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by Priya Patel

Hospitality marketing has made waves in the revenue stream in the last few years and lately we are seeing more and more ad campaigns, banners, articles, and webinars on the importance of proactive marketing.   It is all very effective and has definitely spread fast among hospitality professionals trying to fit into today's trends.  But there are a lot of unsung heroes, marketing must haves that seem to get swept under the carpet.  The not-so-common marketing tips that need to be revisited.  Here is a small list of marketing ideas that are geared to bring in online customers that are visiting your site, and are either passing by because there was not enough visual appeal, or because you were not showcasing your property as well as you could be.  These marketing tips are designed to give you a more proactive connection with your guests; past, present, and future!

Video Interviews

I know, it sounds like a lot of work that sounds good on paper but never gets done.  Let's revisit this.  It's one thing to read reviews on TripAdvisor and social media blogs, but it's a whole other thing to visit a hotel website and see a video of an actual guest who has stayed and raves about the experience.  I think it's a great marketing strategy and can be as simple as your front desk or GM using their cellphone to interview guests.  No high-tech equipment needed.  It lets customers share with other potential customers what a wonderful hotel you have and why it's worth staying there. 

Guest Messaging

Have you made calls to companies like AT&T or TXU, companies that have long phone holds and 10 options to get to the eventual wrong department.  I personally have started using the web chat options.  I was skeptical at first, especially since I'm always calling or chatting about something that has to do with my money.  But it works!  It's fast, efficient, and gets information right away.  So why doesn't hotels offer that for their guests.  Imagine a potential guest that goes to your hotel website for information, and sees a "chat with live agent now" option.  The ability to book that fast without having to call, or to get up to the minute information about events in town, hotel amenities, or pricing information; all from a cell phone, or tablet would be priceless.  As a former GM of a busy Wyndham property, I had my regulars text me all the time, no more online booking or calling the front desk.  They would just text me direct.  Fast, efficient service, and they feel special as if someone who cares is personally taking care of their needs. 

Appeal directly to the Millennials

Yes, I am talking about social media, we can't escape it and we shouldn't.  By now, you should already know to have your website linked with all outlets.  That's a given.  Now you need to train your staff on working it!  I'm a Facebook junkie; every movie, every restaurant, every nice hotel I stay at - you better believe I am checking in and most likely taking a picture to post.  Encourage your guests at check-in, when you see them in the lobby during stays, or outside walking to their car; encourage them to check-in, to post a picture directly on your hotel website.  Offer them a candy basket, or snack basket, or a $10.00 meal at a local fast food restaurant.  Anything.  That money will be well paid for when customers see the many check-in's and the pictures from happy customers directly on the website.

Look, the point is, you may not always need high priced marketing to appeal to customers.  Sometimes, the best kept secrets are right in front of you.  Train your staff to implement these three tips, call your web designer to add the "chat live now" option, and reconnect personally with your guests.  I promise you, it makes all the difference in the world to have that extra personal attention; and who doesn't love attention!   

Content provided courtesty of Websrefesh and the California Lodging Industry Association

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