Content marketing strategies for hotels and resorts should form an integral part of their marketing plan, though firstly, hoteliers and accommodation owners need to decide who they want to target, because the target audience for a luxury hotel, a budget hotel, a family hotel, or a business hotel, for instance, are all different. Approach your content plan by getting into the minds of your customers, and convey a consistent message be it in terms of words, pictures or videos, across all your communication channels.
Currently only some of the bigger hotels have implemented their content strategy, such as the Marriot group, which launched the industry’s first global content studio to create articles, photos and videos on travel and lifestyle. Hotel and resort owners can similarly implement content marketing as part of their marketing plan, at a low cost. Here are 16 content marketing strategies for hotels and resorts that all owners need to know.
Content Marketing Strategies for Hotels You Must Know
(1) Determine Your Unique Selling Point(s)
For hotels and other accommodation providers, having an effective content marketing plan is about showcasing your hotel’s unique story, its outstanding features and amenities that set it apart from the rest, and then creating amazing content that amplifies these unique features across a variety of platforms.
Does your accommodation have any unique selling point(s)? What do your customers best remember your hotel or resort for? Find a niche, and with that knowledge, start to create stories around it. For example, if your hotel has one of the best pools in town, you can spin a video story about the developer behind it, and how he came up with the concept for the pool. If your resort has one of the best views of the mountains, highlight it through your content with breathtaking images and videos. As shared on HotelNewsNow.com, guests at Hotel Josef loved the hotel’s breakfast, and hence they opened their own bakery, bringing in a baker from Paris, and now they are sharing their recipes and breakfast menu on their social media regularly, and gaining traction.
(2) Personalised Content
By personalised content, we mean providing targeted content using data from visitors, such as their gender, interests, purchasing habits, and motivation. Hotels should have enough of such data of customers so as to use more personalised content to drive hotel sales. It would be excellent if you are able to create a buyer persona for your property, as you can then start to craft a story targeted at your buyers. For some hotels, they could have different buyer personas catering to different segments, such as families, corporate customers, or singles travelling alone.
(3) User-Generated Content
Many hotels are also starting to use user-generated content, which is defined as content such as blogs, discussion forums, live chats, tweets, posts, podcasts, videos made by users or hotel guests. These content are more trusted by people than content generated by the hotel itself, and especially for customer segments such as the millennials, they will rely mostly on such user-generated content as a basis for their purchase decision.
You can use tools such as Reddit, Google Alerts, Feedly or Scoop.it to help you find such user-generated content on the internet, and then share it on your own social media networks. It will save you a lot of trouble or time in creating content yourself.
Alternatively, you can also add a review section on your website for customers to post their comments and feedback on their hotel stay, thus giving your website fresh content regularly.
(4) List Your Business on Google Places
Do remember to list your hotel or resort’s information, contact details and keywords into Google Places. This will help your business to be found when potential customers are searching for similar listings, as according to data, more than 20% of web surfers are now searching for things according to their location, keying into search phrases such as “best resorts Bali”.
(5) TripAdvisor – An Important Platform for Businesses in the Hospitality Sector
For businesses in the hospitality sector, TripAdvisor, with more than 60 million members and over 170 million reviews and opinions of hotels, restaurants, attractions and other travel-related businesses, is the most important social media platform that you need to make time for. According to a survey by the company itself, more than 50% of those surveyed will not book a property unless it has reviews.
For hoteliers, you probably need to hire or assign a manager to be in charge of TripAdvisor, and strive to get positive comments from your guests. This will definitely benefit your business in the long-term.
As more travellers start to use search engines and forums to check for information that they used to ask their travel agents, you can also browse TripAdvisor on what your guests are saying about your hotel, or asking about your hotel, and craft your content according to their queries. This will help increase engagement among your guests, and build trust for your brand.
(6) Create a Hashtag Campaign
Showcase your property by starting a hashtag campaign across all your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and encourage your guests to share their content of your hotel or resort. Give a prize of a free hotel stay or return trip monthly, and see your social media shares increase drastically.
(7) Use Instagram Stories or SnapChat to Show Short Videos of Your Hotel or Resort
One of the most effective content marketing strategies for hotels and accommodation is developing videos for social media. If your hotel is located in a scenic area, or there are unique cultural hotspots there, weird food that tourists should attempt, or even special events like sports events or cultural festivals happening there, highlight them with short video clips on Instagram using Instagram Stories, or using the 10-second video function on SnapChat, which is immensely popular with the younger generation.
(8) Launch a Referral Program Using Social Media
Kickstart a referral program among your customers using social media. Have your customers refer a friend to your hotel or resort, and should the friend book your hotel for a stay, incentivise your customer with a return stay, or a free meal at your restaurant. In particular, provide more rewards for customers who bother to create videos of your hotel and post them to social media, as it takes more effort, and Google ranks videos much more favourably nowadays.
(9) Launch a Virtual Tour or Web Video Series
Bring potential customers on a virtual tour of your hotel by putting together an experience in a video story or web series, with moving visuals and narratives that highlight your property’s unique selling points. You will hence give your potential customers an idea of what they can expect when they visit the destination. One other content idea is to feature what are the lesser known places that tourists can visit near your hotel. In particular, if your hotel is near a world famous attraction such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, for instance, or the Singapore Flyer in Singapore, be sure to capitalise on this – you can reach out to your customers via a video series on the attraction itself, and what are the things that tourists can do there.
Alternatively, you can give potential guests a behind-the-scene look at the operations of your hotel, such as how your restaurant prepares its buffet every day, how your customer services assist guests with problems or how your staff cleans and prepares the rooms. Show them your hotel’s more personal side, and it will likely strike a chord with your audience.
Videos are currently one of the best ways to showcase your business online, so don’t forget to optimise it properly for the search engines and distribute it to the major video sites such as YouTube, Vine, or Youku, and for this channel, it also make sense to localise your narratives in Chinese for the benefit of the Chinese audience.
(10) Partner with Local Tourism Boards
For hotels and resorts, and also attractions, it is vital to connect with your local tourism board as they will be able to help you in further publicising your property or asset. Often, these tourism boards will have a bigger budget, and can assist to place your promotions or events on their websites or newsletters, and even advertisements on radio or print. Explore ways on how this could be mutually beneficial to both parties. Some tourism boards can even help you reach out to the local press. Besides the local tourism boards, also stay in touch with government agencies such as visitors bureaus or destination marketing organisations which can help expand your business.
(11) Get Content Ideas from Your Staff
Sometimes, content marketing strategies for hotels can be inspired by your team or staff. They will probably be one excellent source of content idea, as no one knows the hotel better than them. Get some of them to sit down in a casual meeting or coffee session, and ask them questions about the hotel, or how your content can be improved. Get nuggets of stories from their daily interactions with guests; sometimes, complaints or negative feedback can also be turned into a story that become positive, to cater to the needs and requirements of your guests. Everyone will have a story to tell, and it is up to you to sieve it out.
(12) Connect with Other Local Businesses
Become involved with your local business community by frequent networking. For instance, you can feature other businesses such as a quirky new bookstore on your website for the benefit of your guests. You can also work with other local businesses such as florists, caterers, or the local gift shop to develop promotions and special offers, and help each other to publicise the promotions.
(13) Engage the Influencers
One evergreen strategy that seems to work very well is to offer a free stay at your hotel or resort to top influencers or travel writers or bloggers. Connect with those who reaches out to your target audience regularly, and keep an updated list. Invite them to your exclusive events and follow up extensively for write-ups and engagement with your audience.
(14) Partner with An Event, A Musical or A Sports Team Coming to Your Area
You can also source for events, musicals, concerts, shows or sports teams that are coming to your area, and ask the organisers if they would like to have a sponsored stay at your establishment, hence giving your hotel or resort the publicity among fans and celebrities.
(15) Launch Special Packages for Special Occasions
Develop special packages on festivals and holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day or New Year, such as a special Christmas Holiday promotion package or a Love Package for Valentine’s Day, that could include a room stay, meals and special event such as light shows.
(16) Learn From Your Competitors
Check out some of your competitors’ content strategy, and see what they are doing. Likely what they are doing will also be relevant to your market. Learn from them, but improve on it with tweaks and your own input. Most content nowadays are nothing more than just old content with a fresh approach.
Content Marketing Strategies for Hotels – What Next?
Just implementing these content marketing strategies for hotels isn’t the last step in your marketing journey. You should monitor the results of your content marketing strategy using analytics such as Google Analytics, or email statistics inside your autoresponder program like AWeber or MailChimp. If you are pushing lots of content without substantial results, it is time to pause and think about your direction and discuss it with the team on how best to change the content and engage the audience. Sometimes, it is best to engage a professional to look at it from another point of view to help bring results to your strategy.
Content marketing is the core of any good marketing plan, and although you may not have the kind of budget like some of the bigger hotel or resorts chains, always focus on content that relates back to your hotel, its location, restaurants, shopping malls, and surrounding attractions, and you will be able to see a significant increase in your revenue and guests numbers if you properly plan, execute and track your results.
Here’s another article on how you can use a very important social media tool to increase the brand awareness for your hospitality business.
Contact me for a chat at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’ll be able to offer some tips on how to use low-cost content marketing strategies to increase your revenue.