To maximize booking conversion rates, your luxury hotel marketing strategies must target a specialized clientele that conceptualizes the travel experience in a unique way. The challenges you face are distinctive, but with the right approach to marketing you can boost your client base, enhance your brand and put your competitors on the defensive.
Here we will present seven recommendations for more effective luxury hotel marketing.
1. Optimize for all mobile devices.
This is fairly standard advice for hotel marketing departments nowadays. But luxury hotels have been surprisingly slow to catch on, which is ironic considering luxury travelers use mobile devices more frequently than the general public.
Successful entrepreneurs and highly-paid professionals are technologically savvy (and proud of it), and they are leading the charge of the mobile revolution.
If you want affluent travelers to book on your website, it needs to be optimized for speed, usability, and appearance. This includes smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other small-screen devices. This is more important for you than it is for discount or mass market hotels.
2. Establish relationships with industry influencers.
Influencer marketing is a blazing hot trend, and luxury hotel marketing departments can make excellent use of it.
According to a 2015 study by the online media and technology company Burst Media (now renamed Rhythm One), brands implementing influencer marketing plans can expect to receive $6.85 worth of free media coverage for every $1 they spend on paid media.
Partnering with a social media analytics company like Klout, you can identify the top influencers in the luxury hospitality industry and form symbiotic relationships beneficial to both parties. No quid pro quo is implied; offer them legitimate opportunities to sample your product, and if they like what they discover they will spread the good word to their followers.
Luxury travelers are highly active on social media, where influencers work their magic. That’s the benefit and few luxury hotel marketing departments are taking full advantage.
3. Blog away with educational and informative content.
Many (but not most) hotels have added blogs to their websites, and this is a fantastic strategy for luxury hotels in particular.
Why you ask? The answer is simple: because affluent individuals are readers. Author Steve Shields spoke with more than 1,200 wealthy men and women while doing research for his book “How Rich People Think,” and they all declared their passion for reading as a method of learning and self-development. In another study carried out by Thomas Corley, in preparation for his book “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” 86 percent of high wage earners tabbed reading as one of their greatest pleasures, and a key to their success.
If you sponsor a blog on your website and fill it with information your potential clients are likely to find useful (posts about health, fitness, self-improvement, underused tourist spots, cost-saving travel tips, etc.), you’ll make a connection with a literate demographic that deeply appreciates your efforts.
4. Don’t cut prices, add value instead.
Cheaper hotels can engage in pricing wars without damaging their reputation. But that is not the case for luxury hotels, who risk degrading perceptions of their brand if they suddenly start offering regular discounts. Your luxury travelers don’t expect that and won’t reward you for pursuing that strategy.
This is a lesson many luxury hotels have yet to learn, and that can be used to your advantage.
As an alternative, add extra value to your clients’ purchases. This could be in the form of dining credits, free gifts, low-cost suite upgrades, late check-outs, extra concierge services and other perks designed to appeal to travelers seeking superior customer service—and a hotel that values its own property.
5. Market on the assumption that your competition is international.
Do you know what upscale hotels and resorts in Paris, London, Venice, Madrid, and Rome are doing to attract customers?
If luxury hotel marketing is your game you should. You may not see these facilities as your competition but they are since your potential clients can afford to travel anywhere and they don’t have to limit themselves to any particular geographic area or budget.
You need to be aware of what overseas competitors are doing. They’re an indirect threat to your bottom line but also a possible source of inspiration, as you search for new and innovative ways to appeal to affluent travelers with plenty of options.
6. Personalize the browsing and booking experience.
It’s a well-known fact that luxury travelers love perks and pampering. Hotels that treat their customers like VIPs will get great reviews and repeat bookings, and that is something you undoubtedly aspire to as well.
But why reserve the VIP treatment for onsite check-ins? Why not cater to their needs when they visit your website, to let them know how much you value their attention?
By adding a smart personalization engine to your website, you can collect a new or returning client’s data and record their activities every time they visit your website. On return visits, this allows for highly customized interactions, which might involve something as simple as addressing the customer by name or filling in travel dates based on past reservations. If they’re in your loyalty program you can automatically update them on their status or eligibility for benefits. You can make enticing offers on rooms they’ve booked before, and include gifts that coincide with past room service orders.
One luxury hotel company that added personalized content software to their website experienced a 50 percent spike in conversions, which illustrates the importance of making the affluent traveler feel wanted and appreciated.
7. Think outside the box—whatever that means to you.
The term ‘think outside the box’ might sound more than a bit cliched these days. But clichés carry a significant cache of truth—if they didn’t they wouldn’t reach cliché status.
Thinking outside the box cannot be distilled into a nice, neat, formulaic package. Making it work means actually doing it; you must boldly go where no hotel has gone before, without asking anyone to show you a map of the territory. To escape the box the idea must be yours and yours alone (reimagining or riffing on inherited concepts won’t violate this standard, every the most acclaimed creators do that from time to time).
To gain an edge you have to take some chances. You don’t want sleight-of-hand advertising gimmicks, but value-added offers or new approaches to content marketing that will compel website visitors to click that ‘Book Now’ button immediately. Get started with the easiest hotel marketing software.
Up next, learn more about creating a luxury hotel marketing strategy and discover a list of the most powerful hotel marketing ideas.
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