Hotel marketing hasn’t changed much in 100 years…
In the Golden Age of travel in the early part of the 20th century, there were no online banner ads. Nor guest analytics, marketing technology, mobile apps, retargeting campaigns, email offers, Insta-influencers, or search engines.
Instead, airlines, CVBs, resorts and railway companies relied on one of the most powerful mediums of their time – the travel poster.
These travel posters shared common characteristics: exuberant colors, a gorgeous single graphic, and bold eye-catching lettering that all evoked a lust for travel and exploration with a single glance. In fact, these poster designers have been nailing it for more than a century. These vintage travel posters are still provoking inspiration for adventures far and wide today.
There’s a lot we can learn from these beautiful illustrations.
Decades before the creation of modern hotel marketing, poster designers inherently understood and integrated five key elements of successful hotel marketing:
1. Take time to CRAFT your story
Your hotel is different.
You may know that, but your prospective buyer doesn’t.
So, you need to make it obvious. Your hotel marketing needs to deliver relevance and intrigue immediately. A mistake many hotel properties make is ‘me too’ marketing that is cliché and already overused by many of their compset neighbors. For example, describing your hotel as ‘in the heart of New Orleans’ or ‘oceanfront hotel,’ making it difficult for travelers to differentiate your property from other central New Orleans properties and oceanfront hotels. Ditch these overworked marketing messages and present something brilliant and provocative, instead of bland and predictable.
2. Tell It Succinctly
The marketing concept behind travel posters is simple: combine one vibrant image and bold text to create a uniquely effective marketing medium that inspires travel.
These posters were easily understood and were perfect for capturing the attention of people on the go. Today, attention spans are at an all-time low, so every second of your hotel marketing counts. Hotel marketers need to be cognizant of the first five seconds that a visitor lands on a property website, that short span of time determines if the person will book, bounce or return. So, you need to squeeze performance out of every second for higher chances of conversion and revenue. Cut the clutter, get rid of slow-loading graphics, keep things simple.
3. Be Visually Arresting
Your marketing images and hotel photography should be more than just pretty pictures. Just like the eye-popping colors and a single image on a travel poster, your images should catch attention in seconds and convey your experience in a single glance.
In fact, studies show that travelers spend time scouring through hotel images before making a decision. And, that your hotel photography has the power to change a buyer’s mind, for better or for worse. Ditch the stock images or dated blurry photos. Invest in a photographer experienced in shooting interior design, real estate, architecture or other hotels. Plus, leverage your hotel’s best FREE photographers – your own social media-savvy guests. Instagram enthusiasts are producing images on par with paid professionals for their personal channels.
4. Keep messaging consistent
Back in the heyday of travel posters, hotels could not change messages very often… so they were forced into being consistent in their marketing.
Today, rate parity isn’t the only consistency your hotel should be vigilant about. Maintaining your hotel’s STORY parity is also vital to your bottom line. Smart hotel marketers know their Unique Selling Proposition (USP) has to be consistent across all touchpoints and marketing channels. If consumers see your hotel described as ‘cosmopolitan and sophisticated’ on one channel, then as ‘central and family-friendly’ on another, potential guests will be confused and leery of moving forward. Consistency builds trust and trust turns into buyer confidence.
5. Be Intentional with Time and Place
The biggest boon of marketing technology is the ability to target and automate campaigns, allowing you to reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right time.
The most popular travel posters were commissioned by airlines and railway companies and were respectively displayed in airports and train stations touting resort destinations, thrilling cities, and weekend getaways. Today, consider where and when to deliver your marketing messages. For example, consider the impact of a billboard promoting a Caribbean resort and its sunny beaches displayed in New York City during the bone-chilling months of winter.
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com