Large hotels rely on loyalty programs and name recognition to get business.
While this is not an impossible feat for small hotels, the landscape does look different: boutique hotels and large hotels don’t cater to the same audience, by and large, and what works to market a large hotel isn’t necessarily the best course of action for a small hotel. Experiment with different marketing techniques designed for small businesses to increase your ROI and grow your brand recognition.
Connecting via Social Media
Social media makes an ideal platform for small and large businesses alike. It’s free to get started with, fairly easy to use, and doesn’t generally require any equipment that you don’t already have on hand, KJ Henderson notes in The Houston Chronicle. You might use Instagram and Pinterest to curate engaging photos of your hotel and its amenities, or you might use Twitter to advertise promotions and engage travelers in your city. If you blog about hotel happenings and what makes your hotel a unique asset in your community, use social media to promote your blog. As you grow a social audience, you may capture more business from repeat travelers who have come to enjoy your brand.
Renata Parolari Fernandes, who writes a magazine dedicated to unique boutique hotels, recommends using social media as a channel to connect with and engage customers, and not strictly to make sales. More sales will arise from a thoughtful social media presence than from one that just focuses on sales, as ReviewPro.com points out.
Pay for Quality, Not Quantity
While you can do a lot of your hotel marketing on your own, it’s unrealistic to expect to do all of it. Pay for professional quality hotel photography for your website, marketing materials, quality printed brochures, and other PR materials. Renata Parolari Fernandes recommends seeking 3 to 4 quotes for any service you are considering paying for.
While this may seem stressful, especially for new hotel owners who have a lot of expenses and may not want to prioritize marketing over housekeeping and operations, there are cost-effective solutions to marketing. One of the most important aspects of managing your hotel is tracking financial information. There are many solutions, including Quickbooks, which will help you oversee all aspects of accounting, invoicing and budgeting. A small business credit card can be helpful here, too.
Promotions can be a great way to capture attention, and you don’t have to run them frequently to have a desired effect. Consider offering a free meal in your hotel restaurant or a free night’s stay giveaway to celebrate your anniversary. You might enjoy partnering with other local businesses to offer amenities to your customers. If you promote local bicycle rentals, city walking tours, bakeries or cafes by showcasing brochures or including their products in your amenities kits, those businesses are more likely to advertise your hotel in return. Finally, consider offering promotions to members of other loyalty clubs or to repeat customers as a way of rewarding guests for choosing your hotel. Amanda MacArthur notes that guests will gladly pay for a room in your hotel if it means that, after 10 nights, they earn a free night. As you build customer loyalty, you gain an army of fans willing to recommend your hotel over others.