During July 2018, I wrote about the rising popularity of destination marketing and promotion and how it enables hotels to market well beyond the four walls of their property.
The modern traveler wants experiences. A room, breakfast and a drink at the lobby bar aren’t enough anymore. Today’s traveler yearns for adventure, even on business trips, so guests are enhancing their stays with activities and experiences that will create lasting memories. Plus, if you’re an independent hotelier, then you have the perfect opportunity to capitalize on this thirst for adventure with a form of marketing that is entering the mainstream – and fast.
To start your creative juices flowing, here’s a few ways you can use destination marketing to increase the bookings at your hotel.
Engage with local attractions
Whether you’re located within walking distance of Universal Studios or a stone’s throw from a popular, independent sushi bar, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with local attractions and develop some form of partnership.
They want bookings just as much as you do. The big brands may have existing partnership schemes for accommodation providers while independent operators may want to work closely with you to drive guests to each business.
The more you can partner with the attractions that surround your hotel, the more reasons you’ll give people to stay – particularly if those partnerships enable you to offer some form of discount.
Use your Website to promote the destination
If your hotel Website currently promotes just your property, then you’re missing an opportunity to increase Web-page visits and the time visitors spend on your pages.
It’s much better to become an all-in-one source of information about the local area. To do this, you can blog regularly about local events and include a section on your Website to serve as a guide to the surrounding area.
Research is one of the most difficult tasks when planning a vacation, and travelers are more likely to become engrossed in Websites that provide more than the core service they require (in your case, accommodations) and include advice about how best they can spend their time at the destination. Think about the online travel agencies; they do this very well and it keeps guests on their Websites during the research phase of the booking journey.
Make sure to include niche attractions, too. There’s no harm in listing the big-ticket attractions, but if there are hidden gems (microbreweries, guided tours and underground comedy clubs, for instance), then provide plenty of information about them, too. Ask these attractions to reciprocate and link their Websites to yours as well.
Enable guests to share their experiences
Your guests are often your most valuable marketing asset, and if they visit your hotel to experience the destination, then give them ample reason to share their experiences with the world.
Thankfully, people don’t need much encouragement to brag about their vacations on social media, but by including little reminders in rooms to tag your hotel in any photos or videos they publish (with a promise to then share their photos on your own feed), you’ll ensure a healthy buzz of online activity in which your hotel is prominently mentioned.
Build experiences into your packages
It’s a smart idea to be creative with your rate plan if you want to make the most of destination marketing.
For instance, rather than advertising a standard DBB rate, why not give it a name, such as “A Two-Night Music Experience in New Orleans”? If you’ve successfully partnered with local attractions, then your dinner, bed and breakfast offering can be enhanced with tickets to nearby gigs and a complimentary drink in your bar.
Have you dabbled with destination marketing? If not, then now is the time to start experimenting and making the most of attractions in your neighborhood.