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10 Common Hotel Marketing Mistakes ( And How to Avoid Them )

Marketing is only as effective as its execution. The message being communicated to future and existing guests, and how it is sent, can make or break campaigns.

In a shop - Media by WiX
In a shop - Media by WiX

#1 Poor research and lack of strategy. Before launching a marketing campaign, you need to understand your guests. Regardless of your campaign’s purpose — building brand awareness, increasing engagement, generating leads, etc. — it must consider the audience to be compelling.

This research needs to form the basis of your marketing activity and be overlaid with your business goals to form a strategy – before you start implementing it. Remember to make use of data at all times to inform decision making and learn from the mistakes of others.

#2 Not investing enough in marketing. Remember, marketing is not an expense. It is an investment that will deliver value. From establishing a brand identity to increasing its preference and driving bookings, marketing is a 360-degree approach to business success.

#3 Targeting the wrong audience. No matter how great your messaging or ad campaigns are, if you’re targeting the wrong audience, you’re flushing marketing dollars down the toilet. When you target the masses, follow your “gut” or have a preconceived notion about who your prospective guests are, rather than looking at data about who is actually making purchases – it can drive up marketing costs and plummet bookings. Pay attention to your channel manager, booking engine and PMS insights as well as website and other digital analytics.

#4 Failing to grow repeat visitation. Selling to a new guest can be more expensive than selling to someone who has experienced your hospitality. It is critical to designate a portion of your marketing budget towards this segment via email campaigns or gift cards, among other services to encourage loyal guests to visit again.

#5 Relying on discounts. Volume growth via discounts need not always equate to profitability. Instead, focus on value growth by providing add-ons and growing the value of every booking. Continuous price discounts can devalue your brand. Instead, create a pricing strategy that pays attention to competitor analysis and market considerations.

#6 Ignoring guest feedback. Censoring negative reviews is not the right way to respond to them. Instead, listen to what your guests are saying and improve the experience. Likewise, when there are positive reviews, take the time to thank the guests who left them. Online review management is a critical component of modern marketing.

#7 Treating social media as an add-on. 94% of businesses use their social media platforms to find customers and generate sales (SEMrush). Inconsistency in posting or irrelevant content can have severe repercussions on your brand image. Build a robust social media – content and paid – a strategy with a relevant call to actions and increase reach and improve bookings.

#8 Poor online presence. Along with social media, a well-designed website is a shop window that you must always keep updated. Invest in good content, keep your web content current and invest in a booking engine <link> that can convert the lookers into bookers.

#9 Ignoring analytics and marketing metrics. Every marketing activity must have a clear measurable goal that is based on existing data and informed by your investment in an activity (a.k.a. return on advertising spend). Note that every activity should not have bookings as a goal, although that should be your primary goal with supporting sub-goals such as website traffic, increased NPS score, etc.

#10 Being unwilling to adapt. The most successful companies do whatever they can to tailor their marketing strategies to accommodate different trends and reach new prospects. For instance, COVID-19 taught us to market to new audiences – become more locally relevant and think outside the box to sell key services. Let experimentation and agility define your marketing and business approach in a world that is constantly evolving.

There is a slim line between success and failure for most hospitality businesses. By eliminating these costly – and totally avoidable – mistakes and having a sound marketing strategy in place you will be able to reach more customers and grow profitably.

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