It’s only natural for hoteliers to look for ways to conserve cash during a crisis. One such way is by cutting their marketing spend altogether.
While decreasing your marketing budget might be inevitable, cutting it entirely is going to harm your hotel business in the long run. In fact, discontinuing marketing and other revenue-generating activities makes it much harder to rebound when recovery happens. That’s why experts around the world consider marketing the best response to a crisis.
In this article, we’ll explore how hotel marketing can support you in engaging with existing customers as well as reaching out to new ones.
Stay connected with existing customers
Though travel activity is in flux, it doesn’t mean that you should stop all types of communication with your existing customer base. You should, however, adjust your marketing strategy and adapt your marketing spend.
But how exactly should you market yourself?
Your marketing efforts should start from your brand website and social media platforms. For example, you can highlight the steps you’ve taken to ensure both guest and hotel staff safety and share your latest booking modification policies, like waiving cancellation fees during the coronavirus crisis.
Similarly, you can show what’s new in your region and/or updates at your hotel (e.g., completed renovations) to entice potential guests to book a stay.
Whatever type of messages you plan on sending out or displaying on your website and social media, make sure your communication is sympathetic, relevant, and valuable. In the end, a friendly note with a message that you’re there for your guests and your community will go a long way in delighting them and staying top-of-mind.
Attract new customers
We know that attracting new guests is challenging in 2021, but this is the time to increase your brand exposure. To top it all off, there’s a huge market of travelers sitting at home right now with uninterrupted access to the digital world, thereby making it easier for you to reach them.
So, how do you attract new customers?
Many people want to go back to traveling as soon as the crisis finally ends and travel restrictions are eased. One hotel benchmarking tool revealed that people are still actively looking at hotels, but perhaps don’t have the confidence to book right now. Imagine reaching out to those potential guests with an offer of zero-risk reservations or a packaged deal that they’ll be willing to book based on the perceived value of the hotel stay.
If you’re running such initiatives, promote them on your website, social media, and other marketing channels. Again, be sympathetic and relevant not only in your offer but also in your tone.
Aim for direct bookings
When you strive towards boosting direct bookings for your hotel, you’ll ultimately build a healthier balance between your direct and indirect distribution channels. The more travelers book direct, the less dependent you are on third-party bookings.
What’s more, you become the owner of the guest relationship from the first-party data that comes with the direct booking. That data on your future guests is invaluable to your business, and you can start making the most of it before they even check in.
The advantage of the pre-arrival focus is two-fold: You can heighten the anticipation of the hotel stay from the initial engagement with guests and, at the same time, keep your hotel at the front of their minds. After all, it’s possible that they’ll have made more than one booking for a just-in-case scenario.
And, of course, guest data also provides you with the means to generate repeat business as well as bolster your brand awareness.
What steps can you take to win direct bookings?
- Actively promote your attractive website rates.
In fact, registered hoteliers on trivago Business Studio can do just that with Rate Connect, and there are three campaign types that come with it: pay-per-click, pay-per-booking, and pay-per-stay.
Though hotel marketing budgets may be tight, a pay-per-stay* campaign could be a viable option, since a commission is charged on the direct booking only after the guests have completed their hotel stay. This risk-free approach enables hotels to not only strive towards generating direct booking but also minimize costs.
- Invest in your hotel’s website.
According to a study by Google, 52% of travelers will go to a hotel’s website after they’ve looked at it on a booking site. So, it’s essential for yours to make a first great impression, be perfectly optimized for mobile devices, and have a booking engine that ensures a seamless experience for future guests. In essence, your next booking depends on it.
Although the travel industry is still on a bumpy road to recovery, there are silver linings to see and opportunities to seize. By taking a positive approach to adapting your marketing initiatives today, you’ll find that your efforts can pay off for your hotel in the long run.
*The availability of the pay-per-stay campaign type depends on the setup with connectivity providers.
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