When travelers think of independent hotels, they imagine quaint B&Bs, historical community gems, and charming settings. For the growing number of travelers seeking a unique experience, this is perfect. Amid the noise of Online Travel Agencies (Expedia, Kayak, etc.), branded hotels, and sponsored ads, how can small properties stand out?
Here are five ways for small independent hotels to boost their digital marketing:
- Step into Your Guests’ Shoes
- Branch out to newer Social Platforms
- Keep information fresh
- Don’t Brush off SEO
- Load up Your Digital Toolbox
Step into Your Guests’ Shoes
Take a tour of your website. Does it make sense? Is it easy to navigate? Is the content relevant? Imagine yourself researching a vacation; what are you looking for? Check that your website makes sense on a smartphone, since half of all web traffic is currently from a mobile device.
Branch out to newer social platforms
One in three travelers seeks inspiration from social media when planning vacations. While Facebook still has the biggest share of social media users, it’s losing traction with younger demographics. Visual platforms like TikTok and Instagram are prime locations for hotels to showcase their properties and engage travelers. Find ways to encourage guests to be “influencers” and share their experiences.
Keep Information Fresh
No matter how well-designed a website is, it is meaningless if the content is out of date. Travelers want fresh information, so keep a steady flow of content going to these digital platforms through regular social media posts or website blog posts. Hotels can branch out from business-as-usual topics like special rates or new menus; travelers enjoy content from community events, behind-the-scenes action, or employee highlights.
Don’t Brush Off SEO
Getting direct bookings through a search engine can feel disheartening when your small hotel must compete with OTA’s (online travel agents). Sometimes search engine optimization feels like a lost cause. There are numerous ways to help your hotel gain visibility that are not labor-intensive. Google’s algorithm wants to see companies with easily available information. Complete and update all aspects of your Google Business Profile, including pictures, contact information, and available amenities. If your property is listed in local directories, ensure the information is accurate. Finally, encourage guests to leave Google reviews, which impacts how Google’s algorithm displays your property.
Load up Your Digital Toolbox
Staying on top of your digital presence can be overwhelming, especially for small, independent hotel owners. Fortunately, there are plenty of helpful, and often free, tools that are simple to use. They can do things like create and schedule social media posts (like Buffer or Hootsuite), design your digital marketing material (like Canva), and automate email campaigns (like MailChimp). Find links to these and other marketing tools here.
Hire Hotel Marketing Talent
Even with the best tips and tools, sometimes hotel owners just can’t do it all. Digital Marketing roles are some of the fastest-growing in the hotel industry. Our hotel recruiters know where to find marketing professionals who can give any sized property a competitive edge. Contact us today to learn more.