A hotel room with hotel program and sales analytics bar graph.

25 Essential Practices to Craft a Constructive Hotel Marketing Strategy That Increases Bookings

November 4, 2023
Nathan Baws

An exceptional hotel marketing strategy is crucial for hotels to attract guest interest, convey their unique value, and ultimately drive bookings in a crowded marketplace. While large branding budgets help, small independent properties can also develop integrated marketing plans optimized to engage potential guests. 

This comprehensive guide outlines 25 essential, actionable practices any hotel can embrace to build an effective marketing strategy that delivers measurable results.

Let’s jump straight into it

Conduct Guest and Market Research

Quantify target demographics, purchase drivers, booking behaviors, and guest needs through data.

Persona Development

Build detailed profiles defining your ideal prospect demographics, values, interests, and service expectations. Develop different personas across target segments like families, business travelers, groups, events, etc. to optimize marketing.

Guest Surveys  

Solicit feedback on decision factors, booking patterns, and unmet needs from past visitors via post-stay surveys. Ask recent guests how they selected your hotel, where they encountered your brand, and what inspired booking.

Market Segmentation Analysis  

Segment your market by categories like leisure, corporate, groups, events, etc. and drill into what motivates each. Evaluate the size, characteristics, seasonality, behaviors, and economics of key segments to prioritize marketing resources.

Competitive Research

Compare your positioning and offerings to competitors through rate shopping, amenity audits, review analysis and on-site visits. Uncover competitor weaknesses you can capitalize on and strengths you can emulate or counter in marketing messages. 

Channel Preference Evaluation

Assess which booking channels, page types, and marketing efforts currently drive conversions through analytics. Quantify the conversion rates, lower funnel drop-off, and sales by channel. Identify any underperformers.

Strategically Position Your Hotel

Convey your unique value proposition, differentiators, and benefits clearly online and in messages.

Core Brand Messaging

Summarize what market gaps your hotel fills signature touches, and memorable qualities into key positioning statements. Craft a brand message focused on the distinct guest experience and feeling delivered versus generic claims of luxury or excellence.

Visual Brand Identity

Define colors, fonts, imagery, and graphic style conveying your personality and service ethos across all guest touchpoints. Maintain a style guide documenting precise logo usage, color codes, approved imagery, iconography, and graphic design aesthetics.

Standout Photography and Video

Invest in professional visual assets spotlighting your best rooms, amenities, experiences, and ambiance to inspire bookings. Lifestyle photography should capture guests actively enjoying your hotel and surroundings instead of just static room images.

 Social Media Branding

Craft social profiles and messaging aligned to brand positioning. Ensure consistency across platforms. Your brand bio, imagery, content style, and engagement approach should reinforce your marketing strategy on social media.

Localize Marketing

Tailor offerings, partnerships, and promotions specifically around your geography and community.   Reflect local flavor through area imagery, highlighted nearby attractions, customized packages, and immersive local experiences.

Promote on Relevant Online and Social Channels using Hotel Marketing Strategy

Focus marketing spending on platforms your targets use during hotel research and trip planning.

Search Engine Marketing

Target strategic keywords through paid and organic searches around location, amenities, and audience interests. Optimize SEO through schema markup, alt text, relevant content, and UX. Retarget visitors across channels. 

Social Media Paid Ads 

Sponsor social media posts promoting current offers and packages specifically to followers likely open to booking. Lookalike targeting expands reach to similar profiles as fans. Retarget past visitors and site users.

Retarget Past Site Visitors

Remarket to audiences who previously visited your website with special deals for qualified booking dates. Custom audiences are built from email lists, loyalty members, past guests, and website visitors showing interest. 

Online Travel Agency Campaigns

Participate in OTA promotions, sponsored placements, or other programs aligning with brand rates and restrictions. Negotiate incremental discounting, spotlight placements, or exclusive incentives driving targeted visibility and conversions.

hotel model with sales analytics about bookings

Targeted Review Site Marketing

Sponsor placement and offers on influential review sites like TripAdvisor to engage qualified audiences during hotel consideration. Claim and optimize free listings. Participate in TripAdvisor Plus and other advertising programs matching customer demographics.

Analyze Performance Data and Optimize 

Review metrics and tweak initiatives based on marketing analytics and attribution.

Campaign Response Rates 

For email sends, measure open rates, click-through rates, and associated online actions to refine messaging. A/B test email subject lines, sender names, calls-to-action, and promotions to continually improve performance. 

Web Traffic and Conversions

Analyze trends in traffic sources, peak referral channels, and booking conversion flows to reallocate budget efficiently. Evaluate search terms, site analytics, marketing attribution, promo codes, and UTM tags to optimize conversion funnels.

Attribution Modeling 

Identify specific marketing channels, campaigns, and partnerships driving the highest ROI through tagging and analysis. Uncover marketing mix allocations generating the highest revenues to double down and reallocate spending accordingly.

Online Ratings and Reviews

Monitor review volumes, scores, and sentiment as indicators of brand perception, reputation, and trust. Respond promptly to all feedback and rectify widespread service issues surfaced. Feature positive testimonials in marketing.

Promotional Effectiveness

Use unique booking codes, landing pages, or links to quantify conversion rates from promotions across channels. A/B test promotional messaging, formats, incentives, and channels to determine optimal content and placement.

Develop Loyalty and Referral Programs using a Hotel Marketing Strategy

Incentivize repeat visits and organic advocacy through special rewards and recognition.

Points-Based Rewards

Offer escalating benefits and elite tier upgrades the more guests book, spend, and engage with your brand. Make it easy to earn points through bookings, dining, spa, events, and other on-property activities. Offer seasonal bonuses.

Member Rates and Perks

Provide exclusive access to sales, personalized packages, room upgrades, late checkout, and other VIP amenities just for loyal guests. Surprise and delight elite members by customizing stays around preferences noted during past visits and in profiles.

Refer a Friend Bonuses 

Encourage referrals by providing members referral thank you gifts or credits toward their next stay per new guest referred. Make referral sign-up seamless through online forms allowing members to easily submit contacts. Send timely thankyous.

Branded Partnerships

Align with brands popular among loyal guests for special cross-promotions, sweepstakes, and redemption opportunities. Joint campaigns with retail, fitness, dining, and entertainment partners add value for mutually engaged customers.

Special Occasion Outreach

Surprise repeat guests on their anniversary or birthday stay with complimentary gifts or thoughtful upgrades. Staff seniority recognition, wedding anniversaries, milestone stays, and birthdays offer easy opportunities to delight guests.

hotel model with revenue and profit reports and analysis

Craft Compelling Email Marketing 

Automated, personalized emails nurture engagement among prospects and past guests. 

Segmented Audience Groups using a Hotel Marketing Strategy

Divide your contact database by demographics, booking history and behaviors to align messaging to interests. Send new subscribers a welcome series introducing your property. Promote seasonal packages to past summer visitors.

Behavior-Based Triggered Outreach

Send targeted emails when a specific action is taken like abandoned bookings, site browsing, or special date approaches. Remind those who “abandoned cart” to complete reservations with a special offer before rooms sell out.

Guest Re-Engagement  

Schedule automated campaigns reaching out to past guests after certain periods of time to incentivize rebooking. Vary message and offer based on loyalty tier, recency, frequency, and past on-property spend.

Special Promotions

Offer exclusive sales, discounts, and package deals to email subscribers providing incentive to open and engage. Promotions like last minute deals, flash sales, and member-only rates give subscribers early access before public customers. 

Mobile Optimization

Ensure email templates and linked landing pages are easy to navigate and digest on mobile devices. Preview emails across devices. Ensure easy click-throughs, prominently placed calls-to-action and quick load times.

In A Nutshell

The most effective marketing plans leverage data, technology, creativity, and strategy tailored specifically to each hotel's unique audience, market, and property. 

For guidance on refining your marketing approach, partner with the experts at Emersion Wellness today.

See Also: Action Plan to Increase Sales in a Restaurant at a Five-Star Hotel

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Emersion Wellness

Our success is relative to our devotion and attitude towards hard-work and innovation.
7 Leake St Fremantle - 6160 - Perth, Western Australia

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