Are you in charge of advertising a hotel, but can’t seem to crack the top page on search results?
Do you need to be top of mind when it comes to travelers looking for accommodations?
If you’re struggling with putting your hotel on the map, you may need to take a look at your online strategy. Other than putting out ads on Google’s display ad network and sponsored posts on social media channels, your hotel’s website may be what’s dragging you down in the rankings. Your site may be overdue for some SEO magic.
So where do we start?
The answer is simple, really, but the execution may take a little more effort.
Actually, it’s going to take a lot of effort. And money.
1. Figure Out Your SEO Plays
Content and optimisation go hand-in-hand. Yes, you’ll need important, unique, and original content on your site, and you need to make sure your site is optimised for search engines. That means putting the right features in place for spiders—that’s the bots search engines like Google use in order to find content all over the web to list on their results— to crawl and find your site.
Make sure your content is not only unique to your business, but also keyword-dense (without overdoing it), and with outbound and inbound links. Post content regularly, pertaining not only to your hotel, but also about and links to attractions and things to do in your city or nearby areas. That would make your site informative and useful, which Google really likes… then it’ll do the rest.
2. Shape Your Hotel’s Brand
Nowadays, what works online – and especially on social media – are businesses that don’t sound and look like businesses. Coming off too traditional will likely force you to hard-sell your hotel and turn people off. Instead, try to humanise your social media strategy and digital presence in order to build connections and relationships with potential and existing customers.
You may have to consider a warmer, friendlier, and more familiar tone when it comes to online interaction, and a skilled team of social media managers may be able to provide this for you. The more you establish yourself as another person on the other end of the internet—the more you engage with the customer and capture their attention— and the better you can communicate and convey what your business has to offer.
3. Invest In Strategic Advertising & Paid Social Media Promotion
With so many people and businesses competing for the ordinary social media user’s attention online, you’ll have to find an effective advertising strategy so that your hotel can rise above the competition. When you put up a post on your hotel’s social media page, only a fraction of your followers in any platform will get to see your post organically. Fortunately, this is easily improved on when you promote a post on social media. Yes, you’ll have to pony up to do better online, but promoting ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Google Ads is now relatively cheaper with better ROIs than other traditional forms of advertising, especially for hotels that may have the power of a marketing budget behind them.
If you don’t feel comfortable building an hotel advertising strategy by yourself, you might also do well to hire a digital media manager, who is familiar with the ins, outs, and best practices of all the advertising strategies across the web. Sometimes you’ll have to run a specific kind of advertisement on social media to get the best results, and a person who is specially trained to handle this may do better and bring more optimised results than a marketing manager who’s only familiar with traditional marketing strategies and tools. They can also propose more intricate and complex digital strategies to effectively advertise your business.
Need to get people to use your site’s online booking feature?
There’s a particular kind of Facebook post for that.
Need to spread the word about a promotion you’re running?
Be sure to select a page post ad boost to make the most of it. Don’t target everyone, target those who are most likely to book at your hotel, and keep retargeting customers who have already expressed interest or patronised your business. Your social media promotion and digital advertising can be made relentless.
If you’re not able to hire someone else to do this, it’s something you can easily learn as well and add to your skillset. This will likely be a trial and error thing for your business, but once you get the hang of it and find your groove, you’ll see your social media promotion—and your money—work hard for you.
4. Partner Up With Online Travel Sellers, Agencies & Other Businesses
Travel sites like Trivago, Expedia, Booking.com are far more likely to put your hotel on the radar thanks to the sheer number of people using them. They’ll also help you drive business as they can easily advertise any discounts or promotions you may be running, or come up with discounts for you to drive customers to your business. It may easily be the biggest step you could take for your business, especially if you’re a smaller establishment as opposed to a part of a bigger chain.
It may also be in your and your business’s best interest to partner up with specialised travel agencies as well. They can include accommodations at your hotel as part of a travel package for tourists, and it would mean a steady flow of customers who are visiting your area. If you can, you should also take this further by associating with retail or other tour businesses, allowing customers who stay at your hotel to avail themselves of special discounts and deals at these partner establishments. The more you link up your business, add more value to your deals and offers, and add yourself as another important part of a thriving local economic ecosystem, the more you’ll benefit and entice customers. If you establish a valuable partnership offline, make sure the travel agencies will also advertise it on their own website.
5. Design A Loyalty Rewards Programs
One way to retain your existing customers and draw in new ones is the institution of a loyalty rewards program. It’s an advertising strategy pretty easy to execute—come up with a card to give them, and put up a list of rewards they can avail when they have repeated stays at your hotel or accumulate points for each transaction. Such programs are also easy to advertise for the hotel on social media and generally online with minimal investment and effort. You can even use your hotel’s site as a landing point for them to check their loyalty points and the list of rewards, which would naturally mean an opportunity for them to check the rest of your site out and add to your hits.
6. Utilise The Power Of Social Media Influencers
You may have noticed that there are people on social media whose followers number well into the tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions. If you need a quick way to promote your hotel, business, or even city or town your business is in, you may want to consider partnering up with these social media influencers. They’ll normally just take a free stay in your hotel in exchange of their online advertising activity: primarily posting on social media photo and video. You’ll likely be just ponying up the cost of one or two persons’ stay at your hotel for the interest of their many followers in return.
Just be sure to vet the influencers you’re looking at properly—sometimes people will cheat the system, using “bot” followers to increase their follower count. As much as possible, you may want to hire someone who’s an actual celebrity, even if they’re not world-famous. Many people online try to call themselves influencers even though what they have is only a padded follower count.
Final Thoughts on the Hotel Advertising Strategies to Put in Place
So there you have it — digital advertising may sound daunting and intimidating, but once you have a strategy to follow, the possibilities are endless. If you haven’t already, or if your efforts on the digital side are still rudimentary and basic, now is the time to take full advantage of the media all your customers are already using.
Hotel online advertising and promotion is not just the future; it’s the present, and it’s waiting for you to start using it.
Invest a little time, effort, and money, and soon enough you’ll see bookings rise faster than you can imagine.