News for the Hospitality Executive
3 Easy Steps to Booking More Rooms This Summer
By Joy Gendusa
February 10, 2012
In many industries, including the hospitality industry, marketing gets a bad rap. There is this idea that marketing is like a fickle genie in a bottle. Maybe it will grant your wish for more customers, or maybe it won’t. There’s really no way to tell.
Actually there is a way to tell.
Here are the 3 steps to consistently book more rooms this (and every future) summer…
1. Identify Your Target Market
Who are your patrons… really? Believe it or not, this knowledge is the single most important part of your marketing campaign. And you have to get it before you do anything else marketing related or you risk wasting your money.
Go back through your records and find out what types of people are staying at your hotel. Are they retirees? Young families? Honeymooners? Businesspeople? There are so many options, especially in the hospitality industry. And that makes it all the more crucial to answer this question.
One possibility could be marketing to your previous customers. This past weekend, my husband and I went back to a lovely bed and breakfast we remembered from five years ago! Over the years, we kept meaning to go back, but never got around to it. If they had contacted us with their marketing, it would have reminded me to book the vacation and we probably would have gone there many more times over the past five the years.
Of course, chances are you will not only have one target market. You will probably have several. They key is to find the most profitable one for you. For example, if you made $20,000 off of honeymooners last year, but you made $75,000 off of businesspeople. Guess who your first target should be? Good. Moving on.
2. Promote to Your Target Market
So now you know who your target market is. How do you go about targeting them? The answer to this, for me, has always bee direct mail postcards. I have seen them work so consistently and so often in my career, that I can wholeheartedly endorse them. They are an optimal targeting tool because you can get extremely specialized mailing lists of the exact population you want to target.
The right postcard marketing company will be able to help you secure a great list, and then the only thing left to do is mail to that list — consistently. One-off mailings will never fully maximize your return-on-investment. If you want to get the most for your money — and you should — you need to do multiple mailings. As you do, you will begin to see more and more responses. Then, you can expand your operation to target other markets as well (like the honeymooners).
3. Follow Up with New Leads
In your industry, there is a certain amount of patience that is required with marketing, simply because it takes a lot more time and money to plan a vacation than it does to go buy a vacuum or something. You may not see the results right away, but with the right follow up system, you will most certainly see them.
Say you use your postcard to drive traffic to your website. You have targeted the type of people who have already proven that they are likely to choose your establishment, so you know you are going to get an increase in hits to your site. What if, after they visited your site, you were able to have online ads show up on many of the other sites they visit on a regular basis? That would be a great way to follow up and stay on their mind, right?
Well, you can do that. It’s called a remarketing campaign and it is available though Google’s AdWords. In addition to this, you should also have forms to fill out on your website to collect email addresses. Email is a great, cheap way to follow up.
That’s all there is to it. Identify your target market. Pelt them with postcards. Follow up with the leads you create. It really can be that simple if you are consistent with it. As your income grows, expand your marketing to reach more people. It’s the circle of growth!
About Joy Gendusa:
Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania. Joy began PostcardMania in 1998, with nothing but a phone and a computer, never taking a dime of investment capital. Joy originally started PostcardMania as a full-service postcard marketing company helping clients create turn-key marketing campaigns with graphic design, printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services. Since then, PostcardMania has expanded to offer its clients more services including website and landing page design and development, email marketing and full marketing evaluations — all while continuing to educate clients with free marketing advice.
In 2010, PostcardMania reached more than $19 million in annual revenue and the company now employs more than 190 people, prints 4 million and mails 2 million postcards each week, and has more than 50,000 customers in over 350 industries.
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