The travel and tourism space is extremely competitive. In order to remain top of mind and relevant among your client base, it is important for hotels (from small boutique hotels to large hotel chains) to establish and maintain a competitive advantage in their marketing efforts.
According to Expedia, consumers are now spending more time on hotel websites when planning their holidays. The first port of call when researching for a holiday is information and price comparison. This is then followed by the ‘inspiration phase’ where the customer is looking at blog posts, Pinterest and other social media platforms for ideas of where to go and what to do. This is where content marketing comes in. If done well, this is an opportunity for your hotel to stand out and provide inspiration to get more bookings.
Content marketing ranges from creative and attention grabbing email campaigns to online magazines, blogs, interesting and informative websites and engaging social media platforms.
Content marketing does take some time, but it’s well worth it if done right. It is also something that needs to be maintained in order to remain fresh and relevant. If you can’t keep up with it yourself, it’s a good idea to hire a professional (like me!) to run with it.
Steps to creating a content marketing strategy
Before implementing your content marketing strategy make sure that you’ve taken the following into account:
- Researched the reader — who will potentially be reading/viewing your content.
- Set content marketing goals — what do you wish to achieve.
- Start with professionally written copy — this includes your website and all marketing material (brochures etc.).
- Get professional photograph done.
- Have a style guide and stick to it.
- Be unique.
Tips for creating a successful content marketing strategy
Below are a few key pointers to look into when developing your content marketing strategy:
- Use highly searched keywords in site copy — use professional tools to make sure that you’re using the best keywords.
- Don’t overload copy with keywords — you don’t want to come across as spammy.
- Link building.
- Google Places — enter your hotel’s information and keywords into Google Places.
- Manage both PPC (pay-per-click) and SEO (search engine optimization) initiatives.
- Check facts/maintain databases.
- Include all platforms — this extends to booking websites that your hotel is listed on.
- Monitor traffic and user interaction to identify hard working pages. Test and tweak.
Types of content marketing for hotels
So you get that you need to create content. But what? How much? What is going to work best for your hotel? Below are a few ideas of types of content marketing that you can implement for your hotel.
1. Blog posts
Every hotel website should have an active blog on their website. Use blog posts to tell your story. Share interesting facts about your hotel, share stories about your staff, share the history of your hotel or just share stories that highlight the best parts of your hotel. You can use your hotel blog to add a human element to your hotel brand. Make it a more personal and approachable brand. It also helps your SEO blogging strategy.
2. Highlight your local area
Highlight your local destination. Curate blog posts, guides, and articles about the hotspots in your neighborhood. Popular post examples include ‘Top restaurants in X’, ‘Must do activities in X’, or ‘Most instagramable hotspots in X.’ These posts will increase your SEO on your website and get more people onto your website. It also helps to build up credibility as an expert in the area.
You should also give information regarding transport in the area and directions to the hotel.
Create long and short video content to share on your website and social media accounts. Invest in professional, long form video content for your website and then shorter clips for your social accounts.
4. Social media
Keep up with posting interesting and engaging content across your social media accounts. The main ones to focus on include Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Some hotels also have Pinterest and LinkedIn pages, but this will depend on the property.
5. Showcase your property
Share beautiful images of your property across your website and social media accounts. You should also educate your guests about your property — make sure that your website highlights all of its key features and facilities (from business to fitness facilities). Share the small details about your property that make it unique — a free welcome cocktail, happy hour, or sunrise yoga sessions, make sure that your guests know about these.
Another idea is to create a hashtag that encourages guests to share their content of your property. From there you can re-share their content across your social media accounts — it’s always good to get different perspectives and angles of your property.
Drum up excitement for events happening in your city (flower festival, film festivals, popular sporting events, or charity events). Create a calendar on your website that highlights weekly/monthly events in the area or at your hotel.
7. User-Generated Content
This is content created by guests of your hotel. These can be blog posts, tweets, Instagram posts, live chats, podcasts, photographs, videos, etc., that are often made available via social media. You can use this content to share across your social media platforms and encourage more interaction between your guests. This is probably the most trustworthy piece of advertising that you could use. 76% of people say that “online reviews from fellow travelers give them inside knowledge” about a place, and 40% of Millennial’s say that they depend solely on it to inform their purchase decision, according to Stackla.
Best part? It’s free
8. Specials and promotions
Advertise your current specials and promotions and make sure to keep them updated on your website and across your social media. Seasonal promos are popular along with promos for families, couples, or groups.
Remember, the aim is to create relevant content that travelers care about.
Unique ideas of content marketing
1. Online magazine
Online magazines remain one of the most effective ways to communicate with your guests. Hotels can use this to share more information about their facilities and features along with thought-provoking articles combined with striking imagery. Articles can include neighborhood guides, things to do in the area, popular hotel activities, and other events that have happened in and around your hotel. These online magazines provide additional content for hotel visitors to browse while in their ‘inspiration’ phase. Make sure to include lots of calls to action — like ‘check out our hotel rooms’, ‘book our couples weekend special’, or ‘ready to start planning?’.
Check out the Four Seasons magazine as a prime example.
2. Start a podcast
This one is a bit harder to get right, as you need the right person behind the podcast. It’s a great way to share stories and for hotels to connect with their guests in a different way, targeting listeners rather than viewers. In order to be successful, this type of content needs to be unique.
Check out Stories of the InterContinental Life, which is a podcast series by InterContinental where hosts talk about traveling the world. Their stories take listeners off the beaten track, inspire travel lust, and broaden horizons. It’s not a hard sell marketing strategy, but rather there to allow listeners to discover different destinations and topics.
3. Virtual hotel tours
Virtual reality is a rising trend within the travel industry, particularly among destination guides and virtual hotel tours. Hotels can share their virtual tours on their website or across their social media accounts. It’s popular as guests can see anything from hotel rooms to key facilities like the outdoor areas, restaurants, and fitness facilities.
These tours can easily be done on 360 degree cameras and can be viewed with either VR headsets (the best experience) or just on their PCs or mobiles.
Check out Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo for an example of a virtual hotel tour.
3 key strategies to having a successful hotel content marketing strategy
While there’s a lot that goes into a successful hotel content marketing strategy, if you keep the below three points in mind, you’re on your way to success:
- Understand what your ideal guest is looking for.
- Create a connection through your content — humanize your brand.
- Highlight the most unique aspects of your hotel, what makes you stand out from your competitors.