Author: Marijana Brdovnik - Date: 19/04/2018
Leisure travelers don’t have high expectations only from destinations. They also have high expectations from hotels. And when their choice is a boutique hotel then they usually expect even more unique memories and treatment.
The main goal of your business strategy should be a decision about your hotel unique points. Also about experiences that will leave your guest absolutely fulfilled with their memorable stay at your place.
No matter if your boutique hotel story is built on architecture, design, tradition and heritage, culinary experience, wellness or any other feature, you have to take care of your communication to the world. Nobody will praise you just because it is you. And because you have in any way some kind of special accommodation in the city.
Being a boutique hotel means that you already decided to offer your guest a personal experience, and therefore you will need a personalized set of communication activities.
You don’t need to be discouraged by marketing and PR strategies of large and well known hotels who have much bigger budgets to rank among the first few choices on search engines.
Hotel marketing and PR teams at smaller and boutique properties should focus on creativity that will set their hotel apart from the crowd. Also that will position it as a place of some special commodity.
Find your “wow” factor and make a story of it! Then make sure you dominate in this “wow” area in your destination.
It could be gastro value, kid’s activities, swimming pool fun, wellness or healthiness, any special activity in your hotel or at the destination. maybe it can be a beach entertainment, exotic garden in your hotel, mini bar for organic drinks, party animation or any other animation, clubs for wine or beer lovers, clubs for organic food lovers, different kind of workshops… Personalized and unique experience is the must for every boutique hotel that cares about guest experience and guest satisfaction after all!
When you find and state your “wow” factor you have to create a story you want to tell the world. Focus on creating memories and share them through different communication channels. That means that you need to share as much as possible videos and photographs on your website blog and social media. In this way guests could experience your service even before coming to your hotel. But have in mind to use a high quality photos and videos; otherwise your story will go in a wrong direction that can greatly affect your image.
Instagram is a very popular in branding hotels and their services. It is advisable to set your profile and post regularly with attractive photos and experiences. Motivate your guests as well to post their experiences and then repost them on your profile giving “thank you” note.
Offer discounts to everyone who is posting video about his/hers hotel experience on social media. Make your guest your brand ambassadors by keeping good and constant relationship with them through social media, email marketing and loyalty club messages. Don’t spend too much money on printing brochures. We are in the digital age.
Public Relations isn’t just about managing media. It’s about representing your business in the tourism industry. Also about connecting your hotel with other interesting brands outside the tourism industry.
PR is here to handle communication with your local tourism board, convention bureau and business associations in order to maximize promotional opportunities.
One of the easiest ways to gain a positive image is through press opportunities. PR person is important in order to pitch stories and attract the attention of media organizations. Be ready to offer a complimentary stay for travel bloggers, journalist and social media influencers. The more exposure your hotel gets, the more bookings you can generate.
That means that you must have a proper website. Take care of the SEO process, in other words integrate specific keywords with content, allowing your website to climb the Google search ranks.
By using SEO strategy, your hotel website will become more visible to the general public, which, in the end, will help you draw in guests. Make sure your hotel is listed in as many online booking channels as possible. It is also advisable to spend some budget on paid Google search, especially in periods when you have something special to show or when you expect lower booking season.
Your website and your social media channels are a great place to share virtual tour of your hotel and surroundings. Invest in shooting a guest testimonial videos that you will put on your website and social media.
Motivate people to share their recommendations of your place on TripAdvisor and social media. Make a review request for your guests regarding their satisfaction with your services, and ask for places for improvements. Reward your guest with some discounts on the next booking or award them with discounts on other services in the hotel.
Remember to always respond on all reviews, no matter how bad or good they are. Don’t use template for answering. If person in a review asks for a specific thing, you have to answer specifically, and if a person complains you have to give him an adequate answer not just template words.
Create branded newsletter, and offer discounts based on demography of email subscribers. Take care of your previous guests and their birthday dates, anniversaries dates etc. Take the opportunity to congratulate them. Also don’t forget to send “thank you” notes for staying at your place, and offer promo offers and early bird possibilities, news about your business updates, initiatives in your destination…
Connect your brand with activities in your city, with local artists, local manifestations and traditional festivals… Be the one to motivate some local events that correspond with your values. Include local food in your culinary offer. Be creative with your menu content and the names of your dishes.
Create attractive tour packages and values as the additional offer to your hotel service. Give your guests opportunity to try some attractive activities nearby your hotel. Co-branded stories can make your image even better so take time to think about all possible stories that go well with your hotel story; maybe it is activity, event, food, piece of art, and maybe cosmetic or some gadget. People like positive surprises and when you find a way to impress them you did a lot for your future PR strategy.
Photo credits: Jared Rice/Unsplash, Hello-lightbulb/Unsplash, Alex Bertha/Unsplash, Samuel Zeller/Unsplash, Manuel Moreno/Unsplash, Derek Truninger/Unsplash, Roan Lavery/Unsplash, Siim Lukka/Unsplash, Toa Heftiba/Unsplash