Marketing your business in the accommodation sector is not always easy and there are certain things you should definitely avoid doing if you want to get ahead of your competition and dodge making an error that might prove costly.
The national accommodation sector is flourishing in Australia, with RevPAR (revenue Per Available Room) anticipated to grow more than 3% by 2019. Clearly, you need to stay on your toes if you want to compete in the industry. For help, check our guide to typical, but avoidable, marketing pitfalls and ensure that your next advertising strategy delivers the best possible ROI for your accommodation and hospitality business…
Lagging when it comes to brochure marketing
Digital marketing is handy, but that doesn’t mean that print is not a lucrative and efficient way to advertise your business. A survey of 1,560 hospitality professionals conducted by the Center for Marketing Technology (CMT) showed that nearly all front-desk staff (98%) would opt for printed media over digital, while a significant 94% of hotels offer information to their guests using brochures.
Apparently, customers feel the same. An experiment by TrueImpact showed that people use less brain effort to process a print advertisement than they would to understand a digital one. Plus, they’re typically able to recall printed details more easily. It seems that print ads and promoting in the accommodation industry work well together — don’t miss the opportunity.
Choosing poor imagery — or none at all
Selling a room or hotel experience relies on quality pictures. Have you seen an ad for a hotel or B&B that didn’t feature a few attractive photos?
There are around 43,730 rooms due to be built as a result of Australian accommodation projects by 2024. So, we recommend upping your game now to promote your business and inspire customer loyalty. People want to see where they’ll be living and sleeping when they visit you. Apparently, digital agency, Bright North, claims that bad image quality harms the chance that someone will choose your establishment. Although the phrase: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ was coined many years ago, it still rings true today for those marketing in the accommodation sector. Don’t just write that you offer spacious and modern rooms, show people with attractive, professionally-take images. Don’t turn away customers by using an image with poor resolution on your ads and pull up banners. Or even worse, missing the chance to show off your attractive, enticing images completely by printing material with only text.
Missing out on either online and offline marketing
Now’s the time to take advantage of an array of marketing opportunities — including digital and print. Social Media News found that 60% of Australians are active on Facebook, so don’t miss this potential audience. On these platforms, you can send immediate responses to existing and new customers, which could prove essential in order to secure a second or first-time booking. Similarly, Facebook and Twitter let you distribute instant updates on promos or photos of available rooms and services you’re offering.
Although digital is handy, print is equally essential. It’s easy for people to scroll away from one of your ads on social media. However, they’re less likely to move away so quickly from a print ad. According to a survey of 2,400 people, more than eight out of ten trust print ads, while only a quarter said the same about online pop-ups.
With the above in mind, perhaps it’s worth considering both digital and print possibilities and not limiting your marketing strategies to only one avenue.
Not using exciting text
Consider every word you use when posting or printing an advertisement. Many people take courses and degrees in writing for marketing, so clearly text is crucial to success and shouldn’t be overlooked.
For a consumer, staying away from home is often a luxury experience, or a treat. So, use words that reflect this luxe, fun aspect — such as ‘entertaining’, ‘decadent, ‘amazing, ‘relaxing’, ‘luxurious’, and ‘beautiful’ to highlight your rooms, services and facilities. Too much text is also a marketing pitfall — so, be engaging, exciting and to the point!
Not offering branded merchandise
Do you offer pens, mugs, bathrobes, and other branded items at your establishment? According to a survey, eight out of ten people can recall a brand after getting a promotional product, while more than half keep them for more than a year. Don’t miss the chance — get some products printed with your brand name or logo on.
Show each guest how proud you are of your business with branded merchandise and consider giving these out at trade shows or corporate events to spread brand awareness.
Failing to recognise the importance of online review platforms
Review sites can be a help or a hindrance to accommodation businesses. Around 455 million unique visitors head to TripAdvisor — that’s a lot of people who might see a negative review of your brand.
According to the 2018 Sensis social media report, almost 70% of Australians claim that they read online reviews before buying. You can’t control what goes on TripAdvisor, but being savvy with your social media activity is a great way to reduce the risk of a bad post. Unhappy customers often want to communicate with you directly, usually by social media. If you receive a complaint — either via a tweet or a message — answer it quickly. 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’.”
Ignoring a complaint and hoping it’ll go away is a rookie mistake. Try to resolve the issue as soon as you can and lower the chance that the disgruntled customer will upload a potentially angrier review on places like TripAdvisor where more people will see it.
You have to adopt a good marketing approach to stay ahead in the accommodation sector. Just try to avoid the pitfalls above!