To maximise your connection with potential guests worldwide, your business must apply marketing strategies that are specifically designed for luxury hotels.
Now more than ever exclusive and boutique properties need to focus on and answer these questions:
- How can you differentiate your brand?
- How can you offer unique experiences?
- How can you drive more direct bookings?
- How can you win more market share?
1. Understand the Power of Emotional Marketing
Inspiring emotional connections with guests provides an enormous opportunity to create value in your hotel. Aim to create a relationship with guests which not only satisfies their needs but also resonates with their core values and beliefs. This will deliver improved guest retention, loyalty and advocacy.
The hospitality industry provides comfort, enjoyment, delight and happiness. It's crucial that your luxury hotel marketing provides a positive emotional reaction as the foundation of all your marketing efforts.
Customers use their rational and their emotional brains when evaluating a buying choice. Research shows
that the latter is the primary driver. To get the best return, you need to combine a great offering (the rational part) with content and messaging to stimulate an emotional reaction.
Visual communication is the key for marketing and your hotel images must capture not only the look of your hotel but also its feel and personality, and the experiences awaiting your guests.
2. Use experiential marketing of your hotel to entice guests
The emotional impact of professional brand images is less than that of consumer generated content. You only need to consider the massive power of image sharing sites such as Pinterest or Instagram. The cognitive part of the brain is slower to react.
If guests are planning a trip and see great images of what you offer, their emotional side may have decided to book before they even consider the more functional aspects of your hotel.
The keystone of decision-making for travelers is experiences. Instead of just mentioning what your hotel provides, let these adventures resonate with images of relatable people actually doing these activities.
A curated Instagram feed is an excellent way of incorporating this type
of content into your web pages. Scroll down this page to see a good example.
3. Differentiate your luxury hotel from your competitors
Why is your luxury hotel different from the competition?
The answer is your unique luxury hotel marketing plan
which sets out what you will offer to set you apart and how you will deliver it. This can’t be achieved through piecemeal activity.
It’s a strategic vision which is followed through with passion, care and relentless attention to detail by all staff. This is your ‘True North’ i.e. your reference point - the one place that all your team are pulling together to get to.
High quality guest care and delivering on the promises you make in your marketing and advertising must be your main goal. Going beyond expectations leads to converting those first-time or one-time guests into loyal repeat customers. And then get them to advocate and provide content for you.
For luxury hotels, this means there is an authentic opportunity to do things a little differently. You don’t get to be a 4 or 5 star hotel without having a great product and fantastic service. What are the extra offerings or experience you could add which would truly set you apart from your competition?
4. Invest in personalised marketing
Personalisation is at the core of a successful business in today's age of social connectivity. In the hotel industry it means delivering tailored, individual marketing messages. If your luxury hotel serves significantly different client segments, you need to personalise your marketing strategy to each area of your guest portfolio.
Providing personalized experiences to your guests is a must for your hotel brand. Remember, create visuals to reflect and to share to the audience you want to target.
Retargeting ads are most effective when promoting to viewers based on their interests. For example, if your website visitor has visited a specific room type before, you can create an ad of the room as a specific reminder. The same goes for spa treatments, food experiences, a particular drink or cocktail.
The only limit is your imagination and time! The reward is growth – remember retention is the key to growth.
5. Maintain your online reputation
In our digital world, higher levels of guest satisfaction are critical to your hotel's success. Reputation management is a key component of any digital hospitality strategy.
Online reviews and ratings give your guests confidence to choose your hotel prior to deciding on their stay with you. All your current and future guests have the opportunity to measure you up and compare you with your competitors.
We would suggest that your minimum target is 4.5 on both TripAdvisor and Google My Business with the aim of posting a perfect 5.
Travelers are becoming more adept at reading reviews and know that if there are twenty 5* reviews and then one 1* review it’s as likely to be about the reviewer as the hotel. However, you need a plan in place for dealing with an adverse review. Ideally respond quickly in a conciliatory manner and then take it offline by offering to call or email the respondent directly.
When creating your hotel's strategy
, set a goal of what you want your guests to say about you once they leave your property. The success of your follow up communication, whether it’s asking for a review or sending a special offer, is dependent on your guests being happy when they leave your hotel.
The luxury hotel industry will always be filled with competition. By marketing your specific personality, differentiating your brand and maintaining your reputation, you will always have a competitive edge.
Marketing for luxury brands offers a broad range of opportunities to grow brand awareness, win market share and boost loyalty and growth.