6 cornerstones of a successful independent hotel marketing strategy in 2020

1. Master your positioning and differentiation

The internet is busier than ever. Most hotel companies are already investing significant amounts of money in online advertising on various platforms. In 2020, almost all hotels got their standard multi-channel ad setup combos that include Google Ads, social media, retargeting both on YouTube, banners and social media.

Today, the only way to stand out is to be genuine and interesting. This can be achieved by developing a strong product differentiation, a solid positioning and reflecting the these across all marketing communication channels.

You need to identify what your hotel and resort stands for – what makes it different, and for what kind of guests it would be the most attractive. Once these have been defined, it will be possible to create content and communication standards that describe your product efficiently.

2. Maintain a flawless product presentation

Your product presentation has to be the manifestation of your differentiation, and positioning. Typical travel marketing cliches like “white sand beach” or “luxurious” should be used with caution, better to be avoided entirely. It is highly recommended to describe these with factual content – or demonstrate the same with photos and videos.

A great product presentation consists of short, engaging text content, high quality photos that display important details of the stay experience – as well as videos communicating dynamic experiences and information that cannot be expressed with photos.

3. Maintain a prominent online presence

Be everywhere, simple as that. Do not hesitate between choosing channels based on your target audience, people today use multiple social media platforms simultaneously, so do not think too much about who you will find on different platforms.

To have sufficient amount of visibility and attention online, you need to spend money. $20-$30 daily will go a long way to get views, web traffic and engagement and this is probably the most cost effective way to maximize your brand presence. 

The age of random viral videos, and super-optimized posts are gone – it is almost impossible to make a huge difference with organic posts. However optimizing your paid content is extremely important to get the most out of your social media marketing investment.

4. Develop loyalty, repeat business and referrals

Like any business, a hotel or resort business can benefit from reducing customer acquisition costs. Customer acquisition costs can be reduced greatly by shifting distribution to direct channels, as well as by developing a loyal customer base that can bring in new customers by recommending your hotel or resort.

This is nothing new, hotel loyalty programs have existed since a long time ago. It is relatively easy to set a semi-automated loyalty and referral system with a CRM, or services like Guestfolio or Revinate.

In case you don’t have the budget for that – it is still possible to implement a loyalty and referral program by giving promotional codes that can be used on your website.

Creating a loyalty program is not about technology. It is more about implementing it in your customer service culture, communication and daily business management at all levels.

5. Unify marketing communications on all channels

It is important to remain in line with your marketing communication standards across all online media and social platforms. Slight customization in your content might be necessary but do not make a mistake sharing entirely different content on each channel – assuming that it will come off more relevant.

Maintaining the same tone of voice across all channels will convey a consistent, professional brand presence that develop trust in people who see it.

6. Simple guidelines on how to optimize your social media content

There are lots of myths about social media marketing management. It is quite easy to develop a fantastic social media presence if you understand what your audience wants to see. If you don’t know what they would be happy to see, go back to the first section about differentiation and positioning.

First things first, they don’t want to see your offers. They want to see how beautiful is your hotel, what do you offer and how will they enjoy their time staying with you. To advertise offers, please use paid promotional techniques. Do not pollute your social feeds with offers.

At the same time nobody is interested in your employees and behind the scenes kind of content, unless connecting with your staff is a major part of the guest experience.

FACEBOOK

Share high quality photos or short videos with some textual information. People on Facebook read your posts and expect a short, information-rich caption or commentary to complete your post. Consider boosting your posts for more visibility, or set up ongoing promotions for custom audiences. Most hotels we work with get significantly higher revenue from Facebook Ads compared to Google Ads.

INSTAGRAM

Picture perfect images only. To become successful on Instagram, you will need to be able to take and edit photos to extremely high standards. Get familiar with photo aesthetic basics. Captions do not really matter, in fact we did an experiment and discovered that posts without captions did not perform any worse compared to ones with captions. However a bad caption proved to reduce engagement significantly. So save your informative captions to Facebook or Twitter.

YOUTUBE

This is the place for full-length videos. It is a misconception that people want short videos. That is only true for ad content. People want well produced, engaging videos that brings them interesting information in an entertaining way. Growing a YouTube channel is increasingly challenging as content standard expectations increase rapidly. We only suggest getting started with a YouTube channel for a hotel or resort if you have the means to produce high quality content.

To get started on YouTube, your team will need a high-end camera, a drone, a professional video editing software and accessories like tripods, stabilizers and lights.

TWITTER

Short bits of information with links to your other social networks or website. Do not get overwhelmed with posting times as probably your audience is in a number of different time zone. If they follow you, they will see your content.

TIKTOK

Post fun, artistic content only if it is very well made. Otherwise don’t bother.

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