Make your hotel online marketing dollars stretch even further with these five almost free promotional ideas.
Whether you’re running a small bed and breakfast or boutique hotel or managing a chain of international hotels, there are budget-friendly online marketing strategies that you can employ to build your brand image, drive traffic to your website, improve your hotel vacancy rate and boost your revenue. In part one of our two-part series, we show you five ways you can achieve this without making a huge dent in the marketing budget.
As more travellers look to the internet to research and book accommodation, it is critical for a hotel’s financial viability to have high search engine visibility. Some smaller hotels are not ranking highly even for their own business name let alone relevant keywords for their property. You may incur the initial cost of an SEO company but in contrast to pay-per-click advertising, you can index your website on a Search Engine for free.
Online marketing tip: Educate yourself on the SEO process by reading SEO blogs to get helpful tips and advice so you can work confidently with your website optimisation and maximise your return on investment.
Off – page profile (link building and citations)
An important part of Search Engine Optimisation is your off page profile. When you have citations or back links from quality and relevant websites, this is seen as a validation by Search Engines that your site is a vital part of the online community. Building your off-page profile as part of your daily tasks is a free online marketing activity that can boost your Search Engine visibility significantly.
Online marketing tip: By putting aside half an hour per day, you can work on your citation or link building activities and supplement the work being done by your SEO company or in-house consultant (if applicable).
Special deals and offers
For a lot of properties hotel bookings are affected by seasonality and it is not always easy to maintain occupancy rates all-year around. However one way to try and increase vacancy rates during the off and on-peak season is by offering special hotel deals. You can create packages based on occasions such as Valentine’s Day, events such as movie launches, different seasons, indulgence packages and so on – the possibilities are endless.
Online marketing tip: To find out more about the types of specials and deals you can offer, read our Hotel Online Marketing – Creative Package Ideas article on our Hotel Website Designer website.
A large part of an online marketing team’s activities is to focus on return visitors and increasing their retention rate. Creating VIP membership programs is a great way to encourage visitors to re-book your hotel. You can ask travellers to pay a nominal fee or run these programs for free. Separate guests into different categories such as business and leisure travellers and then individuals, families and couples for more targeted VIP campaigns.
Online marketing tip: Promote your VIP memberships on all your online properties including your homepage, email newsletters, social media pages, banner advertising and so forth to integrate your marketing campaigns and maximise exposure.
Video Search Engine Optimisation (VSEO)
If your sales team has existing hotel video content available, then for no additional cost you can use this as part of your VSEO campaigns to ramp up your online marketing campaigns. Firstly you need to decide on your strategy – you can host videos on your website and drive traffic directly to your site or upload them to a video hosting channel like YouTube to receive a backlink to your site and increase your Search Engine ranking.
Online marketing tip: Learn more on video search engine optimisation in our article Steps to Creating Hotel Video Content for Marketing on the Hotel Website Designer’s blog.
This is just part one in our Online Marketing on a Shoestring Budget two-part series detailing just a few ways a creative and inspired internet marketing team can promote their hotel on a limited budget. Whether you are running a boutique hotel or managing a large hotel chain, our consultants at Hotel Internet Marketing can help you plan your online marketing strategy from the initial design to the Search Engine Optimisation of your website.