From reviews to mobile advertising to social media engagement, there are countless ways for hotels to market themselves, stay relevant and offer the best possible guest experience. Today, perception is reality when it comes to brand standards; customers largely articulate a brand based on their impressions, which are formed by how they are communicated and engaged with. A strong marketing strategy shows customers that your company adheres to having high standards, and that it demonstrates those standards with quality.
So, what marketing techniques are best for hospitality leaders today? The answer to that question will vary depending on the hotel. For example, Sol Wave House Mallorca, based in Spain, is touted as the world’s first “Tweet Experience Hotel.”
The hotel offers guests a 360-degree “Tweet Concierge” service that allows them to check in, order room service and make other requests all via Twitter. This marketing strategy, however, may not be as effective if it were implemented elsewhere. This is why it’s so important that hospitality leaders market their brand not based on the competition or what trends look hot, but based on their hotel’s unique properties (no pun intended).
Hospitality leaders must continually enhance their marketing techniques in order to keep up with guest demand and today’s rapid pace of innovation. Most importantly, they must do so in a way that is contextual and relevant to their brand. Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips for creating your best campaign yet:
Be true to your brand: At the end of the day, customers don’t want a brand that’s just like all the others; they want to engage (and spend their hard-earned money) with a company that is authentic. Being true to your brand is the absolute best thing you can do to competitively differentiate yourself. For example, if your brand signature is having a quick and easy stay, then simply offer features and benefits that surround this goal. Capitalize on your strengths, improve on those things you can, and stay true to your brand throughout the process.
Less is more: Even though you want to be ambitious and innovative, remember that sometimes less is more. Going too far off course can actually dilute the message you want your guests to remember you by. The goal is to clearly communicate your value proposition and core differentiators.
Always be truthful and transparent: Imagine stepping into a meeting only to discover that the person you’re meeting with looks nothing like the head shot he or she displays on their website or LinkedIn page. Promote transparency with a marketing strategy that is honest and upfront; for example, clearly communicate potential fees and costs associated with promotions or deals you’re running. Contrary to popular belief, promoting transparency and trust actually increases customer loyalty, brand credibility and repeat spending.
The only two words that matter in hospitality is “Guest Experience”: Make sure your marketing strategy supports your desired guest experience—not vice versa. Your guest experience will always come first. Everything else should work around it.
So, how can hospitality leaders take these tips and actually begin using them to improve marketing? Here are two actions you can begin taking today:
Talk with your associates: I get that we’re all busy, but having buy-in from your team goes a long way and can financial help you in the long run. Take some time today or in the coming weeks to hear your associates’ opinions and ideas for marketing transformation.
Know what’s going on in your local community: Think of it this way: you don’t wait for your friends to come up and knock on your door to engage with them. Instead, you take a look at what’s going on in your area and make plans with friends ahead of time. Similarly, plan ahead to ensure an incredible guest experience (and, more importantly, to show that you care about delivering an incredible experience). Gain insight into what your guests would like to do. Take a look at local happenings and see how you can participate, contribute or encourage guests to engage with you through these opportunities. Also ask your fellow associates to be engaged with you and at the local level when marketing your business. The more you engage with and support your local community, the more likely guests will be to thank you for your commitment by advocating for your brand. The local community matters to your guests; if you show them that you care about their community, they will care about your company.
When it comes to branding, sometimes it’s best to get back to the basics. Once you’ve laid down your foundation, you can then begin building up. Good luck!