Originally published on Hospitality Net
By: Scott Falconer, EVP, Media Solutions, Hospitality, Amadeus
Many marketers would agree that the pandemic has raised a lot of questions, including how to adapt their hotel marketing strategy to continue to attract and convert guests in an uncertain environment. From first navigating the early days of the pandemic, to adopting new vocabulary around hygiene, we’ve all been forced to experiment and try new ways of working.
Throughout this unfamiliar time, collaboration and communication were essential pillars. Not only with customers or colleagues, but across the travel industry and beyond. At Amadeus, we also embraced this, working with hoteliers and organizations such as HSMAI, HOSPA and the Institute of Hospitality to deliver an eBook series focused on operations, sales, marketing and revenue management. The objective of these eBooks was to combine insight from Amadeus and industry experts to provide hoteliers with actionable advice and strategies that could help them to rebuild stronger from the pandemic.
Keep reading to discover a snapshot of the six key steps to follow in order to create an effective hotel marketing strategy in today’s world:
1. Review your plan regularly
As market conditions evolve, it’s important to keep a close eye on your marketing strategy to make sure your communication plan resonates. We created four potential phases for how travel might return globally. By comparing your market to the four stages, you can understand where you are now and what indicators to look for as you plan for the future.
2. Make data-driven decisions
With so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, use data whenever possible. It is the most powerful asset in this current climate, and one every hotelier should be reviewing regularly. For example, a major change that arose during the pandemic was a shift in booking windows, with many travelers booking accommodation within seven days of arrival. Marketers could use this information to build last-minute promotions or to maintain flexible cancellation policies that help encourage uncertain travelers to book earlier.
If you’re new to data, browse the internet for complimentary resources that use forward-looking insight to analyze hotel and airline performance in key global regions. With data influencing your marketing strategy, it becomes easier to trust the decisions you make.
3. Double check that current and future guest profiles are up to date
The shortening of the booking window is not the only new trend to arise over the past year and a half. Consumer motivations and booking habits have also changed. One trend of note is a growing interest in ‘workcations’, and the desire to work remote for a few days or months of the year. Several chains and tourism boards have embraced this trend, creating new programs or upgrading facilities in order to capture this market. As you look to attract available demand, it’s no longer enough to assume that your previous or future guests’ needs remain the same as before the pandemic. Effective marketing requires updating these profiles with any changes in mind. Templates such as these are a handy asset to get you started.
4. Create relevant messaging
Once you understand your market, who your audience is and what their motivations are, it’s time to incorporate this into your messaging. The important point to remember here is that even if you know what a guest is looking for, they need to clearly see how your property appeals to them. With so much competition in the market globally, focusing on what makes you stand out from the crowd will be key. Once you’ve established this, it’s time to distill the message across a wide range of channels in order to maximize reach. Some potential channels include web, email, social media and within your booking engine. Remember to involve the sales team here; make sure they understand this messaging and are equipped with the assets needed to convey it in a digital-first environment.
5. Using marketing to capture demand
Did you know that digital media and advertising ranked as the most helpful technology for hoteliers during the pandemic? With many businesses currently facing limited budgets and resources, it’s more important than ever to create compelling marketing that converts. Once your target audience has noticed your property, pique their interest with a variety of promotions and deploy these across a wide channel mix. As consumers move to the consideration phase, how can you increase conversion? Digital marketing can be especially helpful here, with tools such as remarketing and metasearch. Amadeus partners with key players to help maximize your success in these channels. Discover some of the ways we’ve collaborated recently to update several metasearch features and help drive more direct bookings.
6. Retention is key
After you’ve spent time acquiring new guests, or reaching back out to previous ones, the trick is how to make sure they come back to your property or chain. One of the ways to do this is by regular communication. A common error is to rely only on communication to encourage bookings, or prior to an upcoming stay. But effective communication includes every stage of the traveler journey. This additional effort can go a long way in keeping your property top of mind and in increasing overall customer satisfaction. Loyalty schemes are also a powerful tool, with features such as special pricing for members that can incite bookings and increase revenue. If loyalty isn’t already a part of your strategy, or you need some additional guidance, check out the Hotelier’s Guide to Loyalty.
The steps in this article are just a preview of what’s available in the Rebuilding Hospitality – Marketing eBook. Packed full of trends, data points and insights from industry professionals, it’s your one-stop shop to build an effective hotel marketing strategy that attracts, converts and retains guests. If you’re looking for further guidance or are interested in our other eBooks on the topics of revenue management, operations and sales, visit the Rebuild Travel library.