How do you make guests choose you over your competitors? That’s the simple question surrounding any marketing campaign in the accommodation sector. Your marketing campaign needs to highlight your brand in the best possible way, acting as a window to the accommodation you’re offering.
It might sound simple, but there’s a number of pitfalls to watch out for. This guide has been created by selfie frame supplier Where The Trade Buys, to take you through some of the more detrimental errors of a marketing campaign, so you know what to look out for and how to avoid them.
Lacking clear, quality images
Images are the best way to attract new and existing customers. How many times have you seen a brochure or email ad for a hotel or B&B that didn’t include at least one or two attractive photos?
Guests expect to see where they will be staying. In fact, according to a report created by digital agency, Bright North, poor image quality reduces the chance that a potential customer will choose you over your competitors. The term: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ was apparently coined by Frederick R. Barnard and is something anyone marketing within the accommodation industry should bear in mind. Before booking, consumers want to be assured that the modern bathroom and spacious living space you claim your venue offers is true — so don’t ruin the illusion and turn consumers away by placing an image with a poor resolution on your brochure, leaflets and outdoor banners. Or even worse, not providing a photo at all.
Neglecting brochure marketing
There’s a preference for printed media in the accommodation sector, both from guests and employees. According to a survey of 1,560 hospitality professionals conducted by the Center for Marketing Technology (CMT), 98% of front desk staff would choose printed media and 94% of hotels deliver information to guests via a brochure display.
Print marketing certainly gets a positive response too. According to an experiment by TrueImpact, customers use less mental effort to process a printed ad as opposed to a digital one, and they are able to remember print more easily after seeing it than digital. Evidently, brochure and this industry go hand in hand — so don’t miss your opportunity to advertise your establishment by not investing in a brochure marketing campaign.
Advertising language is far more than just putting words to paper. So, don’t rush into writing a promotional leaflet or other type of ad without taking time to consider every word you’re using.
Whether it’s a weekend or a week away, guests want that holiday excitement in the build-up to staying. That means you must use language that embodies and emphasises this level of excitement. Words like: ‘entertaining’, ‘delicious’, ‘wonderful’, ‘relaxing’, ‘luxurious’, and ‘beautiful’ to describe rooms and facilities are great options. Although you mustn’t pack your marketing material with too much text. Instead, peppering your content with favourable and engaging words can make the difference between enticing your potential customer and losing their interest.
No branded products on offer
Have you considered getting branded items for your venue, such as pens or bathrobes? According to a survey, 80% of people can recall a brand after receiving a promotional product, while 58% of people keep a promotional product for one to over four years. If you want to encourage repeat custom, perhaps this marketing tactic is one you should adopt today.
By offering branded products, you’re showing your guests that you’re proud of your brand. L.J Market Research found that over 50% of people in a survey eventually became a customer of a brand after receiving a promotional product from them — can you afford to miss out on this opportunity? Consider ordering a batch of promotional items that you can hand out at trade shows or that people could use in public to enhance your marketing ROI.
Ignoring online reviews
In the hospitality and accommodation industry, online reviews can make or break your brand. According to statistics, there are around 455 million unique visitors and a million hotels on TripAdvisor — that’s a huge pool of potential customers that can read a single bad review and be dissuaded from choosing your business.
What can you do to keep your brand looking great online? A great way to keep negative opinions off global, independent review sites is to be savvy with your social media activity. If you have a disgruntled customer, it’s likely that they want a response to their issue and will initially choose your company’s Facebook or Twitter account to communicate with you directly. If you receive a complaint — either via a tweet, a tag or a message — respond to it as quickly as possible. According to social media and customer services expert, Jay Baers: “A lack of response is a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much’.”
If you ignore a complaint, or leave it unaddressed for too long, your unhappy customer might head to another website to place another bad review about you for a wider audience. Theoretically, that means not only will all your brand’s social media followers see the complaint, but also potential customers who may be browsing independent review sites for future accommodation options.
Only using online or offline marketing
You’ll want to make use of all available marketing avenues. Being active on social media will help you to get your brand out there and build a rapport with customers. SUMO Heavy Industries — a digital strategy and design company — found that 72% of people use social media daily. On Facebook and Twitter, you can send instant replies to existing and potential customers, which could prove essential in order to secure a second or first-time booking, while these channels also give you the opportunity to send immediate updates on special offers or photos of new rooms and services you’re now offering.
Be sure not to overlook the effects of print media. When marketing in this sector, the look of a place or guestroom can make or break your campaign, and with print, your audience can enjoy an attractive image that sells your brand and doesn’t go away by scrolling down. A university study discovered that, when comparing the efficiency of online and print adverts, the print format proved to have the most ‘advertising effectiveness’. This study took into account how much a person spent looking at the ad, how much information they took from it and how likely they were to buy (or book). Still not convinced? According to a survey of 2,400 consumers, 82% of people trust print ads, while only 25% said the same for online pop-ups — so perhaps it’s worth balancing out your marketing strategy if you’re currently focusing on digital platforms.
The main aims of your campaign are to promote your venues, bring in new faces, and reward customer loyalty. Just make sure to avoid the pitfalls stated above in your next campaign.