So, just say, by the grace of the accounting gods, that your marketing department is granted an unexpected windfall of $5,000. How would you like to spend it? Or, rather, how should you spend it? Here’s what our team, with 30+ years of bringing in direct revenue for hotel clients across the country, recommends doing with that $5,000 to drive more bookings.
Put Your Money on Your Destination
Run a campaign that showcases your destination and aligns your hotel as the property that will give guests coveted front-row access to your city’s locally inspired and authentic moments. After all, modern travelers are not looking to stay in a hotel simply for the room and a bed. They want to immerse themselves in a sense of place and to experience things they won’t be able to replicate at home. The key is to focus your new marketing funds on answering this market need.
Here’s What We Would Do:
1. Identify Slow Periods Start off by looking at your calendar and noting which months or weeks need the most boost in occupancy, group bookings and ancillary revenue. For most hotels, you will have several need periods all year-round. In this case, cast a wide net and try to capture a full continuous month – or even a season – rather than staggered dates that run at different times of the year.
2. Select an Attraction/Event Close to Your Property Now, comb through the attractions that are closest to your hotel, or a major local event that people are known to travel to. Whether it’s a landmark exhibit at your contemporary art museum or a new attraction, this will be the focus and star of your campaign, so gather as much information as you can for marketing. While it would be ideal (and give you the most visibility) to be an official partner as the host hotel, this is usually a pay-to-play transaction, and your funds can be better used elsewhere.
3. Create a Landing Page on Your Website That Focuses Exclusively on the Attraction/Event Many hotels make the mistake of creating campaigns solely in social media or email, linking them directly to the booking engine or to their homepage, hoping it's enough to usher the prospect to making a purchase. By doing so, these hotels leave a bulk of visitors floundering as they don’t know where to go next, or they start to question if the campaign is still running. Adding a landing page to your hotel website sustains the excitement of the event or attraction and its content can give the visitor even more reason to stay with your property if they want to join in the experience. And make sure to add a map on the landing page that shows distances form your hotel to the attraction/event!
4. Invest in Drawing Traffic to That Landing Page The bulk of your $5,000 budget should now be invested in reeling in online traffic to that landing page. Use targeted methods, such as a direct paid search and a Facebook ad campaign, using specific keywords in your advertising. Piggyback those efforts with emails to past guests who have stayed in that time period before.
Identify the market these travelers historically have come from in your PMS. If for example, most of the last few year’s mid-week July guests all came from local drive markets, export that guest data from your PMS, repeat guest email marketing and use those lists to build Custom and Look-alike Audience campaigns in Facebook. Start all of these marketing efforts a few months beforehand to build momentum and to garner as much exposure to the landing page and your hotel as possible. And finally, make sure your local CVB or tourism board knows that you’re investing in the campaign. They may be doing something as well, and may mention your property as a recommended place to stay for the event.