This is a fast paced digital world we live in and hotel marketers are always looking for creative ways to cut through all the clutter and engage with customers.
Why is this relevant now in the age of an exploding digital media landscape where consumers are living online and across multiple devices like never before?
Perhaps we need bring marketing and advertising back to basics and take a queue from our favourite Mad Men ad exec. Don Draper says:
“Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness.”
Bring digital marketing back to the basics. There is content being fired at us from all cylinders – whether in search engines, on social networks and news portals. We are witnessing a digital media convergence where more and more media is available online across multiple platforms, and to add to that we are accessing digital content across multiple devices. How do we really make consumers happy now? Is it still as simple as delivering on a promise and providing a product or service that makes your customers Happy?
I think so! Now, how do we engage with travel shoppers who are changing their minds and behaviour as quickly as Facebook changes its profile layouts? We travel marketers are constantly second-guessing where we are allocating our marketing dollars, seemingly because of the following fears:
1. FEAR of missing the next big thing.
2. RESOURCES– both financial and human.
3. CONFUSION about what tactics to focus on as the online world shifts again – and again – and again.
My advice? Bring your Digital Marketing back to basics:
1. Know Your Audience (this will make them Happy)
- Check your website analytics for top referral traffic and keywords used to find your website, then continue to build on the content that is attracting and engaging your customers to pull the trigger and book your hotel.
- Use a social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social or free tools like Google Alerts, Facebook insights, Twitter analytics or others to “listen” to your audience and understand how to make them
- Allocate time and resources to understand changes in how your target audiences are researching and transacting online. This goes back to reviewing your website analytics, because if the bounce rate is through the roof at the booking confirmation page – then something is wrong. Tip: Bounce rates should be no higher than 40%.
- Most importantly, if you’re taking the time to ‘listen’ to your customer’s online– be sure you act on that information. Simply monitoring the conversation without adjusting your strategy, or communicating with your brand ambassadors will not help you understand how your consumer wants to receive your messages now and in the future.
2. Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Understand Your Objectives.
- What are your objectives in your digital marketing campaigns? An obvious objective is to get more heads in beds, but are you looking to tap into a new audience? Increasing direct hotel bookings? Increase brand engagement? It will make both you, and your prospective guests happy if your advertising is delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right consumer. Win win win = Happy!
- With all of the new tactics available to hotel marketers today, it is more important than ever to set specific and measurable objectives for campaigns. This makes me nostalgic for the Mad Men days really. This whole marketing thing has become a little bit mind numbing.
3. Stick With What Works.
- If you have already developed an active Twitter following and you’re seeing bump in your ROI (in sales and or website traffic, etc.) keep going!
- Continue to build on what works to make your audience Happy. Build a social media team to help keep building and engaging your audience further, keeping them engaged with great content or in providing a phenomenal customer experience – think about what would fuel a successful campaign to the next level.
- If Google AdWords campaigns worked well last year to drive targeted traffic during need times, or to sell specific packages or products – build on it and do it again with a new twist, or put some dollars towards other search channels such as the Yahoo/ BING network that might provide a smaller reach but more conversions. Don’t be afraid to test new channels. Consumers are spending a great deal of time online, therefore advertising budgets need to adjust.
4. Search is still king. Your customers are Happy when they find what they are looking for.
- Focus on making sure you have a strong web presence across all online channels that help to guide your consumers to transact.
- Ensure you have taken care of the basics, such as search engine optimization SEO, a consistent keyword strategy, quality content and creative storytelling creative and a mobile enabled website. These are all driving forces in establishing a healthy highway of traffic to your hotel website
5. Integrate. Integrate.
- Make sure you integrate your campaigns online and offline.
- Your hotel’s digital footprint should have a consistent tone, creative brand message, and should always drive your target consumers to transact. This is key and is sure to make them Happy. Ensure that all your brand web assets are navigating customers to book directly with your property.
6. Test + Measure and then adjust. This makes stakeholders Happy.
- Measure performance in analytics and benchmark against past campaigns to continue to improve advertising efficiency. Make sure you have defined KPI’s in place such as increases in unique website visitors, increases in time on site and of course – your bookings.
- Did you launch a new Blog that has increased traffic to the website by 20%? How do you grow it from here or how do you encourage more transactions on the website as a result of the Blog traffic? Test, measure and adjust.
- Have your efforts on LinkedIn increased leads to your sales department?
- What can you do to ensure you grow these successful marketing channels?
- Do the tactics outlined in your Hotel marketing plan work to build on what you have already started?
Keep it simple – and stick to the digital marketing tactics that will help you achieve your objectives at every level.
It can get overwhelming to look at all that is available to us today. If you execute marketing programs efficiently, with the proper focus on measurement of ROI, which is very do-able in the age of digital media, you may have the confidence and extra resources to be able to adjust and try new things. This will make you a Happy marketer!
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