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Marketing dangers in the accommodation industry

All industries rely on marketing campaigns to promote brands and increase profits — but how do you do this in the accommodation sector? If you run a hotel, B&B or other accommodation resort, you need to ensure that you launch and manage a marketing campaign that promotes your brand in the best possible way, showing current and potential guests why they should choose your venue over the rest.

Of course, planning and launching a campaign that does this is not always easy. To help, this guide will show you which marketing pitfalls you must dodge and why to ensure your next advertising strategy delivers the best possible ROI.

Overlooking brochure marketing

Although they’ve been around for many years, brochures still pack a punch in marketing. According to a survey of 1,560 hospitality professionals conducted by the Center for Marketing Technology (CMT), 98% of front desk staff would choose printed media and 94% of hotels deliver information to guests via a brochure display.

Luckily, accommodation consumers also seem to like this form of marketing. According to an experiment by TrueImpact, customers use less mental effort to process a printed ad as opposed to a digital one, and they are able to remember print more easily after seeing it than digital. Evidently, brochure and this industry go hand in hand — so don’t miss your opportunity to advertise your establishment by not investing in a brochure marketing campaign.

Forgetting about imagery

Quality, attractive photos are critical to the success of a digital or print campaign. How many times have you seen a brochure or email ad for a hotel or B&B that didn’t include at least one or two attractive photos?

We want to see the room and public areas of where we’re staying when we book a night or two away, so nice, enticing images are important. In fact, according to a report created by digital agency, Bright North, poor image quality reduces the chance that a potential customer will choose you over your competitors. The term: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ was apparently coined by Frederick R. Barnard and is something anyone marketing within the accommodation industry should bear in mind. Before booking, consumers want to be assured that the modern bathroom and spacious living space you claim your venue offers is true — so don’t ruin the illusion and turn consumers away by placing an image with a poor resolution on your brochure and leaflets. Or even worse, not providing a photo at all.

Ineffective language

Using poorly constructed sentences, ineffective tones and boring words will almost always put an audience off. So, don’t rush into writing a promotional leaflet or other type of ad without taking time to consider every word you’re using.

People want to look forward to going away on a weekend, so reflect this excitement. That means you must use language that embodies and emphasises this level of excitement. Words like: ‘entertaining’, ‘delicious’, ‘wonderful’, ‘relaxing’, ‘luxurious’, and ‘beautiful’ to describe rooms and facilities are great options. Although you mustn’t pack your marketing material with too much text. Instead, peppering your content with favourable and engaging words can make the difference between enticing your potential customer and losing their interest.

Ignoring the pros of merchandise

Merchandise, as well as print marketing like brochures, magazines and catalogues, is a great way to show off your brand in a practical way. According to a survey, 80% of people can recall a brand after receiving a promotional product, while 58% of people keep a promotional product for one to over four years. If you want to encourage repeat custom, perhaps this marketing tactic is one you should adopt today.

If you’re proud of your company, merchandise is a great way to show it. L.J Market Research found that over 50% of people in a survey eventually became a customer of a brand after receiving a promotional product from them — can you afford to miss out on this opportunity? Consider ordering a batch of promotional items that you can hand out at trade shows or that people could use in public to enhance your marketing ROI.

Not harnessing the two, main marketing avenues

Regardless of what some may thing, both print and digital can be excellent marketing tools. Being active on social media will help you to get your brand out there and build a rapport with customers. SUMO Heavy Industries — a digital strategy and design company — found that 72% of people use social media daily. On Facebook and Twitter, you can send instant replies to existing and potential customers, which could prove essential in order to secure a second or first-time booking, while theses channels also give you the opportunity to send immediate updates on special offers or photos of new rooms and services you’re now offering.

Print is highly effective when it comes to marketing in the hospitality sector. When marketing in this sector, the look of a place or guestroom can make or break your campaign, and with print, your audience can enjoy an attractive image that sells your brand and doesn’t go away by scrolling down. A university study discovered that, when comparing the efficiency of online and print adverts, the print format proved to have the most ‘advertising effectiveness’. This study took into account how much a person spent looking at the ad, how much information they took from it and how likely they were to buy (or book). Still not convinced? According to a survey of 2,400 consumers, 82% of people trust print ads, while only 25% said the same for online pop-ups — so perhaps it’s worth balancing out your marketing strategy if you’re currently focusing on digital platforms.

Being careless with online reviews

Online review platforms can make or break a hotel or B&B. According to statistics, there are around 455 million unique visitors and a million hotels on TripAdvisor — that’s a huge pool of potential customers that can read a single bad review and be dissuaded from choosing your business.

So, work to earn and retain positivity on TripAdvisor. A great way to keep negative opinions off global, independent review sites is to be savvy with your social media activity. If you have a disgruntled customer, it’s likely that they want a response to their issue and will initially choose your company’s Facebook or Twitter account to communicate with you directly. If you receive a complaint — either via a tweet, a tag or a message — respond to it as quickly as possible.

According to social media and customer services expert, Jay Baers: “A lack of response is a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much’.” The longer you leave a complaint, the more annoyed your unhappy customer will become and the more likely it will be that they’ll choose to upload a bad review on an independent site for others to see. Do you really want to let your social media followers see bad comments about your brand? Plus, there’s the risk that they’ll be spotted by potential customers who may be browsing independent review sites for future accommodation options.

Boost your next marketing campaign in 2018 with these tips — just make sure to avoid the pitfalls.