Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 71 – The Things You Must Do Before Your Hotel Opens
Congratulations on your new hotel or resort adventure! Though inevitably a bit stressful, opening a new property is undoubtedly an exciting task.
Of course, you wouldn’t ever build and open your new property and just hope people show up. Rather, you will want to have a marketing plan in place to effectively promote your property in advance to generate interest and demand.
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Your brand is likely new and unheard of – so why should people care about yet another hotel? It is your job to convince them why.
Before any type of promotion or lead generation campaigns can begin, be sure you have developed the essential elements of your brand.
1. Have a website or landing page
You should have a website or, at minimum, a landing page for your property as soon as your branding is complete.
Key information pieces your website/landing page will need:
- High-quality images — showcase your destination/location, concept, lifestyle shots, and images of the property (if possible)
- General information related to the concept, opening date, etc.
- Contact page and information (phone number, email)
- Email collection pop-up
- Direct booking functionality
The primary function of your website – at this point – is to generate leads via email.
Booking functionality would also be great, if possible.
2. Social media
Social media channels are another area where your property will want to, at minimum, claim usernames relevant to your brand. We recommend setting up profiles and claiming usernames for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Be sure to follow best practices for setting up each social media channel, which includes:
- Using high-quality images for your profile photo and header photo
- Claim a custom URL that is relevant to your brand and keep the usernames consistent across channels, if possible
- Verify your account across all platforms
- Fill out all profile information
Great place to create buzz, connect with future guests, and generate leads.
Be sure to implement the Facebook pixel onto your site for later use!
Need a little inspiration? Check out our free guide – 75 Social Media Post Ideas For Hotels
3. Email marketing
As discussed earlier, your website/landing page and other marketing efforts should be a lead generating machine. Email is often the most lucrative marketing channel for hotels and resorts if done correctly.
A few things to keep in mind while you are building your email campaigns:
- Make sure you are legally obtaining all email addresses and other prospect information
- Use a reputable and trustworthy email vendor
- Segment lists appropriately and send targeted messages for the best performance
- Set up automated drip campaigns for the best efficiency
- Use technology that supports email personalization and testing to boost performance
The most basic list = newsletter (all subscribers) → share property news & updates, events, promotions, etc.
You can also get more granular – Ex: Facebook leads – exclusive offer
Remember, your goal at this point is to build a relationship with your prospects. 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 with your property.
4. Public relations
Public relations can be a crucial component when it comes to generating buzz and securing bookings prior to your open date. Public relations can also be used in tandem with specific promotions or campaigns to help amplify reach.
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 great 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?
Before you begin, your hotel should also have a comprehensive media kit to make outreach and pitches easier. Your press kit can be a standalone landing page or exist on a dedicated “press” or “media” page that also showcases existing coverage.
Integrating bloggers or influencers into the mix is another creative way to reach a qualified audience.
A long-term strategy, creating and distributing high-quality content that provides value to searchers can be an effective way to generate awareness and drive traffic back to your hotel website. Whether you want to curate content via a blog or create unique “guides” for your hotel or destination, any content produced should be well thought out and designed to be easy to access and navigate for both searchers and search engines alike.
Be sure to implement the SEO basics when it comes to publishing content to your site – this can make or break your organic search engine performance.
A few SEO tips to keep in mind include:
- Clean and intuitive URL structure
- Clever and concise article headline
- Enticing title tag and meta description
- Include relevant internal links throughout, where appropriate
- Include high-quality images with relevant image alt text
- Use headers to break up content or bulleted lists to make information easier to absorb
- Relevant calls to action throughout – what do you want this person to do? (ps – the answer is not always book!)
TIP: Content takes many forms! Consider adding video content, guides, infographics, and even sound content (ex: podcast) into your content mix.
Still not convinced? Hear our thoughts on the Fuel Podcast – “Does My Hotel Need A Blog?”
6. Local partnerships
Word of mouth is inarguably the oldest and most effective form of advertising. But how do you get started? Start small and build a solid reputation within your local community. Community partnerships can be valuable in not only acquiring referrals but also when it comes to other, more niche, marketing efforts, like link building (for search engine optimization).
Here are a few ways you can partner with the local community:
- Join your local chamber of commerce.
- Feature local artwork.
- Host local events.
Question from Ebrahim via Twitter: “How do I convince my happy guests to review online considering they have not booked or looked online before reaching the hotel.”
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