Small hotel marketing – win with engagement

Small hotel marketing is key for a property like the Historic Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah Nevada (photo by Leslie McLellan)

The historic Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada (photo by Leslie McLellan)

What would you say if we told you that independent hotels can win big by doing ONE thing well, and doing it a couple of different ways?

In this second installment of our special small hotel marketing series (here is Part One, on branding small, independent hotels and Part Three is about hotel reviews) we’re going to share with you how easy it is to make an impact – costing you very little money – as long as you’re willing to spend the time to do it.

It all boils down to engagement. We’re talking about how you engage with your target market.

Engagement made easy with Facebook

There are two low-cost, very effective platforms to engage with your guests – past, present, and prospective. Facebook and email should be your primary focus with small hotel marketing.

Let’s talk about Facebook first.

Independent hotels have an advantage when it comes to Facebook marketing. We talked about your “voice” in our post about hotel branding, and the good news is that you are not hamstrung by stringent corporate brand guidelines. YOU decide on your property’s voice. You, rather than a corporation headquarters, get to decide what works best for you.

With Facebook we recommend posting once a day, at least 5 times per week. You might think that you don’t have that much to talk about, but that’s not true!

Some things you can engage about are:

  •  The property itself – restaurant, spa, guest rooms, grounds, amenities
  •  Historical facts about the hotel
  •  Trivia about the property
  •  Back of the house tidbits
  •  Employees
  •  What’s happening around town
  •  Seasonal offerings and specials
  •  Anything else your target market is interested in

Now, how exactly do you engage? 

It’s always wise to have some sort of call to action (CTA) in your posts, although below we’ve given you examples of posts with and without CTAs, to show you that not having a specific call to action can be successful, too.

Your goal is simply to get your followers to respond to what you have posted, whether it’s with a comment (which is what you should be shooting for) or at least a “like.” Examples include:

  •  When was the last time you visited?
  •  Book now, this offer is only good thru ____.
  •  Did you know…
  •  What’s your favorite…?

Small hotel marketing – 2 examples of hotel Facebook Page engagement

Post with a CTA 👇

Nautical Beachfront Resort Facebook Page screenshot with a CTA call to action

 

Post without a CTA, but still engaging 👇

Nautical Beachfront Resort Facebook Page screenshot without a CTA but still engaging

 

Planning your Facebook Page posts

A weekly generic schedule will help make your life easier. Create a list of all the things you have to talk about at your hotel and in your community. It’s easy to then use that to write and pre-schedule your posts.

(Need help with social media content planning? Click here to learn more about our “Build a Content Plan for Next Week” on-demand webinar. Walk away with a draft plan and a process to keep doing it.)

A simple hotel marketing schedule could look something like:

  • Monday             History
  • Tuesday             Back of the house
  • Wednesday       What’s happening this weekend
  • Thursday           Special offers
  • Friday                 Spa/hotel amenities
  • Saturday            Highlight guest/property photos
  • Sunday               Question/Trivia about the property
Here’s an actual content ideas list for one of Leslie’s clients; she keeps it on her desk as a reminder. Simple!
Small hotel marketing content ideas list from Leslie McLellan

However, once you have posted for the day, you must be on the ball and ready to respond to all comments. If you have notifications enabled on your phone, it’s easy to respond even when you’re not at your desktop computer.

While responding to comments with a comment is preferable, it is OK to simply “like” a comment. The main thing is to engage with those who have engaged with you – one way or another.

Click the video below to hear from us for two and a half minutes about Facebook Page engagement, from our Tourism Currents YouTube channel. It was during a Las Vegas conference, so we’re just glad we were coherent….

Don’t forget to engage with those who “check-in” to your property on Facebook, too. It’s vitally important to recognize everyone who has taken the time to acknowledge you and your property, and thank them for sharing their experience with their friends and family!

The more you interact with guests, the more they will continue to interact with you.

Engagement via email marketing

The second way to engage with your target market is via email. We’re saying this with a caveat, though; your emails must provide useful information to those who have given you the privilege of entering their inbox.

once per month email highlighting what’s coming up for your hotel – specials, community festivals and events, insider tips for your guests, etc. helps with building engagement. Both Mailchimp (what we use) and Constant Contact offer easy-to-use templates.

Three things to make sure you have in your emails, in addition to your offers and local information:

  •  Photos
  •  Links to your social media sites with a call to action such as “We share lots of information on our social sites, we hope you’ll join the conversations there” or something like that.
  •  Your logo at the top of the email, which links to your website.

Small hotel marketing bonus tip for building engagement

Run some Facebook “Like” ads.

Use Facebook’s Ads Manager to select your target audience – those who will see the post in their News Feed – and then run paid posts that specifically ask people to “Like” your Facebook Page.

If your ads are targeted properly, you’ll build up your Facebook following in no time. Once they Like your Page, they’ll see how engaging your property is and they’ll start interacting with your hotel.

A few times per year, ask your followers to join your email list. Explain clearly that your list is the first place where they’ll find out about what’s going on at your property, learn about special value packages, etc.

This is important because you own and control your email list and its data, but Facebook owns and controls your Page.

Remember, you have advantages as a small, independent property. Building engagement and making your guests feel like they are part of your “family” is the perfect way to inexpensively market your unique hotel.

What do you think? Your ideas and feedback are welcome down in the comments.

 

PS. Our whole focus is teaching you and/or your partners (including hotels and other lodging) how to use digital destination marketing to bring more visitors to your town.

Let us know if you need workshop or conference speakers, or would like some personalized coaching and consulting. If you want to bounce some ideas around about working with us, ping us through our Contact page.

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