It is that time of year again when we begin to draft the annual marketing plan which generally includes an updated marketing campaign. It is important to remember that the process does not have to be difficult… by using a phased approach you will be able to develop a detailed plan that will allow you to communicate a single strategy to all of your partners, agencies, owners, employees, as well as assist in holding others accountable for their roles in the overall success.
The foundation of marketing success comes from strong positioning in the market place. The time and effort you put into the planning phases will pay off during the execution phase.
Formulate brand – Many believe that branding is simply a logo and tagline. It is much more… A brand is the combination of every touch point a person has with your company. How are they greeted when they walk into your hotel? How the guests greeted in the restaurant? Do your in-room amenities reflect the true essence of your brand? What messaging is in the on hold recording? Do emails contain useful information?
Define your positioning: Define you are…Are you a quaint, relaxing bed and breakfast? Or an amenity-driven, technology-filled oasis for business travelers? What makes your property unique? How is your brand presented in relation to your competitive set? A good way to determine your positioning is to focus how your hotel stands apart from the competitive set
Determine messaging – How would you describe your hotel? What words represent your brand identity and what does the hotel have to offer? Are you clearly explaining the value of your business?
Determine your audiences – The first step is to ask, “Who is my target market?” Are you a luxury brand targeting C-Level executives for transient business or high impact group events? Does your hotel cater to predominantly corporate transient business or leisure business? Is there a certain age demographic such as Millennials or baby boomers? All of these questions will help you determine your target audience
Phase 2: Resource Development
Now that you have set the stage with a brand look and feel it’s time to execute in different mediums.
Website – With today’s advances in technology, the website is often the first interaction and impression your client will have with your brand. Make sure that first impression is a good one. Websites should have clean, simple design and be easy to navigate. The rule of thumb is no more than 3 clicks for the client to get the information they are seeking. Never sacrifice usability for ascetics. The website is merely a touch point for the client to reach out to you.
Collateral – In the digital age, collateral provides an opportunity to stand out even more by offering an emotional experience. Make your collateral clear, concise with minimal verbiage. Use professional photography that invokes a positive emotional response. Collateral must represent your brand. Do not be something you are not…this will lead to a client’s expectation not being fulfilled…thus possible loss of the client’s future business.
Communication appropriate for the medium – When drafting copy, make note of the medium it will be used in. Website copy is best written in a more bulleted format than a brochure. White papers are written in a more formal voice than social media posts. POP graphics may be bolder than visuals in a 32-page brochure.
Phase 3: Drafting the Strategy
How will you achieve your sales and revenue goals within each market segment? A well-thought out and defined strategy will identify who your target customers are, how to reach them, how to have them become loyal repeat guests while general referral business from them.
Marketing budget – Know your total available budget. Make sure that funds are allotted to each expense line item. By knowing what the monthly budget is for advertising, sales travel, client entertainment etc. will allow you to keep on budget…and the possibility of saving a few dollars to use elsewhere. Then prioritize your needs from there. Try to keep some funds in reserve so you can take advantage of unexpected opportunities.
Plan – A strong plan will ensure you’re not only sticking to your schedule, but that you’re spending your marketing funds and resources wisely and appropriately.
Track the results: this will help you identify strategies that are working:
1.Track sales leads
2. Track visitors to the hotel website
3. Survey clients
A year is 12 months – The marketing plan should include a year-round strategy on how to reach each market segment. An integrated plan includes: online, seo, ppc; social media; PR; email marketing; customer relationship management, and more. A combination of programming, offers, events, and activities will keep your customer engaged.
Phase 4: Pulling the trigger!
This is where you make it happen!
Maintain focus – An actionable timeline will keep everyone on track with deadlines and allow advanced planning for proper execution. The result – resources are used more efficiently on what is needed to make things happen.
Think beyond the boundaries – Most boutique and lifestyle hotels have limited teams. Do not let that get in the way of you accomplishing the predetermined goals. You can always hire additional support to execute a more aggressive plan that will help you achieve your sales/revenue goals.Share this article: