Marketing in any industry can be difficult, but how do you promote your business specifically in the accommodation sector? If you run a hotel, B&B or other accommodation resort, you need to ensure that you launch and manage a marketing campaign that promotes your brand in the best possible way, showing current and potential guests why they should choose your venue over the rest.
But this is easier said than done. To help, this guide will show you which marketing pitfalls you must dodge and why to ensure your next advertising strategy delivers the best possible ROI.
Having low quality images
When it’s time to launch your next marketing campaign to advertise your venue, imagery is essential to attracting new and existing customers. How many times have you seen a brochure or email ad for a hotel or B&B that didn’t include at least one or two attractive photos?
Consumers in the sector want to see photographs of where they will be staying. In fact, according to a report created by digital agency, Bright North, poor image quality reduces the chance that a potential customer will choose you over your competitors. The term: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ was apparently coined by Frederick R. Barnard and is something anyone marketing within the accommodation industry should bear in mind. Before booking, consumers want to be assured that the modern bathroom and spacious living space you claim your venue offers is true — so don’t ruin the illusion and turn consumers away by placing an image with a poor resolution on your brochure, leaflets and outdoor banners. Or even worse, not providing a photo at all.
Not keeping up with brochure marketing
Both guests and employees have a preference towards brochure marketing in the accommodation sector. According to a survey of 1,560 hospitality professionals conducted by the Center for Marketing Technology (CMT), 98% of front desk staff would choose printed media and 94% of hotels deliver information to guests via a brochure display.
Print marketing gets a positive response from consumers too. According to an experiment by TrueImpact, customers use less mental effort to process a printed ad as opposed to a digital one, and they are able to remember print more easily after seeing it than digital. Evidently, brochure and this industry go hand in hand — so don’t miss your opportunity to advertise your establishment by not investing in a brochure marketing campaign.
The way we write and speak in advertising is far more complex than many appreciate. So, don’t rush into writing a promotional leaflet or other type of ad without taking time to consider every word you’re using.
Guests want to feel that same ‘holiday-excitement’ in the run up to their stay with you. That means you must use language that embodies and emphasises this level of excitement. Words like: ‘entertaining’, ‘delicious’, ‘wonderful’, ‘relaxing’, ‘luxurious’, and ‘beautiful’ to describe rooms and facilities are great options. Although you mustn’t pack your marketing material with too much text. Instead, peppering your content with favourable and engaging words can make the difference between enticing your potential customer and losing their interest.
Not getting branded products
It is worth investing in branded items, like bathrobes and mugs. According to a survey, 80% of people can recall a brand after receiving a promotional product, while 58% of people keep a promotional product for one to over four years. If you want to encourage repeat custom, perhaps this marketing tactic is one you should adopt today.
Offering branded products to your guests shows a level of pride and confidence in your own brand. L.J Market Research found that over 50% of people in a survey eventually became a customer of a brand after receiving a promotional product from them — can you afford to miss out on this opportunity? Consider ordering a batch of promotional items that you can hand out at trade shows or that people could use in public to enhance your marketing ROI.
Ignoring reviews online
Online reviews can often have more of an impact on accommodation firms than anything else! According to statistics, there are around 455 million unique visitors and a million hotels on TripAdvisor — that’s a huge pool of potential customers that can read a single bad review and be dissuaded from choosing your business.
So, what can you do to maintain a positive online presence for your brand? A great way to keep negative opinions off global, independent review sites is to be savvy with your social media activity. If you have a disgruntled customer, it’s likely that they want a response to their issue and will initially choose your company’s Facebook or Twitter account to communicate with you directly. If you receive a complaint — either via a tweet, a tag or a message — respond to it as quickly as possible. According to social media and customer services expert, Jay Baers: “A lack of response is a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much’.”
If you leave a complaint unattended, the disgruntled customer might leave another bad review on a bigger website with a wider audience. Theoretically, that means not only will all your brand’s social media followers see the complaint, but also potential customers who may be browsing independent review sites for future accommodation options.
Only focusing on offline or online marketing
Keep your brand’s marketing well-maintained by using all available avenues. Being active on social media will help you to get your brand out there and build a rapport with customers. SUMO Heavy Industries — a digital strategy and design company — found that 72% of people use social media daily. On Facebook and Twitter, you can send instant replies to existing and potential customers, which could prove essential in order to secure a second or first-time booking, while these channels also give you the opportunity to send immediate updates on special offers or photos of new rooms and services you’re now offering.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of ignoring print marketing though. When marketing in this sector, the look of a place or guestroom can make or break your campaign, and with print, your audience can enjoy an attractive image that sells your brand and doesn’t go away by scrolling down. A university study discovered that, when comparing the efficiency of online and print adverts, the print format proved to have the most ‘advertising effectiveness’. This study took into account how much a person spent looking at the ad, how much information they took from it and how likely they were to buy (or book). Still not convinced? According to a survey of 2,400 consumers, 82% of people trust print ads, while only 25% said the same for online pop-ups — so perhaps it’s worth balancing out your marketing strategy if you’re currently focusing on digital platforms.
Events are a great way to engage in some offline marketing, and you can cross it over with some online elements too. Perhaps offer a discount for those who snap a selfie at your stand and post it to social media with your brand’s hashtag — it encourages customers and spreads the word! Make it entertaining with professional selfie frames, so your customers can have some fun getting involved!
Marketing in the accommodation sector requires a good promotion of your brand, an appeal to new customers, and a retention of your current clients. Just make sure to avoid the pitfalls stated above in your next campaign.