5 hotel digital marketing strategies for standout guest experiences
The events of the last few years have changed consumer attitudes in many different ways. In particular, they want more of their touchpoints with retailers and businesses to be digitised. As McKinsey reported in its recent Survey of Global Executives: “the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the digitization of customer interactions by several years”.
This shift towards digital-first customer experiences poses a unique set of challenges for hotel owners and operators. Where digital transformation was previously an optional differentiator for hotels, it’s now a business essential. Those that cannot meet guest and event planner expectations around booking and arranging accommodation online will find themselves losing market share very quickly.
Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling, named one of the most influential CMOs in the world, directly correlates the organisation’s achievements with their commitment to listening to and learning from customers, showing just how important personalised digital experiences are in the industry. A good hotel digital marketing operation is a vital part of enabling these experiences, but it can be difficult to know where to start, especially in a consumer landscape that is rapidly changing all the time.
This blog highlights five strategies you can adopt to meet the demands of the guests of today – and tomorrow.
The key strategies for hotel digital marketing
A good marketing strategy is vital for the success and profitability of any hotel, but in an age where digital comes first, reaching out to customers online is absolutely critical.
These five fundamental strategies can help put you on the right track:
Stay front of mind with personalised email marketing: perhaps Kristie Goshow, CMO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, summarised the key question best when she said: “How do I understand the psyche – or the revised psyche – of the consumers that I am trying to speak to?” As consumer demands have changed, hotels need to understand what they want to hear, and then target them with personalised messaging by email. While email may seem like a relatively old-fashioned marketing tool, don’t underestimate it: it’s estimated that it can generate $38 for every dollar spent. And with an automated engagement platform you can even automate this tailored messaging to send the right messages to the right people at the right times.
Tailor content to audience needs: the best way to engage customers and get them interested in your hotel is to send them content that they will find relevant and interesting. This means firmly establishing the demographic of your target market and matching content to suit: for example, ‘The best hotels to stay in on a budget’ won’t work if your market is high-end travellers paying premium rates. As Robin Korman of Wyndham Hotel Group points out, “customers own the conversation now. You must play among them to influence them.” If you’re unsure how to penetrate and define your audience, customer engagement technology can help you collect and analyse crucial data.
Plan social media marketing carefully: social media is a vital part of modern marketing, especially as it’s the favoured medium by the younger demographics that are increasingly dominating the consumer space. Research has found that millennials have significant spending power: an estimated $2.5 trillion annually, and that they spend an average of five hours a day on social media. Targeting social platforms, including through influencer marketing, can therefore be highly effective in reaching large numbers of your target market. Utilising marketing automation functionality can bring social media and email touchpoints together to encourage customers to book.
Optimise SEO to maximise visibility: online bookings now make up around 60% of all hotel bookings, so having a hotel website that is highly visible and easily accessible is a must.
Add in the fact that 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine, and you can understand how important SEO searchability can be.
There are lots of ways to improve the SEO on your website, such as page text, blog posts, imagery, and those all-important keywords in your page headings.
Use remarketing to target interested leads: if a consumer has searched for your hotel but abandoned a booking before they’ve completed it, then you know that they’re interested. This means that they’re a hot lead worth targeting with remarketing campaigns.
Targeting these users with special offers or discounts can help re-engage their interest, and encourage them to revisit their order and complete their booking.
This can be achieved with carefully placed, subtle pop-up ads and emails, made easy with automated engagement platforms.
Every hotel and every customer demographic is different, but one core principle remains constant: digital marketing is vital for attracting customers and ensuring that you don’t lose market share to your local competitors.
Digital marketing is a very broad concept, but as this blog demonstrates, there are plenty of ideas you can explore to connect with potential customers better than ever before.
Leverage several of them, with interconnection through customer engagement software, and you’ll find yourself with all the building blocks you need for a successful digital marketing strategy that customers respond to positively.
With Retainly’s customer engagement platform, you can maximise your occupancy rates and convert interest into sales, by targeting the right customers with the right messaging at the right times.
Learn more about how it works here.