Gaining bookings for your hotel is no accident, and there are plenty of things you can do to bring the right people to your website — and help them choose your property. Here are 7 hotel marketing tactics that can give you an edge ahead of your competition.

Make Sure You Rule Google

Hotels are different than many other businesses in that you have to focus on both local and general SEO: You are trying to create a persona both locally and for those searching from anywhere in the world. According to Wordstream, 75 percent of travelers begin their search with a search engine.

Local SEO for hospitality: Hotel, restaurant, and travel marketing

The hotel landscape is incredibly competitive in terms of paid search advertising, so this is something you should be aggressively bidding on. Hotel ads, search ads, and display ads are all great ways to reach your audience. Search ads will assure you are there when people are searching for you.

Social media ads and remarketing ads will also be important for your brand.

Remarketing Should Be One of Your Top Marketing Priorities

Remarketing is targeting people who have already been on your website. Just because a traveler visits your website, doesn’t mean they will end up booking. In fact, 75 percent of all hotel booking attempts are abandoned before the booking is complete (according to Wordstream).

You can remarket in a few different ways, including through Google Display, Google Search, Facebook Ads, and YouTube. Remarketing to your audience through display advertising, YouTube ads, or social media ads will keep you in front of your audience wherever they go online. Remarketing through search advertising will keep you top-of-mind if they are on your website and then search again.

Find Your Audience

Before you begin any marketing, you should know who your target audience or audiences are. A helpful tip when creating a customer persona is to create an actual character. For instance:

  • Karen, 42, is a business traveler
  • Lives in the suburbs, has an MBA
  • Married, works as a loan officer at a bank
  • 3 children, aged 1, 7, 9
  • Household income is $155,000
  • Drives a Honda Pilot, uses it to get her children around and loves driving up to the mountain on weekends
  • Paid $325,000 for their 3 bed, 2 bath home
  • Travels for business 1-2x a month and takes one family vacation a year
  • Because she is reimbursed for her trips, and she likes collecting hotel rewards, she always books directly on the hotel website

If you can create anonymous reports of the guests who have already stayed at your hotel, that is helpful. Many times, we don’t determine who our audience is — they choose us. Determine your audience and stick to those demographics for audience targeting.

Adjust Your Budget for Seasonality

Every hotel deals with seasonality, at least on some level. You should not be spending an equal amount throughout the year, but should focus on your peak booking seasons (and keep in mind the difference between your peak booking season and your peak season, because they may be different).

Don’t Overlook Your Hotel Blog

Your blog is one of the most important opportunities for SEO value of your website. Although it can be an opportunity to write about your property, you should also be using it to bring people to your website.

Hospitality social media: Creating your social media strategy

Articles about things to do in your town can help your SEO value while making you a trusted resource for potential guests.

Make Sure Your Website Is Up To Date

Your website will likely be your first or second point of contact with your potential guests, so you need to make sure it’s more than just aesthetically pleasing.

Your website speed, content, and booking tools should all be optimized and user friendly.

Make sure your website is SEO optimized with keywords but also with technical SEO elements like meta tags, descriptions, and optimized photos. Google is looking not only for relevant content but also a useable website.

Don’t Underestimate Good Customer Service

There are a number of reasons for good customer service, and not just the obvious one truly wanting your guests to have the best stay possible. In the Internet age, reviews can be everything for new guests (or at the very least, the decision maker).

Customers reviews and personal suggestions are only helpful if they are positive, and the only way you have any control over this is by treating your guests well.

There are so many things you can do when working to improve your bookings, and there is a different mix of tactics that will work for different hotels. But assuring every tactic is covered will help your potential guests find your hotel.