How Can You Market Your Hotel Digital Online? A Guide for Beginners
The hotel industry has changed rapidly in recent years. Faced with increased competition and a changing distribution landscape. Hotels, just like yours, are ramping up their hotel digital marketing efforts in 2022.
With the right hotel digital marketing activities, you can:
Tap into your hotel target market and drive more traffic to your property.
Build a sustainable and long-lasting relationship with your guests.
Become less reliable on online travel agencies
But digital marketing for hotels can be challenging, as you'll need to know so many areas. So, whether you're a hotelier doing this all on your own or part of a dedicated marketing team. We've condensed the major elements of hotel marketing that you'll need to know.
And you'll definitely don't want to miss out on our hotel email marketing hack!
Table of Content
Step 1: Select a Hotel Target Market
Choosing a target market is extremely important. While your hotel can serve everyone, it's more effective to narrow down the audience and create a niche.
When it comes to digital marketing in hospitality industry, the distribution and channels that your target market uses may differ from one another.
And when choosing a target markets for hotels, you have to consider the demographics of your location.
For instance, if you are in a city, like New York, with many business travelers and tourists, you could focus on the corporate customer. On the contrary, if your hotel is in a resort-type or family-friendly area, you might want to market to families.
What Are the Major Market Segments in the Hospitality Industry?
There are many types of guests in the hospitality industry. Some are demanding, some are not. Some will spend a lot of money while others won't. Below are some hotel target market examples:
Business guests typically stay in hotels for shorter periods, as they travel for work. These guests stay during weekdays (due to their purpose of stay).
Their days are full of meetings and they appreciate stays that are as efficient as possible. Although a big and important market, there are indications that business traveling will slow down post-pandemic.
Baby boomers (people aged between 1946 to 1964) are entering their golden years. They’re becoming an important guest segment in the hotel industry. Partly because they have higher spending power in hotels compared to other segments.
The Gen X generation (born between 1965 to 1980), is known for a sense of individuality. These individuals are shaped by their parents' struggles and are often seen as pragmatists or skeptics. They are less emotionally expressive than the generations that came before them.
Millennials are those born between 1980 and the late 1990s. They are one of the largest, most educated, diverse, and global generations ever. The Millennials are known for being more individualistic, independent, and self-expressive than previous generations.
They account for approximately 30% of hotel and restaurant revenue.
The Gen Z generation is the generation born after the Millennials. They're going to outgrow Millennials in both population and disposable income. Their world revolves around their phone, and they have a strong sense of independence and self-reliance.
Another distinctive hotel market segmentation is “Families”. Although it is important to note that this market can comprise of Gen X and Millennials. They’re traveling with their children on a leisure-based trip and value their children’s safety and the hotel experience.
Which Hotel Target Market Should Your Hotel Focus On?
In the end, it depends on your hotel. Your hotel should focus on a target market that you believe will be the most profitable for your business. It is good to consider factors such as the:
Hotel’s location / or your destination
Amenities and facilities
Existing customer base
Most profitable/lucrative guests based on your hotels historical data
Future market growth potentials
But there are clear behavioral and purchasing differences among these generations. Just have a look at the infographics we created below using statistics from Tripadvisor!
Step 2: Select an Online Hotel Marketing Channel
There are many different ways that hotels can market themselves to potential customers. But the most common channels include third-party channels, hotel social media, the hotel’s own website, and email marketing.
We will cover these topics in this section.
OTA Channels - Best Way to Gain Revenue (Short-Term Focus)
Many hotels have a love-and-hate relationship with online travel agencies. Although they are known to take high commissions, the fact is that they probably bring in a big part of your business to your hotel and have a massive marketing power.
There are several ways to market your hotel on an online travel agency. But before we start digging deep into our different tips, it’s important to know where your target audience is from. Because this will help you partner with the right OTA. There are plenty of OTAs out there, some are big, others are smaller/niche players.
For example, if your target audience is from the United States, then you might be better off using Expedia as they have the biggest market share in that country.
Some of the best ways to market a hotel on an OTA includes:
Make your profile stick out
Promote your hotel with high-resolution images of all your stunning facilities, rooms, and lobby. Add selling descriptions and unique selling points of your hotel.
Improve your online reputation
We’ve said it before, there is a correlation between low review scores and the customer’s intention to book a room. So make sure to get more positive reviews on the site and work on those negative ones.
Just have a look at this gorgeous hotel profile on Booking, with high-quality images, and selling yet descriptive texts!
Meet the OTAs standard
Ensure you meet the requirements of the OTA. They have their own requirements/standards for profiles and they will dislike it if you neglect their suggestions.
Establish a relationship with your marketing manager
Most of the OTA partners assign a market manager to you. These managers can share valuable insights on the latest market trends, review your profile and help you with paid advertising campaigns and other OTA promotions on their channel.
Hotel Social Media - Great to Build Brand Awareness (Long-Term Focus)
Social media is one of the most powerful tools in a hotel’s marketing arsenal. In fact, there are over 3.96 billion active social media users. You can use it to promote your hotel, its services, and its amenities. You can also use it to promote deals to attract new customers.
Before you start using social media, it is important to know where your target audience hangs out. So how do you know that? Well, start by checking out this table from Wordstream.
Your Hotels should be using social media on a regular basis in order to get the most out of it. They should post relevant content that will interest their target audience and engage with followers as much as possible.
Key hotel social media marketing strategies that you can use in 2022 include:
1. Plan, plan and plan
Social media content is a tricky and it needs to be approached in a strategic manner. It can be time consuming to produce enough quality content for your audience on a regular basis. As such, it's essential to have a hotel social media strategy in place before you even begin. That way you'll know what kind of hotel social media posts you want to have, at what time and when.
2. Use different tactics
Be intentional with your content distribution across different channels. And don’t make the mistake of treating all channels the same. The content you post on Linked In should be different from what you share on Instagram. Because they are two very different social media channels.
3. Build a human connection
At the heart of hospitality is service. There's no better way to display it than by building a deep connection with your followers. Why not showcase your amazing staff? And interact with customers in a more personal way! For example, by asking for their feedback or holding exciting contests.
4. Share videos
We all know that videos say a thousand words, and they don't have to be complicated or professional. Nowadays, people love to see the bare and pure version of you and your business. Take your mobile phone and record raw videos about your facilities, services, or products.
5. Work with Influencers
Utilize the power of their influencers reach by collaborating with them to create high-quality posts that will reach new audiences. Here are a great hotel social media post idea from an influencer:
Hotel Email Marketing - Effective Channel (Long-Term Focus)
Hotel email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels for hotels.
It is a great way to generate more revenue and build guest loyalty. Just have a look at some of these statistics of email marketing for hotels:
The average ROI was $42 for every dollar spent on email marketing in 2019. - Litmus
There are a few different ways to do marketing in email. But the best hotel email marketing are done using a hotel CRM software.
At Metasphere, we've recently enhanced our CRM for hotels with an e-mail automation feature. Here’s how the process work.
1. Create a Guest Segmentation List
The first step is to categorize guests into different segments. In broader terms, we call this “Guest Segmentation”.
Guest Segmentation is a process of identifying different types of customers with distinctive needs and grouping them together.
You might be wondering, why do I need to segment guests into different segments? Well, that’s because each guest segment has its own distinctive needs.
For example, a family segment may want to see your family-friendly facilities and children's menus in the email. A business guest would be more interested in learning about your business center or conference rooms.
At Metasphere, our clients are able to slice and dice the data from their property management into different guest segments. Simply by filtering down as many as 40+ different criteria, including demographics, stay behavior, and preferences.
2. Hotel E-Mail Automation: A Simple Process
After you have created your guest segment and pre-designed your awesome email templates, the next step is to use automation to schedule emails automatically.
Common email sequences in hotels include:
Send out a single e-mail to guests, for example COVID-19 regulations/precautions at the hotel.
Create personalized e-mails based on certain events, such as the guest’s birthday.
Initiate e-mails based on certain stages in the guest journey. For example, sending a hotel confirmation letter when the guest books the reservation or up-selling e-mails x days prior to arrival.
Set up predetermined actions based on intervals/or the guest’s behavior. They can be customized depending on the type of campaign and goal. For example: Send up a follow-up email to those guests from your promotional e-mail that opened it but did not take any action.
The whole process takes less than five minutes. And once it is set up, the email software will run without any further action by the hotel!
3. Analyze and Optimize Your Hotel Campaigns
The final step in email marketing is to analyze the outcomes of your campaigns and make adjustments when needed so that you can achieve the desired results.
Important statistics to evaluate the effectiveness of your email campaign include:
The number of people who actually open your emails. A high open rate is an indication that your audience is interested in what you have to say and are acting upon it.
The percentage of people who take a desired action after being exposed to your marketing message. For email marketing, this is usually making a reservation.
Measures how many recipients clicked on a link in the email. A low click-through-rate on email marketing can be a sign of a problem with your messaging, design or the CTA/promotion itself.
Hotel Direct Channel and Content Marketing - Great Marketing Channel (Long-Term Focus)
A large proportion of hotels have their own direct channels, but they often neglect the power of driving traffic to those channels.
Your hotel website is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have, and with increasingly more people using mobile devices to search for hotels, it's important not to neglect your online presence.
Effective ways to drive more traffic to your website include:
Optimize your hotel website for SEO
Your site's search engine rankings are primarily based on the keywords it uses, its design, how fast it loads, and how many other sites link to it. Optimize your page for relevant keyword terms and try experimenting with geo-targeting keywords.
Blogging is a great way to connect with potential guests and give them a glimpse into your hotel. You can blog about anything from the latest activities in the town to your facilities. Not only will blogging help you drive traffic to your website, but it will also help you build trust to potential guests.
Google business accounts are a must for any hotel with a website and a google page. They give hotels the ability to advertise their business on google search and various other platforms, as well as manage their online reputation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about hotel marketing.
What is Hotel Market Segmentation?
Hotel market segmentation is a technique used to divide guests into groups with similar needs and characteristics. This helps the hotel to identify its target audience and develop an effective marketing strategy to reach them.
What Is a Hotel Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan that defines how your hotel will market its product. An effective marketing strategy for a hotel takes into consideration a variety of things, such as the campaigns, messaging, and marketing channels used to reach potential customers and create customer relationships.
What Is the Best Marketing Strategy for Hotels?
The best marketing strategies for hotels vary depending on the type of hotel and your goals. In the end, it really depends on what you want the outcome to be.
If your hotels are struggling with low occupancy rates and quickly need more business, it might make more sense to collaborate more with OTAs.
But if you take a look at your long-term goals and want to build your brand, it may be more sensible to invest in your direct channels or social media.
Why Is Marketing Important in the Hotel Industry?
Marketing is an important area within the hotel industry because it is the most essential component of growth and success. It allows you to reach potential customers and build long-lasting relationships with them.
You will find that by investing in marketing, you could attract new customers who may not have been aware of your presence in the area, as well as retain those who are already familiar with your business.
Conclusion: Hotel Digital Marketing: The Complete Guide (2022 Edition)
In this guide, we've uncovered key concepts surrounding digital marketing for hotels.
When it comes to marketing in the hospitality industry, it's important to narrow down your guests into different segments.
Because let's face it. Business and leisure guests are staying in your hotel - for completely different reasons. So how do you know which target market to focus on?
Well, it depends on which one is the most profitable for your business and has the best potential for further growth. Factors such as:
Amenities and facilities
Existing customer base
Future market growth potentials
Are all great to consider!
So how to market your hotel? Well in this guide, we recommend you market your hotel on:
OTA Channels - If you're more short-term focused and need immediate revenue.
Hotel Social Media - If you're thinking about building brand awareness.
Hotel Email Marketing - If you want to build deeper bonds with your guest
Hotel Direct Channel and Content Marketing - If you're long-term oriented and want to have control over the guest journey.
In the end, it all depends on your business goals and which channel your hotel's target market uses.
But no matter which channel you choose - One important step before you dive into your digital marketing activities is to have better insights into your guests and their behavior. Now the best way to achieve this is by using a CRM system.
With over 100+ global properties using our hotel CRM system, we have great expertise in helping hotels gain key insights into their guest data to support their business growth. Let us know if we can be of help to your hotel. Contact us today for a free consultation or demo session!