In this article, we will discuss hotel marketing for the hospitality industry in these current crisis scenarios.
The world is going through so much of crisis ongoing
- the political instabilities,
- low business
- disruptions in the supply chains,
- people not willing and able to travel etc.
The common question that every hotel manager or every hotel owner would have in their mind is,
- should we spend on the marketing?.
- should the hotel spend on marketing?
If yes, then the question that comes in the mind is,
- what to say and
- how to market
- how much we should be spending,
- where to spend the money,
- how to identify the right channel and audience that we want to do the marketing,
- how to execute the plan and
- how to monitor the spending and returns.
So, in this article, we are going to take care of all these questions one by one. So that you have a clear understanding of whether you should do marketing or whether you should not spend on the marketing study. So, let's take a look at the first question
Should the hotels market themselves? should we spend money on marketing?
The question obviously is yes,
if you don't do the marketing for your hotels,
- hotel will be losing presence in the customers mind and among the highly competitive market there are so many hotels out there, if hotel is not on top of your customer mind, if your brand is not on top of your customer mind, hotel will lose the momentum hotel will lose the loyalty from the customers and when the travel starts or even if the partial travel is there, hotel will be losing out the business it will be very hard for you to grow up again and gain the gain the customer base gain the audience attention in the future. So, you should spend efforts in marketing of your hotel.
- if the competitors are doing if competitors are they doing the marketing or they are doing the sales, they will be taking over whatever business is there. So, even though there is a very small level of business, but there is some level of business many hotels are closed unfortunately, but there is still a demand whatever small It is however small it is.
If hotel spend their efforts on marketing
- if your hotel is operating you should be taking advantage of the your marketing spend and take over the business. If you're not doing it your competitors will do and will take over the business that is there and also potentially the future business.
- even if hotel is not operating the property at the moment you still should spend money on the marketing because the marketing will help you to remain on top of customer mind whenever they want to travel, customers will remember hotel brand. if hotels’ message is constantly up in their brains in their subconscious. So they will remember, whenever they want to do a business, whenever they want to travel they may plan to stay with you. So marketing will help to build up & maintain the brand value in your customers minds.
- Customers may want do the other businesses with you. Maybe if hotel is planning to do let's say a food delivery business, a laundry business or take home business or sell any ancillary service now to survive hotel operations. it will help you to generate more and more leads and customers if hotel is doing any marketing.
- Hotel will also be able to out compete, there are other hotels who would cut on their efforts. So, it's not about the money only is also about the time, effort and energy that you spend on marketing.
what to say? What should be hotels’ marketing message?
So, the first thing that you have to be clear in your mind is - no to only promotional offer.
Hotels cannot do the promotional offers only. Hotels can divide their messages to three or four parts Everybody now is turning to some sort of social media YouTube, LinkedIn everywhere right and more online and online. they are looking for education, they are looking for information, they are looking for inspiration, they are looking for entertainment so these are the things why people are spending time online and hotels have to exploit this as well.
Via the educational messaging you can teach something new to the guest, you can teach a recipe, you can teach a yoga session, you can teach a meditation session or you can just educate them how to do the big cakes at their home, how to do the laundry properly how to do the deep cleaning,
entertaining the guest
so there has been best practices around the world in different hotels during the previous year of COVID. Hotels were putting the songs, online distressing and motivational videos. Some hotels were doing the comedy, they were sharing the things which are worthy to share, instagrammable post.
include information crucial and useful about the destination. How many cases are there, if there is any lockdown? Are there any restrictions to travel ? Is there anything new project coming in? Is there any new attraction coming to your destination? . So basically what hotel is doing is you're just informing the people about the place. By doing that hotel is not promoting but the hotel is always constantly up in their customer’s minds. the hotel may be doing some CSR efforts, the hotel may be donating food, the hotel may be growing the trees, the hotel may be cleaning the road, and the hotel may be cleaning the beach.
Guests also want to protect the environment, protect the society, support the diversity Support the equality. Hotels can create something which is inspirational for these needs of guests to emotionally connect.
it can be a success story of your associate. the unforgettable moments of the guests, that they have spent on the hotel/resorts.
Hotels can always always put up some promotional messages like staycation or anything else at the end of the message. For example hotel can put a small sentence, if yosu want to book us, you can always go to our website, or call us, or inquiries,
So in a nutshell, you would be marketing your hotel, by the educational messaging, through the entertainment, through the information through the inspiration, so that hotel can engage with the customers.
how aspect of the hospitality marketing.
After understanding why of hospitality marketing and what message to send for marketing, it turn to understand how you're going to do the messaging.
To write down your content, it can be videos, it can be helpful blogs, it can be images, and it can be the website. So what you have to do is to continue to have your platform and continue to do the technical SEO even if you think guests are not searching for travel options. But keep in mind that guests are still searching for inspiration, they're searching for information, they're still searching for entertainment. So if you have your content in terms of blogs, in terms of images, in terms of videos, you can put them on your website. Technical SEO can change target words on website to capture the attention of guests who are searching for such inspirations to keep good ranking and relevance.
Hotel also may use YouTube channel or other social media channels. But ideally, define hotel need to have their pillar platform, which is either your website or your LinkedIn or FB or Youtube, where hotels may want to put all the messages, and all the guests are coming to that location.
let's assume that platform is the website. So all the content hotel create, it need to put all the videos, all the helpful blogs, images on your website, continue to do the SEO in terms of technical SEO.
If hotel have a customer database, if you don't have it, you start to build it and do the direct messaging via emails via WhatsApp messages via Viber messages, to keep the engagement levels.
So to summarise there are instant messaging, there are emails there are boosting on social media.
Now, the next question hotel may want to settle down is how much you really want to spend on marketing and how to save the money.
The the money to spend would depend on the cash flows that if you have some revenue, set aside some money, and even if hotel is closed and you don't really have a revenue, hotel may still want to set aside a minimum amount to spend on few things.
Though hotel should focus to get the things done in house
- hotel may ask the staff to write down the articles
- Staff can do the photography via mobile
- you can create the videos using the free tools.
- You can write down the stories of your associates with an in house writer.
- there is a Canva for designing the images
- there are free stock images that hotels can use.
- Hotels can use for writing free tools such as Grammarly or sem rush for blog writting. These tools can help to check whether your article is written in a good English in an easy to read manner.
- There is a Neil patel.com. For checking on your keyword search,
Hotels would need to focus on organic channels rather than spending on paid advertising.
Hotels may surely suspend spending on banner ad, SEM (Pay Per Click ads). At this point of time during the low business, hotel may want to spend money on the paid advertising only if it's linked to the revenue i.e %age to revenue for example, booking.com is charging 15% sem companies are also charging revenue based percentage. So they will be taking an X amount of percentage from your revenue, but do the marketing by themselves.
Instead of paying fixed amount on ads, I would rather suggest you to focus on organic channels. Try to boost your YouTube channel, try to leverage LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or Google My Business, and even your own website. These are free to do however does take time and energy to maintain these channels and grow the audience.
Here are some ways hotel may want to spend some money
- hotel may want to spend on technical SEO because some technical SEO is something you cannot do in house. Hotel still need an expert for that.
- Hotels can buy the pro versions of Canva, pro versions of the automatic media posting tools,
- hotel may want to buy the pro versions of the video creation tools, stock images, which are premiums, those are not really a big spend.
- And hotel may if let's say you don't have an in house expertise on story writing or graphic designing, hotel may want to hire freelancers to do these tasks for you, Hotels can use Fiverr or Upwork or any other freelancing website. On these websites, hotel may find freelancers for a very small amount and get things done professionally.
- Hotels can make use of interns. You can hire the interns as of right now from the hotel management schools from the MBA schools and utilize them in writing for you, designing for you, creating the stories, creating the campaigns and you pay them honorariums.
- Hotels may want to hire a marketing agency like Hotel Management school, who can help you design the programs and monitor the programs that hotel is running. It will help hotel to achieve efficiency and cost optimization.
Now, how to do the hotel marketing - Three steps
the first step would be to identify the right channel and audience and how do we do that
- you have to understand your USP of the hotel.
- Then hotel need to understand who is interested in your solution, in your hotel, in your destination, in your value, that hotel is providing to the audience. the hotels maybe good for family, maybe good for business, may be good for meetings, may be good for weddings or may be good for relax.
- The idea here is to really understand what your solution is, who are your target audience and then try to find the profile of the person
- Then Hotel should establish what is their target audience specific profile? Are they family members, are the business peoples, how old are they, Where do they live? It will help you to streamline your efforts and try to be as focused as possible rather than trying to attract every market.
- Hotel audience is maybe range of 30 to 40 year old, he is a businessman, single traveler and is mostly coming from Bombay and only on the Calcutta based on the profile. So there you have a clearer understanding how hotel can attract those peoples right?
- After understanding profile, hotel need to understand where the guests are spending the time. Are they going on YouTube? Are they going on Facebook? Are they going on newspapers?, are they watching the TV ? they are watching the Netflix ? What are they doing basically? the key to understand where you should be spending your marketing budget.
- Try to include the less common platforms as FB is already crowded and too general, so hotel may want to go to Pinterest if your audience are there, hotel may want to try the new ones like clubhouse or telegram or LinkedIn. They are not super crowded but has quite decent audience.
- Another way to select platform is the method of your message. if let's say hotel is putting the videos hotel may not want to put that on the Facebook or put them on your website as the better platforms for videos are YouTube right. for image the better platform are Instagram or Facebook, So, you have to really understand which method hotel is going for the content and choose the platform accordingly.
then, the next second step is to execute the hotel marketing plan.
Hotel first make the plan, then the second step is to execute the plan. Hotel should try to use in house talent, try to write down the stories using in house staff, hotel may have already some staff in front office, which may have a better understanding of telling the stories because they are dealing with the customers, they are articulating the facts.
There are free courses available on Udemy. There are free courses available on https://ehotelmanagementschool.com. There are many videos available online now on YouTube. Staff can learn and they can do it. So even if they don't have the skills, they can learn it right,
Hotel may also get experts to help on strategy and crafting the messages.
Hotels can contact us for helping on the
- helping you out on creating a calendar,
- crafting the messages,
- what message should be going out,
- what should we say on the message,
- how the picture should look like,
- what should be the videos.
then the third step is really on to monitor the spend and the return.
hotel may have spent some money, hence it may want to monitor it and look at what is the return on efforts. So there are two ways to monitor the returns
- returns should be in terms of business that is generated by the marketing efforts, and
- also the engagement with the customers.
Every campaign that the hotel is running on every anywhere need to be monitored in terms of returns. So you're not really going to monitor the likes or the impressions, because those are not relevant.
What hotel is going to focus, is on understanding,
- how many shares are there?
- How many comments are there because that takes effort from the people, right?
Final words and suggestions on hospitality marketing
In a nutshell, you should be doing the marketing for your hotels. The only thing is hotel may want to go away from promotional offers only, but more on targeting the customer engagement through education, through inspiration, through entertainment. And you want to get the things done in house by using your already working staff in your hotel because hotel may have to pay them some sort of salary. And if staff don't know how to do it, you can train them. If you don't know how to strategize, you can contact us.
Don't cut 100% and sit quietly in your office and say the business is low, so We don't want to do the marketing