Boutique is the buzzword on every traveler’s lips, and while this is great news for hotels keen to carve out their own identity against the backdrop of bigger names – to reap the benefits you need a strong marketing strategy in place.
Every day, potential bookings can be lost to competitors who are particularly savvy at elbowing their way to the front of the stage and being noticed.
It’s simply not enough to have a website; to be successful – you need a creative and effective content marketing plan.
Why Invest in Content Marketing?
Consumers in every industry are no longer looking for a faceless corporation to solve their problems, millennials are the ones spending and they are seeking a brand that offers a narrative that speaks to them.
Being raised on social media, they crave Instagram worthy lives, active engagement, and custom features. Content marketing can fill this niche and draw potential customers into your world.
Building a Beautiful World
The hotel industry needs to look beyond providing a bed for the night, the narrative should be driven by delivering a whole world through content marketing that guests want to step right into.
Current trends in the travel market are a firm reminder that boutique is big, and guests are keen to skip cookie cutter experiences in favor of cultural immersion and authenticity.
By understanding current trends, and listening to what your audience wants – you can work this into your content marketing and encourage conversions.
Marriott are a prime example of a brand that has embraced the art of content marketing. Their content studio releases a flurry of branded books, magazines, short films, documentaries, travel guides, and more.
Marriotts ability to weave a whole world around their name pulls guests in. Think outside the box, blogs are important – but they can be the tip of the iceberg.
Content marketing isn’t about dictating a message, it’s about delivering creative communication that cuts through the noise.
Collecting Visual Content
Studies have shown that we consume information differently when we view it online and this is why visual content is making such a splash. Rather than trawl through endless reviews and descriptions, potential guests are seeking visual stimulation prior to making their decision.
For hotels, this is a great trend, as the whole business is built around inspiring spaces, beautiful touches, and tantalizing local attractions – all Instagram worthy stuff.
Travel is a sensory experience, and you can use your content marketing to capture that.
Social media is one of the best platforms for sharing visual content so make sure you have your ducks in a row when it comes to Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Offering live video tours of rooms and hotel features, image collages of the surrounding area, and even encouraging your guests to share their photos and videos helps to convert enquiries into bookings.
Not only will potential guests feel as though they are taking less of a gamble if they can visualize what they are booking, but video content is also great for SEO.
Royal Caribbean are a great example of a brand turning to video content to connect with potential guests. By using the Periscope app as part of their ‘Come Seek’ campaign – real time experiences from visitors on board are captured and live streamed.
The result is a fresh, low cost and creative campaign that reflects current trends – experiential travel marketed in an authentic fashion.
Placing Yourself as an Expert
Search engines are getting smarter and for those hotels that want to be at the top of the google results chain – quality not quantity will get you there. Those hotels that go the extra mile and act as publishers rather than advertisers are the ones turning heads and climbing the SEO ladder.
Using in-depth travel guides published on blogs, recommendations of where to eat, explore, and a landslide of essential information that visitors want to know – you place yourself as the head concierge of your area – an investment that gets you noticed.
Marketing is changing and the hard sell is a turnoff for potential guests. By providing them with relevant, useful and completely credible content you can guide people naturally down the sales funnel.
Inspiring User Generated Content
A staggering 70 percent of travelers update their social media while on holiday. Whether it is sharing that drool worthy beach snap on Instagram or updating their Facebook status, your guests can subconsciously lend a hand in your content marketing plan.
Influencer marketing also falls into this category, working with Instagram influencers and travel bloggers is a low investment way of reaching a wider audience in a truly authentic way.
Work with an influencer whose brand ideals match your own, for example a luxury travel blogger if you are in the business of being boutique.
Invite the influencer to stay in exchange for a certain number of Instagram posts, social updates and a review to be shared with their following.
47% of internet users use ad blockers, which means influencer marketing can be a savvy way of shining through in a subtle way.
Photo contests from previous or current guests is another great way of engaging with potential guests, promoting your hotel, and keeping brand loyalty.
Encouraging guests to share a picture of themselves at the hotel with a certain hashtag and rewarding them with a free cocktail by the pool, or a room upgrade if they get a certain number of likes on the image is beneficial for both parties.
You get fresh sharable content and they get a small treat in return.
Active Engagement for Better Bookings
Content marketing is a must as part of an overall hotel digital marketing campaign, it helps you lead would be visitors through the gate and into your world.
Once you have piqued the interest of potential guests by offering useful information, inspiring images, and by proving that you care enough to engage with your audience, you can take the next step.
Building mailing lists, responding to reviews and comments, getting content shared, and building a solid list of resources – this all takes work, but it sets you apart from your competition, nurtures brand familiarity and converts visits to bookings.