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Of all the sectors in the economy, none is affected by digital trends as much as the hospitality industry. Most of the customers in this industry are social travelers and tourists, who spend a lot of hours online researching on places to visit, hotels to book, and restaurants to dine in. Therefore, digital marketing has become the most viable way of getting to potential customers, establishing a brand, and developing a group of loyal customers.
In the hospitality industry, there are multiple marketing strategies that have proven to be effective for most businesses. These include:
1. Content marketing
This is the most basic, yet effective strategy that works well, particularly for hotels. It involves creating content such as photos, videos, articles, and social media posts that do not boldly promote the business but generates an interest in it. It’s a subtle way of informing consumers that your business exists and that they should consider checking it out. It is also good for customer retention as it engages customers and keeps them in the loop about your services.
The key issue in this strategy is to get the content right. It needs to be engaging and captivating so as to draw an audience. At the same time, the content should not be salesly, but passively hint at the existence of your services, and what it entails.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a marketing strategy that aims at improving your rankings on search engine results pages. Currently, over 80% of internet traffic originates from search engines. So if a potential client searches for “affordable hotels in town A”, chances are he/she will click on some of the results appearing in the first results page. If your business site ranks anywhere in this range, you will most likely get that traffic, and possibly convert the individual to a paying customer. That’s how important SEO marketing.
The strategy itself involves a lot of technical workings. To start with, you need market research on the keywords used by customers seeking your service. You then need to incorporate the keyword appropriately into your site’s content. You also need to use headings and subheadings and include meta-content that makes it easier for search engines to associate your site with that keyword. Additionally, SEO requires quality content: text, pictures, videos, and even music. It is a task that often needs digital marketing expertise.
Making it to the top of search results pages can be a tedious and time-consuming task. SEA (Search engine advertising), on the other hand, enables you to achieve this almost instantly. For every results page, there are organic results and paid search results. Paid searches involve making payments to search engines such as Google, so that your site’s results may appear first whenever someone searches for a certain keyword.
Search Engine Advertising also requires a lot of technical input. First, you need to identify the right key search words used by potential customers, such as “best spas in town B”. Secondly, getting advertising space on search engines involves a bidding war. Many businesses are out for the same spot. You, therefore, need to optimize your site to meet all the requirements needed in order to outdo your competitors.
4. Expand your social media presence
In this current age, social media is the go-to platform for most internet users. Averagely, internet users spend 30% of their online time on social networking sites. It is, therefore, a great place for advertising your service. This is especially true for businesses in the hospitality industry, as social media is a place to discuss and share fun memories of holiday and tours.
The social media marketing strategy will, therefore, aim at reaching users of all social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. These campaigns will involve the use of captivating text and media such as photos, gifs, and videos.
5. Email marketing
Despite being an ancient digital marketing technique, it still is effective. In the hospitality industry, this serves as a good way of retaining clients. Through emails, you can regularly update your customers on new products and offers. This can be about upcoming tours, events happening within your locality, and even special offers on your service. This way, you can maintain a steady stream of clients.
Email marketing requires creativity. It often involves the use of weekly or monthly newsletters, which need to contain informative and captivating information that will push customers into buying your services.
This is an emerging area in digital marketing. It involves the management of the online reputation of a business, particularly on social media and on review sites. Currently, customers often look up online opinions, ratings, and reviews of your business before making a purchase. Negative comments, reviews, and publicity on the internet can easily ruin your business. That is why every business needs an e-reputation strategy.
A good e-reputation marketing strategy is multi-disciplinary that often requires input from digital marketing and public image consultants. When done in the right way, it can lead to the establishment of a loyal customer base.
7. User experience
Most of these digital marketing strategies involve drawing visitors to your business’ website. However, it is the experience they get on your website, that is user experience, that determines whether or not a visitor will make a purchase, or even visit your site again.
Studies have shown that bad user experience will decrease the likelihood of a customer making a purchase by 60%. On the other hand, customers who get a good user experience are 90% more likely to revisit the site and make another purchase. That’s how important user experience is.
Good user experience is determined by several factors. For starters, your web design and layout should be captivating, and easy to use. At the same time, the platform should work well on computers as well as mobile devices and tablets. All these are tasks that are handled by digital marketing agencies.
In conclusion, digital marketing is the future of marketing, and more specifically in the hospitality industries. Customers turn to the internet to find services such as hotels, restaurants, spas, and other recreational services. With a good digital marketing strategy, you can easily reach all these potential customers, and establish a loyal customer base for your business.