Admit it. You’ve imagined yourself a World Cup superstar. Who hasn’t? Soccer fans are hopelessly devoted. They freely spend money to travel to matches. Then, they praise their favorite teams on social media like it’s their job. They do for soccer players what every hotel marketer wishes their guests would do for them. If you’re like me, you’re watching every match looking for the key to this kind of extreme brand loyalty.
Hotel Marketing Lessons from the World Cup:
- Every goal (or sale) is a team effort. The soccer pitch is long, and it takes the entire team to get the ball to the goal. In fact, fans love to watch a well-executed assist. Every piece of your marketing works towards your bookings. While it might be a package deal or a new offer that finalizes your guests’ decision to book, your website, social media postings, photography all guide the traveler towards your hotel’s direct booking engine.
- It’s a long game. Soccer games are 90 minutes, split into two parts. Soccer fans understand they will not be given a commercial break every fifteen minutes. The sport teaches fans to pay attention or risk missing out. Marketing can’t be an intermittent effort... Make sure you are consistently engaging your audience across all channels with content and promotions that bring past guests back and compel new guests to book.
- Respect the referees (even when you disagree with them.) In soccer, referees throw down yellow or red cards for fouls. A player is ejected from the game when they receive two yellow cards or one red card. While the cards are often controversial and occasionally nonsensical, fans and players never forget referees hold the cards. Nobody ignores a card. In hotel marketing, anyone with an internet connection holds the yellow and red cards. While the occasional foul is inevitable, the hotel that responds to online complaints wins. You may not agree with everything said about you online, but you must respect the complainant (and their followers) enough to reply.
Analytics are the key to regain control of the hotel booking competition.Use your head: You might think that in a game where players can’t use their arms, players would miss lots of opportunities. But the smart soccer player doesn’t feel limited, instead he uses his head to regain control of the ball. Likewise, as hotel bookings becomes an increasingly online endeavor and fewer calls come into the hotel, you could feel inhibited by your inability to speak and hear from guests before they choose a hotel. However, when the smart hotelier loses the opportunity to hear directly from guests’ mouths, they use their heads and analyze the data. A guest that stays and books on your website says you’re doing something right. The guests that clicks away from to a third-party tells you something is wrong. Analytics are the key to regain control of the hotel booking competition.
- It’s a big world: Millions of experience-seeking travelers descended on Brazil for the big event bringing billions of dollars to the country’s tourism economy. This should remind all of us that there’s a big world of eager potential guests out there... Overseas economies are thriving... and there’s never been a better time to increase your share of non-domestic guests.