Crafting a Marketing Strategy for Hotels & Resorts
It’s essential for hotels and resorts to create a cohesive marketing plan to better connect with potential customers. Learn more about the tactics to use alongside some examples here.
In the dynamic and competitive world of hospitality, attracting and retaining guests requires more than just offering comfortable accommodations and stunning views. It demands a well-defined and carefully executed marketing strategy that resonates with your target audience, communicates your property’s unique value, and ultimately drives bookings.
Whether you’re managing a luxurious beachfront resort or a cozy boutique hotel nestled in the heart of the city, this guide, which includes valuable insights from TEGNA’s new e-book, Understanding Today’s Leisure Traveler, will walk you through the essential steps and tactics to create a compelling marketing strategy that sets you apart from the competition and keeps your occupancy rates soaring.
What is a Marketing Strategy for Hotels and Resorts?
Travel and tourism’s rebound is in full effect, making now the perfect time to craft or refresh marketing and advertising campaigns. A well-crafted marketing strategy is a roadmap for success in an industry with fierce competition and high customer expectations. It will outline your approach and tactics to promote offerings, engage with potential guests, and drive bookings.
An effective strategy will also understand the target market, identify unique selling points, select the most effective marketing channels, and create compelling campaigns that resonate with potential guests. It will also focus on building lasting relationships with existing guests, fostering loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
From traditional methods like television advertising to modern digital strategies, a hotel or resort’s marketing strategy is a dynamic blend of creativity, data analysis, and customer-centric initiatives that collectively contribute to its growth and sustainability.
What is the Hotel Marketing Mix?
The hotel marketing mix encompasses a range of tools and channels that hotels and resorts can utilize to connect with potential customers. These tools help create brand awareness, engage audiences, and drive bookings.
Television advertising remains a powerful medium for hotels and resorts to reach a wide audience. You can showcase your property’s unique features and amenities through visually appealing commercials, content sponsorships such as weather and traffic reports with your local news station, or appearances on Lifestyle shows to really show off the experience you provide guests.
As a perfect complement to linear TV, streaming platforms offer an extended reach to get in front of audiences consuming content via streaming. Like broadcast TV, you can create engaging videos that leave a lasting impression on viewers and creatively show off all your offerings and experiences.
Digital marketing for hotels and resorts encompasses various online channels, including digital ads such as pre-roll, contextual, and native advertising. These platforms allow you to reach potential guests while they’re browsing the internet, providing an additional touchpoint to TV and streaming campaigns. Consider investigating local digital strategies to further build more personal connections with consumers and to reinforce the brand message.
Pay-per-click advertising enables hotels and resorts to place ads on search engines and pay only when users click. This targeted approach ensures that your ads reach users actively seeking accommodations.
Social media platforms provide an opportunity to engage with potential guests personally. By sharing captivating content, hotels can build a loyal online community.
Steps to Creating a Hotel Marketing Strategy
Crafting an effective marketing strategy requires careful planning and execution. Here’s a step-by-step guide for hotels and resorts to get started:
Understand Your Target Market
Using customer data to create persona profiles is a great way to identify your ideal guests and understand their preferences, behaviors, and demographics. You can also pull insights from “Understanding Today’s Leisure Traveler,” which found:
- Older generations tend to travel to check places off a bucket list
- Younger generations want experiences that contribute to their overall identity
- Social media inspires 75% to travel to a specific destination
- 48% want to travel somewhere they can show off on social media
When it comes to spending on travel, 76% expect inflation to impact travel in the coming year, therefore:
- 1 in 3 are changing travel plans, staying close to home in response to inflation
- 3 in 5 are swayed by deals and discounts when booking travel
- More travelers are booking directly with vendors to access benefits, like loyalty perks and special offers, and to avoid extra fees
- Top-notch service is always expected, even in the absence of a five-star hotel rating
Want to know more about the specific demographics of these travel-intenders? Download “Understanding Today’s Leisure Traveler” for a deep dive into their demographics.
Create a Media Plan
Media planning involves finding the best channels for reaching your target audience, allocating budgets, setting timelines, and defining KPIs to maximize ROI. To develop a comprehensive media plan, determine where and how your target audience consumes media. These include television, OTT/streaming platforms, podcasts, digital advertising, and email campaigns.
We’ve found that travel video content is reliably popular, as 83% of Americans watch some form of travel content: Reviews (44%), social media videos (41%), ads (23%), and local news (20%).
Local news is an exciting option to explore, as viewers rely on local news stations to educate them about nearby tourist activities (59%) and the latest travel trends (44%). Viewers are also more likely to trust travel recommendations from local news over national news.
According to a 2022 study by Gallup and Knight Foundation on trust in media, high emotional trust in local news organizations was double that of national news counterparts. Additionally, Trust extends to brands that advertise within local news content, and local news viewers are more likely to notice those brands.
Create Compelling Ads
Crafting the perfect creative for your ad campaign can be a challenging task. How do you know what your target audience wants to see? We’ve uncovered some insights from the sightseers, tourists, passengers, visitors, and globetrotters. Here’s what they had to say when we asked, “If you were to create your ideal vacation commercial, what would it include?”
Additionally, using insights found in “Understanding Today’s Leisure Traveler” show that travel and tourism brands should consider the following when crafting creative:
- Focus on Relaxation: Americans travel for wellness – to reduce stress, relax, and improve their mood. Highlight how the experience – from booking to returning home – is free of worry and aggravation.
- Appeal to Hometown Tourists: We’re seeing a rise in staycations as Americans opt to stay closer to home amid economic concerns. If your brand typically caters to out-of-town visitors, you can attract locals by promoting special exclusive discounts for residents.
- Five-Star Messaging: More than ever, travel intenders rely on reviews to drive their decision-making. By utilizing real reviews and testimonials in messaging, your brand can showcase specific ways you exceed expectations, assuaging concerns around declining service levels.
- Bring Friends & Family Together: Reconnecting with friends and family will motivate more Americans to travel in the coming year. If your casino offers group discounts and/or spaces for large gatherings, messaging around these kinds of accommodations is recommended.
- The Power of Video, Trust, & Scale: Travel video content is undeniably popular. As a marketing medium, video has unmatched power to provoke feelings of wanderlust. Video’s ability to influence travel planning and purchase intent reinforces the need for a holistic video strategy.
Interested in more best practices for crafting the perfect ad creative? Click here to see tips and tricks from one of TEGNA’s best.
Test and Refine
Use measurement tools like TEGNA Attribution and Google Analytics to know how well your campaigns are performing. These tools will help you collect data, analyze metrics, and refine your strategy based on real-time feedback. Be sure to monitor the performance of your chosen marketing channels constantly. Adapt your plan to capitalize on successful tactics and improve those that need enhancement.
The Best Marketing Tactics for Hotels and Resorts
The best marketing tactics for hotels and resorts are a combination of strategies that leverage the unique aspects of the hospitality industry to attract and engage guests. Here are some highly effective tactics that can make a significant impact:
Partner with Local News Organizations
Collaborating with local news outlets can give your establishment valuable community exposure. Feature stories, interviews, and coverage of special events hosted at your hotel or resort can enhance your brand’s visibility and credibility.
Need more convincing? “Understanding Today’s Leisure Traveler” found that viewers rely on and trust local news stations to educate them on nearby tourist activities and the latest travel trends.
Leverage the Halo Effect
Align your experience with positive and reputable associations. Partnering with well-regarded events, organizations, or influencers can enhance your property’s credibility, creating a positive halo effect, enhancing your establishment’s reputation, and making it more appealing to potential guests.
Combine the Power of TV with Digital Platforms
Cross-channel marketing is an excellent way for brands to communicate effectively with customers across different marketing channels. A local news partnership can provide more than TV advertising. A good local media partner will work with you to create a cross-channel campaign that may include other great local tactics, including lifestyle segments, content sponsorships (think weather and traffic reports), location-based advertising, and contextual and native advertising.
Book TEGNA for Your Next Campaign
Ready to make the most of the rebounding travel and tourism industry? With the right approach and a dash of local charm, your campaign can impact your brand and customers. With TEGNA, we can help craft an irresistible campaign that captivates your local audience, taps into emerging trends, and showcases the wonders of your community – from beginning to end. Let’s get in touch to start planning our journey together.