The hospitality industry must maintain a credible online presence in the face of intense competition with online travel agencies (OTAs) for direct hotel bookings. This is in order to keep pace or even gain a slight edge on the OTAs. Hotels have an advantage when compared with other industries in that their business is to provide, not only a place to stay the night, but a pleasurable experience for travelers. Potential customers of hotels are very receptive to compelling and relevant content offered by hoteliers due to the nature of travel. Effective hotel content marketing should be founded on a strategy designed to successfully guide prospective hotel guests into the digital booking funnel, without directly selling to them.
Know Your Guests
Effective hotel content marketing begins like any other marketing campaign with a clear strategy, by truly understanding your brand’s intended audience. Unfortunately many hotels and chains seem to lump all past guests and prospects into the same box and try to appeal to all of them. They disregard the unique wants and needs of even the most basic of traveler personas, business or leisure. Researching to uncover the various traveler categories or ‘personas’ is absolutely essential in gaining a knowledge of who exactly are the people paying money to stay on the hotel’s property. It is just as important for the hotel to essentially determine what its own persona will be. This is needed to fully understand itself and what categories of accommodations are provided for the guests.
It is crucial for the hotel personas to be more specific than business or leisure, for example. Various traveler types such as: Millennial (18-34) Generation, single female, who is very active, but mixing business with pleasure. Or another example, Baby Boomer (51-67) couple visiting their children to catch up with the grandchildren. Even within the business traveler segment there are many different sub-categories. Research can uncover the many personas that spend time at a hotel.
Once the proper audiences have been identified, then highly specific marketing messages may be crafted to reach out and appeal to each one. To begin, visual content must reflect the makeup of the hotel’s audience. When the different groups sign on to the hotel’s website, they should identify and feel some connection with the people they see there. Also, research can uncover what services, amenities and activities the varying different personas will find attractive.
It is just as vital to gain some sense of the cultural makeup of the audience as well. Maybe they speak a language not commonly spoken at the hotel and its environs, and would appreciate being reached out to in their native tongue. All of these questions are relevant to any discussion designed to fine tune a hotel’s content marketing strategy.
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