Hotel Marketing Webinar Q&A

Just before Thanksgiving, we hosted a webinar titled, It’s not about you: Why hotel marketing needs to change. So many of you asked great questions that we didn’t have a chance to answer all of them. In this post, we’ll answer the questions we didn’t get to.

Speaking of webinars, our next webinar is scheduled for December 17th: How to Deliver the Perfect Guest Experience. We’ll discuss how hoteliers can:

  • Attract guests through a great online reputation
  • Pinpoint customer needs with precision
  • Target messages to drive success and bookings
  • Deliver a highly customized experience on property
  • Identify and recover guests who are disappointed with efficiency and class

Here are the questions asked during It’s not about you: Why hotel marketing needs to change:

Is retargeting equal to remarketing?

The terms are often used interchangeably, and for many intents and purposes, they are essentially the same. But, we recognize a slight difference. Retargeting is a more precise version of remarketing. For example, with remarketing, you can simply remarket to a guest who has already visited your site. With retargeting, you can take it a step further, and take into consideration more of the available information like location, search history, demographics, etc.

I hear the Millennials’ expectations and wants are much different than the older generations. Is this true?

Yes, very much so! We just did a webinar on this topic, which goes into great detail on the subject. CLICK HERE to access the free recording.

The New York Times recently wrote an article stating that Facebook “Will Curtail Unpaid Ads by Brands.” How does this announcement effect us as hoteliers as we start looking at hypertargeting seriously?

This move by Facebook is an interesting one. The social network plans to change the rankings of marketing posts on brand pages, particularly those that are, for example, announcing a sale or promoting an app. The New York Times interviewed Rebecca Lieb, a digital advertising and media analyst at the Altimeter Group, who said, “It’s a clear message to brands: If you want to sound like an advertiser, buy an ad.”

While it may upset brands that use their Facebook pages for promotions, it clearly supports two things: One, that Facebook is solidifying its position as an advertising platform. Two, that consumers don’t want to see traditional advertising in their newsfeeds. So, if brands want to reach their customers on Facebook, they’ll have to provide value by focusing on telling a story and connecting with their fans, instead of using salesy or promotional posts.

Like we discussed in our recent webinar, hotel marketing has to change, if it’s going to continue to be effective with the modern consumer. Facebook’s announcement is just another supporting point.

Do you get responses from people saying hypertargeting is like “Big Brother?” If so, how do you overcome this?

It is true, we do get this question regularly. But, the interesting part is, it seems to be a generational question. We get it most frequently from hoteliers who are Baby Boomers or some of the early Gen Xers. But as far as Millennials go, it’s normal and even expected. This will continue as time goes on—more and more people will expect advertising to be personalized to their specific interests and needs. There are a few things to consider, when offering targeted marketing:

1. Consent: Make sure that people opt-in by checking a box when they give you their email address.

2. Privacy/Security: Re-assure your guests that you will never sell their information.

3. Value: Make it clear that you are collecting this information to provide a better experience for your guests. They are more likely to share information about themselves when they know what they’re going to get out of it.

How can we guarantee that our customers will buy our product when we use hypertargeting?

Of course, there are never guarantees in marketing. But, hypertargeting can increase your chances of success dramatically. You can measure the success of your email campaigns by checking your open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. With the right tools, you can attribute reservations and upgrades from a specific email campaign, which is one way to measure your success. Long term, with a great customer experience, you can also measure the impact to customer loyalty by tracking return visits and the percentage of your guests that are repeat visitors.

As far as holiday marketing goes, instead of the subject line “visit us this season,” what would be an example of a personalized subject?

It really depends on your hotel’s amenities, location, and the types of guests it typically attracts. With the right tools, you can target email campaigns at guests with specific interests. For example, if your hotel is in an urban location with a ballet, you could send a targeted campaign to all the guests that like ballet. “Come experience the Nutcracker at the Memorial Opera House.” And additional way to personalize it is to suggest they “Bring the Family” or even more specifically “Surprise your Wife”.

How receptive are consumers to video content, either in an email or on the website?

Video content in general is highly engaging, and if you have the budget to do so, you should definitely take advantage of it! CLICK HERE for some highlights of a recent study that Google released on the subject.

What is “algorithmic content?”

An algorithm is just another word for computer software instructions. As far as computer software goes, an algorithm can be as simple as the steps taken to calculate a square root. It can also be as complicated as the Facebook algorithm which decides what shows up in your newsfeed, based on what pages you like, what searches you perform on Google, and what posts you interact with. It learns what you like, based on how you interact with the platform and what information you choose to share.

I’m the GM of a small independent hotel and therefore wear many hats. Time is very valuable. How much time a day do I need to dedicate to this?

When you don’t have a lot of resources, an automated solution is critical way to increase you and your staff’s productivity. Tools help you perform important functions quickly and enable you to deliver a seamless guest experience. Revinate’s inGuest provides you and your staff with Rich Guest Profiles so you can provide hyper-targeted service and marketing.  inGuest also allows you to easily create targeted marketing campaigns in a matter of minutes.  With the right tools in place, you can dedicate minimal resources while delivering a significant return on investment.

Any ideas on marketing our meeting and banquet space to the guests?

Sure! You can search for prospective customers that mention that they are planning an event, conference or wedding on Social Media, or have job titles like “Event Planner” or “Wedding Planner” on LinkedIn. Since this is publicly available information, the right tool can help you identify these prospects automatically so you can be proactive in suggesting your property as the perfect solution.  Especially during your off season or periods of slower bookings, you can message these prospects with special offers or benefits.

Our inGuest app can also be set up with a custom app for a group event, like a wedding website and app where all event details are housed. Guests can get the link or download the app and always stay in touch with the hosts and the agenda. This gives your hotel a unique selling point over other hotels.

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