Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Why Your Hotel Needs A Content Marketing Strategy And How To Start Building One

If you’re a hotelier doing content marketing on your own or with a marketing team, but you’re not seeing the impressive results most online gurus talk about, this article will provide some much-needed insights.

Let’s begin with a few reflective questions:

Have you taken the time to create a well thought out content marketing strategy?

If yes, is it documented and shared with all relevant individuals?

If you answered no or maybe, what are you waiting for?

Here’s a harsh truth to swallow.

Regardless of your budget, all content marketing endeavors require a strategy. A properly crafted strategy that helps form a clear and whole vision of your marketing.

Without a clear vision, the people will perish.

That statement is true in life, and it’s certainly true for your content marketing efforts. The clear vision gives you and the marketing team the whole picture. Then you can more effectively join the pieces of the marketing puzzle together.

Why is this important?

If you can get your content marketing to work, the ROI for your business will be enormous. So many hotels feel they at the mercy of OTA’s with no other choice. Well, let me break the good news to you. In 2019, the cards fall in your favor.

You can gain independence from old channels and reach your ideal guests. In today’s marketplace, there are better, more affordable and direct ways – as long as you have the right strategy. And then you must have that strategy documented!

There was a time when your best shot at running a successful hotel was by depending solely on outbound marketing methods and OTA’s. Buying email lists and praying they turn into leads or buying ads seemed to be the only option. Times have changed. Thanks to the internet and social media you have the power to build a high-quality database and grow your brand using more cost-effective routes.

Here’s the big problem:

In the hospitality industry, very few individuals see value in strategically planning out their content and investing in the right tools and teams to help them execute on the desired marketing efforts.

Sure, they will invest in getting one viral video or a celebrity posting about the hotel. But that’s as far as it goes. This is a perfect case of “social infatuation”. Rather than holding the long view and building relationships using these platforms, hotels are scattering their efforts trying to find one thing that can give them instant virality.

Real content marketing is still being treated as something to do on the side if the budget allows.

Those who are at least attempting to leverage things like social media marketing, email, blogging and so on (as a relationship building medium) are doing it so sparingly it’s disheartening. There’s hardly any real structure or planning around it. But this issue seems to be a common one across the B2C space. Take a look at the stats being reported from a study conducted in 2018 by the content marketing institute.

So before diving into quick starter tips for building your content marketing strategy, let’s validate why you should even be considering this as an option for your hotel moving forward.

[easy-tweet tweet=”With a documented strategy hoteliers can figure out what works and what doesn’t.” hashtags=”#hotels #contentmarketing”]

Why your hotel needs a documented content marketing strategy:

Each year the Content Marketing Institute continues to carry out research that proves the importance of having your strategy in writing. With a documented strategy it becomes easier to figure out what works and what doesn’t. In so doing, you can allocate that budget to the marketing efforts that yield better results.

In fact, according to this article from CMI, 75% of B2C marketers who said their organization is more successful this year compared with one year ago cite – strategy- as the top reason.

The main issue is very few businesses have a documented content marketing strategy. Now, if other industries are still lagging in this, it’s probable that marketers in the hotel industry are struggling even more.

B2C statistics for content marketing

It’s very challenging for you to play and win in the digital game if you’re attempting to attack a big goal without a proper plan and strategy in place.

How would you determine whether there was any growth, expected ROI or what tactics work best for reaching your ideal audience? More importantly, how would you know what’s not working so you can stop pouring energy and resources into it?

Whether you have a small or big brand (and even if you are working with a meager budget), your hotel NEEDS a documented content marketing strategy.

Think about this for a moment.

Research done on goal setting shows that people who write down their goals, review them consistently and share those goals with colleagues and friends are 33% more successful in achieving said goals than those who claim to have goals.

Want to be successful with your social media and content marketing? Leverage the same approach.

Simple steps to start building a documented content marketing strategy for your hotel

1. Start by defining what makes you unique, memorable and worth investing in.

Remember, your guest is choosing to invest their resources and entrust you with their safety and comfort when they book your hotel. They are in search of a specific experience. So what do they need to know about your hotel to help them make the best-informed decision?

There are certain critical areas of your property, the service you provide and the mission you stand for which can help you stand out in the eyes of your potential guest. With just a little creativity and a documented strategy, these key areas can become the highlight of your social media and content marketing.

In this article, Will Wells shares ideas on the different areas in your hotel that you can leverage to generate content that makes you stand out.

But here’s where most hoteliers get stuck. In an attempt to stand out from the crowd they end up procrastinating, because they can’t come up with something wildly different from their competitors. So let me share an insight with you.

It’s not about finding one significant difference that only you possess. If you are in an area with many other hotels, that’s probably not going to be possible.

Instead, focus on finding even one little detail that you know from past guest experience is very much appreciated. Use that little difference to the best of your ability and make it the spark that draws in your audience.

2. Invest in audience research

The next step before setting up that content marketing strategy is to research your ideal audience. Go deep. Get to know as much as possible about their online behavior. Increase your understanding of the buyer’s journey.

If you plan to go on social media to publish content for the sake of being active then getting a strong ROI is going to seem like a fairytale. Your content needs to have purpose. You must intentioanlly craft it to serve a particular audience.

[easy-tweet tweet=”All the content you publish online must be intentional and serve a purpose.” hashtags=”#socialmedia #hotelmarketing #hotelier”]

The whole purpose of having a content marketing strategy and developing your unique branding position is so that you can individually connect with a particular guest who is more likely to book your hotel.

This isn’t meant to be guesswork. With the right research and thanks to the abundance of data we now have available online, you can be able to create what I call an ideal persona ( preferably multiple personas) that you can target in all the different content created.

You can use the database of guests that have already stayed with you as well as the data collected from any paid ads or organic SEO done. By sifting through this information, you will be able to quantify the overwhelming similarities showing up and combine them into personas that help direct the messaging of your content creatives.

3. Build your brand story.

At this point, you’re ready to start getting granular with your planning. Choosing SEO opportunities to take advantage of and paid ads (to expose your brand and increase reach) is where the rubber hits the road. However, there is one big action step to take before getting tactical with your content strategy.

So many hoteliers will skip over this or avoid investing in this part because they don’t see the need to integrate business storytelling into their marketing efforts. This is a grave mistake, and I implore you to step back and rethink your perspective.

If you’re not building a story brand around your hotel, you lack the backbone that will help develop a lasting affinity and loyalty to your brand.

Everyone is online nowadays. Most people are addicted to their mobiles. If you can manage to get those highly addicted individuals to interact with your brand on the very devices they can’t let go of, you’ll have a fantastic year. But you can’t get that result by “selling” your hotel.

Modern travellers can’t stand cheap informercial and sales pitches. Instead, you need to build a connection that keeps you top of mind.

Aside from food, shelter, clothing, money, and other basic needs, stories are a big deal for the human brain. We love stories and cannot help but feel strongly connected to any person or brand that can give us a great story.

Therefore, before you get into the tactical part of keyword research, content creation and measuring KPI’s, work on scripting a good brand story that attracts your ideal guest.

Do you have a story brand created? If you need help feel free to reach out for a chat and some ideas.

You don’t have to be a big brand like the Hilton or Marriott to build your storybrand, but you do need a great story to succeed especially in 2019 and beyond.

4. Create an editorial calendar with high-quality content

An editorial calendar can be as elaborate or as simple as you choose it to be. It’s not meant to be something scary and certainly doesn’t require you to be publishing content for the sake of it.
That’s why my last tip when it comes to creating a content marketing strategy is two-sided. While I do want you to have this editorial calendar in place, I want to make sure it’s filled with high-quality content. Go for quality and consistency, not quantity.

Mediocre content will not give you the ROI or brand growth and loyalty you deserve. Sure, it feels good to say you publish a lot of material but if it doesn’t engage your ideal audience, is it any good?

It’s lovely to be excited about battling it out for top Google rankings. But it’s not worthwhile sacrificing your audience experience. If you listen to gurus like Gary Vee (a fantastic marketer by the way), you know everyone says you need to be publishing daily. And I agree. But only if it makes sense to the business.

For example. I don’t enjoy the fact that Molton Brown keeps emailing me every other day with a sales pitch. If anything it now hurts my perception of their brand. It would be more favorable if they would email twice a week; once with something aspiration that makes my day and asks for nothing in return. Then the second email can be a sales pitch.

Even though Molton Brown is a product, the same principle applies to your hotel marketing plan.

It’s a waste of time producing weak; low quality rushed content.

If your content is aspirational, comprehensive, informative, educational, inspiring, well thought out and written for your audience, it will always help you win long term.

Bottom line:

Creating story-based content that resonates with your ideal audience and engages their attention should always remain the core focus of any material you produce. You are in the business of serving people. Give them a memorable experience both online and offline. And let that primary intention remain active with all your content marketing efforts.

With a little creativity and proper planning, you could be enjoying the golden age of prosperity in your hotel. It is that simple. First, get a great strategy in place. Then all the pieces of the marketing puzzle will start to make sense as you assemble them.

May you continue to grow and prosper with your content marketing.

Janette.

Janette Getuihttp://www.janettegetui.com
Janette Getui is a family woman, luxury lover and a professional storyteller. The editor in chief at her boutique content creation agency where her teams' main focus is to produce personalized content driven by data and storytelling. She works with both hotel executives and independent hotels to produce world-class content within the hospitality industry. To learn more about the power of storytelling and how to use it for your brand visit the website or connect directly with Janette on Twitter: @janettegetui.

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