It can be quite difficult to run a successful hotel, while keeping up with the latest trends in the marketing world and using those trends to maximize occupancy and revenue. As with any other business, having a successful marketing strategy in the hospitality industry is key to building brand awareness, and attracting new customers, as well as keeping the old ones. However, this industry has a unique set of difficulties and challenges that must be overcome in order to reach the desired goal.
Brand recognition is extremely important in hospitality spaces, because it is what turns Internet users to potential clients and also builds a pool of repeat customers, those who come back again and again and bring on a huge amount of revenue. Therefore, all brand and marketing campaigns should be divided between maintaining relationship between previous clients as well as attracting new ones. The challenge is to maximize visibility through Search Engine Optimizations (SEO), advertising and emailing campaigns, and social media; all of which can be quite pricey. Moreover, all these mediums require careful management and monitoring, so as to get the highest ROI (Return of Investment). However, even after creating a successful hospitality digital marketing campaign, many of its aspects are still out of the control of the business owners, since their E-reputation is in hands of the customers who leave their opinions online after staying at a hotel or utilizing any hospitality service.
Another digital challenge of the hospitality industry is the booking process, which can be long and difficult. Being involved in every stage can be costly: advertising campaigns, referencing in metasearch engines, commissions paid to intermediaries in the distribution chain (OTAs), and so on. Hotels should optimize their booking process by providing direct booking capabilities on their websites, and managing their channels better. Direct booking means cost control and knowledge of clients. This also gives them a chance to form a close relationship with their clients.
Another issue creating challenges in the hospitality marketing is consumer behavior changes in recent years. Modern consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices in order to search for a product, and more than 70% of users reportedly abandon a webpage that takes more than 3 seconds to load. That is why marketers must make sure their pages load super-fast on mobile phones, and that they look good on all screens and devices. That is a somewhat tricky point for a hotel or tourism webpage to achieve, since these websites rely heavily on large images to convey their message.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of marketing in the hospitality space is that there is a huge difference between hospitality marketing and many other types of marketing, in that hotels, resorts and tourism are selling a service rather than a specific monetary good. They must try to create a specific feeling in the consumers in order to sell their products, which can include both tangible and intangible products. A successful hospitality campaign depends greatly on getting this feeling right and being able to convey it.
For small businesses, brand awareness becomes even more important. If customers do not know about a service, they will not be able to purchase it. Smaller businesses can greatly take advantage of digital and Internet marketing strategies to make them known in ways that cannot be achieved through other forms of marketing; this can be done through creating a website, buying ad space on related tourism websites, and staying on top of their social media platforms to engage with guests. Previous and repeat guests are the best people to promote such small businesses, since they can go on social media platforms and share their positive experiences with others. As for negative comments, it is still very important to address such comments with respect and clarity, and if possible, offer some solution to their problem.
Chatbots are the latest trend in the industry and another platform that can be used by small businesses to increase engagement with potential clients and improve correspondence with future customers. This is basically the chat functionality of hotel websites.
Going digital is the best
plausible way for small businesses in the hospitality industry to compete and
survive, to connect with clients all around the world and provide real time