Hotel advertising strategies 

If your hotel website is not optimised, your content won’t amount to much. The need of the hour is the adoption of right SEO practices, the content on the website should be keyword optimised, informative and engaging. Very few hoteliers adopt good content strategy, such as posting a blog regularly in the resource section. This is a great way to provide travellers the information they need the most such as local sightseeing places, art and cuisine while also improving organic search results. Hotel owners who have adopted SEO optimisation can see it yielding good conversions.

To be successful at marketing your venue or destination on social media, you must start viewing channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as any other ad-supported medium. If your venue is willing to allocate a portion of the marketing budget, you can reach targetable and distinct mass audiences that you never had access to before.

What are the best ways to use social media advertising to get the optimum ROI? How can you be sure to reach your target audience at the right stage of their travel planning?

Here are four tips to help you make the most of your hotel’s social media advertising:


1. Invest in promoted content

You now have to pay to play. Even when you’re posting for an audience that has voluntarily “liked” you. You might have 15,000 fans on your Facebook page, but only a small percentage might actually see a photo you posted if you don’t pay to promote it. Be sure you include content that stimulates every phase of the planning experience. Travelers and planners in the dreaming phase will be inspired by vivid photos of destinations and experiences, while those in the planning and booking phase will be motivated by a concrete offer or specific package that showcases value or creates urgency. For the experiential phase, promote content highlighting your destination, as well as reposting social media content from current guests themselves.

2. Know the unique reach of each type of social media platform

Be sure to choose the platforms that reach your guests and can achieve your campaign goals. For instance, business travelers tend to favor Twitter over YouTube; Pinterest is the best platform for reaching wedding planners and Facebook; and Instagram and Snapchat are the top three channels (in that order) for millennial engagement.

3. Make your social media ads part of a larger multi-channel campaign

For maximum effectiveness, you can integrate ads on social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to coincide with your hotel’s other marketing channels, like email marketing, Google Display Network, or search engine marketing.

Even better, utilize ADARA, Sojern, or other travel ad networks to help your social media ads reap even greater returns. Using first-party data from top travel planning and airline websites, these travel ad networks target users while they’re planning trips. This extra layer of data added to your social media ad campaigns helps to target your audience when they are closest to the booking stage.

4. Target smarter to stretch your budget

Custom audiences allow social media advertising to truly outshine its media predecessors. Using targeting tools on each social media platform can yield big results for even the most limited hotel budgets.

For instance, YouTube’s unique in-market capabilities utilize search behavior to target users who are planning a trip to your destination and suggest videos that will positively influence their choices during the booking process. On Twitter, follower targeting makes it possible for marketers to reach followers of a relevant Twitter handle. What if your ad popped up on the Twitter feeds of all the followers of a celebrity who recently tweeted from your hotel? You can also target the context of individual tweets by selecting keywords, such as “beach” or “skiing” if those apply to your hotel. Facebook allows you to target your email list, but also a “look alike” audience whose profiles match those on your email list.

Social media will continue to drive modern communication. Never before has it been possible to reach so many travelers with so little effort or capital outlay. Experiment with your top two social media channels, use their different targeting tools, and try out different budget amounts. Keep a close eye on your analytics to find which formulas work best for your property. Most importantly, stay up-to-date with your chosen social media platforms, as new features are being released all the time.

Independent hotels are small businesses, and as such they do not have the same abundant resources and corporate guidance enjoyed by the major chains. Instead of benefitting from a nationwide hotel brand marketing campaign, independent hotels must devise and carry out their own marketing strategies based on the quality and style of the hotel, its price point, and who the target consumers are.

Mass Market Promotion

Large-scale online travel sellers have the reach and the marketing power to deliver big numbers when it comes to room nights sold. They have names that nearly every travel consumer knows, with dedicated websites supported by advertising campaigns in markets around the world. They contract both large chains and independent properties, selling hotel rooms at a discount online. The exposure they provide can be invaluable and well beyond the means of any small-business owner to attain independently.

People searching for a room in a given location will look up the available hotels, and yours will pop up as an option. Online travel sellers select properties based on their location, the selection of available amenities, and the ownership’s willingness to provide commissions and special rates.

Specialized Agencies

The use of travel agencies as a selling tool tends to be more of a targeted effort than national mass sellers. Agencies have had to develop in new ways to compete with large online sellers, and as a result, they have turned their focus more toward specialties or market niches in many cases.

For example, some agencies will specialize in a given region, such as an area known for winter skiing, and will provide agents who know that region inside and out: where to stay, what to eat, how to save, and where to shop. These specialized agencies are often a place for independent and lesser known properties to make their case as a viable option versus major chains and costly luxury brands. Specialized agents will take the time to learn the property and convey its unique marketing message to the traveling public in a way that mass market sellers will not be able to.


Discounting works much the same way in the hotel business as it does in any other: Potential guests are promised rates that are lower than normal for rooms booked under certain conditions. A hotel might offer discounts for extended stays or frequent visits, for example, or during slow periods. In theory, these promotions all lead to more room nights sold and to customer loyalty. They fall short with pass-through travelers who will visit only once, and who cannot, therefore, benefit from long-term rewards. In this case, the use of a one-time special-rate discount is key, no matter the season or the potential for a future stay.

Independent hotels that work with local government tourism boards to promote special rates on tourist maps and in welcome-center brochures stand to gain a lot of traffic even from the one-night-in-town set. The costs of ads or sponsorships in tourism literature is relatively low, and the potential for return is high.

Partnering Up

Promotional strategies that incorporate the needs of more than one business are often cheaper to put together than solo marketing efforts, and appeal to a broader audience. For instance, if you sign a partnership marketing agreement with a local surf shop, you will gain an audience of surfers that you might not otherwise have been able to reach. The surf shop in turn gains the attention of all of your guests, some of whom may be considering their first board purchase or lesson. When the two businesses go half on the costs, the expense is reduced and the reach of the strategy can extend further than an individual campaign would have been able to. Promoting local businesses is always beneficial to local business as a whole, and the same goes for hotel marketing.

Value-Added Promotions

Value-added promotions are appreciated by sellers and clients alike. They provide rewards to the customer for a basic night’s stay and help make your property easier for travel agents to sell. For example, if your competition is offering a double room for $100 per night, and you are offering a comparable room with free breakfast, airport transfers, and Internet access, your property just jumped to the top of the list of options for many travelers. You probably already have Internet service at the hotel, airport transfers will only apply to some guests, and breakfast is inexpensive to put together. The cost is low but the potential for return is high. Value-added items can be customized to fit the style and amenities of the hotel, and can include such amenities as spa treatments, dinners, champagne or free parking.

Your social media platforms, email marketing, website and paid advertising all work together to brand your hotel and sell your rooms.

Have you thought about your digital advertising strategy for the upcoming year, yet? If not, it’s time to think about moving beyond the status quo and trying some new things.

While digital advertising is an ever-changing arena, and each year ushers in a whole new set of trends, you can take control of your digital marketing today.

To help you, we’ve prepared this article of hotel digital advertising trends and predictions.

Before we get started with the specifics, let’s touch on a few important points to guide you as you begin to develop your digital strategy:

Humanize Your Hotel

In today’s marketing climate, consumers want to have touch points with your hotel brand. They see your hotel’s reputation as a reflection of what they can expect when they stay the night.

While you may have great service and great rooms, if you aren’t focused on building a relationship with your visitor online, you’ll likely lose the booking. To humanize your hotel online, tell stories, share anecdotes, be funny and most importantly, have empathy with your guests especially when they have a bad experience.

Spend Money

If you aren’t currently spending money on digital advertising, the time is now. In this article we’ll touch on some of the best ways to do this in the coming year. You want to be where the consumers are, and that is online. Traditional advertising is hard to track, so eliminate or cut this budget down so you have money to spend digitally.

Test and Evaluate

Use the tools available to you to analyze what’s working and what’s not. Change things up as necessary. Test, measure, evaluate and revise are the keys to your hotel’s digital advertising.

Now that we’ve discussed some of the basic tenants of digital advertising, let’s get to the details.

The Continued Rise of Social Media Advertising

As we turn the corner into a new year, you can be assured that social media is a viable, worthwhile marketing strategy, and one you should use. Here are several trends we anticipate taking root:

  • Social media will continue to cater to users’ sense of immediacy. People want in the moment updates. If this truly catches on, scheduling your posts days in advance will have to take a back seat to instant updates.
  • Buy buttons in paid social media advertising will be huge. Facebook and Pinterest have already launched buy features. In fact, their mobile users can use one click to purchase something without leaving the app. Imagine the possibilities for your customers. 

Diversify Your Social Media Marketing

For years, Facebook has been the biggest game in town when it comes to advertising your hotel. Facebook will remain at the top of the heap, but it’s a good idea to diversify your paid social media advertising.

Paid advertising options are available on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat as well as Facebook.

What do all of these options mean for you? They mean multiple platforms for you to promote content, engage customers, build relationships and drive website traffic.

As in other marketplaces, competition encourages innovation and quality. Look for new features on all the platforms in the coming year.

Video Marketing is the Hottest Trend

If content is king, video marketing is the emperor. Visual storytelling will dominate, as hotels can share videos across social networks, through their website and with their email marketing.

Some of you may be scratching your heads and wondering just how a travel-related video can help your bottom line. Here are some ways you can stay on top of this hot trend and use it to your advantage:

  • Inspire your future guests. Use video at various stages of the planning process. The hotel booking process for most customers takes several trips to the website before completion. A well-crafted video can help expedite the process.
  • Share videos on social media and use paid advertising to promote the video. You’ll create brand awareness and increase your SEO with links to your website.

Industry experts predict that travelers will look less to travel review sites and more toward first-hand video stories of your customers’ experience at your hotel.

Video ads also take hold. Google is soon to incorporate video advertising in their search results, and this has great potential for paid advertisers. Once this happens, video is certain to drive hotel advertising.  So, it’s time to start creating your videos so you stay in front of this trend.

Retargeting Leads the Way

Retargeting is a trend that may sound complicated, but it’s one you should take advantage of. Here’s why:

Booking abandonment, the rate at which your website visitors abandon reserving your hotel, is staggering. Studies show the rate to be more than 65% for hotels.

An Expedia study found that in the 45 days leading up to a booking, a consumer may visit as many as 38 websites. It’s important to know when and how to engage and re-engage with these people. Retargeting is an exceptional tool for converting users and helping them with their complicated decision-making process.

Why do people abandon your website in the middle of booking a reservation? Here are a few of the reasons:

  • They were just looking and in the middle of the research process.
  • The price was too high.
  • There were technical issues or the process was too long.

While this may seem all gloom and doom, that isn’t necessarily so. With retargeting, you can reach back out to these customers to engage them and attempt to meet their needs.

We mentioned the personal relationship earlier. Retargeting allows you to re-engage with your website visitors in a personalized manner. 

Social media retargeting – show ads to people on social media after they’ve left your site. For example, a consumer tries to book your Dallas hotel. They leave and go to Facebook. Your ads automatically retarget them on Facebook and show them the hotel room they might stay in at your Dallas hotel.

  • Email retargeting – a subtle reminder to users who started booking your hotel and stopped.

Retargeting is a paid digital advertising medium and one worth a look.

Search Engine and Display Advertising

This year brings you customers who split their time online between multiple devices. In their journey to booking a room at your hotel, they may view your website in an app, on a smartphone and a desktop computer. Their voyage towards conversion is fragmented.

Every encounter they have with your hotel online creates a digital pathway leading to the next interaction and the next, until ultimately they are engaged, and they take action.

Because of this, expect display advertising to take a greater role than search advertising as part of your paid search strategy.  While search ads continue to drive business to your website, display advertising has come of age, and the reach potential is enormous.

When potential hotel guests are searching for a place to stay, will you show up in search results? With paid advertising, the odds are much better. We recommend allocating a generous budget to both search and display ads.

Search engine advertising, including paid search and display ads, is essential to your digital advertising success. Let’s look into the ongoing importance of paid search and display advertising.

Marketing Automation

Hotel marketing teams will move towards more automated marketing. Just what is it? It’s the use of technology to manage and automate the process of converting consumers into paid hotel guests.

Consider the past hotel guest who booked your hotel over spring break last year. With automated marketing, you can reach back out to that person two months prior to spring break with a message that it’s time to make their reservations.

This trend, if you take advantage of it, will save you time and money while allowing you to customize messages to your hotel guests or website visitors.

Marketing automation is part of the relationship building we discussed earlier. It humanizes your hotel and allows you to communicate personally with your customers.

The Take-Away

Digital advertising is expected to become the number one media category, according to a comScore report released to CNBC earlier this year. Next year is the year to allocate a budget for digital advertising.

You’ve learned about a few of the digital advertising trends for your hotel including social media advertising, search engine advertising, retargeting and video marketing.

We’ve given you a lot of information about these digital advertising trends for your hotel. One of the most important things to remember is that they are all interwoven and co-dependent.

One digital advertising trend affects another and vice versa. Your social media platforms, email marketing, website and paid advertising all work together to brand your hotel and sell your rooms.

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