There’s a monster under your bed.
There’s a ghost in your closet.
You can talk to them all with a Ouija board.
Ok, maybe you’re too old for all that… But after 25 years in hotel and tourism marketing, we’ve seen some scary mistakes that will have you shaking at your desk.
Scary Mistake #1: Hiding A Weak Product Behind Good Marketing
Online review sites and social media make marketing a two-way street. When you give phenomenal service, your customers will talk about it online.
However, when you promote better than you actually deliver, your guests will spread vitriol all over TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Instead of trying to hide your weaknesses, fix them! Or change your rates to reflect the reality your guests will experience.
Scary Mistake #2: Producing a Second-Rate Website
Your website is your guest’s first impression of your property. They arrive skeptical. They want to know ahead of time where they’re spending their money. Your website needs to give them answers. It must PROVE that you provide stellar hospitality. Check out this link for specific tips on how to fix your hotel website.
Scary Mistake #3: Winging Your Marketing
You’ll never get the most out of your marketing budget without understanding where you’ve been, who you are and what your goals are.
You need a PLAN that considers all of your target segments, from leisure travel to business groups. Your plan should detail obstacles and how you will overcome them.
Scary Mistake #4: Leaving Your Sales Force to Fend For Themselves
Your sales force might be sharp negotiators with an amazing property to sell. If you think that’s enough… you’re wrong.
Meeting planners speak with many smart sales people at fantastic properties. They easily forget which sales team said what. Provide your team with unforgettable marketing materials (including the web) that showcases your property’s unique value proposition, location and service qualities.
Scary Mistake #5: Thinking Social Media is Just for Fun
Don’t let the term social media fool you. Travelers turn to social media for much more than socializing. Six out of ten travel shoppers change their mind after reading comments on social media sites. Your property should actively court them by announcing news and offers, responding to guests’ comments and eliciting direct bookings.
Scary Mistake #6: Forgetting All the Past Guest Gold You’ve Got Socked Away
Every guest who’s ever had a good experience at your property can now be a viral marketing evangelist. A robust PMS or CRM system can report which past guests are best targeted for your upcoming campaigns (by season and past purchase behavior).
Scary Mistake #7: Giving Up the Search Engine War to Your Competitors
A traveler wants to visit your city. What’s the traveler’s first action? An internet search. If your competitors appear on the first page and you’re stuck on page four, you’ll never exist to the traveler.
You may think you can’t control your ranking. Or you can’t afford to get help with your ranking. But here’s the truth: You can’t afford to be invisible to travelers. Somebody has to be on page one. It should be you.
Scary Mistake #8: Repeating The Same Old Thing Year after Year
You wouldn’t allow your staff to wear the same uniforms they wore in 1978. You’ve probably changed your décor since then as well. And your restaurants’ menu changes with the seasons.
Marketing success depends on the same eye for new trends and technologies. Luckily, there are blogs and trade magazines to help you keep up with the latest. By staying current and testing new marketing tactics and technology, you can reduce costs and increase bookings.
Scary Mistake #9: Mismanaging Your Revenue
You’d think having a fabulous property with a hospitable staff would be enough. But in the hotel business, getting the most money out of every room determines whether you’ll have long-lasting success.
A professional revenue management system and competent humans to manage it are vital. Setting room rates starts with supply and demand, but then variables such as historical data, booking pace and group volume come into play. New, affordable tools like Duetto and others are making revenue management more user-friendly than ever before.
Scary Mistake #10: Ignoring Your Marketing ROI
What’s the first thing you do when you buy anything electronic? Test it to see how it works. Whether it’s a $6 flashlight or a $300 blender, you bring it home and check it. While most hoteliers spend way more money on marketing than on flashlights, their massive marketing investment often goes unchecked!
Today’s digital/analytical tools make testing, tracking and reporting easier and faster than ever before. If you’re spending money on marketing, you should know how well it works. Check out this link for the six most important stats for hotels to track
You don’t need to be. Now that you know what scary mistakes are out there, you can avoid them. Save your colleagues… share this post now.