Content marketing and the hospitality industry are like peanut butter and jelly;
When you’re shopping for shoes, you press your thumb to the toe and walk around the store, when you’re shopping for a car, you kick the tires and drive it around the block, but what’s a consumer to do when he or she is looking for their next vacation destination?
The Internet is the place where hotels let prospects “test-drive” their services.
Here’s why content marketing works for the hospitality industry:
Think of the last time you went on a vacation. There are so many questions to be answered before you finally book. Think:
“What does the all-inclusive package include”
“Does your hotel provide transportation from the airport?”
“Can I book an afternoon of parasailing ahead of time?”
The basis of content marketing is to answer questions for your prospects. Being there to answer questions in real-time on social networks is a great tool. Providing them a 500-word blog post about these commonly asked questions is even better.
Social media and hotels go together like peanut butter and jelly. Here’s why:
People want to connect with travel brands on social media because they’re fun. Consider
Carnival Cruise Lines, which has garnered nearly three million Facebook likes in the face of countless PR crises.
Using Google+ Local is an excellent tool for getting found online because, well, it’s a Google service. (Google+ Local is that right sidebar that comes up when you’re searching that shows a place’s 1-5 star rating, reviews, photos, phone number, etc.)
It’s a great place for upselling booked visitors, because they often book their trips ahead of time. Use Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube to provide future visitors with information about additional-cost services like room upgrades, dining options, spa services, and more. Providing this information ahead of time allows customers to plan their vacations more efficiently and generates revenue before your visitors have even arrived.
We’ve all done it: accidentally signing up for that email newsletter, and patting ourselves on the back when we finallyunsubscribe. Here’s the thing with the hospitality industry, though: it’s fun! People are less apt to become annoyed with pictures of/information about your gorgeous hotel entryway or sandy beachfront than they are with that vexing weekly email from Menards.
The hospitality industry is unique in that its services are hundreds of miles away from most of its prospects. This makes content marketing a vital part of hotels’ marketing mix. Provide giant, high-quality photos, real-time webcams of your property, and answers to the most commonly asked questions to keep your leads informed and entertained.
“Hospitality and travel are exceptionally well-suited for the visual nature of blogs and social media to convey a destination experience. You can tell people about a place through words, or you can show them with a photo,” said Casey Tilli, a nine year veteran of hospitality marketing.
Think of content marketing in the hospitality industry like a dating site or a singles bar. It’s a place where you find out what sorts of people are interested in you, and if they seem like a good fit, you try to appeal to them.
You’ll want to ask yourself questions like these:
Who are my buyer personas, and what’s the best way to feature visuals of these “types of people” within my content to illustrate the type of customer I’m hoping to attract?
What activities and services will appeal most to my hotel’s buyer personas, and what sort of content should I produce to show off those things?
What kind of language do my buyer personas use? Do they call their hospitality properties “motels, inns, lodging, hotels, or luxury resorts?” Does your hotel want to be known for offering “affordable accomodations” or “impeccable, white-gloved service?”
These questions are important both for resonating with your buyer personas and for getting found by your buyer personas within search engines. Focusing on the wrong keywords will make it difficult for your prospects to find you online.
Take a vacation from your traditional marketing efforts, and focus on providing great content for your prospects and customers.