Hotel marketing is nothing new. Owners and managers have been doing it for decades. Of course, marketing has evolved a lot in recent years. Today, you’re as likely to be investing in intangible digital marketing as you are billboards or circulars.
You’re probably familiar with PPC ads, paid social ads, and likely even SEO. However, there is one type of marketing that you may not have really mastered yet: topical marketing. What is it? How does it work? Why should those in the hotel market bother with it? We’ll answer those questions and more below.
What Is Topical Marketing?
Topical marketing is also known as content marketing. It’s a tool that allows you to build topical authority in an area, so when a consumer searches Google for something similar, you are likely to be shown in the search results. Then the consumer clicks through, reads your content, is informed and educated, and can move to booking a room at your hotel.
Wait just a second, you say. That doesn’t sound right. Is that really how content marketing in the hotel industry works? Let’s dig into that question.
How Does Content Marketing Work?
Content marketing is about more than creating slick ads and promoting your hotel. It’s about providing valuable, useful, relevant information to consumers based on their search terms. For instance, a running shoe manufacturer might create content that explains the difference between neutral and support shoes and how consumers can determine which they need. That article would then be surfaced for people searching for information on how to choose the right running shoe. By informing and educating searchers, the manufacturer improves the chances that consumers will buy their shoes (and certainly builds the brand).
How does that translate to the hotel industry in the USA, though? It’s the same concept, just applied to things that your potential guests might be searching for. Here’s an example. Suppose your hotel is located in Arlington, Texas. Now, there’s a lot to love about Arlington, but one of the single largest attractions is Six Flags Over Texas. Obviously, people will be traveling to the area to visit the amusement park, and they’ll need a place to stay while doing so.
You could create a guide that discusses strategies for seeing all the attractions at the park or one that highlights the most popular rides, or one that discusses the holiday festivals and events held at the park. This would provide valuable information to your potential guests, build a positive brand image in their minds, and increase the chances that they’ll choose to stay at your property.
How Does Content Marketing Help Hotels?
Content marketing is used by all major hotel chains, and small and medium hotels must adopt these techniques. It’s a powerful tool for the hotel industry as a whole. How does it help, though? Here’s a quick breakdown:
- It attracts potential guests to your website.
- It informs, educates, and engages your audience.
- It builds your brand and creates positive connotations.
- It influences website visitors to book a stay at your property.
- It encourages them to repeat their visit with you again.
As you can see, it’s a potent tool for businesses within the American hospitality sector. However, there’s more that you need to do than just publishing content willy-nilly. You need a plan, and that must be based on an understanding of why topical authority is important.
Why Is It Necessary to Have Topical Authority?
Without topical authority, your content marketing efforts will likely not yield the results you want. So, what is it? Really, it’s nothing more than the perception on the part of your audience that you are an authority on a particular topic.
What does that mean for content marketing in the hospitality industry? There are a couple of things to know.
First, it means that your content must be factual and must explore a topic in some depth. That Six Flags Over Texas guide we mentioned? It should be more than just a quick mention of the amusement park with a sales pitch for your hotel. It needs to be meaty, substantive.
Second, it means that your content should be of high quality. You can’t build authority with poorly-written content or if your guides, articles, and blogs are chock-full of typos.
Third, your content needs to address real questions that your audience is asking. It must be relevant to their needs. To be an authority, you must have the answers.
Building a Topic-Based Content Marketing Plan
Building a topic-based hotel marketing plan isn’t as challenging as it might seem. Just put yourself in your potential guests’ shoes. If someone is traveling to your area, what questions might they have?
You can break this down by traveler type, too. You’ll have singles, couples, families, business travelers, and more. Each will have different needs and questions that must be answered.
Once you have some basic questions to answer, it’s time to turn your attention to content types. Some questions will be better suited to specific types of content. For instance, you can’t really give a thorough guide to every ride at Six Flags Over Texas in a 500-word blog post. That should be a more in-depth guide (and possibly offered as a free download for potential guests).
Some of the content types you have available include the following:
- Blog posts and articles
- Website content
- City/area guides
- Social media content
- Free downloadable reports/eBooks/guides
- Video content
When you’ve decided on the content types, you’ll need to create and publish them. However, your task doesn’t end there. You also need to manage your content and track the results. This allows you to determine what’s working, what’s not, and what changes should be made to help maximize the value of your content marketing.
Topical Marketing Is Crucial to Your Hotel’s Success
Once, traditional advertising was all that hotels needed. Today, that is not the case. It’s an increasingly competitive industry and you must use every tool at your disposal not only to stand out from the competition, but to build brand awareness with guests, deliver an amazing experience, and turn one-time stays into repeat guests. Topical marketing helps establish you as an authority in your local area and lays the foundation for growth and success.
Hotelogix Editorial Desk
Hotelogix‘s team of researchers and writers are constantly innovating to share the latest trends from the travel and hospitality space. Got suggestions? Write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.