can grab the attention of those visiting the area.
With proper content marketing, you’re doing less marketing for your hotel itself and more so catering to the interests of your potential guests. When done right, you’ll probably feel like you’re just advertising for your town or city.
#5 Use Pay-Per-Click to Outpace Competition
When people are searching for your hotel online, there is one surefire way to be towards the top of the search results: PPC. PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, is a type of marketing that allows you to bid a certain amount to display an advertisement for your hotel to everyone searching for specific keywords that you define for your campaign.
How much you bid will depend on the competitiveness of the keywords you're trying to rank for. If you do your research, you can outbid your competitors and end up being the top result, grabbing the attention of every person in the area (or traveling to it) who needs a place to stay.
#6 Use Email Marketing to Get Personal
Getting straight into a guest (or potential guest’s) inbox is one of the best ways to get their attention and their business. Once you have a client’s email, there’s actually a lot that you can do with that information. However, the last thing you should do is spam your list.
Open rates will begin declining, and subscription numbers will dwindle if you start sending too many emails. Your newsletters need to be strategic and well-planned to have the desired effects.
People are swift to spam or trash an email that doesn't align with their needs and expectations at a given time, and that means the secret is discovering your customers' needs and personalizing your offerings to match.
#7 Foster Customer Loyalty
It’s something that big hotel chains do particularly well. Fostering customer loyalty plays a critical role across many industries, but it is of particular importance for the hotel business.
There are many customer retention strategies that your hotel can employ. One of the top strategies involves little effort, and that is digging into your CRM systems to knock on the door of old leads. However, when it comes to marketing to new and old customers alike, you can foster loyalty with the help of digital.
A rewards system within an app, a digitized account-based booking process, and returning customer discounts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting one stay to turn into multiple visits in the future.
Advertising the perks of being loyal to your hotel is also a great way to snatch up customers who are on the fence between your hotel, or your competitor’s.