The Savvy Marketer's Hotel Marketing Strategy Checklist

01 Aug

The most effective hotel marketing strategies are a combination of powerful individual components. If your hotel marketing strategy is lacking or producing unfavorable results, then it’s time to take a look at each of the pieces to find what’s missing or broken.

It can be difficult to know what to include, what to do, or what not to do — that’s where we come in. We’ve worked with hundreds of hotels over the past decade and have some insider tips to share with you.

We’ve assembled those tips into the ultimate strategy checklist that you can use as you start to build your plan.

The Ultimate Hotel Marketing Strategy Checklist

Missing a step or doing it incorrectly can cause a ripple that sabotages your entire marketing strategy. This checklist will help you evaluate your strategic plan and find the weaknesses so that you can correct them and turn your results around.

1. Identify Target Audience 

To start with, it’s important you identify your target audience. On a basic level, this means understanding demographics like age, income, family status, location, and many other demographic factors.

But if you want to build a really powerful strategy, then you need to take it a step further. You need to understand what makes your audience tick

  • What are their likes and dislikes? 
  • What are their expectations? 
  • What are their motivations to travel?
  • Are they traveling for work or pleasure?
  • Do they travel alone or with their family?
  • Today travel frequently or infrequently?

As you start digging deeper into the people that stay at your hotel, think about the ways that you help them solve each of their unique needs.

If someone doesn’t travel frequently, they may have anxieties around forgetting something that they need — like a toothbrush. You can ease their concerns by letting them know that you have an on-site shop where they can purchase basic necessities.

If your guests tend to travel with family, you may want to share your family-friendly amenities — such as kiddie pools and slides.

2. Research the Competition

Now that you know what your customer is looking for, take a look at the competition in your area. What are they doing well in their own marketing? Take a look at their social channels, their websites, and their online reviews.

This view will give you a ton of insights into the overall experience they are providing for their guests.

Now examine your own marketing and your target audience. How do you stand out? How do you solve the problems that your target audience has and ease their fears and concerns better than your competitors do?

3. Leverage the Right Tools

Do you have the right tools to do the marketing that you need to do effectively?

This includes:

  • Social publishing and monitoring tools like HubSpot or HootSuite.
  • Email marketing and email automation tools like HubSpot.
  • Content marketing such as blog articles, downloadable materials, and landing pages.

You also need to consider your communication strategies with their guests. Positive marketing will not only engage potential guests, but it will also build a rapport with current customers and encourage them to become raving fans.

Text message marketing is a very effective way to streamline your communications and provide additional value. You can share promotional materials and discounts, information about your location, and enable two-way communication. 

Allowing your guests to text you gives them the ability to use technology that they are already familiar with to interact with you. They can send a text message to request towels, asked for a late checkout, or ask questions like when the pool is going to close.

4. Identify Your USP

Your unique selling proposition, or USP, helps you communicate to guests who you are as a business. It explains what you do, as well as how you do it differently from your competitors. It doesn’t have to be a special service that no one else offers. In the hotel industry, you can bet that most of your competitors offer the same basic services and amenities that you do.

In most cases, your USP is going to be more conceptual and based on the overall experience that you provide to your guests.

  • Is your experience more luxury or economical?
  • Do you provide unique access to local area attractions?
  • Is your hotel designed to be an all-inclusive experience — where they literally would not need to leave the hotel and could still have an amazing time?

When your customers know what they’re getting, they are more likely to book a room and keep coming back. Use your USP in your marketing to help your hotel stand out from the rest.

5. Find the Low-Hanging Fruit

You have a limited amount of time and resources to implement your marketing campaigns. Start by identifying the low hanging fruit that will yield results quickly.

Where can you focus 20% of your resources and achieve 80% of your results?

To figure this out, you would examine the different marketing channels and tactics that you’re using. Determine which ones are yielding results as well as which ones are not. Take a look at what modifications or adjustments that you could make to lackluster campaigns to improve their performance.

Identify the adjustments that could be done quickly with the biggest impact. Start with those to generate results faster as you work to improve your marketing strategy.

6. Launch a Trial Campaign

One of the biggest hangups in implementing any marketing plan is paralysis by analysis. You can spend so much time trying to make sure that something is perfect before you launch it that you miss out on a window of opportunity. You also can’t truly know what the results will be until you launch it — no matter how much experience you have with similar campaigns.

Instead of painstakingly trying to craft a pristine plan, get something launched quickly and use it to gather data. This trial campaign will help you understand what’s going to work and what won’t. You’ll be able to use that data and refinement as you go to build a stronger campaign.

7. Commit to Ongoing Iteration

Once you're up to speed, you should know that there's nothing wrong with a little iteration and tweaking. Your strategy should be purpose-built as a fluid document.

Your marketing strategy should never be set in stone. Markets shift, local attractions shift, mother nature changes travel plans, and many other factors can impact the success or failure of your campaigns.

You need to commit to an ongoing process of reviewing, revising, and implementing changes if you want to see success with your marketing.

Bonus: Use Additional Resources to Speed You Along

Now that you have a better idea of what your overall strategy should include, the next thing to consider is utilizing additional resources that you know work.

In our experience, we have learned a lot of things about what works and what doesn’t work for hotels. One thing we know for sure works is text message marketing.

We have compiled some of the best strategies into ready-made templates to help you get started with your text marketing today. Download our guide, the Text Marketing Playbook for Hotels and Resorts, and copy paste your way into effective and proven text messages.

The Hotel and Resort Text Message Marketing Playbook

Photo: Adobe Stock/Kadmy

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