How should your market your business in the accommodation sector? It’s no easy task 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.
Statistics identify that the national accommodation sector is flourishing in Australia. With RevPAR (revenue Per Available Room) anticipated to grow more than 3% by 2019, its fair to say that 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…
Moving away from brochure marketing
Should you lean towards digital or print 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.
According to TrueImpact, customers feel the same. Their experiment 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.
Settling for poor imagery — or none at all
You can’t compromise on your photography. 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?
It’s estimated that by 2024, there are around 43,730 more rooms built as a result of Australian accommodation projects. 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. Its claimed 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 press ads or pull up banners for events. Or even worse, missing the chance to show off your attractive, enticing images completely by printing material with only text.
Ignoring either online and offline marketing
It’s a good idea to base your marketing opportunities on digital and print methods. 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.
It can be argued that digital is handier but do remember that 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.
Perhaps it’s best to not limit your marketing strategies to only one avenue? Consider both digital and print possibilities when promoting your business.
Using uninspiring text or too much text
When it comes to posting or printing an advertisement, it’s worth considering every word carefully. Many people take courses and degrees in writing for marketing, so clearly text is crucial to success and shouldn’t be overlooked.
It’s important to understand, that staying away from home is often a luxury experience for a customer, 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!
Overlooking branded merchandise
You can’t underestimate the power of offering branded pens, mugs, bathrobes, and similar items. 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.
Showcasing your company’s branded merchandise demonstrates to each guest how proud you are of your business. Consider giving these out at trade shows or corporate events to spread brand awareness.
Undervaluing the power of online review platforms
There’s a fine line between review sites being a either 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.
Almost 70% of Australians claim that they read online reviews before buying. This is according to the 2018 Sensis social media report. 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’.”
Rookie mistake: ignoring a complaint and hoping it’ll disappear. 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.
Now you know the main pitfalls to avoid, you can aim to adopt a good marketing approach to stay ahead in the accommodation sector.