An Intro to Hospitality Digital Marketing
Bofu? Mofu? Tofu?
What on earth is that?
Except for Tofu, in the most literal sense possible, I am sure that most of you are scratching your heads right now.
These words sound like they should be on the Bon Appétit website, not a hotel marketing website.
Well, like a lot in the marketing industry, these are acronyms. They stand for:
Bofu: Bottom of the funnel
Mofu: Middle of the funnel
Tofu: Top of funnel
In this article, I would like to introduce you to these acronyms so that they can help you set expectations with your marketing campaigns.
Understanding the Marketing Funnel is Essential to Success
Let me ask you a question. How many of you would purchase something over $100 ($200-$300 for some hotels) the first time you saw it on the market? You have never heard anything about it & it is a brand that you are not familiar with.
I'd wager that there are very few readers that would be this impulsive. Most of us would want to conduct a little more research into the product before we handed over our hard-earned money.
Why would you expect anything different from someone that you hire to market your hotel?
This is where the funnel comes into play. As marketers, we understand that there are potential customers that have no idea where they want to stay, what they want to do, & even where they want to go. That's Tofu. Then some people know where they want to go, and they have a group of hotels that are in their consideration set. That's Mofu. Then you have the people that just need that little bit more to commit to a booking. They have an excellent idea of what they want, and are almost ready to book. That's Bofu.
We can apply the funnel to any aspect of hotel marketing, whether it is email marketing, paid search, or direct marketing, just to name a few. Today, however, we will be talking about this in the context of search engine optimization. Once you get a grasp of Tofu, Mofu, and Bofu, then you can integrate the AIDA model into your hotel marketing efforts, giving you a more granular way to look at your funnel.
Tofu - Top of the Funnel Marketing
The top of the funnel is the most general part of the marketing process. This is where you will typically get large amounts of web visitors over to your hotel's website. If you have the resources, then you can go for key terms like "hotels in Los Angeles" as this will most likely get you a ton of visitors. Keep in mind that this will only happen if you have killer content on your website. If you are working with a smaller budget then you want to go with longer-tailed keywords. This could be "hotels in Los Angeles near sunset." Can you see how the overall pool of people would get smaller with the second keyword? It is something that you will need to keep in the back of your mind because the Tofu keywords that you choose will affect the Mofu and the Bofu.
Mofu - Middle of the Funnel Marketing
Okay, so you have gotten people over with your Tofu keywords. Now what? Let's say that you chose "hotels in Los Angeles near sunset" as your keyword. Think about any hotels that are in your comp set. What sets you apart from everyone else. This is where you let your property shine. Do you have a beautiful tropical pool? Are your reviews all four, and five stars? Do you have a great pet special? Do you have a fantastic coffee bar? This is where your keyword gets modifiers added to it. Think "hotels in Los Angeles near sunset with pool" or "hotels in Los Angeles near sunset pet-friendly." If these are memorable aspects of your hotel, then this is an avenue for a customer to come back to your hotel when they are ready to book. In this stage, you might want to have a call to action that gets people to sign up for your newsletter. You can also have a video that shows the user more about the area/what sets you apart.
Pro-Tip: Setup remarketing audiences based on people who complete these Mofu actions.
Bofu - Bottom of the Funnel Marketing
This is what most hoteliers think about when they seek out a marketing agency. This is the name of the game, but it isn't the only game. Some things need to happen before you can have a consistent set of Bofu leads that are almost ready to book. If you have attracted the right people with Tofu, and you have kept them interested with Mofu, then you can target the more competitive keywords that have purchase intent. Think about it this way. Everyone else is targeting these bottom of funnel keywords. If your hotel shows up throughout the process, there is a higher chance the customer will recall your hotel. If something stuck out in their mind, then you will get the booking. If you only target the Bofu keywords, they might think, "who are these guys, and why is this the first time I am seeing them?" The purpose of SEO is to minimize friction to purchase. With your Bofu content, you might want to include things like a discount code if they signed up for your newsletter.
Conclusion - It's a Process
To put it differently, Tofu is what you are doing to generate traffic. Mofu is what you are doing to turn that traffic into leads. Bofu is how you are turning those leads into customers. It is a process. When you are considering SEO or any form of content marketing, then this is something that needs to be a consideration. This is the reason that many SEO's, including Google, say that it takes about nine months to a year to see results. Speak with your agency and see what strategy that have thought out. See if it aligns with your business goals. If it doesn't see if there is a way that they can adjust so those goals can become aligned.