Hotel Marketing Strategy: 12 Essentials to Succeed
by Kim Campbell
After a few slow and confusing years, hoteliers worldwide are seeing occupancy rates on the rise. The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2022 industry report projects that hotel occupancy levels will hit 63.4% in 2022, just shy of pre-pandemic levels. Due to the growing increase in travel demand, and the ever-evolving situation at hand, many marketing managers are reinventing their hotel marketing strategy to meet the moment. If you’re looking to create captivating marketing campaigns, capture the attention of returning travelers, and increase hotel revenue, we can help.
In this post, we review a variety of tactics you should consider adding to your hotel marketing strategy if you haven't already. From beginner tips to expert advice, our list covers a variety of strategies and best practices modern hotel professionals can use to drive more business and improve guest satisfaction.
Maximize your hotel marketing strategy with these 12 tips and ideas Whether you’re looking to attract more group business, improve your social media presence, or drive more traffic to your website, these hotel marketing strategy tips and ideas can help.
1. Identify your audience. Get to know your audience inside and out. From guest preferences to travel patterns, knowing what your guests prefer allows you to create personalized hotel marketing campaigns that appeal to members of your target audience. Use your knowledge to create personalized hotel marketing intended to drive business from specific market segments or traveler types, such as tech-savvy business travelers or destination vacationers.
2. Cultivate a brand identity. Your hotel’s brand represents its personality: who you are, what you do, and how you do it. It tells consumers what they can expect from your hotel in terms of service level, quality, amenities, and values. Create a stronger relationship with your audience by developing a brand identity and incorporating branded advertising into your hotel marketing strategy.
A hotel’s brand identity consists of the colors, font, logo, and other design elements that make it distinguishable to consumers shopping for accommodations, both online and in person. Design a brand identity that helps consumers pinpoint your brand in search results, on social media feeds, and in printed marketing materials.
3. Use forecasting reports to inform your strategy. Forecasting reports can be used to identify future need dates, revenue gaps, low-demand travel periods, or other areas of opportunity. Use forecasting data to develop informed hotel marketing strategies aimed at improving your business outlook. Run future forecasting reports regularly and adjust your hotel marketing strategy as needed to drive business where it needs to go.
4. Create mobile-friendly marketing. In 2020, Hotel Benchmarking reported that 53% of global traffic on hotel websites was generated on mobile devices. Industry experts anticipate that the trend will continue to grow, exploding by the end of the decade. Proactive marketing managers across the hospitality industry are creating mobile-friendly marketing campaigns to connect with the growing audience of online bookers. Utilize various forms of mobile-friendly marketing including paid in-app advertisements, SMS, MMS (multimedia marketing), in-game ads, QR codes, banner advertisements, and many others.
5. Drive online bookings through SEO. At its highest level, a well-thought-out hotel SEO strategy can improve where your property ranks in online search results. The higher your business listing ranks, the more potential you have to reach a wider audience.
There are a variety of ways hotel marketing managers can expand their online visibility and boost search result rankings, such as:
Having a high-quality professional web presence
Ensuring informational accuracy across all booking channels
Sharing relevant content and engaging on social media
Reading and responding to hotel reviews
Turning on location-based services
Connecting online webpages, booking channels, and social media platforms
Search engine optimization is a powerful hotel marketing strategy that can be used to drive more business to your hotel, so place it at the top of your to-do list.
6. Maximize your social media presence. Explore various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok, and determine which platforms are best suited for your hotel’s marketing strategy. Many hotels choose to market on multiple platforms, with some already even exploring the hospitality metaverse. So be bold. If you’re not sure which social media sites to incorporate into your hotel marketing strategy, scope out your comp set. Identify which platforms and social media strategies comparable hotels in your area are using.
Regularly post exciting, relevant, and stimulating content to your hotel’s social media pages. Take advantage of paid campaigns, visitor activity reports, and boosted content to get your hotel in front of a wider audience. Run social media contests, utilize live polling, or create a branded hashtag challenge to encourage guests to post content and engage on your pages.
7. Invest in group marketing solutions. If you’d like to grow your group business and improve the number of qualified leads your hotel receives, Cvent’s suite of group marketing solutions includes a variety of helpful tools. Make planners feel welcome, inspired, and confident in your hotel’s ability to meet their needs. In addition to venue advertising and support, hotels that incorporate Cvent’s group marketing solutions can:
Enjoy unparalleled reach. Our sourcing networks attract thousands of planners and generate billions of dollars in buyer spending.
Create maximum engagement. Connect with planners in relevant ways through interactive ads, branded pages, and custom microsites.
Make an impression. The best hotel marketing includes a face-to-face connection. Meet thousands of event professionals at our largest conference and attend year-round special events targeting high-end planners.
8. Design automated email marketing campaigns. Streamline large hotel marketing efforts by utilizing automated email marketing. Create email campaigns, each consisting of a series of short communications, and schedule them to be sent out automatically to the targeted mailing list of your choosing. Automated email marketing can be used to promote exclusive offers, connect with hotel rewards members, or reconnect with guests who haven’t stayed in a while. Hotels can also send automated retargeted emails to connect with consumers who visited their site or started making a reservation but didn’t complete a booking.
9. Run competitive market ads. Advertising in sister markets, or other competing locations, can help hotels attract the attention of planners that may not have discovered their property otherwise. In addition to running paid ad campaigns on search engines and social media, market your hotel to planners sourcing accommodations in the surrounding areas. Run competitive market ads to help your hotel stand out to planners sourcing in nearby markets.
10. Engage with guests and online audience members. Increase the size of your online audience by communicating and engaging with customers. Regularly read and respond to guest reviews, comment on user-generated social media content, and answer questions posed by members of your online audience. Be consistent and kind in all of your hotel’s responses. When a problem occurs, acknowledge guest complaints, show appreciation for constructive feedback, and commit to doing better in the future. Not only should this help rectify the issue at hand, but it can also show potential guests the type of service they can expect at your property.
11. Embrace experiential marketing. Incorporate experiential marketing techniques into your hotel’s marketing strategy. Provide an immersive experience to help planners feel what it’s like to stay at your hotel. Invite online visitors to take a virtual tour of your property or view high-definition drone footage of hotel gardens, outdoor event space, and other impressive features.
12. Track and analyze marketing performance. Pay attention to how consumers are responding to your marketing campaigns. Track website traffic, online visitor behavior, email clickthrough rates, social media engagement levels, promotional code usage, market mix fluctuations, and other important metrics to analyze the success of everything that makes up your hotel marketing strategy.
Pro tips for planning a successful hotel marketing strategy Before reviewing and revitalizing your hotel marketing strategy, set your team up for success by reviewing the planning tips and best practices below.
Clearly outline hotel marketing objectives. Identify your marketing goals early and create proactive hotel marketing strategies as opposed to reactive campaigns. Marketing can be used as a tool to help achieve a variety of hotel goals, including:
Improving brand recognition
Filling need dates
Widening your audience reach
Connecting with travel planners
Promoting meetings and events
Pinpoint the lowest-performing market segments at your hotel, slow-paced booking periods, planners you’d like to target, or other challenges to tackle through your optimized hotel marketing strategy. Drive more business to your hotel by crafting a proactive campaign for each distinct objective you establish.
Review your hotel’s marketing budget. Review your hotel’s annual budget performance over the last few years as well as corresponding marketing campaigns, travel patterns, market segment performance, trends in online visitor activity, and other historical reporting. Use hotel budgeting data to analyze the success of previous hotel marketing campaigns.
Which campaigns were the most expensive?
Which were the most profitable?
Which marketing channels are providing the highest ROI?
Which campaigns have resulted in high guest engagement?
Are you investing heavily in hotel marketing channels showing little return? If so, you may want to consider reinvesting those marketing dollars into channels with higher rates of success.
Champion a focused marketing team. Before launching a marketing campaign, or shifting the focus of your hotel marketing strategy, make sure your sales team is on the same page. Discuss your main objectives, challenges, opportunities, and delegate responsibilities.
If your hotel has a multi-person marketing team, identify the strengths of each sales team member, and assign them to marketing campaigns where their skills will be most beneficial. For example, an employee with a passion for photography may be the right candidate to champion your hotel’s Instagram efforts, whereas an employee with strong conversational skills may be better suited to represent the team at networking events.
Encourage every team member to take an active role in your hotel’s marketing strategy. Teach employees how to look for in-house leads, uncover local business opportunities, and reward team members who uncover qualified leads.
Put these hotel marketing strategy tips to use!
From hotel to hotel, marketing strategies can vary based on a variety of factors including location, market mix, area travel demand, or nearby attractions. Strive to create a targeted hotel marketing strategy based on your hotel’s marketing budget, annual goals, brand objectives, and other characteristics unique to your property.
Kim Campbell Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list. Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.