Today, technologies and trends in tourism are advancing by leaps and bounds, so you must always be on top of the game. Knowing what’s going on in the market, what the latest trends are, how other hotel chains exercise their online marketing strategies… Sometimes so much novelty becomes a bit overwhelming. Is it necessary to apply each and every one of the novelties in your hotel? The truth is that it is essential to know what is happening in your sector, but, above all, it is essential to have a good eye for finding the best opportunity for your hotel, which will help your establishment to develop a successful online marketing campaign.
Taking note of success stories in hotel online marketing is, without doubt, a fantastic way to learn. After all, the great successes of large companies are not the result of chance, but rather of an in-depth hotel advertising campaign. We would like to present you four success stories of marketing campaigns for hotels. Four cases worth mentioning because of their great impact on the online hotel market, and what were the keys to their success.
1. An innovative social media communication campaign
Not long ago we were telling you about the great importance of having an online presence in social networks. Of course, supporting your entire marketing strategy in social media is not recommended, since it is essential to allocate time and resources to create campaigns for your presence in the most relevant channels, ie those in which your potential customers are. But social networks allow you to develop multiple campaign possibilities, especially campaigns that involve the interaction of your followers, and thus generate user engagement with your brand.
Yes, your followers will love to know what the next activities in your hotel are, or to know the most interesting discounts to spend their future holidays in your establishment. But social media can open many doors for you, which can only be opened with creativity. There are millions of users on social networks, posting hundreds of thousands of messages every minute, but only authentic, surprising campaigns will remain in the memory of your followers and not just another message they ignore when they look at your timeline.
AccorHotels is, without a doubt, one of the pioneering hotel brands in online hospitality. And with such prestige, both its followers and the hotel market are expectant of its digital marketing actions. With a motto such as Feel Welcome from the first click, the hotel chain considers the customer experience important from the first moment they visit the company’s website.
AccorHotels developed an innovative campaign, which is unique in that it is the first company to do so, on Twitter. In 2016 the company became the first brand to use #MyFirstTweet to address users who use this hashtag when they post their first message on the social network. Usually tweets published with this hashtag don’t get a response from the social network, so AccorHotels decided to create a personalized welcome for users who used the hashtag.
This campaign lasted one week and was carried out in seven markets: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. And it doesn’t end here: AccorHotels sent out a personalized bathrobe for the users, with their username engraved on it. The condition, as you can imagine, was that the users upload a selfie wearing the bathrobe on their profiles, also using a specific hashtag for this campaign: #FeelWelcomeFromThe1stTweet.
1.2. What has been the key to your online marketing campaign?
The surprising thing about this campaign has not only been the initiative to welcome Twitter users, considering that thousands of new users join every day. The hotel company knew how to merge the digital world with the tourist world. AccorHotels talked about the feeling of feeling lost when you arrive at a new place, something that happens on the Internet, in tourism, and practically in any area of life. And to generate that connection with its audience, AccorHotels refers to how people feel welcome every time they visit its hotels.
With this ingenious campaign, the hotel company has created a powerful user engagement with the brand, even if it was the first time that users knew of the chain’s existence. Without a doubt, it is a genuine strategy to convey the message of the hotel brand in an attractive way.
2. Influencing marketing in hospitality
In recent years, the great impact of influencers among their followers has brought benefits to various marketing campaigns in any field. And although today it may not be such a strong strategy for all hotels as it is a method in its time of maturity in the market, influencers had a successful time with respect to the promotion of hotel establishments.
2.1. Starwood Hotels & Resorts
This New York company had 1,270 stores in more than 100 countries around the world, and integrated brands such as St.Regis, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien or Sheraton, before joining the Marriott chain and passing on its brands to Marriott.
To strengthen its Tribute Portfolio brand (Paris), the Starwood chain planned a marketing campaign on Instagram with the intervention of influential people in the field of fashion. With this combination, it created a fresh, fun, attractive and dynamic campaign.
This campaign consisted of increasing direct bookings for the Tribute Portfolio brand through clicks on the publications of influencers such as Alex’s Closet, the Revue De Kenza or Marie Luve Pink, among others. Users would then receive an email with a direct link to the brand’s website to make a direct booking.
2.2. What was the key to the advertising campaign?
According to a study by HotelsDot (2019), 86.7% of women, and 72.8% of men, claimed to be familiar with the influencing phenomenon. Awareness of influencers is strongest among female audiences, aged 18-25, to the point that 40.08% of respondents acknowledge that the impact of influencers increases the value of rooms among them, compared to 30.32% of men. On the other hand, there is no specific group of influencers focused especially on the hotel environment.
Evidently Starwood took advantage of the trend of influencers to generate more direct bookings, in a place like Instagram which is also one of the social networks most used by the young public. Such is the confidence that Instagram users have in the people that follow that in many cases they end up buying the same thing that they promote.
Large hotel chains can afford this kind of campaign, but it is true that small or independent hotels may have more difficulty accessing certain influencers. However, the most important aspect of influencers’ impact is the image they convey of sincerity and honesty when presenting products or services. In fact, any strategy that takes these values into account can have a significant impact on the audience, even if they are not influencers. The key is, of course, listening to and understanding customers.
Of course, the goal of increasing direct bookings cannot be overemphasized. All your marketing efforts should always be targeted.
3. Marketing online with humour
In the hotel sector it is very common to contemplate values such as tranquillity, honesty, relaxation, quality… but why not also opt for humour? It is true that it is a marketing element more characteristic of other markets, but from time to time using humour to generate complicity with the audience can be an attractive strategy for your marketing actions.
Yes, complicity is an important point to connect with your customers. Just as it is important to know the interests, concerns, desires and more of your potential client, your way of reaching them and giving birth to the relationship between client and hotel is what will make your online campaigns successful.
3.1. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
From Paris we traveled to the United States. The Hilton company is probably one of the most important hotel companies in the world. One can imagine that their campaigns are within the traditional in the sector, but the truth is that they managed to surprise their clients with this proposal. After all, isn’t marketing a way to surprise, to give value to your customers? Hilton wanted to surprise by using humor, creating the Vacation Care Center campaign in 2013.
This was a content portal that, when it was active, posed a series of questions to users who visited it. For example, «Do you need an urgent vacation,» or «Are you stressed out? In addition, this online portal offered various content in a humorous tone, such as how users should tell their bosses that they needed a vacation; an online calculator to calculate the corresponding vacation days, or a fictitious recovery room where economic offers were presented.
3.2. What was the key to this hotel advertising campaign?
Without a doubt, the complicity with the client was generated from a humorous key. But the most outstanding aspect of this online marketing case is the creation of a specific website for the campaign. Customers expect a hotel’s online portal to direct them to information about establishments or the booking engine, but interacting with a unique and fun website is what made the difference in the campaign.
The creation of specific online pages is therefore not only a method for offering new products or services, but also for creating surprising marketing proposals for your audience.
4. Online marketing to build loyalty
Loyalty is a fundamental part of any hotel strategy. Considering the great difficulty of acquiring new customers in such a competitive sector, rewarding customer loyalty is synonymous with new purchases in the future. And while it is not the same to convince a B2C customer as a B2B one, both audiences are possible to attract with marketing, as long as it is a methodology based on the real needs and concerns of your B2B or B2C customers.
4.1. Palladium Hotel Group
The Spanish company Palladium Hotel Group designed the Palladium Connect project, an opportunity for B2B clients or travel agencies who wish to partner with the chain to create a joint business. This project consisted of educating B2B customers through an e-learning program on their website. And so, the client could obtain commissions on their sales, discounts on accommodation, points to spend in establishments linked to Palladium through an agreement, etc.
Along with the creation of the website that has all the information required by the customers, they worked on the creation of a video marketing campaign to explain the purpose of the project in a more entertaining way.
4.2. The most important factor in its success
Yes, as you can imagine, creating a website to build customer loyalty and/or educate your customers is also an ideal way to plan your next internet campaigns. Especially if your service is different from your other products, and it is easier to attract your ideal customers, instead of adding more complexity to your website. Remember that the customer experience on your website plays an important part in their purchasing process.
On the other hand, video marketing is still today an attractive way to connect with your audience. When watching a video, users expect to hear a story. And it’s that story that can convince your customers that your hotel is ready to offer them an unforgettable vacation.