It should be no surprise that like with any other industry out there, one of the fundamental components to successful marketing, customer conversion and the like his web content. Over the past 20 years, there has been a constant shift away from old-fashioned marketing, PR tactics and commerce in and of itself towards the digital realm.
This has been accelerated in the past couple of years out of necessity, with brick-and-mortar locations and face-to-face interactions being unwise for a host of obvious reasons. In truth, the adoption of the digital platform for day-to-day life is about 10 years more advanced than it would have been had the pandemic not occurred.
Hospitality is an industry that depends more than ever on a strong digital presence and wise online marketing. But, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not just about having a snazzy webpage, nor is it about having banner ads or pre-roll ads on streaming sites. As a matter of fact, those tactics should be avoided because they simply don’t work. In an age of zero-tolerance for advertising by way of customers, you have to be more strategic in how you market to them. Ad blockers prevent commercial interruptions during streams, and people will maliciously prevent banner ads, pop-ups and interstitials from loading.
At the end of the day, you really can’t blame them. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about smarter ways to market, ways that don’t come off as blatant advertising, ways that will actually engage users.
These will primarily be based around the use of content writing and copywriting, with such skills being harnessed to create compelling content that readers will want to consume. This is marketing and the clever disguise of informative and engaging entertainment/content. This is the age of social media guerrilla marketing and SEO web content.
1. Engaging Your Guests through Their Needs
One of the biggest mistakes that many hotels make is crowding their website with large, descriptive lists of various amenities, features and rewards. This is very obvious advertising, and given that every hotel seemed to do this, it really didn’t allow individual places to stand out the way they ought to.
Ultimately, at the end of the day, list of amenities like this were simply stating the obvious, and would result in most of the content going unread. This does not mean that your website shouldn’t list your amenities, but this should be a separate, streamlined section which customers should seek out.
The primary content on the site should actually be more anecdotal, day-to-day experiences while staying at the hotel. These can include describing tourist attractions and various destinations of interest near the hotel, as well as special events and even short narratives describing a patron’s experience while at the hotel.
These anecdotal stories can be true customer accounts, which are worth their weight in gold, but a skilled copywriter can also write the stories, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with fabricating a fictitious tale of someone’s stay at your hotel. The only time this becomes unethical is when such stories portray amenities or experiences that aren’t actually available at your establishment.
Along with this, encourage surveys, testimonials and even provide social media integration so that Facebook, Tumblr and Insta Graham users can share their experiences at your hotel. With the proper integration, and permission from the social media users, this can provide all kinds of interesting visual and textual content that can be run through a feed on your site. Some of the best hotel chains out there are doing this, as are various other tourist destinations like theme parks, national parks, historical sites and resorts. It sounds like a simple solution, but it’s quite powerful.
2 Speaking the Language
Along with creating engaging content, you need to be able to actually speak the language of your demographics. This doesn’t just mean understanding their dialect and speech pattern, though this certainly helps. It’s all about maintaining a conversational rapport with your readers. The anecdotal stories, descriptions of amenities and general topics discussed on your site should feel conversational rather than like a lecture or a marketing campaign.
People are much more receptive to this casual, conversational form of content, making it much more effective on a visceral and emotional level.
3 Emotional Appeal
Emotional appeal is obvious when it comes to the written content, but the use of visuals to appeal to emotions is extremely powerful, as the Internet has shown. There are reasons why things like memes, image macros and various pictures of cute animals are so very popular, as well as widely forwarded across the Internet.
These have even found their ways into infographics and brochures, so don’t be afraid to get creative with photography and imagery, using techniques such as anthropomorphism, humor and framing to really capture people’s attention and put them in a certain emotional state, making them more receptive to your content.
However, do try to avoid actually using memes and what the Internet widely calls “zoomer humor”, as this will only serve to alienate most people and come office trying entirely too hard.
4 Organization is Key
Keeping your websites layout organized is extremely important. Don’t rely on a CMS like WordPress, Joomla or the like, and be sure to keep all of the different sections of your site coherent to the same basic layout scheme, visual scheme and so on.
Symmetry is important, and the disdain many had for the uneven Metro tiles in Windows phone and Windows 8 are proof that a lack of symmetry only serves to turn people off of content. Along with this, making the site very easy to navigate, preferably with an easy-to-use search system goes a long way.
People will get extremely frustrated with a hard-to-navigate site, and this will cost you customers faster than just about anything else.
Finally, be consistent in all things. Do not sporadically upload content, and don’t be unpredictable in the types of content you will release. Pick specific times in the week to release new blog posts, experiential stories and/or visual content. Of course, when special events occur, exceptions can be made for this.
Along with remaining consistent in types of content and release schedules, try to retain the same set of copywriters, photographers and image creators, maintaining a consistent style overall. Also avoid changing the aesthetic and layout of your website as much as possible, though doing so when standards and popular aesthetic standards shift, is of course always a good idea.
People will develop something of a personal relationship with your website and your content, especially if they are frequent customers whom stay at your hotel chain on a regular basis. Remember, businessmen and others whom travel for a living are your meat and potatoes when it comes to business, so providing that sort of personal, dependable and reliable rapport is key.