As hoteliers, we have become experts at reacting to last minute business needs to maximise profitability. The empty room is a missed opportunity, so the quickest to react often prosper.
Outwardly thinking, revenue driven…
Seeing a drop in occupancy? Send out a last minute email campaign, Tweet a limited time offer, release some extra room inventory to an OTA etc. This type of marketing is perfectly understandable, but often inwardly thinking in it’s approach.
Consider a change in perspective; react to the market around you rather than focusing inwardly on occupancy levels. Spot the potential to leverage room bookings, positive PR and new opportunities by looking outwardly, at the world around your hotel.
4 examples of agile marketing
To get started, here’s 4 examples of how hotels could have used agile (or reactive) marketing recently.
1. The annual UK budgets
When George Osbourne delivered his annual budget on March 19th, savvy hoteliers could have used reactive marketing to gain some coverage through social media and PR whilst it was extensively discussed in the media.
- A penny off! – A tongue-in-cheek offer of cutting a penny off room rates.
- In your pocket, not George’s – VAT free rooms for 1 day only.
- Real pension savings – Half price overnight stay for the first 10 pensioners to book.
These may not generate significant room nights, but the brand awareness created by these types of offer, through press and social media alone, may well lead to longer term gains.
2. US ‘Grand Bargain’
The recent announcement by President Obama that he’s given up on a ‘grand bargain’ to put US public finances back on a sustainable track, perhaps represents an opportunity for hoteliers to be sympathetic to the political divide whilst employing agile marketing techniques. Whilst a serious matter that shouldn’t be trivialised, hotels could react with;
- Our ‘Grand Bargain’ is still going ahead – reduced rates for April.
- Do you sleep on the left or the right? – We don’t mind. Our luxurious beds welcome all.
3. London tube strikes
February’s tube (underground) strikes in London would have been a fantastic opportunity for hotels to react positively (and sympathetically) to what was a very stressful time for London commuters.
— MasterCardUK (@MasterCardUK) February 5, 2014
MasterCardUK partnered with lastminute.com to offer 10% off rooms, but hotels could have perhaps reacted more personally by offering;
- Work from ‘home’ – “save X% today and check in to ‘work from home’ at the comfort of your in-room desk with free high-speed Wi-Fi.”
- Can’t make it into your office? Use ours. – Save X% on conference room day hire.
- No delays – Rooms ready for check in at 2pm – with complimentary refreshing kit to help you cool off.
These are just a few examples of how hotels could have marketed themselves sensitively and perhaps encouraged some positive PR. See what other brands did here.
After it’s meteoric rise to fame and being named ‘word of the year‘ by Oxford Dictionaries in 2013, the slang term for self portraits has become a worldwide phenomenon. Whilst the moment has probably passed, hotels could have reacted to this new trend with some fun marketing ideas;
- Selfies with staff – actively encourage guests to take selfies with your staff – reception, concierge, doormen etc. They may Tweet them, share on Facebook etc. – highlighting the hotel’s lighter side.
- Selfies competition – challenge your guests to take a selfie in the hotel (tastefully!) and share it on social media with a specific hashtag (e.g #hotelselfie) for a chance to win a prize.
Market ‘in the moment’
Agile marketing doesn’t have to be expensive and often it’s quite economical with coverage coming from PR and social media. Plan for different scenarios and eventualities so that your hotel is primed and ready to react. Even go so far as to have special rate codes set up within your booking engine and create marketing templates that simply need a rate dropped in. You have a narrow window of opportunity to keep your marketing relevant! In short;
Don’t just watch the news; react to it and look for those ‘in the moment’ opportunities.