Every small and independent hotel manager has a vision. Usually it involves a steady stream of customers wheeling their suitcases through the door, reservations pouring in via phone and the web, and a full facility every night.
If your current marketing plan isn’t generating your idea of hotel heaven, it’s time to learn how developing an online presence can boost the number of new and returning faces to your facility. This series, “Developing Your Hotel Internet Marketing Plan,” will help you spread the electronic word to as many Internet-savvy (and not so savvy) customers as possible.
1. Identify Your Current Customer
This part should be easy, especially if you already have a solid business plan in place and your hotel’s doors have been open for a while. You’ve probably noted that many of your guests have some things in common; so let’s do a little profiling to get your thoughts organized.
- Customer age range and gender – Does your facility tend to attract young professionals? Retired couples? Families with children?
- Education level – Do your guests tend to have at least one college degree?
- Occupation – Blue collar? White collar?
- Level of disposable income – This can (but doesn’t always) tie into both occupation and age range.
- Average stay – “Just passing through” for one or two nights, or lingering for up to a week?
- Internet literacy – Do your customers make most of their travel plans online? Hang out on social media sites, posting comments and travel photos? Actively participate in online travel forums? Scour blogs and trip review sites for recommendations?
Need hard numbers? Have an analytics program installed on your web site, and pay attention to the stats pertaining to your Facebook page.
2. Identify Your Ideal Customer
Now that you’ve identified your current customer, ask yourself if this is your ideal customer. If so, great! If not, decide how you want that profile to change or expand. For example: more business-oriented guests; fewer college students and more professionals; more “lingerers” and fewer “here-and-gones.” You might even consider asking current guests to fill out a short survey – how they found you, where they get the majority of their travel information, which travel-oriented web sites they like best, etc.
Use this as a road map to determine where to spend your online time and money.
Coming up: Part 2 in this series, “Pick Your Channels.”
Ready to get started? Contact us today!