Destination Promotion: Marketing Beyond the Four Walls of Your Hotel

July 5th, 2018 Kent Howard Hospitality Trends, Marketing

For many guests, their reason to stay at your hotel will be the destination – not the property.

Sorry. You probably didn’t want to know that, but it’s true – and it certainly shouldn’t cause you worry. Consider your guests’ point of view: when they book a hotel, unless it happens to be a landmark itself or a venue which offers a complete holiday experience as opposed to simply a bed for the night, they’ll book it because it’s either situated in or near the destination that attracted their attention.

This begs the question: Why are you only promoting your property’s features and benefits in your marketing and not the destination’s?

A helping hand from your guests

The explosion of social media has created an army of “influencers,” who use platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, to travel the world and use their followers as a marketing tool for hospitality businesses. This has created a challenge for some hoteliers, who have found themselves flooded with requests for free nights in exchange for worldwide exposure on social media. During January 2018, an Irish luxury boutique hotel famously banned all YouTubers, following the request of a 22-year-old for a free five-night stay in return for exposure on her YouTube channel.

Despite these requests, there is definitely merit in gaining a helping hand from your guests. Hotels are quickly realizing they must work with guests and many have even started to use influencer-generated content in the hotels’ marketing campaigns. For example, Marriott partnered with lifestyle blogger Krystin Lee to create a one-minute guide to Toronto. This is a fantastic example of destination promotion, bolstered by the considerable reach of an influencer.

Can destination promotion work for independent hotels?

Absolutely! There’s no reason you can’t tap into the influencer market, too. While you may not have immediate access to influencers of Ms. Lee’s standing, don’t forget your guests will be creating social media stories during their stay. If you start a positive relationship with them, then their content could be marketing gold for your hotel.

Here are a few ways you could use destination promotion and influencer marketing to create a hot buzz about your hotel:

  • Partner with local resorts and businesses. Resorts, attractions and leisure businesses in your area are also promoting themselves as part of the larger hospitality industry – particularly if two of these businesses aren’t direct competitors, but are vying for the same audience. Seek partnerships or joint marketing efforts with them to create combo packages to attract more guests.
  • Create your own content. In addition to any influencer content you can utilize for your benefit, you must also create content, especially in a story-telling format, about the destination. Start a separate blog on your hotel Website which highlights the features and benefits of the destination.
  • Offer to publish press releases for local events. If major events are scheduled near your hotel, then speak to the organizers and offer to publish their press releases for free on your Website and social media pages. This will attract visits to your Website from relevant traffic and include you in the buzz generated prior to the events.
  • Add a social media sharing platform. Products, such as flip.to, can be added to your Website and booking engine. Anyone booking a room can become an influencer!

How will this work?

Don’t expect overnight results with this form of destination promotion – it’s a long-term strategy, but by remaining consistent, it’s likely to be effective.

Keep an eye on social media for the posts of tourists visiting your city, town or tourist spot and contact the authors. Develop a network of people who are posting content about the destination, and you’ll have an opportunity to capture the attention of a much wider audience. It’s time to think beyond the four walls of your hotel with your marketing!

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.