Imagine this situation…
Mark wants to book seven days for his family on mountain Kopaonik in July. However, Mark is not sure whether Kopaonik can be interesting for children during summer when there is no snow, skiing or sledding. So Mark goes to Google and searches for “Summer Activities for kids Kopaonik”.
Search results mostly show the hotels’ offers, but Mark does not need a hotel now because he is still not sure about the destination. However, one result is highlighted, and the article is titled “Why should you spend summer on Kopaonik with children”.
That’s exactly what Mark was looking for, and after clicking, Mark already reads this useful article with lots of useful tips for families and parents with children about how to make the most of spending the summer on Kopaonik. And then Mark sees that he is actually on the website of the apartment that is completely dedicated to families with children. Mark explores the site and sees that the apartment offers an extremely large number of children’s facilities, and the prices are very affordable.
This is great! – thought Mark.
Not only has Mark now definitely decided that Kopaonik is the right destination, but he immediately found accommodation for his family.
Both Mark and the owner of the apartment are satisfied.
In this case, these apartments earned over 1200 Euros, which is the price of Mark’s family stay, and they did it thanks to content marketing.
So let’s see what content marketing is and how to make it even better!
Competition in tourism and the hospitality industry is getting stronger. More and more hotels are being opened and it is extremely difficult to maintain the desired occupancy of the hotel, and in particular to achieve growth.
These huge changes have been brought by the so-called OTA (Online Travel Agencies), such as Booking. These websites, although often bringing a large number of guests, take a large fee for this activity. If they want to achieve a greater number of direct reservations, hotels (and all others in tourism) need to become much more serious about content marketing.
The content of your website, blog, and your profiles on social networks is what can be used smartly and can bring you much more revenue than you think. ‘’Content is the king’’ – that is the rule that has been present in the digital world for a couple of years, or translated: if you have good content, you will achieve the desired goals, and the opposite: if you do not have good and high-quality content, your well-designed website and paid ads on Facebook, Google, and other sites will not help you at all.
The hotel’s content marketing focuses on creating content that is relevant for your target group (for your guests) and that meets their needs. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to attract as many people as you can and to get more direct reservations.
In order to create a successful content marketing strategy, you will need a lot of time and effort to set it up, but it’s all worth it, especially when you do not have to give commission to an agent. An effective strategy includes all, from the users’ experience and market research to the choice of channels and platforms, deciding on visual content, and the measurement of results. In other words, content marketing is a process that requires a lot of effort to achieve the desired goals.
Here are 20 tips to help you set up your content marketing strategy more effectively.
But, before you start…
1. Get to know your target group well
Although this implies that too many hotels make a mistake addressing everyone, and in the end, their message reaches no one.
You cannot have an offer that meets everyone’s needs. While everyone can stay overnight in your hotel, you need to be more focused on a particular target group. If you have an object for everything, no one will come to you. Tourists today want personalized service tailored according to their preferences. You cannot adapt your hotel to meet everyone’s needs, so consider which segment of the market you can offer the most. This is important because the entire content you create should be intended for the target group you choose to specialize for.
Think about whether you are a hotel for young people or for families with small children, or perhaps for retirees? Are in your target group tourists that are interested in health tourism or mountaineers and adventurers? Or maybe business people or those who travel for leisure?
Do not stop here… Continue to think carefully about the needs of your target group, what are their interests, what they are looking for, their demographic structure and purchasing power, what are their consumer habits and preferences, etc.
The better you know your target group, the better you will know what kind of content you need to create and it will be much easier for you. And in general, the basic pre-requisite for any part of Internet marketing is good knowledge of the target group.
2. Create a mobile-friendly website
Mobile phones and tablets bring an increased number of visitors to travel websites. You probably already have more visitors on the website from mobile devices than from desktop computers. Have you checked that in analytics? That’s why the basic question is: Is your website optimized for mobile devices?
You will not see the effects of good content if users can not access it from their phone. You can use Google Mobile-friendly test to check if your website is ready for mobile visitors:
3. Set the goals for your marketing content
When you set your target audience, it’s important to know why are you creating content for them. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve with the content you post on the website, blog and social networks?
Of course, you want more direct reservations, but, you should set specific goals for every piece of content you create. Do you want to increase the visibility of your hotel, or to strengthen your brand, get new guests or increase the number of visitors to your website?
Set your goals so and set up metrics, otherwise, you will not even know whether you achieved it.
4. Include the hotel staff
Nobody knows the hotel better than its employees. You may be in charge of marketing, but in designing and creating content it is also desirable to include employees who have a great knowledge of their sector in the hotel and a great passion for their business.
Publish some of your chief cook’s recipes, present the maid and the gardener on Facebook posts, and make an interview with the general manager – there are many opportunities for interesting content.
5. Do not write unprofessional content
Did you hire a professional to arrange the hotel interior or was it done by an amateur? Think the same way about your online content.
You may have a good deal for your guests, but if that offer on the website (or Facebook post) is matched with poorly written and incoherent text, you will not get many bookings.
Creating content tailored for a specific target audience that can cause the desired action from them (buying, booking, clicking, filling in the form, etc.) is not a skill everyone possesses.
6. Upload professional photos, videos, and virtual tours
Quality photos of your accommodation can do the sales for you. People just like to see where they will sleep, shower, eat and spend time. Hire a professional photographer and point out the best from your hotel. Still, do not exaggerate and bounce off too much from reality.
We all know that a picture tells a thousand words. People are less and less willing to read a thousand words, but watch photos and videos with great pleasure. If you do not provide guests with such visual content, they will search for them on social networks, Google, YouTube, Trip Advisor, etc., and they can see all kinds of things there.
The video is becoming increasingly popular form – do not avoid it. Set professional recordings, not longer than 5 minutes on your website, and no longer than 1 minute for social networks.
7. Do not run away from comments and guest reviews
Sharing and retelling of experiences is in human nature, and more and more people read reviews and comments from previous guests when choosing the hotel they will be staying in.
Many hotel owners avoid these reviews because it is inevitable that there will also be the negative ones. However, did you know that the presence of negative reviews actually increases your credibility?
Potential guests know that no hotel is perfect. In fact, 88% of consumers trust online comments and reviews as well as recommendations from friends.
If you accept criticism and respond to it properly, you will get credibility in the eyes of other potential guests who will read it, and maybe an unhappy guest will provide you another opportunity.
8. Design your content style and adhere to it
You should create the content-creation procedures – how photos are uploaded on different channels, what size should be used, what kind of copy goes with them, and so on.
These templates may take a little more time in the beginning, but they will also bring you recognition and save time later. Moreover, this will make it easier for more people to do the job, or when “introducing” a new person – it’s much easier if there is a pattern that is being monitored.
9. Tell your story, be different
Storytelling, or telling a story, is currently the biggest trend in content marketing. The stories are interesting and people love them. The story can sometimes be told with just one photo. Create your own little everyday stories but also those that are characteristic of your hotel.
Make sure you tell the stories of your hotel, not copy the stories of others that are interesting to you.
When mentioning the stories, are you using Instagram Stories? Check this post about using Instagram Stories in travel marketing.
Now is the right moment to take advantage of the data from that research on your target group: what kind of stories would they want to hear about you? Let’s say, for example, that you are a hotel that offers health treatments and mud treatments for rheumatism and skin diseases; tell your potential guests stories of successful treatment with the best results. That’s what your target group wants to read.
Think differently. Have you noticed that most hotel sites resemble each other?
They all have a few lines about nearby attractions, a location that is an oasis of peace, comfortable rooms, and so on. They are like those same boring messages in political campaigns, aren’t they? Think “out of the box” about some different ways to present your offer, use your content and make it positively different, which will be real refreshment for every visitor.
10. Emphasize important information
It’s just unbelievable how many times I had to dig dip on hotels’ and other travel websites just to find some basic information: address, pricelist, information about meals, booking form, etc.
It’s easy to have all the fancy details on the website, but do not forget the basic information that people need. Your website is there to provide answers and therefore highlight what people are most interested in.
Also, I often did not manage to find the website’s address on Facebook pages. Fill in your profiles and pages on social networks and enter as much basic information as possible or, more precisely, give as many answers as possible.
11. Optimize Your Content
Famous SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is still an extremely important thing for any online content. You need to know some Internet writing rules so as to know how to make the basic optimization of the content you are creating in order to rank it better on Google and other search engines.
SEO in 2018 is almost completely different than it used to be. It’s no longer enough just to put your desired keywords into content. The search engines have become smarter and now they recognize the high-quality content.
In essence, everything comes down to quality. No optimization will help poor content; however, if you have a good content, you can optimize it by helping search engines to index it better and get higher positions in search results, and therefore, more visibility and increased number of visitors.
12. Links are still very important
Building a network of links means building the reputation. The more websites link to you, the better your website and content will be ranked by search engines.
It is also important that you get links from high-quality websites that are somehow related to your business. So, it’s not the same whether you will get a link from a travel and hospitality related website or from a website that sells car tires. While the link to the first will mean an additional reputation for you in the eyes of the search engine, the other one may only confuse the search engines and cause more damage than benefits.
Keep in mind that link exchange is not a good tactic after Google’s new algorithm, so-called. Penguin – you risk your site being penalized, i.e. that Google completely removes it from all its search results, which you do not want. Avoid exchanging links!
The solution is, once again, high-quality content, to which others will willingly link even without asking them to do so.
13. Act locally
Think about what your potential guests will search and what for you represent a great search result and create your content based on that.
Although the phrase “hotel in Rome” has higher search volume on Google, it’s probably a better idea to optimize well for the phrases like “hotel in Soho” or “hotel near Buckingham Palace”, because people who are searching these more specific queries already know in advance what they want and your offer is more relevant to their search query.
Try to rank well for more specific phrases, where it’s easier to get to the first positions and for whose search queries you will be the best result.
14. Translate content for foreign markets
If you see that many of your website visitors come from Sweden, then it is not enough for you to have the English version only – make specific pages in both Swedish and in any other language which is needed.
Do not use Google Translate and similar tools, hire professional translators, and then hire someone to whom this language is native to check all the content and find some possible mistakes in the context. Even if you use some of the automated translation tools, state clearly that translation was done using that tool and that translation errors can be expected.
Also, use other languages in the posts on social networks, and your advertising campaigns and when placing a link to a particular offer on your website, let the so-called landing page also be in that language.
15. Regularly update and upload new content to your website
Google and other search engines give higher positions in search results to those websites that update their content more frequently. Also, potential guests are looking for new and fresh information. It is, therefore, important to regularly update the content on your website.
Update prices, special offers and any news in your hotel regularly. Why some hotels write blogs? Because of the fresh content on the website!
Blog is the best way to keep up with the fresh content. Write about the attractions and events in your destination, about the recipes from your restaurant; make an interview with the general manager, etc.
Besides getting better positions on Google, you will also show visitors the other side of your hotel that cannot be often seen on ordinary hotel websites where only rooms, restaurant, photos, location and booking form are presented, and you will be distinguished from the competition which can be very important.
16. Be sociable
Use social networks in a professional way.
Although they should be used in a professional way, this does not mean that you need to have a corporative boring approach. Social networks offer you an ideal opportunity to present your offer in an informal way, as you may not be able to do it on the website.
Use the opportunity to be witty and interesting. Choose the right voice for social networking. How? Well, remember your research on the target audience of your hotel. Who are these people, what do they want to hear from you, how can you address them? You need to have all these answers in your target audience analysis, and if you do not have one, do the analysis again, in great detail. This will help you to craft your social media messages to the specific needs and interests of your audience.
Create a content strategy for each social network. Do not accidentally post the same posts on Twitter and Facebook. Every social network is different!
17. Coordinate the distribution of content through different channels
There are several places on the internet where the potential customer can see your offer: hotel website, social networks, blogs, e-mail, etc.
You have to show prepared content for each of these channels because each one has certain specifics. Also, design the procedures for placing content across these channels: when to post, who should post, and so on.
18. Regularly analyze
Do not be afraid to look at your analytics. Do it daily, but make sure you know how to read what the analytics data tells you.
It’s not enough to just follow the analytics. It gives us valuable data from which we can make decisions about possible changes and further actions in our content marketing activities to be taken.
Look at pages that have higher visibility and are ranked well on Google. Make more of these pages. Find pages with low visitor numbers, which are not popular and that visitors leave early (high bounce rate). Analyze these pages, try to make the conclusion why they are not performing so well and change them, or, in the end, delete them.
As you can see, much has to be taken into account so as to have an effective content marketing for a hotel. However, it’s worth it, many hotels have proven this.
The content is not something that just fills in the place around the booking form on your website. What’s more, the content is the reason why guests will use your booking form!