In an era when so many businesses are going digital, hotels still flourish with brick-and-mortar locations. The very nature of the hospitality industry requires people to come to a physical location. However, this does not mean that the digital world is irrelevant to hotel owners. The hotel industry should be very aware of the benefits of a digital marketing strategy.
Why a Digital Marketing Strategy for Hotels Matters
If you are new to digital marketing, you may wonder if it is that important. After all, most hotels already have some marketing campaigns. Why should you take your marketing plan digital? The answer lies with your potential customers. Modern travelers rely heavily on the internet to make their plans. The booking process is nearly entirely online, and hotels with a robust digital marketing strategy are going to have a keen advantage. If you do not use digital marketing strategies, you will probably see your profits dwindle and your impact on the market fade.
Start With Google
If you are a novice with digital marketing strategies for hotels, then start simple. There are many tools you can use to help you in your hotel booking experience. One such tool is Google. It's a powerful search engine that can do everything from finding a flight to making a restaurant reservation. Google also has a feature that lets you book a hotel room! Once you start getting better at marketing, there are many opportunities to use Google. To start, make sure you list your business with Google. Google allows you to build a My Business profile. Once you create your profile, your hotel name and address can be visible during basic searches. Your hotel can even appear conveniently on Google Maps when people are looking at the local area. Google Maps is a powerful tool for anyone in the hotel industry, and you can use Google to connect to potential guests easily.
Manage Your Reviews
Once you list your hotel with Google, it is time to take your digital marketing strategy a step further. When you start to open your hotel digital marketing up, you can expect to get reviews. Reviews can happen on Google or other business directories or travel site inventories. While reviews can be unpredictable, they are a good thing. You want people to leave reviews to give your hotel visibility. Plus, you can take the positive and negative feedback to make directed changes to revitalize the hotel experience. A hotel with many reviews will look like one that is visited often, which is what you want for potential customers. You should actively encourage guests to leave reviews, and you can even offer small incentives to guests who leave reviews.
Enrich Your Website
Next, it is time to talk about your website. By this point, you should already have a hotel website. Every hotel has a website. It is an essential tool to reach potential guests. However, now that everyone has a website, you have to work on making yours stand out. You want your website to score well with search engines, which is why you need to focus on content marketing. Ensure your website is updated when you build a digital marketing strategy for hotels and incorporate enriching elements like photos and video. Consider including things like a live camera feed or a regularly updated blog. Have options for guests to finish their hotel bookings online and connect the website to an email marketing platform. The website should have multiple ways for guests to interact. This type of dynamic website takes time and money, but it is worth the effort.
Leverage Local SEO
As you start to work on your hotel website and your presence on Google, think about your impact with local SEO. Search engine optimization has been around for a while, but your local SEO impact is far more critical when you build a digital marketing strategy for hotels. In other words, you need to focus your SEO development on your local area. When potential customers are looking to make a hotel booking, they will use the internet. They will look for hotels in a local area. Therefore, your hotel needs to appeal to that target market. Your presence should connect with your local modifier. Make sure to use your modifiers in your email marketing, Facebook ads, and more.
Build Your Brand
If all of this seems overwhelming, then try to get the right mindset. The tools may be slightly different, but digital marketing is merely an extension of your current marketing strategy. Even though your marketing strategies may be shifting into the digital realm, you are still working on brand awareness. Your brand is critical to any successful marketing campaign. Your brand should reflect your target market. Are you appealing to potential customers as a luxury resort? Do you want your potential guests to see your hotel as a budget getaway? Whatever niche you choose, be relentless. Every social media post and blog post should reflect your business. Keep it at the forefront of everything you do, whether your marketing is digital or traditional. Your hotel branding strategy should be consistent and everpresent.
Connect With Your Audience on Social Media
Once you have built a robust hotel website with a solid local presence on Google, it is time to start thinking about other ways to connect with your potential guests. To do this, think about how people use their time online. Now, many people use social media to pass the time. Social media is a potent tool, and it can be the key to taking your hotel brand to the next level. Some of the best hotel marketers have started focusing on a marketing plan that uses Facebook ads and other social media platforms. To be successful at social media, here are a few tips.
- Update consistently: If you want to make an impact, then you have to develop a presence. This means consistently updating your social media accounts. Use a scheduled approach at first. Also, be active in replies to build engagement.
- Pick your platforms: There are a lot of social media platforms out there. You should not try to conquer all of them at once. It is perfectly okay to focus on two or three platforms to start. If you begin to have success, you can branch out from there. Pick platforms that best appeal to your target market.
- Remember brand awareness: Your social media posts should be a part of your marketing campaign. Therefore, make sure everything you post relates to your brand. Relatability is crucial when trying to link your social media presence to your brand awareness.
- Include a call to action: Finally, make sure your social media posts are interactive. You should always have the next step for your potential guests. It can be as simple as asking for replies or suggestions. However, you can also encourage them to click on links, start a hotel booking or sign up for an email newsletter. Increased engagement is a good way of seeing how well your marketing campaign is going.
Social media takes a little finesse, and it does not come naturally to everyone. However, it can be a lynchpin of your hotel's digital marketing strategy with a bit of work.
The most critical thing to remember when developing a digital marketing strategy for hotels is an ongoing process. It is a job that is never truly complete. Staying relevant in the digital space requires constant effort, upkeep, and change. You have to be willing to invest yourself in the process and work to maintain any progress. Use your online analytics to see how many hits you are getting and track how many leads convert into paying customers. Work to develop an ongoing rapport with your potential guests and seek new methods of engagement. The work may never get easier, but a consistent approach will pay steady dividends.
Move Forward with Your Digital Marketing Strategy for Hotels
Digital marketing should be a part of your growth plan. If you want your hotel to continue to thrive in the industry, you need to leverage all available outlets for your marketing strategy. Making the switch to digital can be daunting at first, but the benefits are worthwhile. If you need help getting started, contact the experts at E-Marketing Associates, an El Monte Digital Marketing agency.