How to develop a well rounded Marketing Strategy to maintain a healthy level of direct bookings
When talking about a strong marketing strategy, Premier Cru recommends good coverage and communication to all markets via all mediums. A mistake often made in an independent hotel is that a lot of time and money is spent in one area whilst other opportunities are being missed.
1. Use OTAs to your advantage
OTAs are capturing increasing market share, and commissions are rising at twice the rate of revenue growth, according to the Hotel Asset Managers Association. OTAs are the giants, with more money, more power and more tools to gain bookings than any independent hotel could even imagine – and many customers have more loyalty to their favourite OTA than they do to an individual hotel. So how do hotels make this work for their business? Exploit the OTAs for their global positioning, and let them gain you that valuable new business. Once the guest is on-site, treat them well and gain as much information about them as possible (especially their email address since Booking.com stopped passing this information to hotels last year). Make them become your customer, not the OTA's.
2. Make the most from your Direct Bookings
With one box ticked of using OTAs to your advantage, not theirs - the next step is to work on your direct bookings. To offset rising commissions from third parties, hotels must maximise all direct bookings to their highest potential. According to hospitalitynet.org, phone reservations bring in 38% more revenue than OTA's and almost 9% more than web reservations. In Premier Cru's previous article ("Revenue Management in an Independent Hotel"), we explained the importance of making your Revenue Strategy work with your Marketing Strategy, and that good team members are your most valuable assets. Don't let your Reservationists become administrators, only processing what a caller tells them. Tell them your marketing plan, what you want to achieve and why, and start making more out of your most influential sales tool.
3. Go Digital
Digital marketing is the most reactive marketing available, from SEO to PPC, and from social media to email marketing - and of course your own website - activity can be planned and live within an hour. The most important thing with digital marketing is gathering data and using a targeted approach to seek out the markets that want what you have to offer.
4. Traditional marketing is not dead!
One problem with digital marketing is that it is so sales focussed that many hotels are losing their brand identity, with activity being so focussed towards pinpointing towards the user that it becomes less about the hotel. Traditional methods of print, advertising and PR are all about the brand, and can say so much about a business without the need for words. Premier Cru recommends a balance between traditional marketing and the digital age – digital is great for getting your name to a great number of people, but traditional methods will ensure that they like what they see.
5. Manage your reputation
Reputation marketing is the combination of reputation management and brand marketing, and this is one of today's most influential factors to a hotel – gone are the days where only TripAdvisor could make or break a hotel manager's day – now guests have forums to compliment or criticise all over the internet. Therefore quality and service standards must be high, and complaint handling must be effective.
Premier Cru is a hotel management company with a team of industry experts, from Operations and Revenue Management to Sales, Marketing, Purchasing and much more. We have worked with a vast range of hotels from small country inns to Michelin Star restaurants and beyond. If any of the advice in the above article has sparked your interest, generated questions, or even hit a nerve, we would love to talk to you. Our services range from revenue management through to full management contracts.
Contact us on:
Gareth Pugh: 07711 259406
Iain Shelton: 07710 782188
Office: 0845 835 4592
Sign up for our newsletter
Sign up to our mailing list to hear the latest industry news, as well as our monthly tips and advice.