Written by: Galina Kulakova
What are the main objectives of your marketing efforts? To increase brand awareness and brand loyalty? Or maybe to educate your customers and to work on your reputation? There are many different marketing strategies for hoteliers and many tools you can use to achieve your goals, and creating your own hotel-branded magazine can be a great asset of your marketing strategy.
In this blog post, we will cover the following questions:
A corporate magazine is a well-known format of branded content. Its benefits have been realized by many different industries, and now, most of known brands have their own branded magazines.
Over 100 years ago, a tractor company of John Deere chose a radically new way in the pursuit of gaining the attention of farmers: instead of buying advertising or hiring salesmen, they created a custom print magazine, called The Furrow. The magazine was designed to educate farmers on new trends and developments of the industry. The company has become iconic with now over 1,5 million copies distributed over 40 countries.
The success of John Deere Company has motivated many to invest more in content marketing. Now, nearly every company that has a marketing strategy, works on creating quality content for their customers. Going hand in hand with content marketing, branded content strategy helps to create memorable associations with a brand. While there is a difference between content marketing and branded content, together these two strategies create a perfect mix for your marketing team.
A corporate magazine serves many purposes. According to a 2013 Custom Content Council study, the primary reasons of investing in magazine publishing are customer education, retention and brand loyalty.
Any service or product is about providing value. Hospitality is not an exception. Hoteliers seek to achieve satisfaction of their guests not only by providing the value customers expect, but also by “wowing” them with unexpected services.
Your branded magazine can become just that – a “wow” effect a stay
Not every corporate magazine brings value though. Be sure to design your magazine so that it provides your guests with educational content of interest, create articles in story formats about topics that are important to customer. Don’t try to sell your hotel too much, your magazine is not a commercial brochure. Include articles about the culture and history of destinations, about art and music, about news that may interest your guests.
As a part of branded content, your magazine is a media for promoting your brand through custom content. By choosing the topics related to your destination, you will not only be promoting your destination, but also your own establishment.
At the end, your magazine represents the story a brand is telling about itself
You can increase brand awareness by educating your customer about your sister properties and different destinations where you have your hotels. You are increasing the chances that next time your satisfied guests will choose your brand again.
Studies show that customers tend to trust brands less and less. In order to increase your guests’ loyalty, you need to work on creating strong long-lasting relationships with them. We all know that the best strategy to increase trust is to use user-generated content (UGC). You can take advantage of this format for your magazine, too. Create a section where you tell stories and experiences of your guests, and motivate them to share their stories with you if they would like to become a part of your next edition. Talk about special moments and memorable days for your guests and show that you care about them.
Imagine you had 20 min to talk to every guest.
Besides building trust, you can use your magazine to tell your guests about your loyalty program and the benefits the guests can get by joining it. Increase the number of members by spreading the word about your well-designed and beneficial loyalty club.
The cost of a magazine will not be a burden if you invest time in adding advertising pages. It is a tricky task though, as you need to make sure that your magazine maintains its editorial feel and does not give a perception of a catalogue. The best way to assure that your magazine does not get taken over by ads is to define an ad-to-content ratio at the start and to keep it through the creation of the magazine.
Also, make sure to include mostly (or only) relative ads that can actually interest your guests. Also, if you have choice, go for the visually appealing ads that will only add to your magazine’s style. This way, you will reduce any negative feelings of the guests that may arise because of the ads.
After processing all the reasons to invest in branded hotel magazine, you might still have a question: “Why to invest in the whole new project when my hotel has a wonderful blog that serves similar objectives as a magazine?”
The answer is simple: yes, the objectives might seem similar, but the formats are quite different, and in the long run, the two medias serve different purposes. A magazine is designed for actual guests of your hotel and its content is meant to educate and entertain guests during their stay as well as prior or after it. It is a complete product that has its story and its style.
A blog, on the other hand, is a media that serves you by educating your customers or potential customers prior to their arrival, it can be the first touch point with your brand and it can also be a motivation to decide to choose your brand instead of another one.
You should consider your magazine, just like you blog, as a part of a complex content strategy that consist of different formats and different medias that work together to reach the highest results.
Both. “Print is the new black” - they say, and it is now “non-traditional”, which makes it interesting and exciting.
A print custom-branded magazine is a perfect solution for hoteliers, as people enjoy a nice read during their holidays. By providing your guests with an in-room branded magazine, you will enhance their experience and will add value by providing a carefully designed custom content for your specific audience.
When on holidays, people don’t tend to stay on the internet as much, they would rather opt for disconnecting. And your magazine will only help them do it. To make the reading experience even better, hire a professional publisher to execute the production of your magazine so that you have the best choice of the format, the paper type and printing style for your magazine.
Once you have your print magazine, it will take you little time to digitalize your magazine. Digital magazine is a beneficial format that you can share it easily with your wider audience, for example, to include it to your newsletter.
Magazine website is the third format that you should convert your magazine to, as it is where you will keep all editions of your magazine, all stories and guides, and it will only be growing with each edition of your website. Create a custom website for your magazine and promote it so that people who have already read your print magazine can find online the articles they loved and share it. Your magazine website will be a great content resource for all your potential and current customers.
A hotel-branded magazine can be an essential element of your marketing strategy and can bring you important benefits, if you design it with your guests’ needs in mind. Create custom content of interest and see your guests’ experience improve and your brand loyalty increase. Best of luck!