Developing a hotel marketing strategy isn't easy, but without one, you're going to fall behind pretty quickly in an increasingly competitive hotel industry.
If you spend a minute thinking about your previous marketing efforts, you may or may not be able to think of a time where you set marketing goals or laid out a complete marketing plan. However, regardless of your previous experience with travel marketing, you'll be able to use this plan.
While you should adopt this plan a bit to meet your hotel's exact needs, this approach is very versatile and includes a mix of digital marketing (i.e., social media and the like) to help your hotel come out on top.
We know that the first of the 4 P's in your marketing plan is your hotel i.e., your Product (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion). So let's dig in by starting with promotions.
Month-by-Month Promotion Ideas
Let's walk month-by-month through a marketing plan that utilizes multiple promotions.
Free Stay w/ Wedding Venue
During the first month of your hotel marketing plan, let's say you want to target engaged couples who live within 50 miles of your hotel for a weekend getaway. Your promotion could be to give them a free X-day stay if they book your hotel as their wedding venue by the end of the month. The tough part would be finding the people that meet your criteria.
Free Bottle of Champagne
On month two, let's say you want to target any couple. The promotion is that they'll get a free bottle of champagne when they book a Valentine's Day getaway (one night stay or more). You could also promote this around New Year's or another couple's holiday.
Kids Eat Free
In month 3, let's say you want to target families. The promotion is that they will receive a free hotel meal card for any kids under 12 (or 18) who are traveling with them.
Free Sunday Night Room
During the fourth month of your hotel marketing plan, let's say you want to target couples who are going on a weekend getaway. The promotion is that they will receive a free night when they book any Friday and Saturday room that month.
During the fifth month, let's say you want to target "outdoorsy" people. The promotion is that they will receive a free walking guide and packed lunches for each day of their 3-day summer getaway. Highlight that they'll be able to explore the beautiful attractions in your local area.
Free Amusement Park Tickets
Halfway through, let's say you want to target families who are going on vacation. The promotion is that they will receive a four-person voucher to the local amusement park with any 7-day booking that month. You can adjust the number of coupons and X-day bookings to meet your needs.
Couple's Escape From The Kids
During the seventh month of your hotel marketing plan, let's say you want to target more families who are still enjoying the height of summer. The promotion is that mom and dad get a free couple's massage and $50 restaurant voucher. Perfect for hotels that have places for the kids on-site.
Senior's Sleep Free
Now for the eighth month. Let's say you want to target guests over 55. The promotion is that they will receive a free extra night any time they book.
Kids Party Free
During the ninth month of your hotel marketing plan, let's say you want to target families with younger children. The promotion is that their kids will receive a free party upon booking a room for two or more nights.
Choose From X Rooms for $X/Night
During the tenth month, let's say you want to target everyone with a considerable discount promotion. The promotion is that you're offering X rooms for only $X/night for a limited time only. They can book ahead to lock in the great rate.
Wine or Toiletries Promotion
During the eleventh month of your hotel marketing plan, let's say you want to target adults with a supplier gift. The promotion is that you are going to work out an exclusive deal with one of your suppliers. In turn, you will pass on a great gift to your guests for a limited time. For instance, each guest may receive free or discounted wine. You could also use this to put together a toiletries gift basket.
Free Itinerary Planning
In the last month, let's say you want to target travelers who are looking to visit the area. The promotion is that they will receive free itinerary planning for their entire stay of 3 nights or more. This may also include exclusive discounts to area attractions.
Marketing Methods (Places)
Once you come up with a promotion plan to help increase bookings, the next step is to figure out which marketing methods will be most effective for each promotion. Here are the most popular that you can use for every promotion above, as your hotel's budget allows:
- Use video to market the promotion and share the best eats
- Feature everything families can enjoy during their stay as selling points
- Create a package code and consider marketing through a site like Groupon
- Create a pop-up for your website
- Share the offer on your social media pages
- Create a press release for the local area to share
- Update your TripAdvisor blog page
- Use TripAdvisor business listings offer
- Update your Trivago blog page
- Boost the Facebook promotion to the target audience
- Match a Google AdWords campaign to the offer
- Display the offer on-site in the rooms, reception area, and restrooms
If you noticed, we didn't include one of the Four P's, Price. The price will set the whole thing in motion for your hotel, but it can't only be about price. You know the average daily rate at your hotel, and you know what promotions/places you can invest in. You can determine how big of an impact you are okay with on your profit margins. Only you know your brand, and sacrificing your brand image/positioning for better margins is something you will need to hash out.