Want To Start A Hotel Business? Here Are Some Hotel Marketing Mistakes To Avoid.
The hotel business is expanding, and the market dynamics are changing. With the growth of the industry, new segments are emerging and the demands of hospitality consumers are also changing with time. As such, the nature of hotel marketing is also keeping up with the dynamic hospitality industry. However, hotel marketing has its own characteristics, since they are selling an experience rather than a product. In the midst of this, many hoteliers make hotel marketing mistakes.
Before we try to understand the hotel marketing mistakes, we need to first understand hotel marketing itself, and how it has been transformed with the growth of the industry.
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What Is Hotel Marketing?
Hotel Marketing involves building a brand, attracting customers, delivering the products and services, and identifying distributors to sell the product. It also involves maintaining customer loyalty, since it focuses on retargeting previous customers.
However, hotel marketing is slightly different from other types of marketing since they sell an experience, rather than merely a product or a service. An experience requires a combination of products and services working in tandem to satisfy the consumer. Not understanding the distinction between hotels and other businesses can lead to various hotel marketing mistakes.
Hotel Marketing has transformed over the years. In its early days, hotels used to use print ads and billboards to get their message across. They used to also depend on travel agents to market their properties beyond their locality. The Internet has changed the dynamics.
This has led to growth in digital marketing. Many hotels can now target audiences in a wider geographical region, along with segmenting them effectively. Now a property can easily find target audiences in different geographical regions. Marketing has become wider, as well as more streamlined. However, this has also led to various hotel marketing mistakes.
What Are The Common Hotel Marketing Mistakes? How To Avoid Them?
Many hotel marketing mistakes can hamper your hospitality business. The hospitality industry is quite competitive and many mistakes will make you lag behind. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure that your hotel marketing strategies will provide good returns for your business. Some of them are:
1. Being In The Dark About Your Target Audience
Your target audience is the one that will provide the revenue and profits for your hotel. If you want to enter the hotel industry, you need to understand and analyze your target audience. Many hoteliers ignore their target audience and don’t even pay attention to them. They simply consider all their guests to be under one category: guests.
This is a fatal hotel marketing mistake since you are not targeting the audience who have a higher chance of visiting your property. Every type of guest has different needs, preferences, budgets etc. You need to divide all your guests into several segments and then decide which segment you want to target and how.
2. Being Hard To Find Online
If the hotel is not visible online, then you are as good as invisible. Ignoring the online platform is one of the biggest marketing mistakes of hotels. The platforms where you need to be are as follows:
OTA Platforms - Most visitors don't have the time to search every individual hotel so OTAs are convenient.
Have A Website - The website provides information to the customers as well as gives legitimacy to your business.
Social Media - Social Media is where everyone is, so neglecting it is a major hotel marketing mistake.
Google My Business - Your property will be listed in Google and Google Maps. It will also provide information, contacts as well as reviews.
Online presence itself is not enough. You need an optimised online presence. It includes SEO driven website, high-quality property photos, the listing of amenities, clear and updated policies, proper descriptions, effective CTAs etc.
3. Ignoring The Needs And Wants Of Your Audience
Many hoteliers are under the impression that customers only care about prices and bare minimum amenities. Now, guests need experiences and the fulfilment of their wants and needs. When you execute a marketing campaign, you need to ask whether you are giving something back to the customer. This is one of the major hotel marketing mistakes.
4. Ignoring Storytelling In Your Hotel Marketing Strategy
Your customers relate to stories. Storytelling is a great marketing strategy since it helps relate a previous or hypothetical pleasant experience of the customer to a new experience being provided by the hotel. For example, a hotel can describe something as simple as drinking wine in their restaurant as the perfect luxury experience. Ignore storytelling, and the customer will be interested in your property.
5. Not Using Data For Marketing
Marketing without data is like a ship without its sail. It will not go anywhere properly. Data provides you with the insights required to make business decisions. Some of the advantages of data in marketing are:
Audience Segmentation: There are different stages of the guest's journey and each stage needs a different marketing message. There are different segments with different wants, needs and budgets. You need data to segment them effectively and tailor the message accordingly.
Know Where Your Customers Are: With data analytics, you can figure out where your guests are. They can then be targeted effectively and also plan on how to target locations that have lesser customers.
Helps You Reach Out To Your Specific Audience: The golden rule of marketing is that you cannot reach out to everyone. Your product caters to a certain segment of the audience and you need to target only those. Data helps you in identifying the audience who are most likely to convert.
Personalized Campaigns: The internet has provided marketers with an opportunity to effectively target individual customers as well as a niche group of customers with personalised campaigns. Data helps in identifying those and making personalised ad campaigns for actual and potential guests.
Retargeting: With data, you can effectively retarget your previous customers and gain brand loyalty.
Not doing this is considered to be a major hotel marketing mistakes, since without data, you cannot promote your product efficiently.
6. Not Taking Content Marketing Seriously
People need content, and without content, they will not be able to understand your business. Through content marketing, you can educate your customer rather than merely sell. This helps in building better relationships and helps in SEO ranking as well.
SEO Optimised content can help improve your hotel website ranking and improve sales. Ignoring it is one of the biggest hotel marketing mistakes that you should avoid. It is budget-friendly since it costs less than traditional marketing.
7. Taking Your Hotel Website Casually
Your website is your online brand ambassador. Taking it casually can ruin your hotel’s brand and reduce its trustworthiness. There are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure that your website is seamless and user-friendly:
Loading Speed: The slower the loading speed, the quicker the visitor will leave your website. A fast loading speed will make visitors comfortable with your website.
CTAs: Call-to-action, also known as CTA is asking the customer to perform a particular action, be it booking a room or filling a contact form. CTA should be placed in such a way that it is visible to the user in a seamless way.
Mobile Website: Most users are on mobile. Not having a functioning mobile is a significant hotel marketing mistake. Even Google now considers a website’s mobile SEO.
Lacklustre Design: Your website might offer the most information, might have good loading speed, but it is badly designed then rest be assured that one will want to visit it. It's always a smart thing to invest some money and get it designed properly. You can take the help of experts as well.
8. Not Responding to Reviews
Responding to feedback can make or break your hotel. If you don't respond to the feedback on time, it will infuriate the customers even more and they will ensure that even others don't visit your property. This is a fatal hotel marketing mistake that can ruin your online reputation.
You need to monitor OTA platforms, Hotel Websites and Google My Business for reviews and professionally respond to them. If the reviews are positive, you should thank them and offer them new deals so that they come again. If the review is negative, apologise to them and try to make it up.
9. Being Dependent On Only Organic Reach
Organic Reach is great but it's not enough. Time is money, and waiting for your hotel website or OTA listing to become visible organically will take so much time that you will be left behind by your competitors.
You should make use of Google Ads, Premium features in OTAs, Social Media Ads to gain more audience. Paid advertisements may cost money, but they save time. In the competitive industry time is money! So investing in it is worth it.
10. Making Use Of Limited Avenues To Gain Bookings
Nowadays, customers can book rooms from anywhere now. A Hotelier should make use of them. There are a few overlooked avenues you can make use of. They are:
Facebook And Instagram: Most people are using social media nowadays. Ignore it at your own peril. You must use its business features to their full potential.
Travel Agents: They are still essential since they are still used in group bookings, corporate bookings etc.
Websites: By using your website as an efficient marketing tool, you can save on commission and have more control over your marketing.
Direct Emails And Phones: Email Marketing is essential since you can communicate with your guest directly. You can call them after they fill up the contact form.
11. Sending Spam Emails
Spamming the inbox of your potential customers is the surest way to annoy them. Sending the same email to your entire email list will erode the relationship because they may not be interested in what your email copy states.
For effective email marketing, you need to:
Identify and nurture your database and email list
Have a specific goal for every email marketing campaign
Identify those who are interacting with you
Understand whether or not they are interested in your content
Analyze which type of content they are interested in
Then improve on your email strategy
Hotel marketing mistakes are costly and can ruin your business. By following these tips, you will be able to avoid many hotel marketing mistakes. You need to understand that marketing strategies work in tandem and they can't be separated from one another.
Read more blogs on the hospitality industry. Bigfoot Hospitality is here for your hotel marketing and hotel management needs.