No Vacancy: Filling Hotel Rooms With Smart Content Marketing
Between the clamor from Yelp and competition from crowd-sourcing sites like Airbnb, hoteliers face unprecedented challenges when it comes to filling their rooms with happy guests.
The hotels that are overcoming those challenges are succeeding through savvy content marketing that does more than inform travelers about rates and amenities.
Smart brands use well-crafted, compelling digital content to engage everyone from current guests to potential customers in their brand’s unique experience.
Here are three powerful techniques to attract guests, keep them talking about your brand, and bring them back again and again.
Email marketing: Building relationships and creating repeat guests
In the day of depersonalized online transactions, it’s easy to forget that hotels are in the hospitality business and that hospitality is all about relationships. When people have so many options for finding accommodations online, how can hoteliers build lasting relationships and attract repeat guests? Surprisingly, one of the best options is email.
Email is almost universal — 91 percent of U.S. consumers use it every day — and travel is the most-read category when it comes to email marketing. Not surprisingly, the travel industry leads the pack in email ROI. Boost your email strategy with timely, targeted content, such as holiday and local event promotions, that will attract both recent and potential guests with discounts on future stays. Here’s what such an email might look like:
Subject: We miss you already, so how about a free night?
Dear Rebecca and David,
We have a hunch that you were sad to leave, so maybe this will cheer you up. Book your next trip to the Mountain Lodge sometime soon (in the next two weeks or so), and we’ll give you one night free for every four nights you stay. Yep - we miss you that much.
Can’t make up your mind? Just for sharing your review on TripAdvisor and liking our Facebook page, you’ll get 10% off your next stay. Sound good? Yeah, we thought so, too. Thank you again for being our guests.
All the best,
Deana and Chad
Smart email campaigns are not rocket science. They’re about building the relationships and trust so important in a highly competitive hotel industry.
Blog content: You are a destination
As awesome as your hotel is, people don’t come just to sit around all day. They could do that at home! More than ever, today’s guests are choosing accommodations based on location and “stuff to do.” Blog posts are an opportunity to highlight the most exciting events, restaurants, and attractions in your area, making your hotel website a one-stop destination for all things Boston (or Austin, or San Francisco … you get the picture). With quality blog content, your hotel becomes a regional resource, building trust with your guests and creating a more powerful brand identity.
What do exciting blog posts look like? They offer tips for finding the best local brewpubs or tapas restaurants, or they point the way to the locals’ favorite beach or bird-watching spots. They provide insider secrets for scoring tickets to a local game or concert, and they list interesting facts about your hotel chefs, local shop owners, and historical sites. By combining quality content and SEO strategies, your blog can become a landing page for current and potential guests who might otherwise find themselves on Tripadvisor.
You don’t need to look far to see the impact of quality hotel blogging. At Kimpton Hotels, blog content was central to the brand’s 2014 Web site redesign. In addition to hotel and travel info, the resort’s blog includes lifestyle-oriented posts — Best Local Wines, San Francisco’s Best Flea Markets, Get to Know Our Pastry Chefs — that target key demographics and build a strong regional identity.
Blogging is an investment, to be sure. But it pays off with content that builds your brand and fills your rooms.
Social media: Helping your brand go viral
Getting social media right takes a solid understanding of the technology’s capabilities, but the rewards can be exponential.
From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, social media is the most wide-reaching advertising hotels have at their disposal. Because your audience helps you spread the word by sharing your posts, the potential ROI is huge.
For example, the boutique 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia, features meticulous design in every space throughout the property. The hotel has capitalized on that visual appeal to become the “first Instagram hotel.” Guests share photos of their stays to their followers, translating into massive free advertising for the hotel. And, to encourage guests to participate, the hotel offers Instagram users with more than 10,000 followers a free one-night stay.
Many of today’s travelers won’t even consider a hotel that doesn’t have a frequently updated blog or social media presence. Those things are so much a part of today’s society that, if you don’t have them, some younger travelers may even assume you’re also lacking in must-have basics like Wi-Fi and room service.
But there’s another aspect, too. With so many of your competitors using content marketing to build relationships, travelers won’t want to show up on your doorstep if you feel like a stranger. They want a relationship with you — before, during, and after their stay — and content marketing is the way to do that.
By providing personalized and information-packed emails, blog posts, and social media updates, Prose Media can help your travel brand achieve its content marketing goals. Armed with great content, you become a brand your guests can rely on. And the more your guests trust you, the more you become their home away from home, wherever their travels take them. Sign up today for free, no-obligation access to our platform. We would love to see what you have in mind.