In the travel industry, different companies have different resources available to them. But even if you don't have a huge marketing budget at your disposal, there are still plenty of things you can do to help your hotel stand out from the crowd. Being able to differentiate your hotel from competitors is essential and needs to be part of your strategy. Here's some steps you can take to achieve that:
1. Specialised channels. Different distribution channels are going to be more relevant to different market segments. Make sure you identify your market and have a presence on the appropriate channels. Whether you are a boutique hotel or remote B&B, the perfect distribution channels are out there.
2. Maximise your website. Your website is the backbone of your marketing efforts. As well as being responsive it also needs to reflect the unique features and characteristics of your hotel. Potential customers will use your website to get an idea of what your hotel is about. OTAs (online travel agencies) fall short of this as they are so heavily focused on price comparison.
3. A personal experience. Small businesses have an instant advantage over larger ones in that they can create a more personalised experience for customers. Think about the added extras you can offer customers; by forming partnerships with local attractions, restaurants and tours you can provide a customised (and more memorable) experience.
4. Showcase your USPs. Every hotel has elements that make it special. Whether it's your location, design or pet-friendly policy, you need to identify what makes your hotel distinctive and sell your USPs.
5. Recognise and reward loyalty. A great way to ensure that returning guests will continue to do so is to reward their loyalty. As the saying goes, it's far easier to keep a client than find a new one, so give discounts for repeat bookings made online, for example.
6. Get social. At the very least your business should have a branded presence on Facebook and Twitter. And the more social platforms you are on, the greater your credibility. Of course, the cardinal sin with social media is neglect; share news, photos, events and other interesting information with your audience in an informal, familiar way.
7. Streamline your booking process. If you don't have an online booking system you need to get one. If not, you are losing business on a daily basis. In order to increase conversions, you need to limit the number of barriers between your customers and the sale. Make it easy for visitors to your site to act on impulse.