Written by: Cristina García
There is a prior and post-booking tracking of your potential guest. And this follow-up is inherent to Inbound marketing methodology. If you need lessons and examples on how to apply this methodology for your hotel chain, you’re in luck:
First, you have to know who is the potential customer you want to attract. Make every effort you can in order to learn what attracts your guests and why they would choose your hotel instead of choosing the competition.
On the other hand, each hotel has to be different, special, memorable... You have to be able to distinguish your offer among the rest: with a unique experience. For that reason, working the branding that represents your hotel and your potential customers is fundamental when implementing any subsequent online marketing strategy.
As we said before, your identity is a combination of visual, emotional and communicative features. So your naming, logo, tagline, corporate colors, values, mission, philosophy, content... will have to show that your hotel is able to meet your customers needs.
For example, Hilton Wordlwide has created another brand, Tru by Hilton, for travel consumers (both business and leisure) who have a “milennial mentality”. Alexandra Jaritz, Global Head of this brand, defines these travelers as people who share the same values and have the same expectations and attitude when traveling. For these users it is important the high level of personalization and the promotion of experiences that create memories that matter.
At its inception, Tru by Hilton paid special attention to naming. With “Tru” that resembles the word “true”, they wanted to evoke the pillars of the brand. A simple and memorable name, according to Alexandra Jaritz. In addition, to visually differentiate the brand, they opted for vibrant colors, photos with energy, fun illustrations and graphic elements that evoke the logo created, which has nothing to do with Hilton’s origin.
Differentiation is essential when it comes to success. Remember that your hotel you have to make sure to create different emotions and present experiences that customers will always remember. You have to leave a great impression, because they will be the best ambassadors of your hotels’ brand. For that reason, you have to know your hotel as well as your potential clients.
And what is your goal? Define the profiles of your potential guests and achieve your brand awareness in an original way.
What strategies can you implement? Firstly, Inbound marketing methodology is not conceived without the development of buyer personas profiles, your potential clients. These profiles ease the implementation of any strategy as they start from a deep knowledge of the consumption trends of these travelers.
On the other hand, Branded content as part of the content strategy is a great option. It involves creating content that is indirectly related to your hotel brand. That is, they have to bring value, transmit emotions, and satisfy needs. And thus be able to connect consumers with your hotel’s brand, before even booking one of your rooms.
Your hotel is not just a place where your guests sleep. It is a place where they live new experiences. And depending on how satisfying they are they will have a better or worse image of your hotel. Because meeting the expectations of today's consumers means working on a marketing methodology that allows you to satisfy their wants and needs.
Maybe you thought your core business was your rooms. In part they are, but everything goes further. For a moment imagine that your hotel is in a big city. If you have well defined your potential client, you know that he will not spend many hours at your hotel, but when he does, he would like you to offer more than just a standard room and amenities.
For example, Moxy hotels, another Marriott line of business, are intended to attract young travelers who have been defined as fun-hunters by Global Brand Officer Tina Edmundson. She defines these travelers as people full of life. For them, Moxy offers common spaces where to carry out more activities; rooms without unnecessary closets, but with unusual bathrooms, etc. Because according to Tina Edmundson, these consumers are looking for something new and authentic experiences.
Surely, these travelers will want to visit museums, go to gastronomic restaurants, walk the streets of your city, go shopping, etc. In short, they would like to satisfy their cultural curiosity and their need for consumption. And even if they stay just for a few hours at your hotel, you need to complement this experience. Hence, you offer more than just rooms.
On the other hand, your hotel could be rural. Completely the opposite of urban. But the theory would be the same. What do you offer? Escape and tranquility, spectacular excursions in a unique environment...? Whatever it is, your potential client is interested in the experience he will get from his trip.
And what is your goal? Increase awareness of the experiences you offer, starting by offering an online experience that creates expectations that you are able to meet.
What strategies can you implement? Obviously, talking about Inbound Marketing, content is fundamental. And in the case of hotel chains, the format you choose to show this content is too. While a blog on your website is a must, you need to think that people want to see and almost touch experiences. Therefore, investing in video marketing is one of the best options. Because video is what most users consume nowadays. But if you want a more inexpensive alternative, you can always encourage your clients to make videos and share their photos in social networks. In this case, you will need to have a very active presence on your hotel’s platforms.
Many define Inbound marketing as the marketing that people love. The objective is to improve your revenue, obviously, but through a transaction that benefits the guest, who will end up being the best person to promote your hotel business. The value that people bring to your hotel is essential. More people talking positively about you means having a community that interacts and improves your reputation.
The ways to smooth this way is by satisfying your potential customers once again. As you know, today the place where people consume most content is on social networks. And on these platforms there are a number of personalities that can influence the consumption decisions of others. They are influencers.
Chains like Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide for its new business line Tribute Portfolio have decided to include these influencers in their social media strategy and for events organization. They can create compelling content for the potential client you are targeting.
In this case, Tribute used the social network of Instagram. This platform, with more than 300 million active users per month, has surpassed Twitter and, being so visual, serves as inspiration for many travelers. This is a great way to associate your brand with personalities that help you create a conversation that you can participate in.
And what is your goal? Encourage the growth of a community of value through your communication channels, which speaks of your brand.
What strategies can you implement? Participate in the conversation and provide content of value on your social media platforms. Leverage user-generated content in order to generate engagement through all the stages of Inbound marketing methodology.