COVID-19 cases have fluctuated over the last year, with numbers rising even as we thought the situation has finally calmed down. There are even indications that there may new waves in the future. Things have proven unpredictable. Nevertheless, hospitality and tourism companies are optimistic as vaccination levels increase around the world and people are making travel plans.
Across the industry, from boutique resort general managers to multinational property marketing heads, the time is right to revive marketing campaigns. For the greatest profit and to best protect staff and guests, you should analyze trends for appropriate strategies.
The first step to a successful marketing campaign should be to determine your available budget. Those that managed well during the pandemic may have a substantial war chest, but those who faced difficulties may have to be more prudent. You should analyze historic data and conduct thorough research before allocating any funds. COVID-19 has made travel trends unpredictable, and you want to avoid spending more than you make. Avoid dropping below 5% of gross revenues for marketing if you have been spending around 10% and look into establishing an appropriate digital marketing plan in preparation for the markets opening.
These are a few simple yet extremely effective digital marketing strategies for hotels your should consider.
Test Your Marketing Material
Take advantage of the slow time to improve your marketing. As your business move online, test the impact of your social media content. If you haven’t posted anything in a while, there’s no time like now to get things going again. Show off your property and rooms with high-quality images, which can also be used in other marketing channels. Share guest experiences and important updates through blog entries that can also promote sharing on social media platforms. Analyze website and social media traffic so that you can target your messaging to the right audience.
You can also take the time to ensure your calls to action and keywords are optimized, driving reservations. Promoting local businesses is also a way to attract customers by sharing other products and services to entice visitors no longer hindered by travel bans.
Use Videos on Social Media
Videos are an integral part of digital marketing, but many get bogged down by the details of production. You should consider using this time to schedule videos as they are popular content and a fantastic SEO (search engine optimization) tool. A result of the pandemic is the shift in using videos for marketing. Most marketing professionals will agree that videos are an effective way to build trust with consumers.
Creating a multimedia experience with screenshots and transcripts for blog posts or social media is an excellent method of engagement. Instagram’s Reels feature is another way to maximize your video’s reach. Also, using interviews where customer and employee share their viewpoints can further humanize your brand with users.
Schedule Webinars or FAQ Video Sessions
Web videos are an engaging way to answer questions about your hotels and its amenities, as well as to highlight services or launch new products and promotions. Or you can use them to introduce new staff or management. An overwhelming 91% of professionals prefer webinars, so you should make the most of them. FAQ videos are effective for TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms driven by video content. This is also a good way to highlight any changes or new policies your property has implemented for hygiene and sanitation.
Improve Online Review Strategies
You need to ensure that you have a process in place to respond to online reviews. Your excellent customer service may garner top-notch reviews, but you still should commit time to responding to feedback. Not every review or question needs a response, but you should address the most recent reviews and comments. Get your staff involved by training them on how to respond. You could start with some examples, and you definitely need to show them how to handle negative reviews, including how to notify the right persons about legitimate issues in customer service. You should also have trainings on measuring monthly reports on reviews because your reputation online is as vital as customer service on site.
Analyze and Improve Digital Marketing Plans
Your success may depend on a strong digital marketing strategy. It is essential in this post COVID age. Digital marketing outshines traditional methods by being faster, more affordable, and more effective. You can target your brand messaging to specific users in email or social media campaigning for much less than the cost of TV or print ads. By analyzing trends and leveraging digital tools, you can break down your target audience by specific goals. Then you can optimize your digital media marketing.
Attract Guests with Updated Website and Google My Business
Make the most of Google My Business and update your opening hours and explain any special COVID precautions. This will build trust and appeal to customers. Along with business hours and updated precautions, you should make sure your contact information is current for a seamless user experience. You can also showcase any special offers or promotions. You can also take this time to improve your website, or do a redesign, highlighting how your hotel is an ideal destination and a trusted brand.
Plan an Outreach Strategy
Checking in with former guests to make sure they’re doing okay is a good way to reconnect and build a trusting relationship. Not only will they feel like you care about them, but you can re-establish email and social media interactions. Be supportive and reassuring but try to avoid alarmist messaging. You could consider group video sessions for informal chats with consumers to strengthen your network and bond.
Evaluate Existing Data
Reviewing your data can offer tremendous insights for sales and leads, including online analytics. You could identify potential new guest demographics, showing you their needs and interests for you to add to your strategy. Online and offline trends can show cracks that need mending, and you can consider missed opportunities and see how you can address them now and in the future. If you have any questions, ask guests from past stays for reviews. This is the time to reflect on customer needs and make the appropriate changes.
COVID-19 created a worldwide change in thinking. Travel suddenly stopped almost everywhere. OTAs suspended digital marketing. Booking.com‘s holding company reduced marketing by over 50% in 2020. Those in the hospitality and tourism sectors know how stressful these times are, and there are no signs of when things will go back to “normal”. Still, planning for recovery is the best way forward for businesses. We need to analyze and evaluate trends and travelers, understanding what they will want and expect after almost two years of lockdowns and quarantines.
If you need help with revamping your digital marketing strategy, reach out to a IBEX digital strategist today. We’ll help you maximise your brands potential on the world’s leading marketing platforms with services such as Social Media marketing, SEO, Facebook Ads & video production.