The final day of the World Travel Market (WTM) has come and gone. Now it’s time to get back into the swing of things at our head office. As we do, we bring with us the experiences, stories, and big hotel marketing ideas discussed this week.
On day one, we focused in on ways hoteliers can encourage direct bookings now and in 2017. Then, we shared a proven digital marketing strategy, as revealed by the well-respected GM of Hotel ICON, Richard Hatter. For day two of the conference, we told hotel managers how they should challenge the status-quo, take advantage of tech, get excited about virtual reality, and explore the benefits of metasearch marketing.
Now, we’re going to unravel the highlights from day three of the World Travel Market. The focus was all about big marketing ideas that can be executed by even the smallest hotels.
We’ve captured the highlights here, so that you can start ramping up your hotel marketing efforts, ahead of 2017.
Hotels and destinations can attract more guests & increase repeat stays with a blog
Tech is a part of our daily lives. The average person checks their phone roughly once every 10 minutes. Even at this show, I’ve with me a phone, a tablet, an iPad, a laptop, and a Kindle. And I’m not even a technophile. I’m checking my devices constantly. And, from a quick glance around the fairground, I notice that I’m not unique.
We’re all plugged-in.
So, if people are continually connected to, and dependent on, technology, the move to digital should be top of mind for all of us. At WTM, discussions centered around attracting more guests and increasing repeat business by leveraging our digital lives to connect with travellers in a more compelling manner.
The medium? Blogging.
Industry professionals presented a range of big hotel marketing ideas that small, independent hoteliers can test and try out themselves affordably online. Here are two of them:
To reach a global audience, have global content: Target both domestic and foreign bloggers/influencers to expand your audience online and in-hotel. If you are new to the blogosphere, don’t worry. You can test this theory out on your social media accounts first. Post tweets, Facebook photos, and hotel deals in English and in the second most common language among your guests, like Chinese, German, French, Italian, etc. If you can only post in English confidently, no problem. Instead, use social media advertising tools to target travellers in specific foreign markets, and use wording and imagery that is relevant to global and local audience alike.
Learn where your potential guests are coming from : Consult flight-booking sites, enter your locale as the travel destination and keep the departure location broad (i.e., Europe, America., etc). When you see higher-than-normal flight volumes from specific points of origin, and/or discounted airfare, you may be onto something. Cross reference your results with the flight carriers associated with the results to see if they have a current ad campaign for your destination. If so, you can assume that people are actively looking for accommodations within your region. And they will for some time. Target them online by teaming up with a blogger from their area, not just yours. Then, publish content relevant to that demographic but in the context of your hotel and region.
Don’t stop at blogging and social media posting. Travellers want to interact with you quickly online once they’ve been engaged by a blog post or social feed.
Travellers crave efficient service: bots, instant messaging, and tech are the answer
On day three, industry professionals and techies alike kept saying how ‘2016 is the year when messaging started to take a new turn’. We couldn’t agree more. Recently, we spoke with Tom Ollerton on the subject and you can check out what he had to say to hoteliers here.
Messaging apps like iMessenger, Instant Message (Facebook), as well as good old fashion SMS enable travellers and guests to get in direct contact with hotels and other services at their leisure pace. So, you need to make yourself available to travellers on those channels or you’re losing out.
But being there isn’t enough, nor is it always possible. By utilizing messaging channels and social media tools effectively, you can reach more people, in less time. Here’s how:
Use apps: Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and Facebook’s built-in scheduling feature enables you to create a full month worth of posts, or more- all at once. This means you can ensure consistent coverage when you’re at your busiest. All it takes is a few hours once a month and you’ll look like a professional social media manager. Don’t forget, your social media channels make for a fantastic distribution network for your blog. Share images as well as posts that link back to your hotel’s blog and website.
Have no time, but have a budget? There are service providers whose apps, or bots, can integrate with your social media channels. This may be ideal if you have a well established, popular small-medium hotel or if you own multiple small hotels. These apps let you customise your responses to guests and answer them automatically for you.
Automate as many tasks as possible. Similar to the point above, you want to save yourself time by automating as many responses as possible. The great thing is, all you need to do is leverage tech that you already have, like your computer. Feel like you’re writing the same email over and over again? Write it down. By copying and pasting your most common e-mail responses, you save yourself from having to type them again and again. Save this document in a convenient place on your desktop so that you can access it daily.
Independent hoteliers can pull off big marketing ideas thanks to smart technology
Thirsty for more big marketing ideas that you can easily implement? At WTM there was a lot of talk around hotel metasearch, content, and social media marketing. If you want to take your digital marketing game to the next level without having to pay a single penny, try the following:
At WTM there was a lot of talk around hotel metasearch, content, and social media marketing. If you want to take your digital marketing game to the next level without having to pay a single penny,you’ll want to use these hotel marketing ideas in tandem. Here’s how:
As you may know, we’ve come up with a tool known as trivago Hotel Manager. It’s a free and easy-to-use hotel metasearch marketing platform. Since it first debuted, we’ve been collaborating with hoteliers to learn what matters most to them and tweaked it along the way. Now, the tool makes it even easier for you to build a unique hotel profile and rank higher on trivago- all for free.
As of September 30, 2016, there are already over 220,000 hoteliers across the globe using it. Hoteliers like hotel metasearch because it is intuitive. With even the most basic computer skills, you’re well on your way to navigating trivago Hotel Manager, registering, building a profile, and attracting travellers online.
Once you create your online hotel profile, check it often and update it to better your hotel’s performance. With 15-20 high-quality images (2000 pixels wide), fetching descriptions, and up-to-date amenity listings, you help give travellers the confidence they need to book a stay at your hotel online.
In addition to this free-to-use platform, there is Facebook. Not only is social media your friend, but it’s free to use and it can even help you earn bookings online. Granted, that takes some effort. Your hotel will need a local business page, fetching images, and regularly posted content. The best part is you can save yourself time by using the same great content from your metasearch profile (just upload it separately of course).
Once you’ve created and updated your page, add the Book Now button. It’s free to use and it links right to your hotel website. At WTM, it seemed as though Wednesday was dedicated to these sorts of ‘tricks and tips’ for hoteliers trying to better their business online.
Use these big marketing ideas in combination. Test them, tweak them, and measure your results. When people inquire about a stay or book your hotel directly, ask them how they heard about your hotel, and where they may have found out about it online.
Were you at the World Travel Market on Wednesday? Were there other big marketing ideas that caught your attention? Let us know in the comments below.