When is the best time to develop your hotel marketing plan? Ideally, before you throw open the doors for the first time. You want to ensure every customer who comes through those doors is your target customer.
Developing a hotel marketing plan is critical to success, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. By recognizing that each hotel is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all hotel marketing plan, you’ll be able to create the best plan for your hotel—and easily adjust it as needed. Let’s start from the beginning.
Tip #1: Establish Your Goals
First, look at the reasons your hotel might pop up on a traveler’s radar. Your hotel may be in:
- A city that’s home to several corporate headquarters.
- A winter ski resort area.
- A summer beach mecca.
Customers who travel to these locations typically have expectations about what kind of experience they’ll have at the hotels. Your goal is at least to meet those expectations, and ideally, to exceed them.
Another goal should include hiring great staff for your hotel. Every staff member your customer encounters has the ability to make or break the best of marketing plans.
In addition, it seems obvious, but if staying in business means you need to maintain, say, 90 percent occupancy rate during peak season and 70 percent in the off-season, write this down as part of the plan. If your goal is to become the top-rated facility of its kind in the area, write that down.
Tip #2: List Your Assets
What about your facility will draw target customers through your doors? At the top of every hotel marketing plan’s asset list is “location,” followed by amenities such as free WiFi, fitness equipment, food availability, and shuttle service.
Obviously, a vacationer headed for the beach isn’t going to book at a ski resort. But business meeting planners? The reasons they’re looking at facilities in a certain location are more subtle. For every meeting planner looking for a central, easy-to-access hotel, there’s another one looking for an out-of-the-way hotel free from urban or peak-season distractions.
Also consider what your hotel has—or could have—that could be a booking booster for off-peak times. The addition of a few conference-friendly amenities could more than pay for themselves in an increase in business conference bookings.
Tip #3: Ponder Possible Allies
With a little creativity, you can partner with other seemingly non-related businesses and organizations in the area to amp up your hotel marketing efforts. Offer to host a local chamber of commerce or travel and tourism board meeting. Brainstorm with area arts foundations or sports teams to combine advertising campaigns. Look ahead at what annual festivals are coming up and become a sponsor. When a traveling professional show comes to town, host an opening-night event and barter performer rooming for advertising space in the printed program.
Tip #4: Utilize Your Staff’s Knowledge
Remember that your staff members have lives outside the hotel. A great way to personalize your hotel’s social media marketing efforts is to encourage employees to write blog posts about hobbies that could attract like-minded enthusiasts to your hotel’s web site.
For example, a staff member who rides a motorcycle could blog about great roads to ride in the area. Another employee with kids could write about kid-friendly destinations and events nearby. A history buff could talk about the best places in the region to hunt for antiques. Have a foodie on board? Have her write about the area’s hidden culinary treasures.
With an eye open to the possibilities right in your hotel’s backyard, the options for creating a custom hotel marketing plan are endless.
For Further Ideas
Let SmarteHotels.com be your hotel marketing plan partner. Contact us today!