The moment we witness an economic downturn, the very first step we take as a survival tactic is to cut down on expenses we consider expendable. As hoteliers you may have adopted several methods yourself to sustain your business in the unpredictable market scenario and your hotel’s content marketing would have inevitably suffered a loss. Hotel content marketing involves the development and propagation of online materials, such as videos, blogs, and social media content, that sometimes explicitly promote a brand but are mainly intended to stimulate interest in a product or service. Through the process of content creation, ideas are generated which resonate with a specific buyer persona that one intends to target, and relevant communication materials are created with information that appeals to them.
So, instead of stepping back when the market takes a dip, hoteliers must revisit key fundamentals of their marketing activities and prepare for better times. When the market demand surges, one can expect things to change quite a bit. Attention must, therefore, be given to how your hotel can prepare for what is to come ahead and also how you can take advantage of the existing challenges and unprecedented times facing the industry. Content marketing keeps marketing channels primed for recovery. What your hotel content marketing – blog, email, social media content strategy must entail, is a decision you would need to take without delay. Every marketing activity requires time to build momentum. Therefore, abandoning it mid-way is not an ideal thing to do for any business. Being active even during a downturn will help keep your business ahead of the competition, not requiring grappling for breath at the last moment.
Through this blog, let us understand hotel content marketing a little better and learn about ways to use content to maximize the value derived in return.
How Does Hotel Content Marketing Help Hoteliers?
1. Content marketing provides the necessary visibility to hoteliers by being present digitally, at all times, irrespective of market situations. No wonder experts advise against digital darkness or cutting down on marketing budgets, as they can have long-term implications. Every business requires to be in a position to capitalize on opportunities that arise and that is not possible unless the preparedness needed is in place.
2. Consistent communication with your hotel’s target audience is important to build lasting relationships with them, as does the tonality of your content, be it newsletters, emails, or social media content. The care and caution with which you treat your customers, especially during a rough patch in their lives, reflects more on your brand personality and ethics than any paid means of promotions ever could. Therefore, ensure that you make your policy decisions, especially about things that affect your customers closely, such as health and sanitation, known to them through prominent mediums like your hotel’s website, emails etc. – all hotel content marketing initiatives carried out regularly. However, equally important it is to acknowledge the fears that customers may have and adapt hotel offerings accordingly.
3. When the market changes, it is wise to bring transition in business practices. Content marketing can help in exploring new opportunities that arise and in increasing market share. Creative communication and timely delivery of messages would be required to convince your target audience about the upgraded services at your hotel or the changes you may have brought about in incorporating a new kind of traveler, a little different from your hotel’s usual footfall. For example, offering a work desk within a regular room can work towards attracting people who prefer working away from the office, but at a comfortable spot they can enjoy.
Content Marketing Tips for Guest Acquisition:
1. Widen Online Presence/Visibility:
Visibility plays a crucial role in a hotel being able to acquire new business opportunities. To ensure that your hotel is present where the eyeballs are, you must have your content published on relevant platforms. For example, if your hotel is open to conducting events, ensure that all required details such as prices, room capacity, facilities available etc., are clearly mentioned and updated regularly on your hotel website, as well as social media channels and other event management related websites too. Pushing website content to other platforms heightens its impact. Similarly, using high-quality images and videos helps substantiate the information provided and leads to greater engagement. This also increases the chances of your hotel appearing on search results.
Another effective way of building on your hotel’s online presence is to ensure that your hotel operates over a PMS like Hotelogix that integrates with all the leading Channel Manager software in the market and therefore helps in widening the number of OTAs that a Hotel can be on. When your target audience searches for your hotel online, your OTA presence would contribute to showcasing your hotel and improving bookings.
2. Optimize Content:
Creating content may seem like a cakewalk, yet it is far from that. At its core, effective content requires effective writing for it to bear fruit and to keep the quality standards high. This is why professional writers who have the knack to create high-quality SEO-optimized content are a sought-after lot. Key things to remember:
- Prioritize the quality of your content over its quantity and make sure it appeals to the intended audience. Readers appreciate information which provides them value. Therefore, focus on local, trending topics and include relevant keywords while doing so. Evaluate the source of your website traffic and then modify aspects of marketing to include localization requirements. For example, include information about local events on your website. Keep the content up to date in order to rank higher on search engine results.
- Establish your authority in the industry as a thought leader by positioning yourself as a pioneer of your field. Create content that is compelling and authoritative as it has the quality to garner a larger number of inbound links and helps boost overall search rankings. Other websites linking to yours strengthens your authority on search engines.
- Create content around the most searched industry terms or phrases, ‘frequently asked questions’ (FAQs), so that you can address the needs of your audience and deliver them information that they are actively seeking. Pay attention to on-page elements, title, URL, metadata etc., to perform well on SEO parameters.
- Optimize your website content for mobile devices. Your website should have a responsive design and quick load time. The structure of the site must also be ideal for bots to crawl and must be built in such a way that it provides a good experience to users. Eliminate features that unnecessarily add up to the load time.
2. Effectively Use Social Media Channels:
Social media is an effective medium to better a hotel’s brand awareness amongst its audience and also to gain direct bookings. Property Management Systems like Hotelogix provide Facebook Booking Engines which allow customers to make their room reservations directly, without having to divert elsewhere. As a hotelier, you can leverage the potential of your existing client base to rope in more followers on social media. This helps in amplifying online presence and helps in establishing your hotel’s authority in the market as a thought leader. You can spread the word on social media channels about local events being organized and provide information on local attractions, cuisine etc. too; the kind of details which travelers are usually interested in.
Build your social media presence by:
- Determining the platforms that are most used by your target customer and setting goals to achieve through them. Once these are sorted, develop content that is preferred.
- Creating compelling content that has the qualities of being shareable, searchable, is brief, visually appealing and relevant to the audience that is likely to consume it.
- Engage with your audience in an authentic way by responding to their comments and queries in a quick and timely manner. Guest reviews are great in improving a hotel’s operations, but it also contributes to better SEO rankings. Similarly, look into creating customer centric engagement events like contests and giveaways.
4. Prepare an Email Marketing Strategy:
Craft a detailed email marketing schedule which does its job, without inundating its recipient’s inbox. Holidays, visits, corporate events etc., are often planned well in advance. Therefore, well designed mailers scheduled for delivery at the most ideal moments can nudge consumers towards making their purchase decisions.
The content of an emailer requires an equal, if not more, amount of emphasis. Use emailers to sell your hotel’s best offerings, update about policy decisions, special preparations for upcoming events etc. These factors combined can help build a list of engaged email subscribers.
Audience segmentation, along with email nurture track can help create custom hotel content marketing campaigns based on different factors like demographics, geographic location, past booking history etc. Segmented email campaigns have been seen to have a higher open rate, as well as a greater click-through rate. Testing exercises help recognize the ideal time to send an email and the kind of textual information that works best.
A PMS like Hotelogix which offers a Web Booking Engine can enable you to capture data and use it for email marketing. All the information that the PMS stores during a course of time can give you the required insights to target the right kind of people and also about the kind of offerings that might actually interest them.
With the emergence of the internet age, we have become heavy consumers of content. Those cat videos we watch to pass time and the news articles we read online are all different forms of content which are increasingly forming an integral part of our lives. Needless to say, hotel customers are also consumers of online content and hence it is vital to stay connected with them even while the world tries to find its feet amidst the pandemic. The hotel content marketing tips we’ve elaborated in this blog should help you in achieving this goal.