The 4 Hotel Marketing Tactics You Need to Try

Bryan Michalis
September 7, 2023

It’s harder than ever to stand out in today’s crowded market and busy online world.

This makes effective hotel marketing tactics even more important for your property’s success.

Your hotel website, OTAs and traditional travel agents used to be your primary options for getting the word out. But none of them allowed for direct communication with your target market.

Email changed that. It became the first channel where you could actively address and market to your audience.

Then paid search ads and social media came up, creating even more new hotel marketing opportunities.

All these areas constantly keep developing, giving you innovative ways to reach your potential guests.

So, let’s look at how you can make the most of them and get the attention your hotel deserves.

1. Embrace Digital Channels

Your property’s website, email and social media are the most important elements in your hotel marketing. They form the foundation for all further campaigns and promotions. Get these basics right to set yourself up for success in the long run.

Enhance Website User Experience and Mobile Optimization

Your website is your hotel’s online home, its calling card and a 24/7 salesperson. It’s critical to provide site visitors with a good user experience. Without it, people will leave and either book via OTAs or (even worse!) with your competitors.

Take OTAs as an example. They make booking a room quick and easy. Your website should do the same.

Here are four things you need for that:

  • Clear layout: all important information should be easy to find. That includes room categories, rates and availability, hotel facilities, how to get there and contact details.
  • Well-structured content: use engaging texts and images to help users find what they’re looking for and highlight why your hotel is their best choice.
  • Mobile optimization: nearly 50% of travelers use mobile devices to book hotels. Ensure your site looks great on screens of all sizes to get their business.
  • Solid, secure booking engine: pick a booking engine that’s fast, easy to use and visually appealing. And always ensure it follows the latest payment and data processing regulations.

Implement Targeted Online Advertising Campaigns

Now that you’ve optimized your hotel website, it’s time to drive more traffic!

One way to do so quickly is with paid ads.

There are three main options for this:

  • Search engine advertising: Google and other search engines let you place ads that target specific keywords, e.g. your hotel’s name or its location. You can also use your USPs as keywords to get more targeted traffic, e.g. “dog-friendly hotel San Francisco”.
  • Ads in online publications: what does your target audience like to read? Post ads on those websites, online magazines or blogs to get their attention.
  • Social media ads: promote posts, reels or stories to let your audience know about upcoming promotions and deals.

Use Email Marketing and Personalized Messaging

Email marketing remains the most effective marketing tactic since it boasts the highest ROI of $36 for every $1 spent.

So how to get started? Begin by collecting email addresses from site visitors with an interesting opt-in, e.g. a travel or packing guide for your destination. Get emails from current guests as well, for example when they check in or log in to your Wi-Fi.

Then use guest information from your PMS to send personalized messages, relevant promotions or upsell deals. For instance, you can share family-focused offers with people traveling with kids. Or propose your romantic getaway packages to couples. Sharing these tailored messages will increase the likelihood of people opening your emails, clicking through and booking directly.

Leverage Social Media Platforms for Brand Awareness

Social media is another great way to build brand awareness and get in front of your target market. People love exploring inspiring content, so provide some about your hotel, its services and its surroundings.

That could mean highlighting your most popular amenities, showcasing your unique selling points and offering looks behind the scenes to make your property feel more approachable.

This generates interest and will keep your hotel in the front of people’s minds when they’re ready to book.

2. Harness the Power of Influencer Marketing

Social media marketing and hotel marketing in general work better if you have broad reach. If you don’t have a lot of reach on your own, borrow someone else’s.

How? Enter, influencer marketing - paid partnerships with online opinion leaders who promote your hotel to their followers.

Identify Relevant Influencers in the Travel and Hospitality Industry

First, be clear about your goals when working with an influencer.

They could be:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Growing your social media follower count
  • Driving website traffic
  • Getting sales for a promotion
  • Or a combination of a few of these points

Once you’ve set your goals, get clear on who you’re targeting. Know your target audience’s demographics such as age, family status, willingness to spend or their home country. Look at their interests as well. That could be wellness, shopping, hiking, fine dining or cultural exploration.

Next, find influencers who reflect these demographics and interests. Explore social media platforms or influencer agencies to find potential matches. Analyze their profiles and content to see if they’re a good fit. Then check their engagement rates to see how their audience interacts with their posts. Once you’ve done this research, choose who to pitch a collaboration to. Keep in mind, this doesn’t always have to be the person with the most followers.

Build Partnerships and Collaborations with Influencers

When you reach out to influencers you’re interested in, ask for their media kit and find out about their conditions for a partnership.

What do they expect from you? Maybe they want a free room or suite and comped meals. Influencers with high follower counts will likely also charge a flat fee for working together.

What can you expect from them? Think about the number and type of content pieces you want them to share, the production value they should have, etc.

Get clear on all these details to make your partnership a success for both sides.

Create Authentic and Engaging Content with Influencers

You’ve seen it too: the generic content showing bathrobe-clad influencers eating room service in bed, chasing floating breakfast trays or sipping cocktails by the pool. Those images and videos usually look great, but there are enough of them out there.

Can you and your new partner think of something a little different and more interesting? Influencers are often great at online storytelling, so give them some creative license and support them with any needed props.

Measure the Impact and ROI of Influencer Marketing Efforts

Since you set goals before hiring influencers, you should be able to measure your campaign’s ROI.

Depending on your objectives, you should be able to track:

  • New social media followers since the campaign launch
  • Extra website traffic coming from a specific blog or social media post
  • Number of sales for a promotion

Once you have a few campaigns under your belt, compare their ROIs. What sets apart your most successful collaborations? Could you replicate that in future promotions? And what didn’t work? Try to steer clear of that next time.

3. Utilize User-Generated Content

User-generated content or UGC is everything your guests share about you online, e.g. social media posts, blog articles or reviews. It’s a fantastic resource to inspire your hotel marketing and make it more relevant to your target audience.

Here’s how to get and use more UGC in your hotel marketing.

Encourage Guests to Share their Experiences

Getting tagged in videos, posts or stories is fantastic for improving your reach. Make that happen more often by asking guests to check in at your hotel on social media. It only takes a few clicks, and many people are happy to do it to show off that they’re on a trip. Offer a small reward like a free drink or bar snack to sweeten the deal.

You can also prompt people to share posts or stories where they tagged your hotel. Make it a no-brainer for your guests by providing photo spots around your property.

Another way to gain UGC is to ask for feedback. Automatically send an email post-check-out requesting guests to please review their stay. Then prompt your five-star reviewers to share their comments publicly.

Curate and Repurpose Your UGC

Follow the type of content your guests share. Which parts of your hotel appear on social media a lot? Which services do people mention over and over?

Monitoring this will help you better understand what your guests value most. Focus on those points in your hotel marketing to make it more relevant to your target audience.

Run UGC Contests and Campaigns to Incentivize Engagement

Get more people to share UGC with contests or giveaways.

Here’s how a simple giveaway could look: “By Monday, share a post of your favorite moment with us on Instagram and tell us what this moment meant to you in the caption. Tag the hotel and a friend who would love the same experience. The best post wins a dinner for two at our Italian restaurant.”

Share these instructions with in-house guests via your guest messaging system and/or on social media directly. Then wait for the posts to roll in.

As a reward, you could offer free drinks at the bar, a dinner or a spa treatment. If you want to set up a more elaborate contest, you can provide more valuable prizes such as an overnight stay.

Monitor and Respond to UGC

Reshare social media posts and stories that tagged your property. That’s a great way to interact with guests, show appreciation for their shout-outs and fill your social media calendar with relevant posts. It also demonstrates to potential new clients that you value your guests and their comments.

The same goes for responding to comments and reviews. It shows that you are interested in feedback and take the time to listen and respond.

4. Embrace Video Marketing

Video is the most powerful medium when it comes to giving guests an idea of your property and driving engagement on social platforms. It also helps build a connection between viewers and your brand. So what are you waiting for? Use it to win over more potential bookers!

Create Visually Appealing and Informative Videos of Hotel Amenities

A walkthrough of your entire hotel is a great place to start. Share it on your website, YouTube, Google profile and other social channels, so guests can get a feel for your property.

Next, make a few smaller clips featuring specific areas, e.g. your restaurants, MICE facilities, gardens and spa. Those can also go on your socials, website, etc. They can promote these parts of your hotel to guests who are especially interested in them.

Video is also a good tool to introduce teams in your various departments and get some shots of them in action. That way guests can picture being there and enjoying your services.

Use Video Content in Social Media Campaigns and Advertisements

Videos take a long time to make, so get as much out of them as you can. That means sharing them on all relevant channels. You might even be able to reuse some videos occasionally if the content hasn’t become outdated (e.g. due to renovation).

Some of your clips might also be suitable for social media or ads. Perhaps you can put together some fun clips with influencers as part of your collaboration agreement. Again, getting creative helps show your hotel’s best side, boost your brand perception and get more people interested in your offers.

Live Stream Events to Engage with Potential Guests

Hosting a big event? Then why not share it on your social media as it happens? This lets people be part of it even if they can’t join live. And it shows what a great party you can host.

Once the event is over, make a compilation of the recordings available on your website or your socials, so potential clients can browse your past events. Think of it as a portfolio that showcases your work.

Before you do any of this, remember to get consent from your clients.

Measure Video Performance and Optimize Future Video Marketing Efforts

Monitor how much engagement and views your live streams and videos get. That shows how well your audience responds to them. If you’re using video for paid hotel marketing, check if your clips have good clickthrough and lead to email sign-ups or even bookings.

Compare your various videos to determine which styles and topics work especially well. Focus on that and try different formats to see what resonates. With time, you’ll find the right style for your property and will be able to create videos that promote your hotel most effectively to your target market.

As you can tell, hotel marketing is a broad subject with countless tactics to try and endless channels to use.

If you’re just getting started, lay a strong foundation first. Get your website in order and create a smooth booking process. Then begin driving traffic and building your email list.

Social media in all its forms as well as paid ads or influencer collabs are powerful tools to build brand awareness. Play around with different approaches, try various content formats and see what works best for your business and its audience.

There’s no one perfect way to go about hotel marketing. But if you apply the steps outlined above, you’ll find the right approach for you and get your property in front of the right people.

If you haven't already, make sure to check out our post on 4 Tech-Driven Hospitality Marketing Tips to Drive Bookings at Your Hotel

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