Digital marketing, in a broad sense, involves boosting your hotel’s online persona. However, the magic of digital marketing lies in all the various techniques one can use to achieve this goal.
Another interesting aspect of this advertising option, and the main reason small hotels should invest in digital marketing, is that it is a great equalizer.
Admittedly, large hotel brands have pretty extensive marketing budgets and teams. One might imagine that they have the upper hand in dominating the internet. Surprisingly, that is not always the case.
With the help of a professional hotel marketing agency, even a smaller establishment can make a significant impact on the internet. Even with a small budget, a hotel can increase sales and revenue simply by being more active on the web.
Importance of being online
Before we divulge the reasons for a small hotel to invest in digital marketing, it’s crucial to understand the importance for anyone in the hospitality and travel business to be online.
It is common knowledge that most modern-day tourists are tech-savvy and tech-dependent, relying on the internet to book tickets and compare hotel rooms, rates, facilities, reviews, and property photos.
Furthermore, research suggests that over 90% of travelers search online when planning a business, personal, or leisure trip. Of these, close to 50% of the searches are on mobile devices.
While this highlights the impact of digital marketing, the statistics also emphasize the need to go mobile first when planning your online branding and sales strategies.
Why should small hotels invest in digital marketing?
When we talk about family-run bed and breakfasts, ancestral villas converted to boutique accommodations, and relatively smaller hotels, most owners are hesitant about assigning a separate online marketing budget.
Typically, these hotels go as far as listing themselves on OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) or having a static website that remains the same year after year.
However, limiting your online presence is not only a missed opportunity to grow your business but possibly one of the reasons why it may not remain sustainable in the coming years.
Sadly, that’s the harsh truth of the world we live in. But there is also good news. Once you know about all the benefits of digital marketing, investing in it makes both financial and business sense.
The longevity of any business depends on its brand status. A common misconception about branding is that only major hotels can achieve that.
On the contrary, someone with only one property can formulate a solid brand strategy, especially since they have much more control over the day-to-day workings of the hotel.
Assisting in this process is digital marketing.
Firstly, having an online presence automatically gives weightage to your hotel’s name. At the same time, you can use your website to reach an authoritative position by listing on the top of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and providing essential information that customers can trust.
There is already a growing demand for unique and boutique properties in the hotel world. By applying the fundamentals of digital marketing, you can stand apart and above your competitors.
Now, there is no doubt that smaller hotels need to have a holistic marketing plan, which includes advertising on OTAs. But remember, this alternative results in lesser revenue as you pay a commission on every booking. Moreover, since OTAs list all the properties in a cookie-cutter format, you eventually become “just another hotel” in a long list of similar-looking places.
Thanks to digital marketing, a hotel can showcase its individuality. Social media marketing places you front and center of the latest trends across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Moreover, an up-to-date hotel website is apt for highlighting the property’s unique selling points, from its location to bespoke rooms, through photos and detailed descriptions.
Having your website listed on the first page of Google can lead to more organic traffic and an increase in direct hotel bookings. However, considering the cut-throat competition to reach the top spot, one must take the help of a leading hotel marketing agency.
A professional can plan an extensive marketing strategy within a designated budget that covers different facets of your online outreach campaign.
For example, besides updating your hotel website regularly with fresh and relevant content, they can use SEO techniques such as link building and image optimization to push the website higher on search engine results.
Email marketing is another option to draw customers to your website, resulting in direct bookings and a marked increase in profit margins.
The sheer advantage of big data is very well documented now. The endless stream of information that a hotel can collect from its guests has tremendous possibilities.
The data, which can range from booking habits to individual guest preferences, can then be used to better sales, upsell services, improve customer experience, streamline in-house management, and cement the overall brand of the property.
So, another reason why small hotels should invest in digital marketing is that it gives you total control over all the data collected. Unlike bookings through an OTA, reservations made directly through the hotel website give you full access to customer information across different aspects.
Moreover, a hotel can collect big data through its digital marketing campaign. By knowing which social media platform performs better, the types of Facebook ads that lead to more website clicks, and blog posts that get maximum views, you can work towards tweaking your advertising strategy to get more direct bookings.
It is pertinent to remember that sharing details about your property is necessary, but not just to outdo the competition. It is also a tool to entice customers through planned marketing of your facilities and services.
One may devise a yearly plan with your hotel marketing agency focusing on seasonal elements. For instance, the low season is a great time to advertise staycation deals. In comparison, social media adverts around specific holidays can encourage guests to make a reservation and enjoy special festive events planned at the hotel.
Additionally, remember that most travelers nowadays like to see before they book. Therefore, it is vital to have a regularly updated website with information about the hotel, its history, facilities, amenities, and photos.
Customer Interaction & Review Management
Progress in technology has led to a revolution in customer service. At one time, people would have to call a number to get information or email their feedback.
Now, customers share their experiences instantly through social media, often tagging or mentioning the property. This makes having an online presence all the more necessary, especially for smaller hotels.
Moreover, a hotel can manage its reviews across various online metasearch websites through digital marketing. This feedback, whether good or bad, is required to better hotel services. Furthermore, it also provides an opportunity to connect with guests outside the boundaries of the property and build upon your relationship with them.
Arguably, one reason stopping businesses from investing in digital marketing is the complexity of the process. That’s why working with a full-service hotel marketing agency like Adigital is beneficial. Specializing in smaller properties, we take pride in spearheading your branding campaign by providing excellent digital services, from website development to metasearch advertising, within your budget.