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 really that important. After all, most hotels already have a marketing campaign. 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 strong digital marketing strategy are going to have a keen advantage. In fact, if you do not use digital marketing strategies, you are probably going to 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. Fortunately, there are many ready-made tools at your disposal. One such tool is Google. Google is a powerful search engine. It is commonly used for everything, and that includes hotel bookings. In fact, there are many ways to leverage Google once you get better with your marketing strategies. However, to start, just make sure your business is listed with Google. Google allows you to build a My Business profile. Once you build 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. This is a powerful tool for anyone in the hotel industry, and you can use Google to easily connect to potential guests.
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 on other business directories or travel site inventories. While reviews can be unpredictable, they really 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 a lot of 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. Basically, 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. Make sure your website is updated frequently, 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 when you are building a digital marketing strategy for hotels, your local SEO impact is far more important. 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 be inextricably linked to local modifiers. Make sure that you use those local modifiers in your email marketing, Facebooks ads, hotel website, and more.
Build Your Brand
If all of this seems overwhelming, then try to get the right mindset. The tools may be a little 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, work on it relentlessly. Your brand should be reflected in every picture, video, Facebook ad, and blog post. 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 strong 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 very powerful 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 in order 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 start 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 back to your brand. This 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, with a little work, it can be a lynchpin of your hotel's digital marketing strategy.
The most critical thing to remember when you develop a digital marketing strategy for hotels is that it 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 to see 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 ongoing 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, then 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 definitely worthwhile. If you need help getting started, contact the experts at E-Marketing Associates, an El Monte Digital Marketing agency.