Do you know how to market your hotel business?
Well, I have to tell you that the marketing strategies for hotels are going to be different for every hotel. The reason being is that no two products are exactly alike. A primary function of marketing is promotion, but what if you are struggling to find things to promote?
Marketing is much easier if you are at a hotel that hosts a red carpet affair. It is easier if you have something that makes you truly unique. What happens if you don't have the luxury of events like these. What if you have a hotel that is out on the side of an interstate highway that doesn't get a ton of traffic?
The answer is that you should be using content marketing for hotels.
Why should you use content marketing for hotels?
The main reason that you should be using this mid-to-long-term strategy to market your hotel is that it helps you create more hype for your hotel. It helps to make your hotel contextually relevant in the eyes of the consumer, and it is a strategy that is available to every hotel.
The thing about marketing is that it is not only a single function. Many processes need to be put together to get the highest level of effectiveness. The most basic principles are product, price, place, and promotion. If you do not have the first two in order, then please, please, please disregard this post.
Content marketing works because it allows you to control the place where the product is being promoted (digital medium), and the promotion of this content.
Content Marketing Defined
Dictionary.com defines content marketing as:
a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
The key thing to understand here is that content does not have to be blog posts. It could be videos, infographics, podcasts, etc. They each have their place in the content marketing ecosystem, and they all are useful for different types of users. Blog posts can be a great form of content marketing because you can apply your SEO efforts to the content to get more bang for your buck. Do you have a great, high-quality video of your hotel or the surrounding area? Social media sounds like a great place to promote that piece of content.
How To Get Started With Content Marketing?
The first thing that you need to ask yourself is what it is that you think your customers want. Ask your front desk if there is something that your hotel guest always asks for. Is there a local attraction that is near your hotel? Are guests looking for places to eat? If so, this is an excellent place to start. You need to make sure that you are catering to their needs. If there is a need there, then you will be able to get to your guests earlier, and they might stop bringing these questions to your front desk. Improved efficiency and the potential for better goodwill can be significant benefits from using content marketing.
You do have to understand that creating great content that is evergreen (lasts for-eva') is something that is going to take time to create. If you know that you can only dedicate X number of hours to content creation, then you need to add this to your consideration. It is much better to spend your time creating something truly remarkable then to post something for the sake of posting.
Once you know how much time (budget) you can allocate towards content marketing, you can get started with ideas that you think would work. If you only have the above mentioned 8 hours, then these are the options that I think could work the best for you during the year. If you have the capabilities, with the 96 hours (12 x 8), then you can create one or two killer videos for the year that you can push out to all of your promotional channels. Make sure that it is something that will stand the test of time.
You can also spend this time to get infographics or interactive map development that is relevant to the area that is around your hotel. These should be made for the benefit of your future guests. You could use this same time to get 6-8 of these pieces of content.
You can also use blog posting. This is usually the bread and butter for most hotels. Getting 12-16 in-depth articles could be another avenue that your hotel takes with content marketing.
Please Don't Just Set It and Forget It
Now you know what content marketing is, and you have a high-level view of why your hotel can benefit from it. You have started thinking about what types of content might work best for your hotel. You can set up a plan that outlines when you will receive the deliverables, and you have also set up how you are going to promote the content. The year passes, you have followed your roadmap to a tee. Your job is over. No way, Jose! That is just the beginning of a successful content marketing strategy in the hospitality industry. The next thing that you have to do is optimize your content. Look back at the older material that you have posted, periodically. Ask yourself if that piece of content is still relevant.
If it is not relevant, then you should remove it or update it to make sure that it is appropriate. If you find that there are a lot of things that you need to change, then you need to revisit how you are coming up with concepts for your content marketing. You want to get the most for your money, and while some cleanup will always be required to keep your content in tip-top shape, there might come the point where you are spending most of your time cleaning up the old stuff instead of creating new and wonderful stuff and promoting it.
Content marketing is an extremely viable option for a hotel to increase its digital footprint, and ultimately bring in more business. The problem with a lot of content marketing is that it is not all that good. Most people have this inkling that content marketing could be for them, so they go out and hire the cheapest content marketers out there. This comes back to hurt the hotelier because the quality typically isn't all that good. Since the quality isn't all that good, it becomes more challenging to promote the content. The content that successfully gets promoted doesn't necessarily put the best foot forward for your hotel. So it can do more harm than good.