Hotel Digital Marketing: Effective Strategies to Increase Bookings
January 3, 2024
What has been updated from the old blog post:
- Reduced content in the introduction
- Added new content to the Decoding Hotel Digital Marketing section. Also, moved some content from the introduction to this section.
- Added Benefits of the Hotel Digital Marketing section
- Added Best strategies for increasing the Hotel Booking section.
- Added the final thoughts section
Summary: This blog covers the essentials of online marketing for hotels, focusing on SEO, search marketing, social media platforms, and online brand building. It underscores the necessity of a comprehensive digital strategy encompassing inbound and outbound tactics, including website design, SEO, SEM, social media, OTAs listings, email campaigns, and AI-powered tools.
Hotels cater to several sets of audience pools at the same time. This makes hotel marketing a little more challenging. Additionally, a large overall hotel inventory coupled with new alternatives such as Airbnb further adds to the growing competition.
Adopting digital marketing strategies specifically to increase hotel bookings is the difference between huge chunks of traffic and a nearly empty hotel. Progressive and tech-savvy hotels can certainly increase their hotel bookings with well-strategized digital marketing campaigns.
Decoding Hotel Digital Marketing
Also known as hotel online marketing, hotel digital marketing consists of SEO and search marketing strategies that help a hotel build, grow, and maintain its online presence.
These techniques are designed to target potential customers on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as search engines to bring more traffic to websites and mobile apps. Implementing these strategies also enhances a brand’s online presence and aids in increased brand awareness.
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy for hotels must include all possible inbound tactics, such as creating a stunning website, doing SEO, investing in SEM, digital marketing services, social media, listing on OTAs, etc., and outbound tactics, such as sending out campaigns through email, app notifications, mobile ads, etc.
The goal of any outbound or inbound digital channel is to drive traffic and convert traffic into bookings. It takes a very strategic approach to content creation and distribution, adoption of new-age tools for workgroups such as social listening, conversion rate optimization, use of AI-powered chatbots, etc. for successful implementation of a digital marketing strategy.
While SEO, SEM, etc. are very important strategies to increase hotel bookings, SEO and SEM alone may not be sufficient considering such high competition in this niche.
Marketers must consider hotel-specific techniques such as local SEO, display ad network, optimization for OTAs, email campaigns, etc. for better results.
Benefits of Hotel Digital Marketing
In today’s highly competitive hospitality industry, digital marketing for hotels plays a crucial role in edging out the competition, getting increased traffic, and leading to increased conversions. Some of the key benefits of hotel marketing include:
A well-executed digital marketing strategy for hotels provides an enhanced online presence and exposure to a large pool of potential customers. Establishing a robust online presence is key to gaining more bookings as more and more people use online searches and social media for their hospitality needs.
As online hotel searches are mostly region or location-specific, hence, hotel digital marketing enables a brand to target a specific audience, based on geography, demographics, interests, and user behavior to increase its online bookings.
Hotels with a strong online presence and those that appear in the top search results have a greater chance of getting direct bookings from their websites or apps. This also makes it easier for the users, without having to use third-party booking platforms or pay commission fees.
For hotel brands with global aspirations, hotel digital marketing allows them to bring their brand to the international market. They can easily expand their user targeting to reach an international audience.
Through consistent digital marketing efforts, hotels can build and strengthen their brand identity. This includes showcasing unique amenities, sharing guest experiences, and highlighting what sets them apart from competitors.
By adopting and effectively implementing digital marketing strategies, hotels can gain a competitive advantage in a market where many competitors may still rely on more traditional marketing methods.
Best Strategies to Increase Hotel Bookings
Let’s examine some of the hotel digital marketing strategies that can help increase your hotel bookings.
A well-optimized website from SEO standards will enjoy Google’s love with enhanced visibility and higher rankings. The same applies to a hotel website. Using the three critical SEO pillars, i.e. on-page, off-page, and technical SEO helps the website reach the top of the SERPs, gain more traffic, and increase chances of conversion.
Develop engaging content that appeals to your target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and guides related to travel and accommodation. Content should be informative, useful, and shareable.
Optimize Google Business Profile
As part of local SEO, brands should list their hotels on Google Business Profile, which serves as an e-card for a business and helps it appear in search results. While listing, ensure that the hotel’s name, website, star category, location, facilities, etc. are mentioned correctly. Remember, adequate and helpful information builds trust and can lead to increased bookings.
Mobile optimization and marketing
Optimize your website for mobile devices using responsive web design techniques that ensure the website looks and works well on both desktop and mobile devices. Responsive websites are given priority by Google as they provide an easy and seamless user experience, which is also a ranking factor.
Google Display Network and Ad Retargeting
When a potential customer is evaluating hotels, he or she might read relevant posts on hotels, locations, etc. If you have an optimized strategy for Display Advertising, chances are that a lot of hotel prospects visiting relevant posts would come across your banner Ads and reach your website or landing page.
If a prospect has visited a hotel site even once but moved on, they can keep following that prospect on other sites he or she visits if the hotel has enabled ad retargeting.
E-mail marketing is still widely used as a potent promotional tool for more targeted, effective messaging. Brands can use e-mail marketing to effectively connect with prospective and existing customers by sending them informational and promotional content, in the form of:
- Monthly newsletters
- Promote offers and special add-ons
- Discounts and loyalty programs
- Update about hotel services and amenities
Another reason for using email marketing extensively is that smaller hotels have limited marketing budgets, and simply throwing money at marketing won’t deliver the key.
Another very useful hotel digital marketing strategy is hotel blogging. By featuring specific hotels, showcasing their amenities, and sharing guest experiences, blogs can attract potential customers and increase bookings.
Social listening is a very effective way to understand a brand’s standing and reputation on social media. As part of the hotel’s digital marketing strategy, brands should monitor mentions, user-generated content, promotions, etc. to promote the brand by engaging users in conversations.
Getting your brand mentioned by an influencer is a great way to promote it and create credibility. Influencer outreach is especially beneficial for the hospitality industry, where a good mention by an influencer can bring a surge in bookings.
Influencers have a huge following who trust him/her and follow the influencer’s advice. Social media influencers can help promote a hotel by posting about it, releasing short videos, and even giving positive reviews.
Additional Read: How to Build a Solid Influencer Marketing Strategy in 6 Easy Steps
Use Facebook travel ads
Facebook travel ads offer unique solutions that help connect hotels with the travelers they want to reach. Facebook Advertising enables hotels to set up and present offers, and serve up ads with real-time availability and pricing to people based on where and when they want to go.
Run Paid Ads on Instagram and other social media channels
Just like Facebook’s ad options such as boosted posts, newsfeed posts, video campaigns, and carousel posts, Instagram offers photo ads, video ads, carousel, and stories ads. Visual content such as video has become the most consumable content. As the content on Instagram is visual, hence it’s a fertile ground for hotels looking to advertise.
Digital marketing strategy for social platforms would not just include Facebook and Instagram. Other prominent channels such as YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest have their own paid campaign plans.
Designing paid social media campaigns that weave together the various social platforms, as mentioned above, and their many advertising options is a must for hotels.
Comparison of Top Social Media Platforms: Instagram vs Facebook vs Twitter (X) vs Snapchat
A great responsive mobile-first website with a lot of content is crucial for hotels just like any other business,
Google display network, social media platforms, and local SEO are very important for hotels. Email marketing should also be a key element of the hotel’s digital marketing strategies.
There is no doubt that hospitality is a competitive niche, however, hotels can greatly improve the chances to increase their bookings with these hotel digital marketing strategies.