Three marketing strategies that will help you to improve your commercial performance this year and outshine competitors by engaging prospective guests before rivals or distributors get the chance. Claire Lancaster, hospitality marketing specialist and head of social media at Manchester-based IF Agency, explains how.
- Content Competition
Apply the “Three V’s of Content Marketing” to achieve better stand out on today’s digital platforms:
- Visual content has a pivotal role in hotel marketing initiatives. The majority of people are visual learners and the right imagery stands out, resonates with the audience and can have a transportive effect on consumers, inspiring them to go on their own journey.
- Video content is fast becoming the most popular medium for consumers. Hotels were amongst the early adopters when it came to video. The hospitality sector embraced investment in video content early on, with video tours increasing bookings and conversion rates. Although additional video content beyond tours is more often than not non-existent. Often existing video content is accessible on hotel websites and not natively hosted on social media channels. Uploading to social channels is an easy win.
- Vertical formats continue to grow presenting both opportunities and challenges when it comes to brand storytelling. Hotel image libraries are dominated by landscape images of exteriors, interiors and facilities. The vertical format requires a closer cropped, more refined shot. In return, the vertical orientation offers an intimate view, immediacy and interactivity with customers. All in a way that fits their viewing preferences with their touchscreen smartphone in the upright position.
- Paid Promotion
With content, specifically video and vertical content are king. Social Media, specifically paid for promotion, are queen. Don’t just create it, promote it and distribute it!
Social ads can target content to very specific audiences, very cost effectively and based on existing audience insights build and target new larger “look-a-like” audiences. Allocate budget to trial and learn how social media ad spend can support customer consideration, conversion through remarketing initiatives and ultimately bookings. Social media spend is dynamic, unlike traditional media where once committed it’s spent outright, social media investment can be stopped, changed and scaled for maximum efficiencies.
- Direct Distribution
A high volume of direct business is the ultimate goal and working to make sure a hotel website is receiving and converting a high volume of traffic must be a key objective of hotel marketing teams. Quick improvements can often be made to websites to improve search engine rankings, booking engine revisions to make bookings possible within a couple of clicks and enabling direct booking from social profiles are all straight forward steps that positively impact direct bookings.
Global distribution systems (GDS) are the backbone of many travel agents and travel companies for making bookings. Connecting a hotel to a GDS can massively increase distribution potential. Using GDS is great for attracting corporate and midweek bookings to your hotel. The reach these systems provide is expansive and they can target travellers you have no other way of reaching.
Figuring out the optimal mix can be difficult, and managing to achieve it is the ultimate challenge, but one worth pursuing.