In the first part of “Marketing Strategies for Hotels in the Digital Age”, I focused on the existing dichotomy in the Hotellerie sector, where Hoteliers who stereotyped their behavior with respect to their competitors and have done the exact same promotion activities, complaining about the mediocre results they obtain, and enlightened Hoteliers who understood that the world is becoming increasingly more digital and they want to develop an extra revenue directly proportional and a”ributable to modern strategies and tools. And constantly increasing their performances.
That is why I decided to share these thoughts on a topic I have snubbed for too many years: Hotel Marketing and especially Digital Marketing, which can be the differentiating element in a way where “online” people represent 90% of your potential customers.
I am Giancarlo De Leonardo, a former fellow hotelier and restaurateur, now founder of Caro Collega, a community of enlightened hoteliers who want to understand how to ride the opportunities that the digital revolution makes available to the Hotel industry as well.
Below, dear Hotelier colleague, you will find some considerations from my experience with the Digital Dream Team that I put together in order to improve the digital positioning of Hotels like yours.
In the first part of the reflection, I analyzed some of the main activities regarding marketing strategies for hotels, such as website optimization, SEO and local SEO and content marketing. In this second part we will look at two other very important activities, such as social media marketing for hotels and email marketing.
Are you ready, Dear Hotelier Colleague?
In this article
Social media marketing
Social media marketing has revolutionized the way companies communicate with their audiences, and the hotel industry is no exception. Hotels that take full advantage of the potential of social media are able to establish a closer connection with their guests, expand their reach and increase bookings. In this section, we will delve into the key strategies and tactics that every hotel should consider to be successful in social media marketing.
1. Choose the right platforms: Not all social media is equal, and the key is to know where your audience is.
- Instagram: With its visual focus, Instagram is perfect for hotels. Photos of cozy rooms, scenic views, gourmet meals and other details can show followers what to expect.
- Facebook: this platform offers a range of promotional tools, such as sponsored posts and events, ideal for promoting special offers or events at hotels.
- TikTok: increasingly popular with young people, TikTok can be a platform for showing the fun and unique side of your hotel through short video clips.
- LinkedIn: if your property hosts corporate events or conferences, LinkedIn can be a great place to connect with professionals and event planners.
2. Creating engaging and authentic content: People love stories. Tell the story of your hotel, your staff, your guests.
- “Takeovers“: invite an influencer or guest to take over your account for a day, showing their hotel experience from their perspective.
- Behind-the-Scenes: show the backstage of the hotel, from chefs working in the kitchen to cleaning rooms. This creates a bond of trust and transparency with followers.
3. Interaction and Listening: Responding to comments, direct messages and participating in conversations is key.
- Chatbots: Consider implementing chatbots on your social profiles to immediately answer frequently asked questions or guide potential guests to a reservation.
- Monitoring: Use monitoring tools to track mentions of your hotel, both positive and negative, and take action accordingly.
4. Use of UGC (User Generated Content): Content created by your guests can be a gold mine.
- Contests: encourage guests to share their photos and experiences with a hotel-specific hashtag for a chance to win prizes.
- Recognition: show appreciation by sharing guest photos (always ask permission) on your profile.
5. Collaborations and Partnerships: Work with local brands or influencers to expand your reach.
- Influencer Marketing: invite influencers to stay at your hotel in exchange for content on their social platforms. This could lead to a bigger visibility and credibility.
- Local Partnerships: partner up with local businesses, such as restaurants, museums, or tour operators, to create shared packages or promotions.
6. Analytics and Adaptation: Monitor metrics to understand what works and what doesn’t.
- Analytics: use analytics tools provided by social platforms or third parties to monitor engagement, reach, conversions and other KPIs.
- A/B Testing: test different types of content, posting times or ad campaigns to see what resonates most with your audience.
In an age dominated by online presence and social media, email marketing remains one of the most powerful and customizable tools for connecting with guests and boosting bookings. For hotels, email marketing represents an unprecedented opportunity to build long-term relationships with guests, promote special offers and keep your hotel property in the minds of customers.
Let’s see how to make the most of this powerful strategy.
1. Building a Quality Contact List: Successful email marketing starts with building a high-quality contact list.
- Website sign-ups: encourage visitors to your website to sign up for your newsletter by offering discounts, access to special events or exclusive content.
- At check-in/check-out: ask customers if they would like to receive email updates and offers when they arrive at or depart from the hotel.
2. List Segmentation: Not all subscribers to your newsletter are interested in the same offers or information.
- Interests and Preferences: if a guest has used the hotel spa, they may be interested in future promotions related to spa treatments and packages.
- Frequency of visits: guests who stay regularly may be interested in a loyalty program or exclusive offers.
3. Email Design and Content: The look and content of your emails are critical to engage and convert recipients.
- Responsive Design: make sure your emails are viewable and navigable on mobile and desktop devices.
- Quality Images: use eye-catching photos of your hotel, rooms, facilities, and special offers.
- Clear CTAs (Call to Action): every email should have a goal, whether it’s booking a room, reading an article on the hotel’s blog, or attending an event.
4. Personalization and Automation: Personalized emails have much higher open and conversion rates than generic emails.
- Welcome Messages: send a welcome email to new subscribers, introducing them to the hotel and possibly offering a discount for their first reservation.
- Post-Stay Email: after a guest’s stay, send a thank-you email and ask for a review or feedback.
- Automation: use email marketing platforms that offer automation tools, such as sending emails for special offers regarding their birthdays or their wedding anniversary.
5. Promotional Campaigns and Exclusive Offers: Leverage email marketing to promote seasonal offers, special events or new services.
- Last Minute Offers: if there are a lot of unbooked rooms for a given period, consider sending a last- minute promotion to your subscribers.
- Exclusive Events: invite your most loyal members to exclusive events, such as wine tastings or themed dinners, creating a sense of belonging and privilege.
6. Analysis and Optimization: monitor the performance of your email campaigns and make adjustments as needed.
- Key Metrics: keep an eye on open rates, click-through rates (CTR), and conversions. This data will give you valuable information about what works and what doesn’t.
- A/B testing: test different versions of email objects, designs, or content to see which alternative performs best.
7. Compliance with Regulation and Best Practices: Make sure you comply with privacy and data protection laws, such as GDPR for Europe.
- Unsubscribe Option: Always offer a clear and simple option to unsubscribe from your newsletter. This increases trust and reduces the risk of ending up in the spam folder.
- Data Protection: Ensure that your subscribers’ data is protected and not shared with third parties without their explicit consent.
We have seen how social media marketing and email marketing are two very important activities for a hotel. Social Media Marketing for hotels, in particular, is not just about posting pretty pictures. It is about creating a real community around your brand, listening and interacting with your audience, and leveraging the potential of the platforms to achieve concrete business goals. In this day and age where trust and authenticity are valuable currencies, hotels that approach social media with strategy and heart are the ones destined to thrive.
Email marketing, on the other hand, can be one of the most effective strategies for hotels in the digital age. It offers the opportunity to connect with guests on a personal level, build loyalty and incentivize future bookings. With a strategic, respectful, data-driven approach, hotels can turn their email contact list into a powerful asset for long-term success.
In part three of this article, I will explore additional strategies, covering influencer marketing, the power of reviews and online reputation management, and paid advertising.
Therefore, if you want to learn more continue to follow me because I will soon publish the third part of these considerations.
Article written by Giancarlo De Leonardo, former Restaurateur and Hotelier, founder of Caro Collega