What were you planning to do today to market your hotel? Did you have any plans to address marketing at all? If you’re the hands-on owner of an independent hotel, you’re probably busy from the time you set foot on your property until the time you leave. All your efforts are concentrated on running your business and ensuring your guests have a wonderful experience during their stay. Yes, you know marketing your hotel is important. You just don’t have the time needed to put most hotel marketing ideas into effect.
Marketing isn’t just important, it’s an essential part of an independent hotel’s survival. Somehow you need to find a way to fit it into your already busy schedule. Here’s a revolutionary thought –
What if you could get your guests to do your marketing for you?
Of course, your guests aren’t going to spontaneously start a marketing campaign to promote your hotel, no matter how charming it is. But what if, after an initial investment of some time and resources, you could have effective hotel marketing strategies that were rich in guest-created content and easy to manage? Strategies that you or a trusted staff member could maintain in less than an hour a day?
At Travel Tech Strategies, we’re always looking for ways to make marketing easier and more accessible for busy hotel owners. So we took a look at which marketing strategies were most important for boutique hotels, and which were able to function with mostly guest-created content. Our research led us to settle on social and reputation marketing as strategies that could have a major impact on an independent hotel’s success while requiring only a minor time investment.
Now granted, there are ways to make these marketing strategies for hotels even more effective if you are able to make a larger time investment. Our focus for this blog, however, is on easy, time-saving ways to market your independent hotel that even the busiest owner can enact.
First, let’s look at one of the most time-efficient social marketing strategies for independent hotels: Instagram.
Start an Instagram page, and incentivize guests to generate content for you
Instagram’s popularity is constantly growing, especially among Millennials. Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living demographic, and hotels are competing to attract their attention. More than half of all Millennials were active on Instagram in 2014 (according to Pew Research Center) and Instagram’s popularity is still growing strong – Instagram reports it has 400 million users of all age groups as of September 2015, located all around the globe.
You can set up an Instagram page for your hotel in just minutes. Put up a sign in your lobby and a mention on your website to encourage guests to share photos of their experiences while at your hotel. It’s easy for guests, because they’re already snapping pictures of their vacation. Turn it into an ongoing contest – best photo of the day can win a free dessert at your restaurant. No restaurant at your hotel? Make up a small care package for guests instead, with chocolates for a midnight snack.
Before you leave each day, take a few minutes to write captions for the posted pictures, and choose the winning entry.
Next, let’s look at another essential hotel marketing strategy: reputation management.
Encourage guest reviews for a reputation management boost
One of the challenges independent hotels face is the need to establish their brand. The larger chain hotels have the advantage of name recognition; a lot of time and effort has already gone into creating a specific brand identity for their hotels. Prospective guests recognize that brand identity, and generally know exactly what to expect from a stay at these properties.
As an independent hotel owner, you need an effective way to introduce guests to all that your establishment has to offer, and entice them into giving your hotel a try. A few positive reviews from satisfied guests will be more convincing than all the content you could ever produce.
Encourage guests to post reviews (never ask for positive reviews, just honest ones!) and offer a free dessert or other reward to any who oblige. Of course, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have a disgruntled guest or two post a less than stellar review, but you can turn that to your advantage, as well.
Set Google Alerts to notify you whenever a review is posted. It takes just a few minutes to respond; be sure to address guest concerns swiftly and in a professional manner, and your hotel will gain a well-deserved reputation as being alert to your guests’ needs.
If you would like some help putting these innovative boutique hotel marketing tips into effect, call on Travel Tech Strategies. Our marketing gurus can supply you with everything you need to effortlessly market your hotel, from a responsive hotel website design to complete social marketing support. We can establish a social marketing presence for your hotel, and if you prefer, we can even provide ongoing monthly marketing maintenance services so you can leave marketing behind and return to what you do best – successfully managing your hotel.
Contact us today at Travel Tech Strategies at 954-779-2801 for more hotel marketing ideas along with expert marketing support services to ensure the success of your independent hotel!
Travel Tech Strategies is a forward-thinking market leader providing the travel industry with in-depth Big Data analysis