Whether you are the Owner / Proprietor of a small hotel / Home stay, or General Manager or Director Sales and Marketing of a Large Hotel, whether in the Hills or the beach or any place which attracts tourists, you are encountering strong competition from more established hotels and even AirBnB, as they have a higher marketing budget which helps them increase their visibility.
However if you had a well-crafted Hotel digital marketing strategy, you too can enhance your visibility, expand your reach, and differentiate yourself from the competition. Having consulted many Hotels (both small and large ones) I am sharing here a Strategy which if used as explained will guarantee you results. This article outlines the key components of a winning digital marketing plan for small hotels and provides practical guidance for executing each aspect.
The first step in your Hotel Digital marketing strategy should be to have your own real estate in the digital space. This is achieved with a well structured website. In 2023 there is no reason for you as a Hotelier to not have one. Getting a Website is not an expensive option and depending upon how much content is needed should not cost more than your one night Room revenue. (if you are a 10 Room hotel in the range of Rs. 5K a night) Please remember this is the first impression that your prospective customers have of you, Go for Quality work rather than what is more economica
A well designed, visually appealing and informative website is the cornerstone of any effective digital marketing strategy. Your website should be visually appealing, user-friendly, and optimized for search engines to ensure it appears at the top of search results when potential guests search for hotels in your area. If you are unable to find someone to help you guide on your website creating you can ask me for help, I will help you get one made which would be visually appealing and have content to even help you with SEO.
SEO is a critical aspect of Hotel digital marketing
strategy and can be broken down into two categories – on-site and off-site optimization.
In simple terms, On-site optimization involves optimizing elements within your website,
such as titles, descriptions, and content, to make it easy for search engines to
understand what your website is about. Off-site optimization entails creating backlinks
to your website from other websites, which can boost your search engine rankings.
Sometimes just using your Hotel name and the Geography may not be enough to get you the top ranking in search results. What you should do here is
Google my Business is a powerful tool and needs to be a part of your Hotel Digital marketing strategy to climb up the search rankings and ensure that your Hotel shows up on the first page. A powerful strategy is to include Geography + Searched keywords for your destination in your GMB Profile.
Another excellent way to get more traffic to your website (more traffic = higher chances of conversions) is to create content that promotes the Destination. Lets say you are a Hotel in the Hills. You could create a Guide which would highlight the destination and what activities people can do there. I have seen good guides help Hoteliers increase the number of room nights people stayed with them. If the activities you are promoting helps you get discovered for your region and helps you upsell 1 additional room night it will lower your cost of Acquisition, so make this a part of your Hotel Digital Marketing strategy.
Today no Hotel Digital marketing strategy can be complete
without using Social Media. Social media is a valuable tool for both small and Large
hotels, allowing you to connect with a vast audience and interact with prospective
guests. Choose the platforms that are most relevant to your target audience and
establish a presence on those platforms.
I have closely monitored Facebook groups (Himalayan Homestays for example) the amount of Inquiries this generates is amazing, however the closure rate requires for you to do multiple follow ups.
My recommendation for an effective Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy has always been to use Videos to promote your Property + Destination on both Facebook and Instagram and then setting aside a small budget (usually Rs. 500 a day) to promote good video content to prospective customers. (Facebook has some amazing insights that you can get when you go the paid marketing route)br Apart from posting regularly, sharing promotions and special deals, you should always be very prompt in responding to customer inquiries and feedback.
Content is still the KING, so it is only natural that it be a part of your Hotel Digital Marketing strategy. Content marketing involves producing and sharing valuable, relevant, and informative content that engages your target audience and encourages them to take action. As mentioned above This can be blog posts in form of Guides, videos, and Images. (refer to this Guide on Content, this was made for Travel Agencies but the Information still applies) The objective of content marketing is to build trust and establish your hotel while creating Brand Awareness. If you have limited budgets or face challenges in creating written content then creating Video content today is super easy. Your Video content does not have to be Movie grade and perfect. Imperfect content converts very well when it comes to Small Hotels.
Have you every Googled your own Hotel and see an OTA (Online Travel Agent) promoting this as a paid AD? If your answer is yes then they are using paid marketing to increase their sales. You as a Hotelier could take a back seat and say, well if OTA’s are promoting me already why should I do paid marketing?
This means creating quality content which defines the services or products you offer and using my expertise to get it indexed for your local area. Once this is done you will be surprised how quickly you start seeing additional traffic to your Business from the keywords you were not even focusing on or the ones you may have been told cant be indexed.
Just understand a simple thing you are paying between 15-25% to the OTA to get the Business and increasing your dependence on the OTA’s. Tomorrow if the OTA decides to stop promoting you where would you go?
Also the 15-25% commission you are paying is a very high cost of acquisition. By making Paid marketing a part of your Hotel Digital Marketing strategy, specially Google Ads to put yourself in front of Travelers who are searching for that Destination or getting Traffic of your competition will help you lower your cost of acquisition while improving your Bottom line.
Using Facebook and Instagram to drive awareness would ensure that your pipeline of queries improves and you always have a healthy Occupancy rate and a decent REVPAR. Lastly unless you have been offline the past couple of years, Youtube today is the 2nd largest search engine. To succeed today, Paid advertising on Youtube needs to be an integral part of your Hotel Digital marketing Strategy, this would help you put your product in front of the right audience who may be searching for the Destination and Hotels in that Destination.
A Healthy paid marketing strategy should be given a minimum 5% of your monthly revenue to help you build a healthy pipeline. (So if you are a hotel with 6 Rooms selling at an average rate Rs. 5000 a night and you do around 50% monthly occupancy = your Marketing budget should be 6 Rooms X Rs. 5000 a night X 30 Days X 50% X 5% = Rs. 22,500 Per Month)
Despite your misgivings on Email marketing, It is a highly efficient way to reach prospective guests and keep them engaged with your hotel. For example your destination guide could also be your lead magnet, A Lead Magnet is when you collect someones Email and Contact details in exchange for sharing something of value like a Guide. (See the example here. This lead magnet has helped me grow my Email list) Every Hotel big or small sits on vast amount of Customer data, by making Email Marketing a part of your Hotel Digital Marketing strategy you can see amazing results.
Once you have them in your list then share Destination updates, promote special offers, announce new amenities and services, and share valuable content like blog posts and videos and also solicit Google review and ask that they recommend you to friends and family. As per a Study over 50% people would recommend you if you ask for it. Segment your email list to ensure that you are sending relevant messages to each group of guests.
ne of my Biggest challenges when I work with Hotels is that they don’t have Data and analytics handy. By simply Installing the following scripts on your website you will be able to direct your marketing spend in the best manner.
All these scripts are free, don’t cost you anything but can be a game changer for your Marketing Strategy, so it is imperative that you not only make it a part of your Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy but also take guidance from this Data
Finally, it is crucial to regularly monitor the results of your Hotel digital marketing Strategy and adjust your strategy as necessary. Use tools like Google Analytics to track website traffic and conversions, and use the data you gather to make informed decisions about your marketing efforts.
A successful Hotel digital marketing strategy requires a combination of SEO, paid and organic channels, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and regular monitoring and modification. By focusing on these key components, you can boost your visibility, reach, and bookings, and not only establish your Hotel in the region but also improve your REVPAR and Bottom line.
You can do this alone but if you have higher budgets then let me help you build you a Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy that will help you scale your Hotel to the next level and even help you increase your average room rate per night and reduce your dependence on OTA platforms. It takes as little as 90 Days to achieve all of this.