Fifty years ago, print marketing and word of mouth were the most popular methods of advertising. Yet things have drastically changed, and hospitality professionals can't rely solely on those channels anymore. If you want your business to survive — and thrive — you need to nail down your hotel digital marketing strategy.
The majority of the world is online: There are 3.5 billion searches per day on Google, and according to Smart Insights, 62% of the population is on Facebook. But digital marketing and the targeting opportunities can be overwhelming. To get started, try these three strategic tactics:
1. Conquer Your Competition
All is fair in love, war, and business. That's why it's common practice to figure out where your competitors' clients hang out online and persuade them to switch over to your services. A simple and effective way to do this is by placing ads on Google that are shown alongside your competition. Another is to advertise on platforms that target competing venues or markets.
If you want to get a little more sophisticated, you can take some advice from WordStream founder and Mobile Monkey CEO Larry Kim. He suggests targeting Facebook users whose interests include your competitors, disrupting your competitors' videos with YouTube ads, reaching your competitors' audience through the Google Display Network, and downloading and targeting your competition's Twitter followers.
In the end, brand awareness is key. The more you can get your name in front of potential customers, the more likely you are to win their business when they need a venue. If you need to get a little crafty to achieve that, so be it!
2. Prioritize Group Business Leads
How do you determine which leads have a higher chance of converting? It can be difficult to tell — which is why lead scoring is so helpful. This strategy allows you to determine the perceived value of each potential client, which is scored based on factors such as profitability, availability, and planner behavior.
Lead scoring allows hotels to prioritize potential planner clients and focus their efforts on the ones who are most likely to close. Since each business will have different criteria, they need to ensure that they have someone on their team who is skilled enough to determine what can enhance revenue and profit opportunity for that specific property. A lead scoring model also allows you to pair what your hotel offers to the varied criteria of your guests and prospects. As a result, you will gain insight into your leads' behavior — allowing you to create more targeted promotions.
3. Lean Into Digital RFP Tools
To run and grow your business, you need to handle your RFPs effectively. Of course, that's easier said than done. Sometimes the inbound interest gets out of control, and you don't know how to get things back in order. Thankfully, there are some simple ways that you can restore the peace.
First of all, make sure you don't miss any incoming business by assigning all RFPs to a point person. This creates more accountability to track the business — and hopefully close it. In addition, maintain constant communication with your planners. Let them know when you have received their email, even if you don't have an in-depth response ready yet. That signals that you're interested in them as a client and highlights the fact that your business is responsive. (After all, planners don't like it when they have no idea where their proposal stands!)
If your organization can't accommodate a planner's request, make sure that you send a personal note to let them know why you can't work with them. Doing so keeps your business relationship strong. Again, you're highlighting that your company is professional and values clear communication.
Lastly, make sure to keep the bigger picture in mind. An RFP that you turned down a few months ago might be the perfect fit now. If that's not the case, you can keep a planner's loyalty by sending them to a sister hotel that fits their needs. This way, you can keep your goodwill with the planner while also keeping the business within the family.
Get Other Digital Tips, Plus Planner Insights, Market Data, and More
At Cvent's Hotel Success Groups, local hospitality professionals gather during a two-hour, complimentary luncheon to network, go over valuable market data, learn how to work better with planners, and hear about solutions to help achieve group business success. Check out the schedule and register now for a session in your area!