Part 5 in my 7 top tips for using your hotel’s activites to help market your hotel
7 Keeping it up to date
There’s nothing worse than seeing a hotel website advertising something that took place six months ago; this will surely leave your prospects with the impression that you simply don’t care. Get a schedule in place that prompts updates. Put systems in place to ensure you get kept up to date with what’s happening and when. Involve your team, maybe set up champions from different types of activities dependent on your team’s interests; it’s much easier to describe something if it’s something that’s of interest to you, as well as being more inclined to make it happen.
Keep yourself up to date too with what’s being talked about in the media and what’s potentially the next big thing for your area. As I write this Highclere Castle in Berkshire is being described as the most bankable country house in the world as it appears for a second series in the costume drama Downton Abbey. So what will be making the headlines next in your locality?
And consider if your hotel might be the perfect antidote for those who want to avoid the throngs and masses of well publicised events.
So whether your market is corporate or leisure guests help give your hotel marketing a boost by giving your guests a compelling reason to come to you by letting them know what there is to do. And then make it as easy as possible for your guests to enjoy these activities so they want to come back for more and tell their friends and colleagues to do the same.
Part 4 in my 7 top tips for making the most of your hotel’s activities in marketing your hotel
6 Don’t just say it once
It makes sense to include as much relevant information as possible on your hotel website, and make it media rich by including pictures and maybe even video clips. But don’t stop there, use multiple channels to market your hotel. Your personal accounts and stories make excellent material for blog posts and newsletters, too, and is a great way to incorporate information of value and go into more detail. It might even provide the perfect subject matter for a free download as an incentive to get prospective guests to sign up to be on your hotel’s mailing list.
Personalise your confirmation emails with details of what’s coming up during their stay (and remind them if they need to make a booking). This all adds to going that extra mile, building the relationship and making a great first impression.
Then make sure there’s plenty of easy to access information available once they check in. Small details such as having local maps they can borrow, relevant opening times, up to date timetables for public transport or trips.
Here’s part 3 of my 7 top tips for making the most of your hotel’s activities in your hotel marketing
4 Work in partnership
If a particular venue, event or attraction helps attract people to your hotel or your area, get to work in partnership with these organisations to provide marketing opportunities for both of you and achieve a win-win. Start by inviting them to see what you have to offer so that they can promote you to their visitors, and vice versa.
What packages or promotions can you put together as a joint-venture to benefit both of you as well as offering great value to your guests? Are there any opportunities to run events with these organisations as sponsors, or vice versa? Keeping channels open between you will mean you’re in a position to refer business to one another and continue to create opportunities.
5 Bring your hotel marketing to life
Don’t just lift descriptions from any old brochure. Give your own accounts and descriptions of the things to bring it to life. Highlight your favourite attractions, walks or haunts, where you like to spend time when you want to relax or seek adventure. Everyone likes a story, so use your own personal anecdotes.
Ask your team to share their accounts of these places and activities. Not only does this help to make the descriptions more personal, what better way to let your guests get to know your team and build that relationship before they even arrive.
And if you need to mention something where you don’t have a personal interest, find someone who does. For example of you have a local race course, but you hate horse racing, find someone who is interested and get them to write about what might be of interest to guests who are coming for the racing. If guests come to take part in rock climbing and you don’t climb, ask someone who does and get their account of what makes this a great base and to describe the climbs. Show your prospective guests there is a connection and you can relate to their needs.
Better still include your hotel guests’ accounts of the things they’ve done while they’ve stayed with you. What better advertisement is there to market your hotel than a guest’s perspective?
Here’s part 2 of my 7 top tips for making the most of your hotel’s activities in your hotel marketing
2 Focus on only the most interesting
One way to help market a hotel is to let your guests know what there is to do. But, when deciding what to list as ‘things to do’ on your hotel’s website, the list of potential activities could be endless, so focus instead on only the most interesting. What makes something interesting? Get feedback from your existing hotel guests.
What are the types of things that they do when they stay with you, what do they enjoy, what do they see as value for money. Did activities live up their billing? What exceeded their expectations? What are the things that prompted them to come to you in the first place; whether any particular events, activities or attractions have bought guests to your area? What are the hidden treasures that people enjoyed while staying? What has been recommended by friends and family?
3 Making it an easy option
Knowing what’s on offer is one thing; knowing whether it’s feasible is another. Let your hotel guests know the practicalities – how far, how to get there, when places are open. Give hotel guests contact details or links to other websites (test these regularly in case they change). Do certain activities need to be booked in advance, and if so can you organise this for guests? How easy is it to get from your hotel to the activity in question? And provide maps and timetables both before and during their stay.
Make it as easy as possible for your guests to take part in these activities. If guests like walking, will they get frowned on for bringing in their muddy boots, or do you have facilities for getting wet weather gear and walking boots dry. If you’ve fantastic fishing can you organise permits and fishing tackle? If access to some venues is a problem, what can you do to help get them there?
All this adds up to making your hotel stand out from the competition and helps with marketing your hotel
There was a time when I went on holiday that I was quite happy to sit on the beach and read my book for the duration. I know there are still many who are quite happy to do the same, but I’ve become a bit more action-oriented in my travels. Not only do I want to know what activities and attractions I’ll find at a given destination, but I plan my trip accordingly. And I’m not just talking leisure here; even when I go away on business I like to know they’ll be something to do in my free time.
When marketing your hotel letting guests know what there is to do at and around your hotel is a great way to stand out amongst your competition, particularly if it is something they won’t get elsewhere. And even if what is on offer local to you isn’t unique to your hotel, what will make you stand out is that you’re the one talking about these things (and might also help with your search engine optimisation).
Over the next few days I’ll be sharing my 7 top tips for making the best of your hotel’s activities as a marketing tool…………
1 What to talk about when marketing your hotel
Don’t leave it chance that your prospective guests will know about what’s on offer in and around your hotel; act like a tourist office. Inform guests of what there is to do before they arrive, rather than relying on the leaflets the tourist office provides for you. What are the things available all year round, such as attractions, theme parks and museums, historical sites, etc. What festivals, fares and events take place in your area? Maybe these already attract a lot of business to your hotel, in which case you may want to mention this to encourage people to book early. What about the great outdoors; scenery, walks, gardens, wildlife, anything that may be of interest to your target market?
Build a relationship with your local tourist office to ensure you’re able to keep up to date with what’s happening and when. But also talk about the things they won’t find in the guide books and tourist literature. The little things that can make someone’s stay at your hotel that little bit different or special.
Don’t forget to tell your guests about your hotel’s own in-house entertainment. If you’re in an area or a climate where guests will want to spend a lot of time in the hotel let them know what you have to keep them entertained so they’re not left wondering if they’ll be kicking their heals during the long dark evenings or wet weather.