How Small Hotels can Make Their Presence Felt

January 21, 2010

Not all hotels are giants with properties in every major city. In fact, most of you probably just have one hotel in one location. So, how do you compete with the big boys, the big hotel chains that can offer their guests Egyptian cotton bed sheets and have big marketing and advertising budgets?

The answer sounds simple. Big hotels will always be able to out advertise you, as they have the budgets to run ads regularly across all channels. Don’t let that intimidate you or stop you from advertising. You need to make your presence felt in order to keep the guests checking in. What you can do is in addition to your regular marketing and advertising efforts, you need to adopt alternative channels such as social networking websites to make potential guests aware of your offerings. Social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter have millions of registered users that visit regularly (in some cases daily). With a social networking account, you can create community or group for your hotel and interact with potential guests proactively, thus, achieve the following:

  • Build a relationship with your guests – past, present and future by sharing information about your hotel, location or any current happenings instantly. For example, every December, a Music festival is held in Goa, India. If your hotel is located in Goa, you can attract global visitors by promoting the festival on your hotel community.

  • Gather real-time market intelligence and feedback from visitors and use the information gathered to customize your marketing and advertising to produce more effective results. For example, if feedback from previous guests reveals that the central location of your hotel to multiple attractions is the key factor ‘why’ they choose your hotel over the competitors then in your next ad campaign, you can use your location as your USP.

  • Social networking websites are not sales channels. However, they can be a rich lead generation source. You shouldn’t try hardcore sales tactics on these websites as you will repulse rather than attract potential guests. For example, you can encourage sales on your hotel website by promoting conjoint offers such as 50% off on wildlife safari on bookings made one month in advance. This is a great way to encourage visitors to book with you rather than your competitor.

  • Social networking websites offer amazingly powerful ways to listen you can see what potential customers are doing, what problems they are having and what they want to do in their next travel destination. This will help you customize your advertising campaigns to address their requirements.

  • Social networking websites enable two-way communication with guests. This means once guests return to their homes, you can continue to interact with them and promote goodwill. A happy, satisfied guest is your biggest sales agent, as he will recommend your hotel to friends, colleagues and associates travelling to your location.

    The only drawback is social networking websites do not offer instant sales; however, they do provide you with you excellent lead generation.
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To summarize, social networking websites may not be hardcore sales tools but they do offer you excellent lead generation opportunities.

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