It doesnt matter whether you are a Small Homestay or a 50 Room hotel, whether you are a Heritage Hotel or offer Experiential stays. Your first order of Business should be to have a definitive Marketing Plan.
As the Business Owner / Manager of the Property Marketing needs to be one of the most important focus for your hotel. Rooms are a Perishable commodity and if not sold they are costing you money. Money in form of the Electricity bill, costs of people that you are employing. The opportunities and abilities encompassed by marketing are vital to the successful distribution of your rooms.
An effective marketing strategy allows you to target more of your chosen audience in specific ways more likely to encourage bookings.
The Key elements that should be a part of your Marketing Plan are
Guest Profile : Before you get started it is extremely important that you build a Guest Profile, Even though your Hotel may be catering to multiple profiles of Guest, you would realize that your Hotel caters to certain segment better than the others. This is where your focus needs to lie.
In General these are the categories your Travellers would fall into
These are basically DINKs, Single Travellers or Young Couples with small children. Want to get the best out of their trip. They are very price conscious and largely fall between the ages of 25-34. They rely heavily on referrals and reviews to help them find what they need, and more often than not would cross check everything on a Smartphone.
These are small groups usually between 7 and 25 people, want a mix of Value and luxury, usually 3 generations travelling together. Demands are very different as everyone has an opinion specially when it comes to food, If everything is working for them then they tend to be chilled most of the time. More often than not very tech savvy and rely a lot on reviews and online research.
These come in 2 categories, The New rich and the Old Money and it would be very easy to find out which one they are at the time of check-in itself. Extremely demanding and expect things to be done for them, it doesnt matter whether the Hotel is in a Jungle or main city.
Usually travel in a Group, tend to be low maintenance if everything promised to them is delivered. Have some demands viz a vie the distance of the room from the Lobby and stairs etc. Very clear usually in terms of what they want to eat. Everything needs to be ontime everytime.
These are your best customers, Usually want the same room, are very predictable and would defend your Hotel to other guests as well.
See which category of Travellers are best suited for your Hotel and what their preferences are. Once you have identified the Travellers and their preferences, it is time to showcase these on your website. You could create a Section for these or use a Blog to highlight these.
Positioning: Now that we have a Client profile, its time for you to see how the market perceives your Brand, what position your brand enjoys in the market. Are you one of the choices when the client searches for a Hotel in the Destination (This is usually when you have too much dependence on third party channels) or are they searching for you by name when they think of the destination. Don’t worry you can change your positioning and I will show you how.
Competitive analysis: In my decades of interacting with Hotels, I have come across very few Hoteliers who actually have invested time and resources in doing thecompetitive analysis. Competitive analysis for a Hotel means studying what your competition is offering and how you stand viz a vie your competition. This helps you better position your Hotel and stand out from the competition. A Tip here, there is no shame in acknowledging something which your competition does better and learning from it. Don’t copy it verbatim but learn from it and see what works for your brand.
The Strategy. Your marketing strategy is your path to sales goals. Ask yourself “Where will I find and attract my most likely buyers?” This is the core of what the strategy should explain. You should study the Marketplace and channels available and then break down specific tactics such as Participation in events, email marketing, social media, content strategy, partnerships with B2B and Influencers, and other activities that will help you increase your visibility in front of potential travellers.
Budget. What kind of money am I willing to put aside for my Marketing activity. If you are a Small Hotel with limited budget, I suggest you start small. Start with 1-2% of the Room revenue to be your marketing budget and scale it up in a period of a year to 5% of your room revenue. Every activity you do has to have a decision point. If you start focussing on ROI for each activity you will notice what is working for you and what is bleeding money for you.
Metrics. Last Part of your marketing success is to study metrics. Google Analytics is the best tool to use for website conversions and Facebook Pixel to help you with Social Media Marketing. Study these like a hawk, We do for every campaign we run, we measure how the Social Media is performing and how much traffic we are getting and what is converting.
So here you have it, these are all very doable things which you as a Hotel can start doing today.
Is there a specific problem you are trying to solve in your marketing. Please let me know in the comments section or join the facebook group. Thank you for taking the time to read this.