As we enter another busy season of travel, if your property is seeing lower-than-normal bookings or you’re a new property seeing less revenue than you hoped in your premier season, it’s time to get to the root of the problem. As tourism has continued to rebound in the wake of COVID-19 and an economic slump, if your low bookings can’t be blamed on poor customer reviews or prices that don’t reflect what your target guests are expecting to pay, your marketing could be to blame.
The experts at Vibrant Management specialize in helping tourism businesses maximize their revenue. This includes everything from helping you set the price of nightly bookings to choosing which upgrades will offer the highest return value. We’re also experts in helping to improve your hotel, motel, resort, or vacation rental marketing.
There’s no shortage of marketing mistakes that we see properties make. But there are a few hotel marketing strategies in particular that can offer big boosts in bookings when done right. If you’re not using the following marketing strategies right now, it’s time to get started.
Acknowledging and Addressing Your Property’s Limitations
You already know the importance of showcasing the details that make your property unique. Maybe you have unique accommodations, such as condo-style rooms that offer families space to stretch out and some of the comforts of home, like a kitchen or dining room. Or, maybe it’s your property’s unique amenities that give guests the option to spend a full day without having to leave your resort.
But while you’re pushing your property’s features, it’s also important to make sure that you’re acknowledging and addressing your limitations.
Perhaps your property is a resort but lacks an on-site restaurant. Or, maybe it’s your on-site amenities that are lacking, especially compared to nearby properties with more extensive options. Whatever the case, finding ways to make up for these limits can help you avoid having your guests book with your competitors.
If your hotel or resort lacks a restaurant, for instance, but is close to some great local dining venues, make sure that you’re showcasing those on your website and in your marketing. If guests know that they are just a short walk or drive from a great spot to grab dinner, they won’t think twice about not being able to dine on-site.
If your property lacks some of the amenities of your competitors, consider partnering with local businesses to bring more “on-site” options to your property. For example, you could partner with a local e-bike rental or other tour company, and give guests the option of being picked up on your property for a day of adventure.
While it might not be in the budget to add a restaurant, pool, or other amenities, with a little creativity, you can address any limitations that guests might see in your property, allowing your best features to continue to shine.i
Individually Targeting Your Audiences
Odds are that your property has more than one target demographic. But too often, hotels and other vacation properties fall into the trap of targeting all of their customers under a single umbrella. This means that they could be attempting to target families, young couples, and even business travelers with one single marketing campaign.
The reality is that not only are these target demographics shopping for travel inspiration in different places, but they also tend to have very different expectations for their accommodations.
Creating individualized marketing plans for different target demographics can help ensure that you aren’t missing any key groups of guests. Maybe you have luxury suites or an on-site spa that younger, more affluent travelers will love, while your pool and more affordable rooms are popular options for families planning a vacation.
In addition to targeting different groups with individualized marketing, make sure that you’re showcasing that marketing where those guests are scrolling or shopping for accommodations. For example, utilizing different social media platforms can help you reach guests of different ages and interests.
Adjusting Your Marketing Budget and Tactics By Season
Even tourism properties in destinations like Southern Florida, where the weather is pleasant all year long, have different tourist seasons. Whether you’re operating in a location that has great weather year-round or that experiences multiple seasons, if you aren’t adjusting your hotel marketing strategies throughout the year, you could be missing out on a big segment of off-season travelers.
Running a successful boutique hotel or other property outside of the most popular tourist season takes a specialized approach. You’ll want to adjust your hotel marketing strategies to target travelers who are likely to visit this time of year and to showcase the unique activities that they could enjoy.
In Southern Utah, for instance, the off-season is a great time to experience popular national parks with fewer crowds, and there’s even a ski resort located in Brian Head where visitors can ski and snowboard just a short distance away from the red rock desert. The off-season is also a great time to run a special offer to fill empty rooms or to invest in influencer marketing by offering free stays when bookings are already down.
Rewarding Customer Loyalty
Researchers often talk about the value of repeat customers in the retail space. On average, a returning customer will spend 67 percent more than an existing customer in a store or other retail property. But the value of repeat guests is just as important in the tourism industry.
Too often, tourism properties neglect to specifically target repeat customers in their hotel marketing plans. However, rewarding customer loyalty can not only lead to repeat bookings in the future but also increase free word-of-mouth marketing among happy guests.
Creating a hotel marketing strategy that targets repeat guests is easy. Follow-up emails after a stay are one great tactic. Another is offering a discount if a guest books a repeat stay within a certain amount of time of their last visit. You can also invest in a rewards program that lets guests earn points to put towards a free stay as a way of encouraging them to stay with you when they return instead of with your competitors.
Upgrading Your Hotel Marketing Strategies
Failing to invest in these hotel marketing strategies could be costing your property some major bookings. Another big mistake is not investing in tourism SEO.
At Vibrant Management, we offer a variety of business management and marketing services for tourism properties and businesses of all shapes and sizes—including specialized tourism SEO to help your business stand out from the crowd.
Check out this resource to learn what you need to know to get started with SEO for your tourism property. Then, contact the team at Vibrant Management to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help your business.