Putting together creative marketing ideas for your hotel can often be a challenge, especially for properties that lack a dedicated marketing manager. However, if you want to effectively compete with other properties and drive business to your property, you must consistently implement and test new marketing strategies.
As post-pandemic demand continues to pick up across all areas of travel, it’s time for properties to scale up their inbound and outbound marketing practices. Developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes multiple channels is essential in attracting and converting guests. Here are a few inbound and outbound marketing strategies to inspire ideas for your property.
Outbound hotel marketing ideas
Outbound marketing, also known as push marketing, involves creating and promoting offers and ads pushed out to your target audience. These include activities like hotel metasearch, email marketing, events, and digital advertising.
Events are a significant driver for bookings. Therefore, developing unique packages tailored to different guest demographics who will be attending different local events can be a great way to attract travelers to your property and drive incremental revenue. First, identify upcoming events in your area and determine the audience most likely to attend. What are they looking forward to? How could you improve their experience? Take the answers to these questions and create event-specific travel packages.
For example, if your area has an upcoming sporting event, craft a package that includes a special breakfast on game day and transportation to and from the venue. These value-added items will allow you to charge a premium price and increase your revenue per room (RevPAR).
Develop local partnerships
Partnering with other local businesses in your area is a great way to build brand awareness and drive direct bookings. To start, create a list of local businesses you’d like to partner with and that would also benefit from a co-marketing arrangement. Some examples could include tour operators, restaurants, and travel agencies. Determine how the agreement will work – will you recommend their business in your hotel lobby? On your website? If they recommend your property, will they receive a commission fee?
Consider including partnerships within your hotel’s package offerings. For example, advertise partnerships with local tour companies that offer guests discounts on activities.
Retarget former guests
Maintaining a relationship with your guest after check-out is a great way to encourage repeat business. Leverage data from your PMS to retarget past guests with loyalty-based email offers such as discounts (ie. 10% OFF) or special rates. Ensure the messaging speaks to an appreciation for their loyalty versus just price cuts. Consider including bonus experiences such as welcome cocktails, a specialty dinner menu, or discounts at the spa.
Based on your email marketing lists, you can also create custom audiences for ads on social media to retarget former guests and find potential guests with similar characteristics.
Target group business
In today’s travel culture, more and more guests seek unique experiences for their group trips and look to independent properties to provide their accommodation. While large groups often book with chain hotels, smaller groups are an excellent target for independent properties to secure business. Consider marketing to the following groups with optimized landing pages and targeted digital advertising:
- Intimate weddings – Smaller weddings with less than 50 guests are rising in popularity. Add photos to your website from past events to showcase your property’s potential and get testimonials from those who have held their wedding at your property.
- Family reunions – Create reunion-specific packages that include custom menus and room-rate discounts.
- Corporate groups – Host corporate retreats or conferences that include access to meeting spaces. If your property doesn’t have a designated area, consider partnering with local restaurants or cafes.
Inbound hotel marketing ideas
Inbound marketing, also known as pull marketing, aims to draw in your audience by using your brand to create loyalty. Some inbound marketing examples include activities such as blogs, social media channels, and SEO.
Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms that you can use to showcase your property and interact with guests. Over time, Instagram’s algorithm has evolved to prioritize content that users are most likely to engage with. Therefore, the content you post on your feed must be thoughtful and well-targeted to your specific audience. Limit your use of promotional materials and instead focus on posting high-quality photos and resharing user-generated content. Incentivize your guest to post about their stay, and reshare these posts on your channels.
Host a networking event
The best way to bring awareness to your property is to have people experience it! Consider renting out your space for networking events within your community. Look to local businesses or school groups and promote your property as an event venue space. Having people visit your property is a great way to build a community space that will benefit locals and guests alike while also helping you grow ancillary revenue.
You can also host events with your local partnerships. For example, the Rockaway Hotel+Spa hosts an Artist and Book Talk Series featuring different artists and authors throughout the month to engage with the community in educational discussions. Events like this create a win-win for your business, the community, guests, and partnerships.
Speak to your audience through your blog
Your blog serves as a touchpoint across the guest journey – building a bridge of communication between you and your audience. Potential guests can learn a lot about what to expect from their stay, while past guests can be re-engaged with unique and exciting content.
Use your blog as a travel guide to inspire travelers to visit your area and stay at your property. You can include topics like local tips and hotspots along with interviews and profiles of locals to showcase what makes your destination unique. When thoughtfully implemented, these articles, photos, and videos can be used across multiple channels, including social media, display ads, and email marketing.
Leverage guest reviews
81% of travelers read reviews before booking their accommodation, making it a pivotal part of any property’s marketing strategy. Add special touches throughout a guest’s stay, such as a customized welcome letter or local snack baskets to surprise and delight customers and garner loyalty and positive reviews.
It’s a good practice to ask guests for feedback about their stay at check out and follow up with an email asking them to leave a review. You can then use the positive reviews on your website and social channels to increase the likelihood that travelers will choose your property over others in your area.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of both outbound and inbound hotel marketing ideas to implement as part of your marketing plan. A strong marketing plan should use a combination of both strategies and be continually optimized based on data, especially in the face of today’s post-pandemic travel atmosphere with unpredictable demand, new trends, and changes in guest behavior. Don’t be afraid to try new things and see what resonates best with your audience.