Opening a new hotel requires a full headspace, apart from the
actual physical space for your property. It’s not the actual physical
property and the material things that go inside it, that form the crux of your
brand image and selling point. The online presence of your hotel, that usually
gets ignored in the bustling process of building a hotel from ground up,
ensures your future prosperity, as a hotelier.
It is absolutely out of the question for you to ignore your
digital marketing plan and strategy as a budding hotelier, that is if you want
your venture to flourish. In today’s day, having an existing strategy will get
you group business and revenue, not only for the first few opening months, but
it will also help you avoid setting the hotel up for over-reliance on online
travel agencies such as TripAdvisor, in the long term. Getting more direct
business from the very beginning ensures that the property will build a
transient audience base, while also engaging and successfully retaining past
Due to an abundance of new hotels cropping up daily, there is an
increase in supply of available hotel rooms, especially in metropolitan cities.
There is increased competition for every hotel, on a ratio basis; hence, having
a social media strategy/marketing strategy is of the utmost importance.
The allure of a new and shiny hotel is just not enough, in the current
Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself, way before
the actual construction starts.
- What must be included in the pre-opening
- What is my brand idea?
- What are my goals for market
positioning and profit extraction, without relying on third parties?
Here are the answers to your questions…
Before you start to build your online presence, you must solidify
what your vision for your brand is. More often than not, upon addition of new
investors, the vision for your hotel might change. Each new individual brings
some suggestions to the table and slowly, starting from point A, your idea
jumps to point D. It is a good idea to have one, unidirectional plan, so as to
avoid confusion of ideas and clutter.
Knowing your target audience is one place you could start from.
Your marketing strategy will change as the progress on the hotel evolves.
Different stages will require different ways of tackling marketing needs. A
marketing agency will build your marketing plan, as close to your brand
identity as possible. Hence, it is advisable to have clarity on the same.
SEM (search engine marketing) ad copy and GDN (Google display
network) banners are your best bet, for marketing your hotel in the initial
Goals and Bars for creating digital awareness.
- Focus on KPIs (Key Performance
Index) like impressions, website visitors, domain building, and generating
a social following, over social media platforms and email.
- Closely monitor website traffic,
with metrics like the bounce rate, rate of initiated bookings, time spent
by a prospective client on site, and the ultimate conversion rate.
This strategy might not give return to investments in the initial
time period, but creating a buzz for your brand will ultimately generate
revenue in the long run. It all boils down to educating the target audience
about the future hotel’s existence.
What are your brand’s unique selling points?
There is a dire need to identify that distinguishing factor, which
separates an up and coming hotel from pre-existing hotels in the market. This
aspect is important for building an effective website, which generates revenue.
Start by making a list of ten or so unique selling points that will resonate
with your customer base and their liking.
You must think beyond the obvious promotion of “luxurious
amenities” or “based in a locality with tourist attractions”. If all the rooms
on the property feature a balcony and outdoor seating; mentioning this on your
website is a more viable option.
These features will form the crux of all your future marketing
undertakings, merchandising on the website and a means for you to craft special
offers and discounts.
Have a landing page for your venture, ready as soon as you decide
what your brand stands for.
To create a buzz for your hotel, have a landing page ready on your
website. A pre-opening website will enable you to excite future guests, provide
information on the brand’s mission and career opportunities, as well as recent
news on the development/progress on the hotel. Hoteliers must ensure that they
have a digital presence for their hotel the moment the domain URL is obtained
and brand guidelines have been decided upon.
Your landing page must also be backed up by a content management
system (CMS), which will serve by quickly and easily updating information on
your website. Adjust the website’s content as and when required, generally for
informing your guests about the available amenities, names of various
rooms/suites, and more.
From a technical point of view, the pre-opening website begins to
gain ranking on the search engine results pages, which will build the
foundation for the main website for your hotel.
The goal is to generate awareness for the hotel, and reach the
right consumer circle. Now is the time to put all of your information, out
there; like details about the destination etc.
- Search Engine Marketing: In the
case of a hotel that has no current brand awareness, will enable
information to reach a wider spectrum of users, at the top of the purchase
pyramid. This will create interest for people to initiate a stay in the
future and circulate the name and brand of the new hotel.
- Google Display Network: Use HTML5
banners over other ad types to spread your reach. Go for in-market
audience targeting. These banners are better accepted by ad servers,
readability is better, and cannot be blocked by ad-blockers. You must use
these banners to highlight a unique selling point that would have mass
- Gmail Ads: Email advertising has
its benefits in the fact that your reach expands too non-interest target
groups. It also enables you to target users with emails from competitors.
These steps must be taken six to eight months prior to the actual
opening of the hotel.
Give special offers, discounts and packages.
Introduce a Grand Opening Special Offer/Package and promote it via
the pre-opening website, SEM, Social Media, etc. Always aim for 3- 5 offers
live at a moment because too many and too few offers, both, cause users to lose
Special membership rates (e.g. student, govt. & military,
senior citizens etc.) are good to have.
Having the option for advanced purchase packages and discounts can
also prove helpful.
Use the awareness you just generated for your brand.
While continuing all of your initial marketing strategies, an
hotelier should merge the changing demands of his venture as and when required.
There will be a shift in targeting and messaging according to the offers or
packages your company is providing.
- Smart Data Marketing: First
party data from airlines and travel partners is used to reach users who
intend to travel to the destination of your establishment. Promote direct
booking and flaunt your selling points through these third parties.
- TripAdvisor: Put yourself on this
platform and run ads based on location, property images etc. Utilize the
advertisement opportunities OTAs provide.
- Native Ads: These ads are to blend
into the website, alongside editorial content that gives information about
when the hotel is opening, its accommodation and locality.
As evolution is a process, with the development taking heed,
digital marketing will be a time of learning and optimizations. Slowly you will
begin to understand the type of user who is on the receiving end of your
It is required of you to have openness, to run new things and
recognize redundancy. Mold your approach when changes arrive.
The grand opening.
Your digital marketing strategy has done its required bit. Now,
you must add that extra oomph, to take your venture and your expectations, up a
Create a multi-channel grand opening campaign, having the support
of an offer that is hard to resist. This should hold true for you prime
audience, be it local or foreign. Throw a party, pick a theme, and show your
culture and luxury, together.
Opening a hotel is no easy task, but one must do it right, if on
the path to opening one. Hoteliers need to have a well thought out digital
marketing strategy, along with strong incentive to promote their venture
properly. Without proper planning or the launch of the right campaigns, a new
hotel will open with minimal occupancy and reach, ultimately, ending up dependent
upon online travel agencies for bookings.
If you want to learn and grow your hotel business with the help of social media, join this thriving community for interesting discussions: