How to Market Your Hotel Today for Success Tomorrow

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | August 01, 2011

In today’s operating environment, hotel marketing strategies have put an overwhelming emphasis on immediacy. And with good reason; with demand and average rates at or near historic lows in many markets, marketing is needed to reinforce occupancy and keep a property fresh in consumers’ minds. The fact is, hoteliers are more concerned about their marketing programs drawing in new guests right away than about developing a brand or laying the groundwork for a successful 2013.

While understandable, this is ultimately a shortsighted approach to hotel marketing. Setting a discounted rate and blasting out an announcement about it may yield some short-term results, but at what long-term cost? How will heavy discounting affect the brand over the next year or 18 months? How will loyal customers react to the initiative? These considerations should be weighed as carefully as ROI projections.

Fortunately, positioning your hotel for future success and accomplishing your short-term marketing goals are not mutually exclusive concepts. There are several ways to market your hotel for future success without compromising the pressing needs of today. In many cases, these tactics don’t even involve large financial investments, but rather rely upon a focus on multiyear aims; good analysis of markets, customers, strengths and weaknesses; the utilization of emerging technologies; and a strong brand identity.

Many of the marketing hints below are rooted in common sense, and can seem quite obvious when taking the long view of things, but often get trumped by the unrelenting urgency of now. So let’s get started sowing your property’s seeds of success.

Reach the right demographics

This is marketing 101 and it holds especially true when you’re planning for long-term success. Define your audience, segment it in terms of demographics, and target them with relevant messaging. Too often hospitality marketers cast the widest net possible, acting under the rationale that a mass market approach will attract the most potential customers.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.