Content Marketing Hotel: the importance of content for your brand

Content Marketing Hotel Albergo Agriturismo

In recent years, we are increasingly hearing the word “content marketing“, a term that is playing a decisively important role also in terms of hotels.

What is content marketing?

First of all, content marketing consists in producing and sharing high quality information material such as articles, images, videos and podcasts in order to increase their visibility.

From a hotel’s perspective, content marketing serves to bring out offers and content to potential guests.

If we were to summarize the content marketing in a sentence we would choose this:

The content creates relationships. Relationships are based on trust. Confidence leads to conversions.

The goal of content marketing for a hotel

The goal of content marketing for a hotel is to create:

  • reach (reach of people who can get in touch with the contents);
  • engagement (ability of a content to create relationships with users);
  • conversions (bring the user to finalize the purchase).

To do this you need to create content that really interests your potential customers, but before doing so you must define a strategy to follow.

How to start a content marketing strategy for your hotel

1) Set goals
Before starting the creation of content, you need to set goals. What is the result you want to achieve?
Increase reservations? Make cross-sell/upsell on a booking that has already occurred? Increase the visibility and the brand of its structure?

2) Choose an audience
The answer we hear more often when we ask what kind of audience we want to reach is: “Everyone, of course“.
But if we are perhaps doing content marketing for a 30-room boutique hotel, whose accommodation starts at € 150, we should go to produce content for a “medium/high” clientele.

3) Creation of contents
Choose content that is lively and close to the interests of your guests.
Making storytelling does not mean promoting just one product, but putting your audience at the center of each campaign, just like Airbnb did on the occasion of the twenty-five year period since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

4) Distribution of contents
The creation of the contents is useless if they do not reach the pre-established public target. Look for suitable channels that can convey your message.

5) Make a point!
What is the point of doing all this work if the objective you have set is not realized?
It’s a bit ‘like when playing volleyball, it is useless to have a great lifter if then who crushes throws the ball on the net. This is also valid in this case, it is useless to produce good content if then when you have to make the reservation, you do not have a booking engine that helps to convert.

In one shot, we will have thwarted all our investments !!!

Video first – Videos are the contents of the future

Now the world is increasingly in the hands of smartphones and the same Mark Zuckerberg from 2012 had stated several times that the strategy of Facebook in recent years was based on the concept of “mobile first“.

Now that the goal seems to be achieved, the new mantra is video first.
The vast majority of the content that people will consume online will be video. It is undeniable how videos are becoming increasingly popular on various social networks including of course Facebook, making them easily usable and often of very short duration.
The Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2010) are tomorrow’s customers, they are purely visual generations, they love to watch rather than read, and the proof is given by the success of platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat.

The secret to creating good videos is knowing how to tell the life “in a nutshell” of your business, a sort of virtual tour that is able to fascinate the customer.
If you have a farm with a horse riding you can not not film the moment when you make horseback riding or the moment when you get out of hot croissants ready to be served for breakfast.

The tourist who peeks videos on social networks or on your site will feel emotionally involved and will tend to book more easily if he already knows that place that you showed him through your eyes. If you manage to convey the atmosphere that you breathe in your structure you are already halfway through the work, especially if the potential client is looking at it while he is in the office, immersed in work and strongly desires a holiday!

Ride the wave of content created by your guests

Building authentic and original content, such as sharing photos of your guests, helps to build a community that knows how to revolve around relationships that are authentic and above all spontaneous.

This is because sometimes traditional marketing struggles to reach customers who often do not trust the advertisements of the structure itself and prefer to rely on a sincere opinion of friends and relatives (this is where the success of the reviews comes from).

Pioneer in this aspect was the company of Luxury Hotel, Loews Hotel, which through the hashtag #TravelForReal has put the perspective of the guest in the foreground, demonstrating the genuine and real side of the structure.
After starting the campaign that has reached more than 8100 photos uploaded on Instagram, Loews Hotel has contacted their guests directly asking them to use the photos posted, thus giving the future guests an authentic and filter-free image.

SEO and content marketing: the golden couple!

Launching sponsorship campaigns with Google Adwords is essential, but the SEO factor that binds with content marketing is equally important.
Some hotels use their own blog to do content marketing and create quality content for their users.
This result reaches its peak with the SEO optimization that leads to a better positioning of the site in search engines.
Google encourages original content and having a good number of pages indexed in search engines leads your site to rise in position in the list of results.

The climb to SERP also starts with content marketing!

Hotel marketing: the smart hotelier’s compass

Marketing alberghiero Hotel Albergo Agriturismo

Dear hotelier,
as you have already noted, the needs and preferences of the tourist market are constantly changing and so are also the strategies of hotel marketing and promotion of its accommodation.

The last few years have seen web marketing gaining ground step by step compared to what the manuals define “classic” marketing. Now all the hoteliers, despite some initial diffidence, have realized the enormous potential hidden in the online channels of communication and diffusion, tools that are able to increase the visibility of their hotel by increasing direct bookings and disintermediation in general.

The online sales and communication channels are all those channels that allow to increase the visibility and presence of their hotel on the web. These channels range from the official website, to the OTA portals, up to the engagement on social networks.

With this preamble, we are not saying that digital marketing must completely replace traditional marketing, the two modes must be balanced and coexist, but web marketing allows a stronger and more direct interaction between the customer and the accommodation in the selection phase of the ideal structure by the traveler.

Why is web marketing prevailing?

The first question is not why web marketing is dominating over classic marketing, as the answer is quite obvious: “now if you are not present online, you do not exist“.
So the question to ask is “why can I no longer do without web marketing?“.

We answer this epochal question with 3 reasons:

1) Power goes to connected customers

Globalization has paved the playing field, so with a proper web marketing strategy you can get almost anywhere.
The 30-room boutique hotel can reach customers all over the world, and must not do so through wasteful advertising campaigns “heaped” on television, on the radio or in print media. It can do so through targeted and highly targeted ads that also offer more precise and measurable results through the principle of conscious demand and latent demand (we talked about it here).
At this precise moment in history, power is in the hands of connected clients, and it is to them that web advertising must be directed.

2) F Factor

Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing, claims that most customers believe more in “Factor F” (friends, families, Facebook fans) that is friends, family and online followers.

So word of mouth, reviews, brands … are the keys that determine the choice of one structure over another.

3) 75% Marketing – 25% Sale

Emblematic is a sentence by Frank Merenda, marketing and sales expert, who states:
“The secret of selling today is to understand that 75% of the work must be done before, and this job is called Marketing.
The secret is that – today more than ever – the things you do before getting in touch with the customer are important”.

For this reason, marketing, and in particular web marketing, must be able to attract customers’ attention and communicate effectively the reality of their accommodation.

What are the four cardinal points of hotel web marketing?

After understanding how the web is now an irreplaceable source for developing communication and the promotion of its accommodation, let’s define what are the four cardinal points of the hotel web marketing.

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Visual Marketing
  3. Email Marketing
  4. Social Media Marketing

Peering the list you realize how the items listed are a real funnel, in fact in a first phase are going to create the contents necessary to advertise their accommodation (content marketing). These contents must be presented in a captivating and professional form that have a specific graphic appearance (visual marketing).
At this point the contents must be promoted; promotion can take place through various strategies such as email marketing or through social media. Social media is a promotional vehicle with a huge size and an important step to reach the ultimate goal ie direct bookings.

To address these issues in depth, we have dedicated an article to each of them, simply click on the links to be redirected to the respective topic of hotel marketing.

Enjoy the reading 🙂

 

 

How to set rates and prices for your hotel

Tariffe e Prezzi hotel

Short practical guide on how to create a simple but effective pricing strategy for your hotel

In this article we will talk about a possible basic strategies to follow to correctly set rates and prices for your accommodation.

This need arises from the desire to apply a hotel tariff policy that is weighted and based on cost analysis, these values must be analyzed carefully in order to create a correct hotel management strategy.

The rules vary, depending on the context in which the structure is located and its type: so, for example, a business hotel in a Fair Area will follow different paradigms compared to a boutique resort in the hills of Tuscany. Despite this we want to try to define some basic lines that can be applied by most hoteliers.

Difference between “fare” and “price”

Let’s start from the basics, let’s immediately clarify by defining what is the difference between the concept of “fare” and “price“.

The price is the economic amount to which we sell an accommodation for a given combination of rate and day, while the rate is the composition of name, booking conditions and basic treatment.

So to give a practical example a rate can be called “Non-refundable Bed And Breakfast“. As you can guess from the name our rate “Non-refundable Bed And Breakfast” will most likely be a rate that provides as a basic treatment that of “stay and breakfast” (BB) that once booked does not offer free cancellation.

How to define rates: a practical example of strategy

Let’s go straight to the practice, as a prerequisite to simplify we assume that your accommodation does not have a restaurant or, even if it had, imagine that you prefer not to sell together with your stay half board (HB) or full board (FB).
We therefore want to sell only the RO treatments (room only) and BB (Bed & Breakfast).

The first thing to do is to create at least 4 rates in the management software of your hotel:

Trattamento Nome Tariffa Condizioni
RO Room only Free cancellation within 7 days, 1 night charge for cancellations within 6 days
RO “Non-refundable” room only Advance payment, cancellation not provided
BB Bed and Breakfast Free cancellation within 7 days, 1 night charge for cancellations within 6 days
BB Bed and Breakfast Prepayment, cancellation not provided

What is described in the table above is a standard configuration, to which must be added, however, the important condition of automatic closure of non-refundable rates. The closing of the rates can be set for 15 days before the reservation date. Obviously, non-refundable bookings must provide for a discount on the “sister” reimbursable rate.

Therefore, non-refundable bookings will only be available if the reservation is registered at least 15 days before the check-in date.
This precaution is necessary to avoid the sale of non-refundable “below” rates, making “normal” rates less and less relevant and convenient for the customer.

What do we want to say?
The probability that guest Mario Rossi will cancel a reservation made 2 days before his check-in is much lower than that of a booking registered 2 months in advance.
But not only that, by encouraging early bookings with a discount, the hotelier registers more early bookings and thus has more time to plan and optimize.

How to set prices.

Best Available Rate (BAR), Rack Rate e Bottom Rate

Once the rates to be sold have been defined, we need to understand what prices to apply in order to be competitive and profitable.
The study of the right price is not trivial and to be taken lightly because this depends on many factors not all easily measurable.

Sometimes this aspect is seen as the bare and raw rate management, that is the price reduction carried out by the hotel owner in a certain period of the year to mitigate a forecast of low employment, but it is absolutely not like that!

Very often we find ourselves talking to receptive structures that set their prices by shaping those of a competitor. This strategy is not entirely wrong but it is potentially very dangerous.
We consider it dangerous mainly because the resulting prices do not derive from a calculation based on our own numbers but on impressions.

We explain better, when we say calculation “based on numbers” we mean that a hotel should firstly carry out a study of company costs in order to know its cost items (fixed and variable) and, based on these, calculate the Bottom Rate, that is the minimum price at which it is convenient to sell a room. Going below the “bottom” price, costs are higher than earnings and it is not cheaper to sell.

Fixed costs Fixed costs are those costs that are not affected by the greater or lesser presence of guests, for example: costs for rent or salaries for staff.
Variable costs Variable costs are determined by the presence or absence of guests and may be laundry and linen costs or raw materials related to breakfast / buffet.
Bottom Rate Price below which to sell a room becomes anti-economic

Attention to image damage

To be precise, we can say that in some cases the calculation of the bottom rate not only looks at the balance sheet numbers of the hotel but also takes into account the damage of image caused by selling housing at a price too low.

BAR (Best Available Rate)

From the diametrically opposed side we have the Rack Rate, this is the maximum price at which you want to sell a specific accommodation.

Between these two values, which obviously vary by room type, we find the “BAR” or the “Best Available Rates“. These are the sales prices of a room for a certain day.

These BAR prices for a given day vary (going up and down) based on factors such as:

  • Occupancy rate;
  • Season or day of the week;
  • Events and manifestations.

So once the hotelier has “carved into the rock” what are the minimum (bottom) and maximum (rack) prices for him, the application of prices (ie BAR) is done on the basis of market factors.

In the example below we are going to show 3 different price ranges that can be applied to the same accommodation. Generally, the number of BARs with which an average accommodation facility operates is around 6-7, so as to give the hotelier the opportunity to appropriately price the price based on the business trend.

Room type Best Available Rate name 1 adult 2 adults
Double room BAR 1 – low inflow (bottom rate) 89€ 169€
Double room BAR2 – medium inflow 99€ 189€
Double room BAR3 – high inflow 119€ 219€

 

How to set your own rates on OTA portals

The OTA portals are a very valid partner for the hotel, which offers an indispensable sales window for many hoteliers, but it is important to set up your hotel in a thoughtful way.

The first basic rule is to never sell at lower prices on portals than your booking engine or even compared to telephone/email bookings. For this reason, a strategy that the hotelier can follow may be to choose not to sell the “non-refundable” and/or “room only” rates on the OTA portal.

Our suggestion

In the case of the above example in which we created 4 rates, a strategy that we recommend provides for the sale on the OTA portals of a single rate or the repayable B&B rate, applying the same prices on the OTA portals on the booking engine, but also the exact same cancellation conditions (thus respecting the rate parity).

On the booking engine, however, it will be possible for the traveler to purchase a room at a lower price by choosing the room-only rate and the other 2 non-refundable rates. In this way, the user gives evidence that by booking directly, one has, if nothing else, a wider choice and convenience.

How to interface the management software and the Channel Manager

The above can be easily configured in a modern hotel management software such as Slope.

The power of a modern management software lies in the possibility of defining the rate and price rules in the configuration phase of its management, once connected to the channel manager Slope the OTA portals, the system will work automatically synchronizing reservations, prices and availability on all the sales channels of the hotel (direct bookings, OTA, booking engine) following the desired rules!