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Hotel Marketing Plan

A Comprehensive Hotel Marketing Plan Sample

Hotel marketing plans range from the ridiculously over complicated to the overly simplistic. There is one—and only one—thing that a plan should do, and that is give your hotel more direct reservations. Every step taken must be made to increase your profitability by driving more direct online reservations to your hotel. With this five-step hotel marketing plan sample, we distill the most important and actionable steps about how to market a hotel into one concise plan that’s easy to digest.

1: Choose Your Path

What exactly are you? A bed and breakfast with lots of character, or a world class hotel with a slew of high-touch amenities?

Conventional wisdom says to choose one thing and do it well. You could be an inn with more of a homey feel, or an exotic far-flung boutique hotel. You could be a beach-side resort or a rustic cabin on top of a forested mountain. Every type has different needs on how to market a hotel. Decide upon your business goals and fulfill them with the way you position your property with your hotel sales and marketing plan. This step is critical—it has ramifications everywhere, from the kinds of guests you will enjoy to the flavor or online marketing materials you will create. You probably already know exactly what your unique spin on hospitality is, but it doesn’t hurt to nail it down in a written format so you can share with others how to promote a hotel.

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Web

For now, desktop and laptop Internet browsing is still king of the web, but soon, mobile browsing will trump it. Until then, it is still critical to craft a branded, unique web presence for your property. You need a modern, up-to-date website built with forward-looking technology that won’t be outdated in ten years, like the unfortunate fate of Flash.

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Full details on exactly what should be included in your website are found in our article on hotel website design, but in short you must have high-resolution, professionally produced photos of your property, detailed room descriptions including all of your unique amenities, a thorough collection of local points of interest, complete with photography, an interactive map and quick driving directions, and finally, an online booking engine. These are critical tools about how to market a hotel. Request a demo of our hotel marketing software to learn more about your website needs and how buuteeq can help.

Mobile

Today, 20% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices as these statistics demonstrate. This means that if your online marketing materials are not optimized for mobile, that you’re missing out on 20% of your total online bookings. As part of your hotel sales and marketing plan, losing out on this 20% is unthinkable. Studies show that mobile browsing is driving the influx of last-minute hotel bookings—clearly, having an optimized mobile presence is an essential part of your hotel marketing plan and how to promote a hotel.

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Read our guide on hotel mobile optimization to learn more, but in sum, your mobile optimized website should include all of the things your regular website does—high resolution photos, detailed room descriptions, interactive maps and a mobile booking engine—optimized for fingers that tap instead of mice that click. Having one-tap features such as one-tap hotel calls and one-tap driving direction are essential to catching some of those last-minute reservations.

Social

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Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are homes to millions of guests who use them every day to make travel related plans. Having an optimized Facebook presence will encourage those social browsers to stay at your property instead of a local competitor. There are a number of hotel marketing plan samples that call for diligence when responding to guests and interacting with them to make the most out of your social networks. After all, no one will follow you on Facebook if you yourself aren’t even there.

You can use buuteeq’s free Hotel Info App for Facebook pages to optimize your social presence on that network and increase occupancy. For more information on social media strategies tailored for specific networks like Tumblr and Pinterest, read our Social Media Guide for Hotels.

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There are many more online marketing options available to the savvy hotelier, including smartphone applications, commission-free booking engines and so on. Contact one of our representatives who will be happy to chat with you about activating your marketing strategy.

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Choose Your Guests

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Usually guests choose you, not the other way around, right? Right, but the goal with this step is to market yourself to the right guest so that you don’t waste time and money marketing to guests who are not interested in what you have to offer. Sure, your doors are open to anyone, and anyone just might walk in, but we want our marketing dollars to go towards those specific guests most likely to book.

Now that you’ve chosen a path in the previous step, you can choose the kinds of guests you want. Are you a hostel? Do you have shared bunks, shared kitchens and lots of nearby hiking trails? Then choose students and young professionals as your guests. Is your hotel located downtown next to a convention center? Then choose business travelers as your guests—and so on.

Many of these guests will overlap. It can be helpful to create ‘guest personas’ of all the kinds of guests your property can cater to, and then craft your marketing materials for them. This article on social media personas can stand as an example for when you craft your guest personas.

3: Hand-Craft Your Marketing Materials

This step takes time and talent, but what you’re producing here is a collection of materials designed to encourage guests to stay. This is, in effect, the very voice of your brand, without which guests would be unable to find you.

This may break Kevin Costner’s heart, but sadly, if you build it, they will not always come. It takes compelling, high quality, persuasive marketing collateral to convince guests to place their dollars in your coffers, and should be a critical part about how to promote a hotel.

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Hospitality marketing has dramatically changed over the past ten years. It used to all be about directories, magazine ads, travel brochures and so-on, but that world is gone. Today, when we say hotel marketing plan, we mean an online plan. There is no longer any reasonable marketing plan without the Internet.

4: Be Your Biggest Advocate

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Now that you’ve crafted your online marketing materials, it’s time to promote them. No one is better qualified to do this than you, because no one knows neither your brand nor your specific needs better than you. Taking ownership of your voice is key about how to market a hotel.

The following steps are actions you can take today that will give you the biggest impact. Don't have time to do them yourself? That's quite understandable--after all you have a hotel to run. Hand them off to your in-house marketing fellow, but be sure that he or she is trained to understand your brand's mission, voice and the ultimate goal of your online marketing efforts: more direct reservations.

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Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is all about taking steps to encourage that people come to you. In our guide to hotel SEO, we debunked many of the myths associated with SEO and offered a number of helpful tips to hoteliers who are concerned about SEO as part of their hotel sales and marketing plan. In addition to the steps listed on that page, there are a number of things hotel marketers can do to increase the notoriety of their web marketing materials and the traffic to them.

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Guest Blog

Position yourself as a thought-leader in your industry by writing educational, informational editorials and publishing them to newspapers, magazines and blogs pertaining to your location and niche. This will naturally build more awareness of your property.

Further Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging on KISSMetrics

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Make Local Partnerships

It’s likely that travelers to your area will visit many different local service providers, like tour guides, restaurants, equipment rentals and theme parks. Strike up genuine relationships with them. Out of these can come shared promotional opportunities that can increase your online relevance and your local notoriety—all steps necessary to bring in more conversions when learning how to promote a hotel.

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Donations & Service

Second to tragedy, no news is more likely to make the papers than selfless service and donations. Sponsor a local youth baseball team, fund the refurbishing of a local fountain or park, or donate to your local homeless shelter. Anything that gets people chatting about your property in a positive way can lead to more online reservations.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is all about going to guests—seeking them out where they are and encouraging them to check you out. Inbound marketing is all the rage these days, but outbound marketing is still a very effective marketing tactic.

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Email

Email is far from dead! Social networking is a huge focus these days—and for good reason—but people still check and respond to email. Create email campaigns and send them to your past guests, perhaps with special promotional offers, to encourage them to visit again.

Further Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing on KISSMetrics

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Online Advertising

Google Adwords is a huge revenue source for Google because online ads work. Join our lead generation program, or signup for a free Google Adwords account to try and advertise online yourself. Powerful ads will grace many popular websites, bringing more eyes to your web marketing content.

Further Reading: The Definitive Guide to AdWords Display Targeting on SearchEngineLand

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Remarketing

Remarketing (or retargeting) is a strategy to bring past visitors back to your web marketing material. Sometimes guests are interested in your property, but lose track of you for one reason or another. Remarketing is a great strategy to remind them of you and bring them back.

Further Reading: Learn More About Remarketing (Video) by Google

5: Track Your ROI

Once your marketing content is published, it's time to start the never-ending tack of monitoring your ROI (return on investment). What are you getting out of the money you spend on marketing? We’re talking actual dollars and cents here. It’s a waste of time and money to invest in marketing strategies that you can’t evaluate based on performance. Thankfully, there are a number of tools you can use to see just how your materials perform so you can decide whether to continue using them.

When it comes to marketing online, discovering which channels are more profitable is essential. Invest in analytics that will tell you what you need to know. Google’s free analytics is a good place to start. buuteeq’s 360 Analytics is designed specifically for hotels and can tell you specific information about how your online marketing is performing.

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Channel Performance

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Are your web, mobile or social channels working best? The answer to this question will help you invest your future marketing dollars. Typically, we find that the ROI is better for mobile users. Investing in a mobile optimized website is essential to claiming last-minute bookings from guests.

Traffic & Conversion Sources

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Understand where your traffic comes from. Does it come from search engines or referral websites? What keywords are used to find your content? Discover whether or not traffic leads to actual online reservations and if there are any pages of your content that perform particularly well or poorly. Alter your marketing materials as necessary to improve conversions.

Room Reports

That’s Not All, Folks!

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Understand how your pricing strategy is helping your ROI with detailed room reports. Which rooms give you the highest percentage of revenue? Discover which room marketing tactics works best—add-ons, promotions, social contests—and refine them to increase your ROI.

There are many more options out there that your hotel marketing plan can consider. Online travel agencies (OTAs) and web directories will all take a slice your revenue, but they have proven to be successful strategies for many. Once your marketing machine starts rolling, it’s all about trying new things and taking small, prudent risks to discover new strategies that work for you.

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buuteeq is a digital marketing system that helps you take ownership of your online marketing materials. Request a demo of our hotel marketing software to learn more about crafting a gorgeous web presence optimized for search, a mobile optimized website, a powerful Facebook presence and more.

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Success Stories

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