The hospitality industry is a unique field where a lot of emphasis is placed on customer experience, loyal clients and return business. One of the ways in which you get to boost all of this is with the help of an efficient marketing strategy. You may already have a website, several social media accounts and a blog, yet, having the tools and using them properly are two completely different things. The principle that you need to apply in this scenario is the idea of working smarter not harder, which is why you might find these several hospitality tips quite handy.
#1. Social media as customer service
One of the first things you should keep in mind is the fact that in the 21st century, a lot of your guests tend to see your social media profiles and pages as a substitute for customer service. This is why you need to take complaints and suggestions that are coming this way quite seriously. Deleting negative comments is something that a lot of hotels do, yet, it’s not necessarily an effective practice. It might be much more effective to find the best way to respond to them, seeing as how this might make your business appear more trustworthy and respectful.
#2. Mention your online presence during the checkout
The next thing you need to consider is the idea that not all of your guests (even all the satisfied ones), are going to follow your business online, right away. You see, a lot of people won’t think twice about your social media presence, especially if you’re not registered at the local business database registry like Google My Business and, therefore, pop up for picture tags and reviews. Needless to say, this is probably the first thing you can do. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a tiny favor as your satisfied guests are leaving your hotel. Remember, every bit of free promotion helps.
#3. Website responsiveness is paramount
One more thing worth keeping in mind is the fact that your website also acts as a booking platform. This means that your audience might browse through your offer and contact you directly via the website. Therefore, you need to put an emphasis on responsiveness across all devices. No matter how simple this may sound, the truth is that you might need professional design in order to get a grip on things. The problem is that this requires a significant investment, which might be a tad outside of your budget. Nonetheless, due to the fact that this particular investment pays off in the long run, it might be worth your while to consult an agency specializing in hospitality accounting services about it.
#4. Hire professional help
The next thing you need to consider is the fact that your business, no matter how small, may not be able to do itself justice if it’s left to handle its own digital marketing. Therefore, you should consider outsourcing to a specialized company. This means giving up some control of the way in which your brand is represented online but it also means being provided with much more consistent results. In other words, you might need even more room in your marketing budget than you might have thought of previously. The ROI of such an action is, nonetheless, always overwhelmingly positive.
#5. Start a blog
Another way for you to break through, secure yourself a better search engine score, ensure a stronger online presence and overall gain trust is to start a blog. At least in the hospitality industry, you’ll always have something to write about. You don’t even have to focus on your hotel, seeing as how local activities, events, landscapes and curiosities may be equally effective. Needless to say, this provides you with a ton of content in the future, which gives you a chance to create a more consistent and effective content marketing strategy.
#6. Knowing the personality of your audience
The personality of your audience/target demographic greatly overlaps with the profile of your average guest. This is where a business in the hospitality industry has a massive advantage, due to the fact that they’ve met and mingled with their guests in person. If there’s anything you want to know about your audience, don’t be afraid to ask. Also, it might be worth your while to document some of your finds.
#7. Put your contact info to the forefront
Previously, we’ve already mentioned that people will look for a way to contact you online, so try to make this as easy as possible. For starters, you should post your contact info on every social media profile. Second, you need to include links wherever possible. Also, keep in mind that your other social media handles are also contact info in this day and age. This means that there’s nothing unusual about people trying to contact a hotel via an Instagram DM message (something we’ve already mentioned in the social media-customer service section).
#8. Encourage people to leave reviews
Lastly, you need to understand that online reviews are probably the most reliable source of information, due to the fact that interested parties see them as something left by their peers instead of professional marketers. This is why you should encourage your audience to leave reviews whenever possible. Asking people for a review during a checkout (also something we’ve already hinted on) is an effective method of handling this situation.
While these eight tips, on their own, may not sound as that impressive, you would be surprised at just how easily they could give you a significant competitive edge over your closest competitors. The world of social media, blogosphere and digital marketing, in general, is simply ideal for the hospitality industry, sadly, this is something that the vast majority of the field is yet to realize.