Content marketing has never been so important for the hospitality industry. Online competition continues to grow, target audiences are doing more research than ever, and client demands remain high.
Remember, today’s leads aren’t just looking at the big sites to make a quick travel decision. They’re looking at Instagram, TripAdvisor, and Google reviews to make up their minds. They’re diving deeper into hotel sites than ever before, looking for details and images that will help them make a choice. Your content needs to be ready for the challenge!
To help, we’re taking a look at the top content that your hotel marketing plan needs in 2019. (See more about marketing trends in 2019 that we weren’t expecting)
Make sure this type of content is available on a variety of platforms, and you’ll see the results.
1. Virtual Tours
When it comes to the best practices in the hospitality industry, virtual tours have risen near the top. These are, essentially, videos that walk through the hotel rooms for viewers, showing the space and layout. It’s the perfect way to give people an idea of what it’s like to stay in a room or use amenities. Today’s younger travelers are, increasingly, looking for virtual tour videos when they head to your site, so it’s a great idea to make one.
Fortunately, there are many creative ways to create virtual tours if you want to go above and beyond, too. A 360-degree camera can capture an entire room, and allow you to upload a self-guided tour where viewers can look at whatever they want (this helps increase site time and time invested in your brand too, so there are extra benefits). Particularly invested hotels even create VR/AR experiences that people can view through virtual reality goggles to make it seem like they are really there.
2. Unique and High-Value Images
Old-fashioned hotel images posted online offer less and less value these days. Head to a major OTA and you will quickly appreciate just how many hotel images look…well, the same. Here’s an off-white room. And a bed. Here’s a pool. You probably know exactly what we’re talking about. Even the much more creative photos found on hotel sites tend to all blur together after a while, especially if you’re a traveler researching multiple hotels in one session.
The new method of advertising your space is to make your images as unique and valuable as possible: Take a look at Airbnb, for example, and you will see that everyone’s images strive to show what makes their place different. So celebrate your differences. Take rich, vivid photos of your business, highlight what makes the rooms different instead of the same, and focus on the quirks and oddly beautiful things you find around the hotel from day to day.
These types of photos yield higher engagement when used correctly, and you can publish them across many different platforms without worrying if they’re the right “fit.” Just concentrate on telling a strong visual story that connects with viewers. Give them personality! Oh, and make sure all your images are optimized for mobile, every time: Around 85% of travelers currently use mobile devices when booking their traveling activities.
3. Guides to Loyalty Rewards
Some types of important information are difficult to show in images. One of the best examples is your loyalty program, a key factor for frequent travelers and business travelers looking for good deals. We suggest creating a simple guide or graphic that explains your loyalty rewards in clear language. This is no time to be coy with advertising: Lay out the upgrades, discounts, gifts and amenities that your program offers, and how they are rewarded. Always include a link where people can go to sign up for your loyalty program.
If your loyalty program is very basic and you’re not sure if its worth creating separate content to advertise it, then maybe its time to give it a boost. Take a look at what your competitors are offering, and try to go a step beyond them. Get inventive and use what partnerships you have with local businesses to make your rewards really attractive.
4. Photos and Information About Your Staff
At first, this might seem like an odd choice for important hotel content. But today’s hospitality businesses, especially more local or independent hotels, can greatly benefit from showing the people behind the business. You’ve no doubt noticed that the lines between classic hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments are starting to fade: This is one of the advantages that this trend brings! People automatically respond on an emotional level when they see pictures and descriptions of other humans that they’ll get to meet.
So practice some employee advocacy, and use social media – along with your own site – to showcase happy pictures of enthusiastic hotel staff and why you appreciate them so much. People absolutely will make their booking decisions based on such emotional content (and your staff will appreciate it, too).
5. Posts on Local Experiences
How much content do you have on local attractions, food, events, and landmarks? This is an excellent marketing opportunity that more hotels should be taking advantage of. Create a welcoming guide that introduces your location and talks, in detail, about the places guests can go and the experiences they should try. From listening to live music in a favorite nearby pub to checking out a particular park or stretch of river, you can customize this guide in limitless ways.
If you want to go an extra step, you can really impress your guests by partnering with local businesses and offering some of their popular products in your rooms, so guests get a local taste (sometimes literally) right when they arrive.
6. FAQs for Business Travelers
It’s also smart to create some perennial content that’s targeted directly at business travelers. These travelers – or their decision makers – are very information-oriented. That means that one of the best ways to reach them is to create an FAQ with all the information that a business traveler may need. Make sure you provide all the information about your technology – outlets, charging stations, TVs, Wi-Fi, and related information. If you have any business-oriented amenities like extra desk space, pullout shelves for laptop work, or especially handy storage for business clothes, mention this too!
It’s also all right to market this content directly for business travelers. They will appreciate a hotel that creates content with them in mind.
7. Personalized Messages
Personalization is another best practice that you should adopt if you aren’t already creating content like this. A classic example is sending a personalized email to a guest when you are offering a new discount, thanking them for staying with you and providing information on how to save money if they want to return. However, look for other ways to personalize your content for a guest so they really feel welcome!
8. User Generated Content
User-generated content is a valuable source of social proof – and you don’t have to make it! Briefly, three of the common options are:
- Guests: Encourage your guests to leave reviews or write reviews online. Remember to use this content for testimonials! For a more casual campaign, you can encourage guests to take selfies when they stay with you and post online…perhaps with a chance to win a prize.
- Influencers: Look to partner with influencers that have audiences of their own through blogs. You may even want to offer them free rooms or other bonuses when encouraging them to write about your hotel. It’s a particularly to increase awareness among younger travelers.
- Partners: These are businesses that you work with for events, catering, supplies, local activities, and so on. If you have a good relationship with these partners, talk about creating content together to cross-promote your brands!
If you have questions or want to learn more about content marketing, visit our Digital Marketing Services page for more information! We’re happy to help you find content that’s right for your goals.