So. it’s 1 minute past midnight on January 1st 2022, Bitcoin is worth £50k (lets see how that plays out…) and I’m sat on a computer in the back office of the hotel, beginning to execute the mission plan. Where do I (you) start?
Just a reminder, this is a 5 part series where I cover how I would go about setting up a hotel for success in digital. In case you missed it, you can find a link to part 1 here.
Q1 = Systems
I would begin the year by setting up an effective system for encouraging inbound business. By encouraging, I mean focusing on digital touchpoints where someone could be enticed to do business. I would then ensure in these areas I provide as many reasons as possible for them to book.
This begins by examining the typical user journey on the hotel website. The goal here is to make sure the booking engine and website content sell the hotel as best as possible, allowing potential guests to book in as few steps as possible. To execute this, I would work with a capable design team who live and breathe this stuff.
You may be thinking, is it worth the effort?
Think of it this way, you could save money and get a cheap bathtub to then realise it has holes in it. Through those holes, you will leak a lot of water and money, making the expensive bath the cheaper option in the long run. A website on the cheap is the same; get the website wrong and you will lose money in the long run.
Tracking & reporting
“I like to have no idea where my money goes” – said no business owner ever
How do we know something is working? Simple, we track it. The next thing I would do is set up website tracking so I can measure all marketing outcomes. Yes, tracking capabilities are being weakened with greater privacy protections, but this is not a reason to forfeit tracking altogether.
How to set up tracking? There are many articles available but my summary would be to set up Google Analytics and Facebook pixel tracking as a starting point. Hire an expert to then set up detailed conversion tracking (bookings made, form submits etc).
This one is small but so important to help cover the hotel against OTAs. I would set up a Google & Microsoft Ads account and start to pay a few pennies to show a paid ad on brand searches, protecting my hotel from the OTAs devilish ways from the get-go. A full deep-dive can be found here.
Next on the list – email marketing. Studies show email still offers the best bang for the buck at a 1:36 ROI. I would adjust the SOP for guest check-ins so that we are collecting as many emails as humanly possible. I would sign up to Revinate and ensure the most possible GDPR compliant data is being collected on arrival. I would also make sure the website includes a newsletter sign up link in the footer and that there is a pop up asking for an email sign up in return for being entered into a monthly raffle. This seed will flourish into a core component of marketing efforts for years to come, as you will soon find out…
With all that work, we’re nearing the end of the quarter, but there is just enough time to put together a marketing calendar. My goal with this is to have a blurry but still fairly clear vision of what will happen in 12 months and a crystal clear vision of what will be happening over the next 3 months.
By ‘whats happening’ I mean what will be happening that is worth the hotel shouting about. I can get a good start on this by looking up ‘2022 marketing calendar’ on Google. From this, I will find a good starting point of events, such as mothers day, fathers day, the key bank holiday weekends and much more. On top of this, maybe there are specific events done by the hotel or, by the local community, such as big annual events.
The final deed of the quarter will be to get the wheels in motion for the hotels social media pages. I would sign up for an auto-scheduling tool like Planable or Hootsuite and plan out 3 posts a week to be posted at peak times. I will try my best with these posts to keep them looking natural (no hashtag spam..) and ensure it excites, engages and entertains my followers.
Q1 is all about setting up a slam dunk rest of the year. It’s natural to think “what have I actually done here to impact results” but just know, this step is the prerequisite for long term success. To use football as an example, you can’t always score a goal without first getting an assist – Q1 is your assist.
Now we are ready to get into Q2, which is where things really start to get interesting…