We’re entering a new era of hotel marketing: the tools we used just a few short years ago no longer suit the digitally-savvy, visually-driven generation today. So when it comes to closing more group business from meeting and event planners, taking a more visual approach to hotel marketing is one high-impact area where properties can influence more closed deals. With the meetings, events, and conventions industry crossing over the $117 billion a year mark, it’s no wonder that competition between hotels in booking this business has increased ten-fold.
Here are 3 ways taking a visual approach to hotel marketing can help your property stand out and capture more group business.
1. Set the expectation of service with visuals
It’s a fact: 77% of B2B event strategists conduct research online before contacting sales. So what exactly are planners evaluating before reaching out to your sales team? When planners are evaluating your hotel property as a potential venue to book for their event, one of the first stops on their visual journey with you is your property’s website.
Let’s make an assumption here: your hotel prides itself on top-notch service, impeccable hospitality, with a staff to match, correct? Do your photos match that? If the answer is no, your visuals could be inadvertently ruining their expectations on your behalf.
If your hotel’s photographs are lacking, unprofessional, or downright unrealistic, it could be impacting potential event bookings at your property. One step to take is to make the conscious investment in high-quality photography. Showcase realistic event setups, what makes your space special, and most of all, the level of service planners can expect by featuring staff members. Take time to plan out the various setups that showcase your hotel in the best or most creative way. This will not only show off the versatility of your space but will help prospective event planners make the connection between their event and your hotel.
2. Get the social media stamp of approval
Millennials and Gen Z are the quickest growing demographic of planners yet hoteliers are continuing to decipher the most impactful way to appeal to them. One of the easiest ways to reach this demographic is through leveraging visual marketing tactics, namely, via social media.
Social media posts with relevant visuals receive 94% more views than posts that don’t. With millennial planners gravitating towards more visual social networks like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, it’s never been easier to ensure your social media presence doesn’t fall short with these prospective customers while standing out from competitors.
Planners love to take photos of their work which provides an easy win for you when leveraging upon user-generated content. If you’ve been tagged in a photo on Instagram, for example, don’t just like or comment. Take it a step further and repost their photo to your account. Free apps like Repost give credit to the original poster but also allow you to add comments and hashtags of your own. By showing prospective planners the successful work of their peers at your hotel, it will drive a level of legitimacy that an online review simply cannot touch.
3. Bring planners into your space virtually
Bringing prospective planners into your space virtually is a next level approach to visual hotel marketing that few properties are leveraging today. While you could describe, with words, the various event spaces in your property, it’s visuals that can really bring these features to life.
There are a multitude of collaborative, meeting and event diagramming tools that show specific rooms and their setups in 2D and 3D, bringing planners virtually into the event. Both you and the prospective planner can do a virtual walkthrough to run through logistics which can grow trust between the two parties. Take it one step further by pairing the 2D diagram with high-quality photos of an actual event that took place with that setup to show a proof of concept.
If planners want to see examples of events that have occurred in your space, why not take them on a virtual tour? Tools like Google Street View, Georama, and 3DVista can be embedded onto your website and best of all, allow you to build credibility at your hotel by bringing prospective planners directly into the space. By doing so, planners can figure out exactly how they envision their event hosted in your hotel.
What other visual hotel marketing tools do you use at your hotel to win group business? Leave me a comment or tweet to me @socialtables!