Category Archives: Hospitality Marketing

The New Reality of Hospitality Marketing Solutions

Hospitality is a multi-billion industry that remains highly competitive. With the inception of Airbnb, virtual reality destinations, and the ever-growing online audience, one misstep in your hospitality marketing can make your brand become easily forgotten or dismissed.
Flight Attendant Standing in Airport
Not only do those in the hospitality industry need to focus on bringing in a loyal client base, but they must also have processes in place to address new challenges, such as 24/7 social media status updates and real-time requests in the age of instant gratification. One bad review or poorly executed ad can cause a viral media storm. Just ask Pepsi or United Airlines, both big companies who recently were caught under fire due to less than favorable choices and lack of response back to consumers.

Anyone who has worked in the hospitality industry knows problems will inevitably arise, but it’s how you deal with them and move forward that matters most. Some may see hotel marketing, restaurant marketing, and travel marketing (along with public relations) challenges as all too familiar in their day-to-day work life. We have identified challenges and hospitality marketing solutions, new and old, for how to promote hospitality businesses through the right mix of marketing and promotions.

Challenge: Higher Guest Expectations

Guests used to favor amenities like a heated pool, onsite workout room, or in-room coffee station. Now, those features are standard to the hotel experience and guests expect more. They are looking for added value to their stay. Hosting

events at your property or restaurant is a nice perk to offer your guests and a good promotional opportunity to invite prospective guests to experience the different elements and amenities of your hotel. Whether it’s a seasonally-inspired menu tasting, rooftop yoga, or live music night, you want to make as many people aware of the event as possible.

Reach your audience where they are most likely to see the announcement. This could be done through email campaigns, social media posts, flyers, or a combination of all three. Test your audience and see where they respond to you best. For example, if you’re unveiling a new menu, think about hosting a Facebook Live event with the chef introducing some of the new dishes. You can use this saved video as a promo to entice guests to make reservations.

Plan the promotional schedule a few months in advance with set reminders closer to the event date. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too many notifications, but do create engaging visual content that will make them want to remember your event.

Solution: A multi-channel approach to marketing your event that combines both online and offline efforts.

Restaurant Bartender Drying Wine Glasses

Challenge: Having the “It” Factor

Nearly every hotel has a brochure rack that is filled with material from various sources of what there is to do in the city. Why not customize a brochure specific to your hotel with content showcasing what makes your property special?

Does your property uphold a unique history? Are there amenities you offer that are not available at other hotels? Does your chef create seasonal dishes, specialty cocktails? Encourage your team to brainstorm a list of what makes your hotel one-of-a-kind and then, organize this into a promotional brochure to hand out at the front desk, add to your brochure or concierge area, and use in partnership with your local tourism board. This can include anything from a treat special to your city or state, such as the whoopie pie in Maine, live music from local artists, or a neighborhood tour hosted by your concierge that includes the history of your hotel where you highlight what makes it most interesting.

Make sure your content is an honest reflection of your hospitality brand. Stock photography and staged space setups are never popular solutions. Create unique promotional materials by using user-generated imagery or hosting a specialized photo shoot in the area you’re promoting.

For example, if your next ad is designed to promote wedding season, photograph garden or rooftop areas where those events are usually held. Allow the guest to visualize what the possibilities are with real-life imagery rather than sharing cookie-cutter event spaces.

Solution: Give your guests itinerary options that include your property and/or restaurant features. Include this in a welcome email or video or as part of an app where they can customize their own itinerary.

Challenge: Customer Loyalty

With the bevy of options available for travelers these days, the challenge among many in the hospitality industry is not only creating a satisfactory experience for the guest, but creating loyalty. Customer loyalty means the guest is most likely to choose your hotel over any other brand. If you don’t have a loyalty program for your hotel, it’s time to create one. If you already have one, it’s time to update it.

Ensure the perks and offerings that are part of your program are what guests value most to ensure a positive customer experience. Do they receive a free night after a certain number of bookings? Do they receive a gift on their loyalty anniversary? Not every perk has to be costly to your hotel, but everything offered has to make your most loyal guests feel like VIP.

Solution: Get creative with how you promote your loyalty programs from members-only events to added perks every year of membership.
Man Checking in to Hotel Front Desk

 

Challenge: Reaching More Than One Audience

When it comes to hospitality marketing, think about multiple ways you can repurpose one piece of promotional material to keep your budget in check. Align your messaging to what users want to see most. With the capabilities of data analysis available through website and social media reporting, you can see what messaging resonates most. You can also separate your messaging into different groups to ensure it is directly hitting your target audience(s).

For example, a hotel that wants to promote a summer campaign on Facebook should tailor their message differently between its prospective audience (those who have not yet visited the website or booked a stay recently) and the remarketing audience (those who have).

Solution: Align your marketing efforts so you can track results more easily and understand where your audience is responding to you most.

Make the Most of Your Hospitality Marketing Initiatives

The hospitality industry isn’t one where you can rest on your laurels and count on clients being loyal. With the increasing number of options available, attention spans can be fleeting and people are more enticed to try new adventures, especially if that comes with the promise of added amenities, improved accommodations, and personal extras that make one property more appealing than another.

One of the best ways to get a pulse of how your guests feel about your hotel, travel service, or restaurant is to pay close attention to what’s being said online. Both reputation management and social media responses are incredibly important to sustain a healthy brand image and encourage guests to come back for more.

But the first step to address evolving hospitality marketing solutions and opportunities is to be proactive. Showcase the best parts of your property or service, and give your guests nothing less than an ideal experience.

5 Hotel Marketing Tips to Boost Hotel Loyalty Programs

In the hotel industry, guest loyalty can make all the difference in the success of a hotel chain or company. New customers and frequent guests are valuable and always welcome, but it is important to remember that those long-term loyal hotel members are who will speak your name to all their friends and family and in the long run, have the biggest impact on your hotel’s growth.

Loyal Hotel Guests Checking in to Room

Happy and loyal guests are the people who keep coming back to your hotel time after time. They may not be frequent visitors, but you can rest assured that when they do travel, they will choose your hotel as their preferred choice. As such, you must consider, how are you making sure that they continue to be satisfied by your accommodations and services? How do you cater to your guests or reward them for their loyalty? Are you actively nurturing the positive relationship you have established with them? Have you introduced a hotel loyalty program to give back to your guests?

We have listed 5 ways for you to boost your hotel marketing and increase guest loyalty so that they continue to choose your brand and hospitality above all others.

  1. Create Valuable Hotel Perks

    What can you offer guests to make their stay more enjoyable and convenient? This might be early check-in or late checkout free of charge. Maybe it’s a free breakfast or invitation to an exclusive onsite event during their stay. Perhaps you spoil your guests with goodies upon arrival, offer discounted pricing for activities or theme parks in the area, provide free airport shuttle transportation, or a complimentary cocktail with dinner. Whatever those nice little extras are, be sure to include a list of the perks every loyalty member will receive as part of their hotel membership.

    Check in with your guests by using surveys and train your staff to ask about their stay while recording their answers. What is it your guests like most? What is it they could do without? What is it your team can improve on? The more data you collect, the better you can refine the experience into one that proves to be of highest value. High value equals more loyalty, more loyalty means a customer for life, which can be far more profitable than someone who may be a guest with your frequently, but temporarily.

    People like to receive free stuff and feel a sense of gratitude toward those who bestow such gifts. Make the most of the guest experience and nurture guest loyalty to entice guests to book their next trip or sign up for your hotel rewards program.

  2. Introduce a Reward Points System

    The gamification of the customer experience never seems to shy away from the fact that people love to earn points. According to 2017 loyalty program marketing statistics, enrollment for hotel loyalty programs has grown by 31% over the past four years. And, 87% of large companies state customer experience efforts such as these have made a positive impact. That’s a big percentage of the market you may be able to capitalize on when you put forth some effort.

    By initiating a points system, you can incentivize your guests to keep coming back, providing you with numerous opportunities to satisfy their needs and eventually create a loyal relationship.  Establish a tiered points system, the more points they earn, the bigger the “prize” they can receive, such as free room upgrades or complimentary nights. When they hit different loyalty tiers, create extra rewards or introduce a few surprises as a form of thanks. This could be an upgrade to a suite, a complimentary bottle of champagne, or a free dinner with a guest in your hotel restaurant. Consider what makes sense financially for your company, and set a points scale in place.

    You will also want to remind guests with incentives of why they should redeem their points. Research performed by Deloitte shows 82 percent of people who are part of a hotel loyalty program redeem their points when the opportunity arises, like if they receive a promo code or offer when they’re planning a trip. When you have this level of engagement with your hotel, why not capitalize on it?

    Hotel Rewards Program Deals Online

  3. Deliver a Unique Experience

    In order to do this, you must first identify what makes your hotel stand apart from others. What do you offer that is a value differentiator? The experience matters for those who are already loyal to your brand, but it will also capture the interest of those who have not become hotel loyalty rewards members. For example, a guest may choose your hotel primarily because they like your exclusive bedding and complimentary cookies offered upon check-in. Get creative with the ideas you use to market your hotel and showcase your unique style. Here are a few popular ideas for hotel perks and rewards that you can adapt to make your own:

    1. Host an outdoors movie night complete with complimentary snacks and sodas
    2. Host a cocktail hour inviting loyalty members only or use it as an opportunity to get guests who haven’t joined to sign up
    3. Prepare customized welcome bags for guests who reach certain milestones
    4. Make sure to celebrate birthdays with loyalty members who have shared that information

    A little effort can go a long way and turn a happy guest into a loyal one. How will you make your hotel experience stand out?

    Man Checking in to Hotel Front Desk

  4. Promote Your Perks and Hotel Loyalty Program Benefits on Social Media

    Plan your content and social media calendars to post about upcoming offers, benefits, and other information about your rewards program. Remember to target rewards towards your property’s specific audience(s). For example, family-friendly hotels can highlight free kids’ meals, onsite events that are fun for the whole family, and other perks that benefit those with kids. While those who focus more on the business traveler should focus on expedited check-in and check-out, conference room availability, and guestroom amenities like free wi-fi, multiple plug-ins, and enough space to spread out to take conference calls and work remotely.

    There are guests that may need a little reminder of the awesome benefits they receive through your loyalty program. Use this opportunity to provide updates on any new benefits. Have you added new perks to the program? Are you hosting a special seasonal event? This is an opportunity to re-engage your guests and also attract potential future guests.  Go above and beyond by providing great perks and incentives, but be sure you stay on top of your guests changing habits and use social listening to address their needs.

  5. Listen to Your Audience

    Constantly monitor your hotel rewards program and check its effectiveness. Listen to your guests – and if you’re not receiving enough feedback to make decisions, ask for it. In today’s digital world, direct surveys aren’t the only way to receive information about the satisfaction of a guest’s stay. Closely monitor online review sites and social media channels to get an idea of what hotel rewards your guests gravitate most to and which they could do without. You might find that the perk you have been focused on for the past 6 months is not actually driving interest from your guests, or that the small change from checkout at 11am to 12pm has made all the difference in your customers’ satisfaction.

    For instance, in an article shared by HotelExecutive.com, the example reviews data regarding a hotel’s 24-hour room service offering. The hotel surveyed guests at two different times: when they offered room service 24 hours a day and when they offered room service during reduced hours. The data demonstrated that there was no change in satisfaction or loyalty based on the 24-hour availability. Their “assumption” about the value this provided cost them $80,000 a year, a perk they cut after reviewing the data.

The more you connect with your guests to learn about what they value most and understand their needs and want, the more likely you’ll secure a guest for life and can continue a positive relationship for years and trips to come. Pay attention to your guests’ activities and feedback, and utilize hotel rewards programs to enhance your hotel marketing and continually provide great experiences for guests. Your involvement in these activities will surely help you remain top of mind for your loyal guests.