Get Customers Clicking “Book” With These Hospitality Marketing Strategies

After a long quiet period (COVID-19), people are back out there, taking vacations. For the hospitality sector, that’s a wonderful sight to see—so long as they can be seen.

Hospitality digital marketing demands an ever-increasing chunk of hotel marketing budgets as brands fight to stay ahead of the aggregators and bring customers directly to their properties, both digital and physical.

Hospitality market potential, taken as a whole, looms large—the global market reached nearly US$4.7 trillion in 2023, and forecast to grow to US$5.8 trillion in 2027. Plus, there’s been a boom in post-pandemic luxury tourism, with a 5-star hotel website revenue grow by 168%.

Yet, like many sectors, hospitality marketing needs reinvention. The same old hotel marketing plans from the pre-Covid era fall flat, as customers demand more, do more themselves, and seek out something special for their next escape.

With the power now in consumers’ hands—literally, given the dominance of mobile search—it pays to think local but plan global as you reformat your hotel marketing strategy for 2024 and beyond.

The New Importance of Hospitality Digital Marketing

That “global” part is what’s most important for multi-location businesses. Hotel marketing plans can no longer tolerate random acts of marketing at the local level. The risk of harm has increased for hospitality digital marketing across all locations!

Back in the day, potential customers would lean on their local travel agent, hotel brochures, phone listings and newspaper ads, or all sorts of other analog marketing materials to find the perfect hotel. Today, your potential customers more likely find you through a Google search, a hotel booking site, or an influencer’s social media post. Plus, almost 60% of hotel bookings are made online, and the quality of photos on a hotel’s website can increase conversion rates by 15%.

The market looks different—especially for hotel and resort chains with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations. Whether the customer books spontaneously because of something they’ve seen online, or for the dream holiday they planned for months, they will likely complete their booking on a smartphone or tablet. That means hospitality chains need to have their data for every property up to date and optimized across every search engine, digital listings site, map app, and more.

The Unique Case of Resort Marketing

Resort marketing involves more than getting bookings; it’s about creating an emotional connection with potential guests, creating that dream scenario they simply cannot refuse.

Often, a customer will book that property because of the brand: they may recognize the name, look at reviews to see how the local site measures up to the global brand reputation, then check out traveler photos on social media to reassure themselves before booking. After all, a holiday—especially at a luxury resort—represents a big investment with big expectations. You can’t return a vacation to the store!

Challenges around consistency, use of employee time, and corporate oversight can make a localized hotel marketing plan a risky move. Consider a hotel marketing strategy from the top down instead: something executed at the local level, but planned at the brand level, and controlled by corporate for optimal reputation control.

The Essentials For Your Hotel Marketing Plan

Despite control from the top, local SEO remains key throughout. Get that unified brand identity shining, but make sure you also cover the unique circumstances that make each location excel.

Non-branded search is particularly important in hospitality marketing. When potential customers search a location and business type rather than the name of your hotel or resort, you want to make sure your property comes up. By improving non-branded search for individual properties, you can improve local SEO and help your own website compete with hotel booking portals.

Yet, according to a recent survey, 36% of multi-location businesses still manage their local profiles manually, and 27% fail to master the basics. Yet, hospitality digital marketing demands high-performance digital visibility: raise the profile of your locations, drive constant improvements in bookings and revenue, and demonstrate the value you, dear marketer, deliver to your business.

Rev Up Your 2024 Growth with Digital Visibility

Know your audience

This is the absolute cornerstone of outreach—even more important for hospitality digital marketing. Understanding your target audience helps you craft tailored messages, boost positive sentiments, and increase the likelihood of bookings.

Cultivate a solid brand identity

A well-defined brand identity helps differentiate your chain’s local properties, creating a lasting and transferrable impression. Brand identity encompasses a range of aspects, from logos and color schemes to the tone of voice, image choices, as well as overall aesthetic. It encompasses more than how your brand communicates; rather, your identity addresses how the brand makes potential customers feel.

Be everywhere online

Those customers will likely find you on their own, rather than through a travel agency, so it pays to be where they are online. Maintaining a robust online presence is crucial for your hotel marketing strategy. This means more than having a great and accessible website: you must actively manage social media accounts, digital listings, reviews, and more.

Optimize for local search…

Local SEO drives hospitality digital marketing—there’s no counterargument! While your local property will still compete with the multi-million-dollar ad budgets of hotel booking aggregator websites, harness the power of local search to stay visible and top of mind.

Your first step should aim towards ranking in the Google 3-Pack, those three local businesses listed on the accompanying map at the top of Google’s SERP when anyone searches for a nearby business. In order to get there efficiently, you should optimize for these top local ranking factors:

  • Make your Google Business Profile as complete as possible, ensuring your name, location, description, and photos are accurate and up-to-date, as well as linking back to your website or location page.

  • Look at your on-page signals, such as making sure your website explains in detail what makes you uniquely qualified to do what you do, especially for that location.

  • Respond to reviews and engage with your reviewers, whether they’re on Yelp, Trustpilot, Google, Facebook, or any other digital platform.

  • Build backlinks via social and business listings, signaling to search engines that yours is a trusted site.

  • Remember that local SEO ranking factors include behavioral signals such as click-through rates, bounce rates, and time spent on pages—another reason why compelling content adds to your overall visibility.

…while centralizing the hotel marketing strategy

Discuss objectives, challenges, and opportunities at the corporate level, so marketing, sales, account management, and other relevant teams can get on the same page. Create a playbook for hospitality digital marketing, and share it with local sites, then work together on putting the plan into action.

Engage with customers online

Compelling content continues to prove itself as a core competency; 55% of users consult a hotel’s Facebook page to obtain information. But consider more than just the odd text post; harness visual media like graphics, images, and especially video and reels.

72% of consumers like to learn about a service via video, while HubSpot’s annual survey of video marketing found 91% of businesses are using video as a marketing tool, which is an all-time high. Likewise, 87% of those marketers believe video leads to direct, positive impacts on sales.

Don’t forget the influencers, either. A powerful strategy for hotels and resort marketing plans, influencer marketing increases brand awareness and reach for new audiences. Consumers today trust people over brands; the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer showed consumers trust “people like me” most of all. Electronic word of mouth, or eWOM, comes across as more credible, providing a strong motivation to buy.

Harness reviews

These days eWOM largely circulates through reviews. Online reviews from real customers help provide an unbiased perspective on what it’s like to stay at your hotel, which plays into that “people like me” encouragement. To help generate reviews, include links in your email marketing, on social media posts, and other digital messaging such as attaching review requests to receipts.

The most important thing with reviews—and what helps juice your local SEO, too—is responding to them, even the negative ones. Managing reviews manually can be a real time sink, though, so consider hospitality digital marketing solutions that simplify review management through a centralized platform.

Get mobile-friendly

Always make sure all yourhospitality digital marketing gets optimized for mobile users. Reservations are considered one of the best use cases for m-commerce: reducing the work, effort, and time to explore options encourages customers to make a booking, usually based on all the research they have already completed using local search via smartphone.

Make the most of data

Data is your new best friend. Use forecasting reports for bookings and occupancy rates to help drive fresh campaigns. Then turn to data analytics for deeper analyses of your hospitality digital marketing to continually adjust and improve the local performance of your hotel marketing and optimize for local search and cost control.

Luxury Hospitality Marketing Solution—But Make It Accessible

Technology truly puts the power in consumers’ hands, but it’s up to hotel and resort marketing teams to create the assets that help them choose you. There’s plenty more you can do in 2024 to help your hospitality marketing attract the right kinds of attention.

Take, for example, AI’s impact on marketing. Have you installed an AI chatbot to deliver customer service and personalized recommendations that empower users 24/7, 365? Set up your email marketing or retargeting strategy to deploy personalized emails based on consumer search behaviors? What about those all-important visuals: have you considered augmented reality (AR) for your next batch of brochures, or 360-degree virtual tours of rooms and amenities?

Of course, all these hospitality marketing solutions can seem overwhelming, so it pays to bring a cohesive and aligned hotel marketing strategy to bear, one that harnesses the power of technology to streamline day to day life for your marketing team. Take a leaf from Barceló Hotel Group. Enhancing its Google Business Profiles with 210 new hotel attributes—reaching 100% profile completeness and eliminating all duplicates—allowed Barceló to increase revenue from local SEO by 56.47%.

Fancy those results for your own hotel and resort chain? Get in touch to learn more about how Uberall’s multi-location marketing platform can help your brand show up and stand out when nearby customers search—from discovery, to purchase, and beyond.

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