Today’s marketing landscape has changed and continues to evolve, especially in the travel and hospitality industry. If your hotel business isn’t using digital marketing for hotels to reach more guests online, you’re missing out on potential customers who are seeking your accommodations from their computers or smartphone.
With so many marketing channels to choose from, how do you know which one(s) is best for your hotel? This guide on digital marketing for hotels explains how some strategies work better than others and includes tips on how to use paid ads, organic search engine optimization, social media advertising, and other methods effectively.
What is Digital Marketing?
To understand digital marketing easily, we need to know the meaning of “digital” and “marketing”. Combining the definitions of both words becomes the definition of digital marketing. In simple words, when we use any digital channel to market a business or product, it’s called digital marketing.
How It’s Different from Traditional Marketing?
Digital marketing has so many pros that differentiate it from the traditional way of marketing. Most important quality that is found in digital marketing is the control over your marketing efforts. It allows you to track all the relevant metrics such as who viewed your ad, their demographic and many more.
Such features are not available in traditional marketing. And, digital marketing requires less budget than usual marketing.
Digital Marketing for Hotels
Digital marketing can be one of the most effective ways to get more guests in your hotel, and it doesn’t have to be difficult! We’ll give you some tips on how to create and manage successful digital marketing campaigns, as well as tools that will allow you to track your conversions and website traffic.
Top Digital Marketing Strategies for Hotels
1. Create a Website that Converts
Customers are always in search of great deals when it comes to traveling, and this often drives them to comparison-shopping websites where they can find discounts.
If you want your hotel's name and information out there in the world, you'll have to play the online game. The best way to do that is by owning your own website that promotes your amenities and offers a variety of package deals.
In most cases, your website is the first touchpoint where your guest interacts with your hotel. It has to make an attractive and trustworthy first impression. Optimize your website for such requirements so it can convert your visitors into customers.
Read: Tips to Create an Effective Hotel Website
2. Mobile Optimization is Necessary
Marketing your hotel on a mobile phone is crucial. Mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, account for an enormous part of internet traffic. If your website isn't mobile-friendly and optimized, customers may not be able to view all of the information about your hotel.
In addition, customers who have seen your property online on their smartphones may not want to go through the trouble of resizing and repositioning their screens or visiting another site just because yours doesn't work properly with their devices.
Include content that works well with large screens as well as smaller ones in order to make sure that you are meeting the needs of both users by giving them all they need while browsing on the go.
3. Content Marketing
Having a website or YouTube channel isn’t enough. Because you need to have a strong reason to bring an audience to your website. This requirement can be fulfilled by content marketing. Look around your niche and see what your audience is searching for.
Once you’ve got the list of topics, start creating quality and informative content for your users. Publish it on your website or channel.
Now, you must have a question that how to get more guests using this content. Here, you have to use content marketing to funnel down your audience.
When your content is being noticed by the people, you can take your audience to the next step of your funnel, where they can know more about your business and offers. All in all, you need to be a little bit creative and open-minded when doing content marketing for your hotel.
Always keep in mind that if your content is unable to engage your audience, it will be a failed effort toward your digital marketing goals.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the ranking of a website or webpage in a search engine's organic or unpaid results. Search engines usually provide search results based on an algorithm that takes into account both relevance and popularity.
Popularity is determined by different factors, including how often you update your content, which words are in your content, how well those words are written, and whether other popular sites link to yours. Relevance refers to how well the content matches what a searcher is looking for in regard to both wording and topic.
A few recommendations on increasing relevancy include changing meta tags, optimizing landing pages, and creating relevant content with terms that your customers would use when searching online.
Search engine optimization has two parts – On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. On-page SEO is done on the website and its pages. Whereas, Off-Page SEO refers to optimizing the site’s ranking using other sites such as link building, social sharing etc.
5. Do Social Media Optimization
Social media optimization is the act of getting a business more exposure on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Optimizing your company's page will help increase followers, reach out to more potential guests, and keep a connection with current customers. Whether it be a hotel, restaurant, or hospitality company, making sure you have a presence on these channels can be beneficial to your business.
To start optimizing your social media pages:
- Create an account and set up the page with all of the necessary information.
- Fill out every field appropriately (location, address/phone number).
- Promote engaging and helpful content for your audience because if you help your audience, they will help you back!
6. Don’t Overlook Local Search
Many hotels don't know how powerful local search marketing/ local SEO can be and some even assume that it's not as effective as other, more well-known marketing channels. This couldn't be further from the truth.
When it comes to allocating your marketing budget, if you want a bigger return on investment, it’s important that you focus on your locally targeted audience too. There are many ways to optimize your site and make sure you rank high in Google searches in the city where your hotel is located.
There are also platforms like Yelp that allow users to post reviews of their experience at different locations including hotels. You can read these reviews, respond to them, and leave reviews of your own which will help build trust with potential guests who may have concerns about what they'll find when they visit.
7. Influencer Marketing
Leveraging influencer marketing is one of the best ways to reach a large number of your potential guests. Building relationships with digital influencers in your industry who can spread the word about your hotel, new features, and upcoming events can have a huge impact on not only the size of your audience but also the quality of your leads.
You can get in touch with travel vloggers who usually post videos about their travel. So, if you can deal with them regarding a review video at your hotel and post it on their platform, it would be a great way to market your hotel through influencer marketing.
8. Email Marketing Also has Potential
Many marketers often say that email marketing is dead! But it’s not true at all. Email marketing still has a lot of potential and many digital marketers are making use of it.
To check its potential, you need to see your inbox – if you subscribed to any brand’s email list, you’re more likely to receive emails from them at times. Isn’t it?
Email marketing is one of the oldest and most powerful digital marketing tactics. It's low cost, highly targeted, and can drive higher response rates than some other forms of digital marketing.
The following six tips can help you up your email game so you're not just sending out boilerplate emails with little thought behind them:
- Use a company email address instead of a personal one.
- Double-check before hitting send that the message makes sense and isn't riddled with typos or grammatical errors.
- If you do use jargon in an email, be sure to define it right away or provide a link for readers who might not understand it as well.
- Categorize the email list in various audience segments instead of sending the same email to entire list.
- Don’t try to sell in every email.
9. Display Advertising
Display advertising is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. It can also help hotels to increase brand awareness and get more direct bookings. To run display ads for your hotel, you can use various platforms like Google Display Ads (they run ads on their partner websites), Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and many more.
In display ads, you get the targeting feature as well. You can tell the platform to show your ads in between the relevant content, to a specific demographic and many other options are available out there. Display ads can have a strong impact on your hotel’s marketing plan. So, don’t ignore it!
10. Search/ PPC Advertising
Now comes the most powerful part of digital marketing, which can increase your hotel direct bookings. It’s Search Ads or Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Search advertising allows you to show your ad on a search engine for a particular search term.
For example, you have a hotel in Dubai and you run an ad campaign on Google. In this campaign, you are telling Google to show your search ad when someone searches “Luxury Hotels in Dubai”.
There are numerous keywords that you can run search ads on. If you run an effective PPC campaign for your hotel, you can see massive Returns on Ad Spends (ROAS).
Key Tools in Digital Marketing for Hotels
If you run a digital marketing campaign, you’ll have to use many tools. Some tools are required for SEO, graphics, Ad spying, analyzing the campaign, tracking the campaign and many more.
Some important tools required for digital marketing are, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads Manager, Google Tag Manager, Hootsuite, SemRush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest and the list is endless.
Some of these tools are free to use and some have paid plans.
Leveraging a digital marketing strategy, like the ones we’ve outlined here, is sure to give your hotel an edge over your competitors. Building a strong website and social media presence, engaging with customers on social media and increasing your hotel’s online visibility with new content will result in more bookings.
P.S.: If you liked these digital marketing strategies for hotels/ hospitality industry, do share the blog post on your social media handles.