If you’re a hotel owner, one of your principal concerns is likely to be marketing the product you offer – successful marketing after all keeps your bed occupancy high and the prospect of satisfied customers returning for their next holiday or business trip stay.
So, what counts when it comes to your marketing campaigns?
Many in the industry have put their money – and quite a lot of it – on attempting to influence the customer reviews that have come to be seen as something of a gold standard on which your guests are likely to make a booking. For better or for worse, you might have tried every effort to ensure that guests staying with you leave a glowing review on one of the many sites currently in existence.
Dispelling the myth
Through our regular surveys of the buying habits of holidaymakers, however, we have discovered that reliance on your “star rating” on travel review websites is likely to be misplaced.
The results of our latest survey – published in May 2017 – tends to turn on its head the importance you might have attached to review websites.
The reason for that is simple – only 7% of our respondents said that they placed any reliance upon review websites when deciding the hotel at which they wanted to stay.
Although the majority of holiday makers (86%) continue to use the internet to book their travel plans, far and away the biggest indicator for choosing any particular hotel was the fact that they knew it as the place they wanted to stay – 26% had already made the decision about which hotel they wanted to book.
The implications may be clear for anyone involved in the hospitality industry when it comes to marketing their product.
Reviews may continue to have some influence, but the ongoing, year-round drive of your marketing campaigns is likely to have even greater impact. To this end, therefore, you might want to draw on many of the other marketing tools that are available:
Since many travellers have already chosen their preferred hotel, for example, your marketing efforts might be directed towards building loyalty towards selected hotels – perhaps by running promotions, discounts or loyalty bonuses, for instance.
Certainly, that feature of customer behaviour places an emphasis on visitors to your website being able to search for the hotel they have in mind.
A consistent marketing effort also needs to be maintained in respect of your website’s content marketing, the use of engaging text and eye-catching images, your creative use of social media platforms and the potential for regular newsletters and emails to keep your customer-base fully informed and up to date.
Our survey showed that 86% of Britons buy their travel arrangements online.
In the month of February 2017 alone, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports that 4.2 million Britons travelled abroad – so the market continues to be huge.
Claiming your slice of that market requires an intimate knowledge of the way in which your customers are likely to make decisions about their travel plans and your ability to tap into the preferences and market choices that are clearly expressed.
Further reading: Travel Content Marketing Guide