Marketing for the win
There are many marketing tactics for boutique hoteliers out there. But, how do you decide which ones are best for your hotel? Below are six of my most proven tactics.
Define your brand identity – Brand identity is crucial in today’s digital market where so many brands are vying for attention. Don’t lose out because you have yet to fully realize what your brand identity is. Understand what your hotel stands for, what themes and styles that entails, and use those critical UVPs that only you can offer your guests. Once you are able to mind-map these, ensure that this identity is conveyed in everything you do: design, communications, guest services, digital touch-points, etc.
Refine your pricing strategy – have a strong understanding of your pricing concepts and what driving them. I encourage hoteliers to price dynamically, for the seasons’ demands go up and down, and you don’t want to lose out with static pricing. If you are situated in the northeast where snow and frigid cold is prevalent, create specials and packages that drive off-season and mid-week bookings and thus get you thru to the next season unscathed.
Promote your brand’s unique value propositions (UVPs) – Understanding your hotel’s UVPs means knowing what unique services and amenities you’re offering to guests. If you have heart shaped tubs in your junior suites, promote that. If you are the only hotel that has an in-house restaurant with a vegan menu, promote that! Every hotel has one thing they can uniquely offer that no other can. All it takes is defining and promoting them.
Leverage social media – We’ve talked about social media before and the importance of it, but let’s address content. Leverage your social media to not only sell to your audience, but tell them a story. People get ‘sold to’ every minute of every day (literally). Show them what your hotel is all about, what those UVPs are and what happens behind the scenes. Social media is a great way to get buy-in from your audience to help validate your brand, thus increase bookings.
Establish your sales & marketing collateral – It’s simple – any business that wants to sell a product needs sales and marketing collateral. Collaborate with a marketing specialist to craft out three to five collateral pieces that highlight what your hotel has to offer (UVPs!), all the unique amenities and all that your travel area has to offer. Include descriptive content and engaging visuals so that you are able to help your audience envision what a trip there would be like. Have these items on your website, where they can be downloaded. Put them up in your lobby or within the hotel rooms for guests to take as they please.
Reward your returning guests – Much like I discussed in Creating the Guest Loyalty Program, we need to ensure that our guests know that we are thankful and want them for a lifetime. Create a loyalty program that rewards them for staying with you repeatedly. Ensure they are staying in the loop with monthly email updates that apprise them of loyal guests specials and/or asking them to be the first to try a new amenity you’re rolling out. Guest retention is invaluable – I can’t stress that enough.