March 04, 2022
By Kim Campbell

Strategically advertising your hotel to travelers, planners, and buyers entices more customers to explore your property and your brand. For modern marketing directors and sales managers, there are more hotel advertising channels to explore than ever before. Investing in the right channels and advertising to the right audience is critical for hotel success.

In this post, we answer your questions about hotel advertising and dig into the various advertising solutions hotels are using to drive more business.

Unleash the power of targeted hotel advertising

The purpose of all advertising is to communicate information about a product or service to potential customers, and hotel advertising is no different. Whether you are promoting an exclusive offer, inviting past customers to return, or launching a new brand image, every ad a hotel runs should convey a clear message.

With Cvent Advertising, hotels and venues can market themselves to thousands of planners and couples sourcing their next meeting or their upcoming wedding. Planners rely on the Cvent Supplier Network™ (CSN) to identify the destination and venue for their events, and couples turn to Cvent Wedding Spot™ to choose the place for their big day.

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Proactive hotel advertising 

Proactive hotel advertising strategies are informed by current market conditions, forecasted industry trends, and the specific growth objectives of each hotel. They are created to bring in business when and where it's needed, as well as communicate important information to customers.

Strategic hotel advertising campaigns can be used to:

  • Maximize exposure
  • Drive more business
  • Increase revenue
  • Build brand awareness
  • Promote events
  • Fill need dates
  • Target specific market segments
  • Boost search result rankings
  • Capture more leads
  • Connect with planners
  • Outperform the comp set

In addition to building your audience, bringing in revenue, and communicating information, proactive targeted advertising can help your hotel appeal to customers in a crowded sea of accommodation options.

Marketing directors can struggle to make their hotel stand out in saturated markets. They are competing against numerous nearby hotels that offer similar services and amenities, fighting to capture the attention of informed modern travelers. When facing so much competition, unique and relevant advertising can give your hotel a leg up on the comp set

Types of hotel advertising

From branded to boutique, and from budget to luxury, there are a variety of hotel advertising solutions to fit every hotel. Choose hotel advertising solutions that fit your property style, market conditions, and comp set strategy. Here are a few of the most-used hotel advertising types.

Social media

It is estimated that there are approximately 3.96 billion worldwide social media users. Scrolling through various social media feeds has become a normal everyday occurrence for many of us. With so many daily users, and a massive global audience, hotels would be remiss not to take advantage of the endless advertising opportunities that social media can provide.

By utilizing social media channels, hotels can advertise offers, promotions, showcase property highlights, promote events, target specific market segments, and build brand awareness. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok each offer a variety of paid and no-cost advertising opportunities for hotels.

Experiential

Marketing managers employ experiential advertisements to provide consumers with engaging and immersive experiences. Through experiential marketing, customers are able to have a real-life experience with your hotel or brand that leaves a lasting impression.  

Experiential hotel advertising gives customers an opportunity to experience your hotel before they visit physically. In event marketing, experiential advertisements are a powerful tool your marketing team can use to maximize audience engagement before, during, and after an event. Product samplings, augmented reality demonstrations, physical activities, interactive kiosks, VR experiences, and social media challenges are all forms of experiential marketing.

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Automated

Customer data collection is the driving force behind automated marketing. Data is pulled from a guest’s previous communications with the property or previous marketing information. The data is then used to send targeted advertisements based on previous guest behavior.

For example, a hotel marketer may set up an email campaign to target guests who stayed a year ago but have not returned to the hotel. A few weeks before the one-year mark, an automated email goes out to identified guests that says, “It’s been a while. We hope to see you soon!” Automated marketing is also used to send promotional content prior to major holidays, area-wide special events, or other landmark dates.

Retargeting

Have you ever left an item in an online shopping cart and then received an email reading, “The item you wanted is still in your cart, but it’s getting popular! Complete your order now while supplies last”? This is known as retargeted advertising.

Retargeting is a cost-effective form of hotel advertising because you’re contacting potential customers who are warmed up already; you’re not starting the marketing campaign from scratch. When you retarget a customer, you’re reaching out to potential guests who interacted with your property in some way but did not move forward with a booking.

Retargeted hotel advertisements frequently remind customers of the room type they were viewing and highlight choice hotel features that may interest them. Retargeted ads are also used to reconnect with planners and travel buyers whose online activity indicates they have some interest in your property, but moved away from your website or directory listing before booking. After leaving your site, planners could encounter a retargeted video ad for your hotel on a different platform.

Video

Hotels can use video advertisements to showcase meetings and event space or group offerings to travel planners. Video-based ad content is frequently used to highlight a hotel’s best features, show updates, and share brand messages. They can also be used to advertise prices, promote limited-time offers, showcase specific room types, and capitalize on the popularity of nearby attractions.

Create rich video content that entertains and engages your audience. Share video ads across social media platforms, on your hotel website, in venue directories, and on your Google Business page.

Display

Also known as banner advertising, display advertising combines video, photos, logos, text, and other graphics to communicate a business’ message. Display ads can be run on social media platforms, your hotel website, or mobile apps. Marketers pair display advertisements with a website URL, prompting targeted customers to visit your site, explore additional products, or book their next trip.

Online directories

Hotel and venue directories are popular resources for travel planners and buyers who need to evaluate multiple properties at once. Planners seeking accommodations in metropolitan or other high-demand areas can find potential hotels, source wedding venues, secure event space, locate transportation services, and much more through online destination guides. Many notable hotel chains and worldwide hospitality brands publish online directories that help loyal hotel customers find their products fast — wherever they are in the world.

Search engine

Search engine ads are paid advertisements that appear on search engine sites, such as Google or Bing. Running search ads can help improve your hotel’s visibility on search pages, catching the eye of more prospective customers. While search engine advertising can be expensive, a variety of price points are available for hotel advertising budgets of all sizes.  

Direct mail

Even with the rise of digital advertising opportunities, direct mail marketing is still an important component of successful hotel marketing. Direct mail advertisements include printed directories, postcards, newsletters, sales updates, promotional catalogs, brochures, or any other marketing materials that are sent to consumers by mail.

Successful direct mail marketing relies on cultivating targeted marketing lists, and associated expenses can vary greatly depending on the collateral you're mailing. Ensure that direct mail advertising dollars are being spent wisely. All mailers should target a specific audience with a clear and direct message.

Discover 13 hotel advertising ideas and strategies

Keep in mind: The type of advertising that works best for each hotel will vary. A boutique bed and breakfast will advertise differently than a 300-room all-inclusive vacation resort. Your hotel’s advertising strategy should be relevant to your property type, market, and business goals. 

1. Identify your most profitable channels.

Which of your marketing channels bring in the most revenue: OTAs, direct bookings, a mobile app, or other channels? Which channel boasts the highest conversion rate? Which of your current advertising campaigns are underperforming?

Evaluate which of your hotel advertising campaigns have been the most successful in the past, as well as associated expenses. Determine the ROI for each advertisement. Was the expense worth the business boost?

Spend your hotel’s advertising dollars where they matter most. Invest in your most profitable marketing channels and eliminate underachievers.

2. Create an online advertising budget.

Many advertising resources (Google Ads, Facebook, etc.) allow business owners and advertisers to choose their ad type and set and control their own budget. Clearly define spending limits for each online hotel ad campaign.

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3. Know your audience.

Review marketing data and analytic reporting to see which traveler demographics are responding to your hotel’s advertising efforts. Are you reaching your target audience or are you appealing to a different market segment?

Continuously recalibrate advertisements and incentives to reach your target. If your hotel hosts a large number of international business travelers, for example, consider optimizing your hotel’s website to offer multiple language and currency options.

4. Make sure your hotel is visible.

If guests are going to book a room at your hotel, they need to be able to find it. Ensure you are visible on all hotel distribution channels, such as OTAs, global distribution systems, hotel booking engines, mobile apps, and metasearch sites.

5. Provide your audience valuable content.

Successful marketers know that including valuable content in each hotel ad is vital; otherwise, it’s advertising for the sake of advertising. To add value to hotel advertising, provide consumers with links to relevant blog posts, a “Top 10 Guide,” or exclusive behind-the-scenes hotel information.

6. Engage with guests and promote user-generated content.

User-generated content helps increase your audience reach and helps give your hotel credibility in the online community. Create an on-location scavenger hunt, share a video challenge, encourage guest reviews, or ask guests to tell their personal travel stories on your hotel’s social media account. Advertise enticing prizes for contest winners, such as a gift card to a top-rated local restaurant, a future free night’s stay, or $50 in on-site spa credits.

7. Add retargeting to your advertising plan.

Create a marketing campaign focused entirely on connecting with customers who visited your hotel’s website but didn’t book a room or make another purchase. Test various email examples to see what subject lines target customers are most likely to open. Create video ads to retarget planners after they’ve left your hotel webpage.

8. Advertise to meeting and group planners with group business pages. 

Create advertisements dedicated to attracting planners. Showcase your property in a dynamic way that helps them visualize a memorable experience at your hotel. Inspire event planners with experiential content, rich videos, image carousels, top-quality photos, and compelling text.

Take advantage of advances in digital hospitality technology when creating planner-focused advertisements. Include interactive meeting room layouts or a 3D virtual site tour to become a “digital hotel tour guide.”

9. Advertise upcoming events.

Include targeted event promotions in your hotel’s advertising. Create Facebook Groups for upcoming events, promote on-site events on your hotel pages, and run advertising campaigns for sponsored conferences or conventions.

Consider hosting networking events or a monthly “open house.” Invite community members to come and see what your hotel has to offer. Include tourism executives, corporate decision-makers, and other potential business partners. Advertise these events locally and online.

10. Boost Facebook content.

Even if your Facebook page has thousands of likes, only around 6% of your audience will come across your content organically. The platform’s algorithms have decreased the organic audience reach posts receive. To combat this, set aside a portion of your hotel marketing budget to pay for boosted Facebook content.

11. Advertise your hotel brand on TikTok.

Create and promote a branded hashtag TikTok challenge. Challenge members of your audience to record themselves completing a specific challenge and post it to your hotel’s TikTok page using a branded hashtag. For example, Marriott Bonvoy is offering three lucky winners globetrotting influencer-status vacations in their viral #30stays300days TikTok challenge.

12. Create Instagram stories that inspire.

Instagram is one of the most visual social media platform hotels can use to advertise their business. As a visual platform, it's the perfect place to show off your unique brand image and key hotel features. In 2021, Softinn reported that at least 80% of Instagram users have used the platform to inform purchase decisions. 

Instagram Stories function similarly to organic content behind-the-scenes. They appear organically in a user’s feed, so audience members can see and interact with your content without it feeling intrusive or “salesy.” Instagram Story Ads also provide users a full-screen, immersive hotel experience.

13. Create rich video advertisements.

Cisco anticipates that video-based online content will make up 82% of all internet traffic created by consumers in 2022. To keep up with the competition, include video content in your hotel’s advertising strategy. Introduce staff members, offer travel tips, leverage guest reviews, and show behind-the-scenes event footage — all with the goal of promoting your property or brand. 

Take your hotel advertising strategy to the next level!

Put your advertising budget to work with these 6 paid advertising strategies hotels are using to boost sales.

Headshot of Cvent writer Kimberly Campbell

Kim Campbell

Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list. Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.
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