Content marketing is the act of creating and promoting online material in order to build interest in a specific company, product, or service. When done correctly, content marketing doesn’t feel promotional. Instead, it builds a bond between businesses and their target audience. Content marketing for hotels is especially important.
In this article, we’ll teach you why your hotel should invest in content marketing, a four-step strategy to do it correctly, and three amazing examples of brands successfully using content to market their hotels.
Why Content Marketing for Hotels is Important
A proper content marketing strategy can be very beneficial for your hotel. It will improve SEO and allow you to rank your website on the first page of Google results, reach new potential customers, and build stronger relationships with your target market.
Think about it, when a person wants to travel to a new city, Nashville, TN for example, what do they do? They fire up their computer, tablet, or smartphone and google things like “best place to stay in Nashville,” “top attractions in Nashville,” and similar queries. If you can get searchers to click through to your website when they’re searching for information on topics related to your hotel, you have a good chance of turning them into paying customers.
Content marketing is useful in securing repeat business as well. After a guest has stayed at your hotel, you can send them emails with special offers and share stories that will encourage them to take another trip to your area. You can do the same thing on social media.
Content is a bridge between your hotel and its customers. By crafting great content that they enjoy consuming, you’ll be able to build awareness and trust for your brand, resulting in greater profits. This is especially true in competitive industries like travel and hospitality.
How to Share Your Hotel’s Story in 4 Steps
Content is a great way to market a business. But how can your hotel craft a winning strategy and capitalize on this marketing approach? Follow the four steps listed below and you’ll be able to make content work for you in amazing ways.
1. Understand What You’re Hoping to Achieve
It all starts with your goals. What do you hope to achieve by implementing a content marketing strategy? Do you want to drive traffic, build trust, and increase revenue? All of these goals are possible. The key is understanding what you want to accomplish and then making sure each objective is measurable. That way you can gauge your progress.
For example, Jim runs a small, locally owned hotel in Naples, FL. He’s heard a lot about the benefits of content marketing and wants to give it a try. He decides that his main goal, at least at first, is to boost awareness for his establishment. His business offers a great experience at an affordable price. That’s his unique selling proposition (USP). But because there are so many big hotel chains in the area, not many travelers know that his hotel exists.
To measure this goal and track his progress towards it, Jim will monitor his website’s ranking in Google search results and the number of website visits he receives. See how that works? Jim chose a goal that content marketing can influence. He then chose specific metrics that will enable him to measure the success of his efforts. You should do the same for your hotel.
2. Know Your Target Audience
Content marketing only works if you have a deep understanding of the people you’re trying to reach. You need to know things like their general age, reasons for traveling, likes and interests, fears and challenges. When you have this information, you can assemble it into a buyer persona that you can then use to inform your content marketing efforts.
It’s also useful to know where your audience spends time online and how they like to consume content. Are they Facebook or Instagram people? Do they prefer reading blog posts or watching videos? The answers to these questions will enable you to create content that your target market will actually enjoy.
Returning to our previous example, Jim knows that his target audience is 55 years old and above. They’re generally retired folks who want to escape to Florida and soak up the sunshine. But because they’re on a fixed income, they need to stick to a realistic budget and are worried that a trip to Jim’s area will be too expensive.
As far as channels and content preferences, research has revealed to Jim that his audience uses Facebook pretty heavily and they love reading blog posts — especially if the blog was linked to from a Facebook post!
3. Create Beneficial Content (For You and Your Audience)
Once you understand what you want to achieve with content marketing and who you’re trying to reach, it’s time to start creating. The trick is finding the intersection between what your audience is searching for and what will benefit your business.
For instance, you could create cat videos and post them on YouTube. Who knows? One of them might go viral and get millions of views. But this isn’t a good example of content marketing because the people looking for cat videos probably aren’t interested in booking a stay at a hotel. At least not at that moment they’re watching the video.
Instead, you want to create content that will drive the right kind of traffic to your business. The people who are looking to book hotel stays in your city right now. To do this, you need to conduct thorough keyword research. When you know the phrases that your target audience is typing into Google, you can create content to match.
Jim does his keyword research and discovers that “best gulf coast beaches,” “budget hotels in Naples,” and “Naples seafood” are all phrases that his target market is searching for. They each also align perfectly with his business.
Jim then gets to work writing blog posts centered around each phrase. After publishing the posts to his hotel website, Jim links to them on Facebook to help promote them.
One final tip: you need to create GREAT content. Mediocre blog posts and videos won’t benefit your business at all. There’s just too much competition. But if you can craft content that is markedly better than your competition, you’ll rise to the top and win.
4. Measure and Adjust as Needed
The final piece of the content marketing for hotels puzzle is optimization. You need to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of your content. Is it working? Why or why not? These aren’t always easy questions to answer, but a combination of analysis and experimentation should clear things up for you.
It’s important to note that content marketing is a long game. So don’t give up too soon! It will probably take a while for you to start seeing results. But if you keep posting consistently and make the necessary adjustments along the way, you’ll eventually see success.
That’s what happened to Jim. He blogged faithfully for six months before anything happened. But all his hard work paid off. His posts slowly made their way up the Google rankings. A popular travel blogger noticed one of them and retweeted it. The piece went viral bringing thousands of visitors to Jim’s website.
Now, because his content has increased the awareness of his hotel so well, his establishment is constantly booked and business is booming.
Examples of Great Content Marketing for Hotels
There you have it, a four-step content marketing for hotels strategy. Before we wrap up, let’s take a look at how some well-known hotel chains are using content to market themselves.
1. InterContinental Hotels
InterContinental Hotels publishes a podcast series named “Stories of the InterContinental Life“. On it, they explore the various emotions many people experience while traveling like fascination and empathy. The podcast also encourages listeners to go on their own adventures.
While InterContinental doesn’t do a ton of self-promotion, listeners understand who is behind the podcast. And because they enjoy listening, they automatically begin to trust and enjoy the brand producing it more. When it comes time for them to book their next trip, which hotel do you think they’ll be most likely to stay at? That’s right, InterContinental.
2. Four Seasons
The Four Seasons digital magazine is another great example of content marketing for hotels. It’s all about luxury travel (right in line with the Four Seasons brand) and features amazing articles from talented writers.
Again, Four Seasons isn’t overly self-promotional. This is one of the tenents of great content marketing. But, every article they publish builds rapport with their target audience. And when a reader does want to book a stay, Four Seasons makes it incredibly easy to navigate away from their online magazine and to their booking portal.
Finally, we have Loews Hotels and Resorts. This brand excels at social media marketing, especially when it comes to user generated content. In the past, they’ve forgone professional photography and opted to use customer Instagram photos instead for their ads. This tactic engages their audience, makes them feel valued, and builds trust in the marketplace.
Market Your Hotel With Content
Content marketing for hotels is an amazing way to promote your business. It will allow you to reach your target audience in authentic ways and build trust with them. But it only works if you follow a proven strategy.
- So first, decide what your goals are and how you’ll measure them.
- Then, make sure you have a deep understanding of who you’re trying to reach.
- Next, craft amazing, keyword optimized content that will benefit you and your audience.
- Lastly, monitor your results and adjust as needed.
Follow this strategy and you’ll see success with content marketing. It probably won’t happen overnight. But with the right amount of dedication, you’ll be able to market your hotel effectively.