As we are already well on our way through 2017, one thing has become crystal clear in the landscape of luxury hospitality marketing–connecting with THE RIGHT consumers is king. Rather than restricting your marketing budget on antiquated methodologies, recognizing the shifts in digital marketing forecast to infiltrate your 2017 strategy and putting them to practice will help your luxury resort or boutique hotel connect with consumers most likely to book thus increasing your Rooms Yield and RevPAR.
1. SEO is Changing, Your Digital Strategy Must Accommodate It
Last year SEO-driven content was reliant on well-written, original work optimized for the right keywords. This is no longer the case. In October 2015 the digital marketing industry learned that Google unleashed a new upgrade to its core algorithm, RankBrain–a machine learning artificial intelligence system that helps pair web results with user search intent. In 2016 (its first year of self-learning) Google’s humanoid search bots grew smarter in understanding emotional cues behind search queries. Now four months into 2017 it is clear that Google partially awards higher organic ranking to sites with content that best matches the user’s intentions, both practically and emotionally.
So what does this mean for luxury hospitality brands? First, let’s consider the obvious and then examine how they interplay to create an ideal search engine optimization strategy for your properties:
- More than 90% of consumers turn to Google for products and services, so SEO is vital for your growth (if they don’t know you exist, they will book elsewhere)
- Optimizing your web content to connect with the right market is key
- Promoting memorable branding through content that resonates with the consumer psyche books rooms and increases Total RevPAR
First, your SEO must cater to your guest’s needs. Is your hotel geared more towards millennials? Do you have a niche resort popular with couples booking a honeymoon? What do your guests want; what matters to them? Do millennials book your rooms because they crave the high-end Danish Modern aesthetics that run throughout the property? Do couples book a week at your resort for its private beach and remoteness? Why do they seek these things? All of these considerations should be laid out into a comprehensive SEO strategy designed to organically rank your site, but also connect with readers in a targeted specific manner that converts them into paid guests. This form of connectivity is powerful, and when working with a luxury hospitality digital marketing agency, this white-glove approach to deep optimization tactics should be expected as a core part of their services.
2. Create Brand Pages on Social Networks, Parle With Guest Content and Remarketing
Engaging your repeat guests and potential customers with social-driven content will help you connect with the right consumer market leading high-quality traffic to your site. As you know, the difference between a 4-star hotel and a luxury boutique property carries the same difference between a Ford Taurus and a Lamborghini Aventador. Hotel guests who view a $30- a-night room at the Hilton are not prospects who pay $800+ per night for a luxury property that offers a unique experience. Creating a brand page on Facebook with offerings to your website’s booking page will help funnel the right guests, and remarketing adverts that lead people to your branded social page with further amplify converted traffic.
So why not lead people from remarketing ads straight to the booking page? Because this approach always has higher bounce rates with lowered goal conversions. Furthermore, a branded social page allows for benchmarking. Remember, before they will book a stay, prospective guests need to get a real sense their direct needs will be met, and their stay at your property will garner an experience unlike anything else. Since people trust other like-minded consumers over brands, showcasing your benefits on a social page amidst reviews and photos shared by past customers will help your audience better see their own potential experience at your resort. Once they feel connected, they will click on the offering, and if your services measure up, you will see an increase in Rooms Yield.
3. If You Blog It, They Will Come
When it comes to a marriage between SEO and connecting with potential guests, a luxury hospitality blog can be your greatest ally. Not only is blogging vital for SEO because it juices up your site with recurring, optimized fresh content, it also provides a platform for making memorable connections with potential guests.
An ideal blogging strategy would call one to explore various luxury social groups and identify the most common topics, and what gets the most shares and comments. Are they using hashtags? What kinds of images and blogs get shared on your competition’s blog? What time of the day are people most active online? Once you can pinpoint popular topics or common questions asked by people who engage luxury living communities, you can set a content calendar to roll out timed blogs your audience will love and share.
4. Cooperative Marketing with Digital Companies
If you have any service gaps or lack providing the level of customer service in one department that guests benefit from in others, digital-based shared-economy companies through cooperative marketing strategies can help solidify the connection your brand is striving to make with all guests. For example, if you provide a shuttle service or any type of ground transportation, but your fleet is limited, partnering with Uber’s premium vehicle service will help fill your service gaps while still maintaining that vital layer of luxury. When your guests explore solutions outside your hotel property, this is a clear sign you are falling short in providing the ultimate experience under your umbrella. Looking for digitally-based solutions to fill these service gaps will keep your patrons spending within your walls while increasing the likeliness they will return for another stay.
It’s a Good Thing for Luxury Hospitality Brands to be Total Squares
Connecting with potential guests and current booked patrons is fundamental to your increase in Total RevPAR. Be a total square when it comes to digital marketing solutions by hitting all four corners: SEO, branded social pages, blogs, and cooperative marketing. The synergy between these components will orchestrate a personal and memorable connection with the right kind of people–consumers with a high probability to convert into paid booking.