December 16, 2022 · Alyssa Fate
Promote Your Hotel Before It Opens – 10 Strategies For Success
Though inevitably a bit stressful, opening a new property is undoubtedly an exciting task. Increasing brand awareness and generating demand will be key in ensuring your hotel is successful moving forward.
Prior to promoting your hotel before it opens, you’ll want to develop the essential elements of your brand, including your logo, color scheme and brand concept. You’ll also want to define your target audience and unique selling points. Without a hotel opening marketing plan, you cannot effectively communicate your message to your audience.
We’ve noted 10 strategies for success in promoting your hotel before it opens:
Jump to section:
- Create a website for your new hotel
- Claim local listings for your new hotel
- Social media marketing for your new hotel
- Promote your new hotel with email marketing
- PR strategy for your hotel opening
- Create relevant content on your website
- Use local partnerships to promote your new hotel
- Paid advertising for your new hotel
- Take advantage of sponsored placements and OTAs
- Track your data for future marketing decisions
How to Promote a New Hotel
1. Create A Website For Your New Hotel
Creating a website is the first step in your hotel opening marketing plan. You’ll need a clear space to showcase what you offer, collect guest information and data, and eventually, generate revenue. As soon as you have enough information about your new hotel concept, secure your domain and start mapping out your website needs.
Design the first iteration of your hotel or resort website using your brand guide, incorporating consistent messaging throughout. Your brand may continue to evolve, but consistency is key when using multiple channels to generate both awareness and interest.
Key elements your website should include:
- High-quality images — Highlight photos of the property, lifestyle shots and destination
- General information related to your new hotel, including opening date, etc.
- Contact page with up-to-date information
- Data collection, typically in the form of an email sign up to generate leads
- Direct booking integration if you’re ready to accept bookings
Once your website is up and running, check out our Step By Step Guide To Checking & Maintaining The Health Of Your Hotel Website.
2. Claim Local Listings For Your New Hotel
Local listings can make or break your search engine presence. Local listings not only take up a significant amount of space on the organic search results page for brand-related searches, but they also allow your hotel to show up in the local search pack for relevant non-brand search queries. The only information required to set up your local listings is a physical address, so do this as soon as you established a property site.
If you delay claiming your local listings, Google will be forced to populate information about your property. Even worse – someone else could claim your listing and input incorrect information.
How to claim your local listing on Google & Bing
Claiming a local listing requires a postcard to be mailed to your physical address. Once claimed, you’ll have the ability to specify amenity attributes, upload property images, and customize other information relevant to your hotel or resort.
On Google, specifically, you can also enable messaging. Searchers (and potential guests) can now easily ask questions about your new hotel from an SMS-style platform. It is free to use and can be useful if your hotel’s phone lines are not yet working.
Of course, there are many more listing sites across the internet that could feature your hotel’s NAP information. Luckily, several software providers can help you claim and manage these online listings to ensure accuracy and consistency.
3. Social Media Marketing for a New Hotel
Social media has proven to be an inexpensive (and necessary) marketing resource that provides a podium for you to be authentic, share your brand, build a following and engage with both past and potential guests. At a minimum, you’ll want to claim usernames relevant to your brand as early as possible. We recommend setting up profiles and claiming usernames for Facebook and Instagram.
Be sure to follow best practices for setting up each social media channel, which includes:
- Using high-quality images for your profile and header photos
- Claiming a custom URL that is relevant to your brand
- Maintaining consistent usernames across platforms (if possible)
- Verifying your accounts across all platforms
- Populating profile information
Your long-term social media strategy should include a well-thought-out plan for each platform. This includes defining a schedule and actively communicating with your audience after deciding on what types of content you plan to share on each channel.
4. Promote Your New Hotel With Email Marketing
When executed properly, email can often be a top revenue generating marketing channel for hotels.
A few things to keep in mind when building email campaigns:
- Ensure your users have explicitly opted in to receive communication
- Invest in a reputable and trustworthy software solution
- Optimize email for mobile and don’t ignore the subject line
- Track performance metrics that matter
- Segment lists appropriately and send targeted messages to improve performance
- A/B test elements of your email to improve performance
- Set up personalized and automated campaigns to nurture relationships
- Avoid sending too frequently to prevent fatigue
- Always provide value to prevent unsubscribes
Remember, your goal when opening a new property is to build a relationship with your prospective visitors. Your emails should generate excitement about your hotel, update leads on construction progress, inform them of any upcoming specials or events and ultimately, inspire them to book a stay.
Check out the top 5 email marketing trends for 2023.
5. PR Strategy for Your Hotel Opening
Whether you have 10 or 300 rooms, your hotel will offer a unique value. This might be value or experience, but only you can determine your USPs.
Public relations is a crucial component for generating awareness about a new (or existing) venture. PR communications can also be used in tandem with specific promotions or campaigns to help amplify reach during your hotel launch.
The first step in creating a PR campaign for your hotel or resort is to identify what is unique about your property. Of course, the initial announcement about your brand is a significant starting point, but carefully craft the details about your unique offerings and curate meaningful stories that will resonate with your target audience. Why are you special? Why should people travel to your destination and stay with you?
Ideally, your hotel should have a comprehensive media kit to make outreach and pitches easier. To get started, consider creating a landing page with construction progress. Update the photos regularly and share content via social media.
Leverage local media to alert the public of your progress:
As your hotel’s construction progresses and your opening date draws nearer, create press releases to alert your local media and spread the word. Taking the time to write and send your press release to local news outlets offers a FREE opportunity to put your business in front of a larger audience.
6. Create Content on Your New Hotel Website
Creating and distributing high-quality content that provides value to searchers is a long-term search engine optimization strategy. Not only is content creation an effective way to generate awareness about your new property via an increase in rankings, but can also drive traffic back to your new hotel website.
Whether you want to write top-ranking blog articles or create unique “guides” for your destination, all content should be well-thought-out and easy to digest for searchers (and search engines).
A few SEO best practices to keep in mind:
- Write about topics that people are searching for based on keyword research
- Make sure you’re checking out the competition
- Create pages and posts using a clean and intuitive URL structure
- Optimize your on-page header tags
- Craft enticing title tag and meta descriptions that include your focus keyword
- Add relevant internal links throughout your copy where it makes sense
- Use high-quality images with relevant (and optimized) image alt text
- Take advantage of descriptive headers to break up content
- Make use of bulleted lists to ensure information is easy-to-read
- Include relevant calls to action
- Add schema markup, or structured data, where it makes sense
- Track your content’s target keywords and submit your new pages for indexing
TIP #1: Content takes many forms! Consider adding video content, guides, infographics and even audio (ex: podcast) into your content mix.
TIP #2: Use the press release(s) you create as content on your website or blog.
7. Use Local Partnerships to Promote Your New Hotel
WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing can be an effective form of marketing a new hotel. Start small and build rapport within your local community. Partnerships can prove valuable in not only gaining referrals but also in other, more niche marketing efforts, like link building (for search engine optimization).
Integrating bloggers or influencers into your hotel marketing plan is a creative way to establish local partnerships and reach qualified audiences.
More ways you can partner with the local community:
- Join your local chamber of commerce. The chamber’s primary job is to support local businesses, so make use of this powerful resource. Attend networking events and introduce yourself to other local business owners. Host an event at your property post-opening to draw in new visitors and showcase your efforts.
- Host local events. Does your property feature on-site dining or event space (or another unique amenity)? Utilize your space to host local events. From a guest chef to a unique yoga class featuring a local instructor, local partners can help promote your event to their loyal followers to draw in a crowd.
- Connect with nearby restaurants. As a new business, the success of your local economy will soon become a priority for you. Partnering with local restaurants near your new hotel is a great way to increase brand awareness while also encouraging your guests to spend their money within your community.
- Feature local artwork. Featuring local art is a win/win for hotels. Not only does it allow you to support local artists and help them promote their business, but it can also help your hotel save a little money on decor.
- Push local transportation services. Does your destination have a thriving nightlife scene? Recommend that your guests use local taxis or limo services for a safe and fun night out on the town.
8. Paid Advertising For Your New Hotel
Hotel SEM: Pay Per Click
Typically, capitalizing on brand terms via pay per click campaigns on both Google and Microsoft is a must in hotel marketing. However, when you’re marketing a new hotel, demand for your brand might not exist yet.
In this scenario, non-brand SEM campaigns might prove to be a better option, though the return will not be nearly as lucrative as your primary aim will be to generate awareness and drive traffic.
A few tips for setting up PPC for your new hotel:
- Do your research – non-brand keywords can be competitive and expensive
- Define your goals – are you looking for leads, bookings, or both?
- Set up proper conversion tracking so you can accurately monitor performance
- Explore branded campaigns as awareness (and competition) increase
- Continue to optimize your campaigns, for both performance and intentions
Paid Social Media Marketing for Hotels
Social media can also be a great channel to generate both leads and awareness about your property. To get started, be sure your site includes the Facebook pixel. This will allow you to reach unique and highly qualified audiences and invite them to “like” your page or revisit your website. Similarly, you can create different ad formats on social media to achieve different goals when targeting different parts of the conversion funnel.
- ‘Like ads’ can be used to capture relevant top-of-funnel- audiences
- ‘Video ads’ can be used to generate awareness visually about your hotel
- ‘Lead-Generation Ads’ can be used to capture leads and guest data
- ‘Website Click Ads’ can be used to drive traffic to your website
Display Advertising for Hotels
Display advertising and remarketing are avenues worth exploring for generating awareness and demand, as well as converting leads. Use display advertising and remarketing campaigns to both notify and remind potential guests of your new hotel.
Display ads are meant to capture the attention of a potential guest.
- Use a strong call to action in your headlines.
- Be creative and bold with your ads – this is your chance to be front and center.
- Craft copy that will excite and entice searchers.
- Target your ads to those most likely to interact with your brand.
- Monitor and track performance of your demand generation campaigns.
Metasearch for Hotels:
Once you have confirmed that your hotel’s PMS or booking software has the ability to integrate with or feed rates to metasearch engines, you’ll know whether or not you need to budget for and incorporate this marketing channel into your hotel launch strategy.
Set up as either a commission or cost per click model, metasearch allows you to secure additional paid real estate on the search engine result page.
Learn more about why metasearch matters for hotels.
Claim your FREE hotel listing on Google:
In March 2021, Google announced the addition of free hotel listings to Google Hotel search. Google’s organic metasearch listing is a free booking link that appears below paid Google Hotel Ads. Prior to this, Google required hotels to bid for positions in the local pack of hotel listings shown in the SERPs.
Within the free hotel listings that Google is now offering, hotels will have a specific set of standards by which Google will rank these new organic listings. The most important factor is price accuracy within your rate feed. If this isn’t something you have set up for your hotel, Google has a number of integration partners that can assist.
After price accuracy, Google has a set of ranking factors that will determine where your hotel will show in these organic listings. These are the factors:
- Rate – Parity
- Price Coverage – Length of stay and booking window
- Landing Page Experience
- Are you sending users to your booking page on-click?
- The landing page must prominently display the room and rate selected.
- Additionally, the landing page needs to show the same rate selected.
- The page also needs to load in a reasonable time.
- Click-Through Rate
9. Take Advantage of Sponsored Placements and OTAs
Throughout the hospitality industry, you’ll hear contradictory information regarding the use of online travel agencies (or OTAs). The fact is that OTAs are necessary in some instances as part of your overall hotel marketing strategy.
During the infancy of your hotel, participation on OTAs may be necessary in order to generate bookings, (as visitors to the area might not know about your hotel otherwise).
Once the guest is on-site, it’s your job to provide an exceptional experience, build a relationship and show them the value of booking direct in the future.
Here are two initial steps to help take advantage of OTAs:
Establish a Presence on OTAs:
With so many travelers using OTAs to compare hotels, rates and amenities, your hotel might be missing out by not being present on OTAs. Ultimately, your goal for establishing a presence on OTAs is to gain global visibility for your hotel, while building your brand awareness.
Once you’ve determined your hotel’s business objectives including your target audiences, you can better determine which OTAs might work best for your hotel brand. For example, Expedia performs best for luxury or 5-star hotels while Airbnb caters more to solo travelers.
TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements:
Another paid advertising platform worth considering during your hotel launch is TripAdvisor – specifically, Sponsored Placements. Sponsored Placements aid in promoting your new hotel to a larger audience while driving direct bookings. Your hotel will be shown to ready-to-book travelers looking for the best accommodations in your area.
TripAdvisor has a number of other paid advertising opportunities, but we recommend taking advantage of Sponsored Placements initially, and considering additional options later.
Best Practices for OTA and TripAdvisor participation:
- Regularly update your hotel’s features and settings
- Use high-quality images
- Respond to positive and negative reviews
- Include details about why your hotel is unique
10. Track Your Data for Future Hotel Marketing Decisions
All of your marketing efforts should be tracked. How else will you measure the results of your efforts? If you’re new to analytics, Google Analytics is the most widely used analytics tracking platform (and it’s free to use). Tracking your marketing efforts from start to finish offers visibility into what’s working and what’s not, as well as provides historical data to reference throughout the years. Keep in mind, Google Analytics 4, Google’s next-generation measurement solution, will be officially replacing Universal Analytics.
Ready to see positive results from your hotel launch campaigns? Contact us today.