Tips for creating a successful hotel marketing plan
Why would I need a hotel marketing plan?
Whether you run a small, single hotel, a medium sized one, or a large hotel company, whether your hotel is newly founded or well-tried, there are certain daily challenges that you, as a hotelier, must inevitably face. These include renting rooms, satisfying guest demands, and achieving business goals. Such business goals should not come into being randomly or just by gut feelings. Rather, your marketing plan should be the basis of your corporate agitation. The process you should follow, in creating your marketing strategy, will be outlined for you in this article.
Make sure your hotel marketing plan doesn’t become a monster , but rather is constructive and focused on the most important elements. There is no point in investing hours and hours of work into a plan just to disregard it in the end. In order to achieve your personal business goals, the hotel marketing plan you devise should be something you can use in your daily operations. There are several things you should pay attention to when composing it. This means that full concentration and sufficient time are required when you sit down to devise this plan. However, the act of creating the plan alone is of course not sufficient. Your marketing plan should at the very least be updated regularly (say once a year) and be coherent with the general business strategy This brief article should give you a rough understanding of how to create a hotel marketing plan, and eventually serve you as a tool to sustain your position within the harshly competitive hotel business.
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Preconditions for a hotel marketing plan
In order to determine precise marketing goals, you should already have formulated a clear business strategy. To do so, it is important to observe your hotel from a bird’s-eye view and to ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are our guests / our target audiences?
- Why should guests come to our place, rather than go to other hotels? What advantages do we offer our customers?
- Who are our competitors?
- What are we specialized in? How are we differentiating ourselves from our competitors? In which fields are we better?
- What are our products and services – and for which of them did we receive positive or negative feedback?
- What are some weaknesses of our hotel?
- What is our philosophy/ our vision?
You should have convincing answers at hand for these questions. Only then can you begin drafting precise goals for your marketing strategy, defining concrete demands to be achieved over a specific period. Those goals must be formulated in such a way that they are verifiable and controllable. Maybe you want to increase direct bookings from your website by 5% (Read our whitepaper on this topic) or you want to strengthen your presence on social networks (Learn more how do to). By choosing specific targets, you can later measure your performance. Do not forget to define and include budgets for marketing measures into your calculation. In the end, it’s all about making those measures worthwhile for you and your hotel.
Create specific marketing measures
You have taken an important first step by doing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis as well as defining a business strategy. By now, you are getting ready to actually start working on your hotel marketing plan. That includes developing certain measures for the following categories – the so-called four P’s.
It is highly recommended that you do some sort of brainstorming with different employees from respective sectors of your hotel. Hear everyone’s opinion, let them speak, and be open and even eager for new ideas. Afterwards, you can – either on your own or with your team – make a cost-benefit analysis of the various ideas. Those measures that show great promise for your budget can then be included into your hotel marketing plan. Concrete examples of frequently used elements could be:
- Company logo / business cards
- Direct mailing / Newsletter
- Presence on social networks
- Online Advertisement /SEA
Concrete measures must be formulated precisely and be achievable within a certain time frame. Do not hesitate to be ambitious here, but do stay down-to-earth. Often, multiple small steps are necessary if one wants to achieve a single, bigger goal. Always keep your target audience in mind and set up a logical agenda, coherent with your business strategy. Share your hotel marketing plan with all of your employees, letting them know that they are a part of this plan and have contributed to its development.
This process also has the advantage of giving different departments the chance to better understand the work of their colleagues, as they search to include everyone into a general business strategy.
Your hotel marketing plan should be your guide into the future. As such, you should constantly challenge the goals determined within. In the fast-shifting hotel business, a correct analysis of the situation and the related goals one day can be outdated and irrelevant overnight. Internal changes can have an impact on a hotel and its marketing efforts, of course, but so can shifts in the social, political and economic environment your hotel is attached to. Keeping your plan up to date doesn’t mean that you need to hire economic and political experts, but you should pay attention to external events and be ready to adapt when necessary.
A performance review offers valuable clues as to the effectiveness and profitability of your business strategies and marketing efforts. Somewhere between the constant optimization and adjustment of your strategies and the necessary patience to let your ideas come into being, you might find the secret to an effective hotel marketing plan. Control your success regularly by looking at numbers and stats, as well as by organizing team meetings. It is the only way to ensure that you achieve the goals as you’ve set them out in your hotel marketing plan.
A hotel marketing plan supports you and your hotel in different ways. Not only does it help you gain new guests and turn one-time guests into repeating customers,it also helps you embed unclear and indefinite business goals into concrete frameworks, and eventually to implement them with well thought out measures.
As a first step, it is important to develop and formulate a general business strategy, essential for your hotel to position itself properly. In due course, you and some handpicked coworkers should also determine some clear business objectives, from which you can deduce certain marketing measures.
From there, things get more elaborate as you have to put your – to this point still purely theoretical – hotel marketing plan into practice. From here you need to be patient, as well as vigilant of how your strategies will fit your day in, day out work processes. Ideally, you want to create an action plan for and with your employees to describe how exactly you want your ideas to be applied.
Once you’ve managed to successfully implement the hotel marketing plan into your daily workflows, you must not forget to carefully observe the impact of your measures. Not until your strategies bring about real improvements, your employees work together to realize objectives, and you’ve managed to prove a profit, can you consider the implementation of your hotel marketing plan completed successfully. Until that happens, be critical, do not hesitate to challenge formulated goals and adapt them to altered circumstances. This is the only way for you to guarantee – whether you happen to run a small single hotel, a medium sized one or a large hotel chain – that you have done everything in your power to tap into the full potential of your hotel.
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