3 Hotel Marketing Tactics Every General Manager Must Know
As a general manager, you’re busy. You have to develop your employees and maintain a smoothly operating hotel. It’s tedious and requires a lot of discipline. Fortunately, developing great marketing strategies is way more fun and can really jumpstart a business, even with a relatively standard product or service. How you and your team market your hotel will substantially affect the type and volume of guests who stay with you. Maybe you have a marketing team devoted to putting out a particular image, or perhaps you’ve thought about adding some additional social media accounts. Okay – you’re thinking, and that’s the first step. Whatever level you’ve reached with promoting your hotel, there are three marketing tactics that all GMs should use to grow their hotel revenues.
1. Buy Into Technology
Begin with the basics – use technology tools like a farmer uses a plow. Your plow is the internet. How critical are first impressions? There is no way to over-emphasize the importance of branding your website to be as visually appealing as it can be to make that first impression sticky. Some websites or platforms are useful for getting the word about your hotel out to the public in a manner that almost everyone uses, including consumers and businesses. Some programs that will help you make sure the hotel is getting as much exposure as possible include Google Analytics, MailChimp, and TripAdvisor.
● If you’re not yet using Google Analytics, you really need to get onboard. It essentially measures your website’s traffic and provides insights into the effectiveness of your social media activity. With everyone using social media today, it can be difficult to know how effectively businesses profit from those platforms, and Google Analytics is right there to help. Plus, it’s free!
● MailChimp is a program that allows you to create promotional emails to send out to former guests or anyone who has signed up for your email list. It’s intuitive and allows for some added flair such as imagery to customize emails to the hotel’s aesthetic. It’s a great program to use for guests who obsessively check their email, which is practically everyone. You cannot overestimate the value of an intelligent email format that is well- received rather than automatically delivered to a spam folder. And, you can easily integrate MailChimp with your social media accounts to build upon groups you can market back to without spending additional advertising dollars.
● Customer review sites are crucial for getting the proper image of your hotel out to the public. Anyone can create a picturesque image of a hotel and produce mass amounts of social media content, but a former guest’s review is what will truly sell your hotel to the customer. By routinely managing your account on TripAdvisor, not only will people be able to leave reviews of your hotel, but the hotel can read and respond to comments on the site. It lends a personal touch and confirms that you genuinely care about your guest’s overall feeling about their stay.
Having a general idea of how these programs work as a GM will help you understand why your guests preferred your hotel. Once you know where they’re coming from, it makes the ear-to-ear communication with your guests much more natural.
2. Know Your Geography
Especially if your hotel is in a tourist area, knowing where guests can hang out for the day, or find the best seafood is crucial. SiteMinder suggests getting in touch with other local spots around the city to work together to promote the area as a whole. This attracts more people to the area who will inevitably flock to your hotel. By creating campaigns with other businesses where your property resides, you can sell the experience of coming to the region instead of just staying with you.
As a manager, you want your guests to take advantage of the entire area, and get the best experience so they can’t wait to come back. Pairing up with restaurants or recreational spots is a great way to sell the area to guests. Also knowing upcoming events in the region, and planning around these will maximize your hotel’s traffic. You want people to go out and have a good time, and integrating destination marketing into your sales and marketing repertoire will help create a one-of-a-kind vacation experience.
3. Understand Your Guests
Understanding the demographics of your guests makes the first two tactics way easier to execute. Knowing your guests provides insight into which other businesses you should collaborate with, and which social media and review sites to focus on using. Ideas highlights the value of revenue management as a tool to adjust the price of your room per night in comparison with other hotels within the same demographic. Keeping your eye on the prize is essential when trying to edge out the competition. If guests seem to keep choosing another hotel similar to yours in price, then you need to find out why.
One tactic that can help control this is Native Advertising. It has exploded within the last year and has revolutionized advertising on social media sites. If someone has been browsing hotels or looking at activities in your area, then your ad may appear on her or his feed, which exposes you to a broader demographic online. The best part of native advertising is that its purpose is to blend into the viewer’s content so that advertising your hotel will seem more natural. Making sure you know where guests are seeing these native ads will help you understand your demographic.
The more information you have on the web presence of your hotel and how it translates into your revenue, the greater your understanding of your guests will be. Your primary job is to take care of them and to make sure that your staff does the same. These tactics will help your hotel prosper and make you look like a badass GM! As the old PSA goes, “The more you know…”