Given the state of hospitality today, hoteliers need to think very creatively to capture new business. Four out of ten hospitality workers are still not working. According to a recent AHLA article, more than half open hotel rooms were empty across the country as of August 1st, 2020. This is in addition to the thousands of hotels that have shut down completely. The article states that US hotels have lost more than $46 billion in room revenue since the mid-February in the U.S.
In order for hoteliers to increase bookings and get revenue moving in the right direction, they are going to have to think creatively about marketing. In this article we offer five hotel marketing suggestions you may not have considered.
Feature COVID-Relevant Testimonials on Your Website
As you would expect, consumers still have COVID front and center in their minds. This is especially true when they’re booking travel. Safety and cleanliness remain a top priority for the majority of travelers. In past articles, we have recommended making your COVID safety protocols front and center in your marketing efforts. But why not take that idea a step further by prominently placing COVID-relevant testimonials on your website? It’s one thing to have a written COVID policy in place to protect guests, but it’s another to have guests singing your praises about it.
This approach starts with asking for testimonials at checkout. Create a postcard where guests can share a sentence or two about their stay and be sure it asks about COVID-related issues. Also include a signature area where they allow you to use their testimonial in your marketing efforts. Before you know it you will have amassed a nice group of COVID-relevant testimonials that you can use on your website, social media, email blasts and more. This inexpensive effort will go a long way in garnering you more business.
Create Videos that Feature Staff and Guests
According to Facebook, over 4 billion video views happen on its social platform every day. There’s no denying that video captures attention. An inexpensive and creative approach to hotel marketing is to take short (under 1 minute) videos of your staff and/or guests saying something positive about your approach to COVID safety. And this does not need to be professionally produced. Just use your iPhone to take real-world, down-to-earth videos of staff members cleaning, guests smiling and saying how safe they feel, shots of your lobby and more. And, with video-captioning apps like MixCaptions, you can increase viewership exponentially by quickly adding captions to a video before posting.
Offer Something Unique for “Bleisure” Travelers
Bleisure travel – the increasingly popular trend of planning trips to include business + leisure – is on the rise. When it comes to capturing the business of bleisure travelers, you have to know what they’re looking for. First and foremost you’ll want to make it clear that you offer both business and leisure amenities. From fast, free WiFi and proximity to business districts, to poolside cabana fun and family-friendly attractions, you need to show bleisure travelers you’ve got it all. You may even want to create a separate website page dedicated to these unique travelers and don’t forget to also stress your health and safety guidelines.
Refresh Your Hotel Website
Your website is often a prospective guest’s first impression of your hotel. What does your website currently say about your hotel? Does it say clean, modern and fresh? Does it create a welcoming, professional vibe with bright, current photos of the property and staff? Does it seem like you’ve spent time making your website look and feel current? If not, there has never been a better time to refresh or even redesign your hotel website. Things to consider include obtaining new professional photography of the property, common areas, guest rooms and even your smiling staff. The more modern your website looks, the more likely people will feel a sense of trust in your ability to provide a COVID-safe environment.
Post a Weekly Blog to Improve Search Engine Results
Adding a blog to your hotel website is a very inexpensive way to start boosting search results from Google and other search engines. Adding a blog page to an existing website is usually very easy to do and you can start publishing content immediately. The main things to keep in mind when writing articles is the following:
- Make each article a minimum of 300 words – closer to 500 is better
- Include words and phrases guests would use to look you up on Google (ie: hotels in Phoenix, Arizona)
- Don’t overthink it – just write about interesting, relevant topics
- Post at least once a month – once a week is even better
Not only will a consistently-updated blog help people find you online, but it will also give you content to share on social and email and make your website seem much more relevant and modern.
There you have it! Five inexpensive and creative ways to market your hotel in the midst of COVID-19. We wish you the best of luck leveraging these ideas to market your property.