The Shift from Hotel Product Marketing to Niche Targeting
Besides the completeness in explaining its features on their own hotel website, hotels are also listed on many OTA travel websites. But is this enough in the age of FaceBook and Twitter?
The website of the Muse Hotel in New York, one of my long time favorites, has a page on their website focused solely on pets.
Today’s travelers are more aware of their individual needs and requirements. They demand not to be treated as just guests. They want companies to acknowledge their existence and understand their special needs, and to be catered to in a personal way.
Hence I named this posting ‘the shift from hotel product marketing to niche targeting’. Hotel marketing has to change! We have to divide our potential hotel customers up into small niche market segments and communicate with them in a targeted way.
So to attract travelers, we have to start asking ourselves who our hotel guests are and why they stay with us. What is it they like about our hotel? Once we understand our hotel customers and their personal need and requirements we can create niche target markets.
Start your market segmentation by creating 5 to 10 niche target markets for your hotel and list what requirements they might have. Using TripAdvisor, Travelpost or other travel communities and reviews will be very helpfull. Guests who stayed at your hotel clearly identify themselves with their likes and dislikes. You can also spy on the competition.
There are many forums, blogs, communities and specialized OTA websites addressing these topics. Visit some of the websites on women or pet friendly travel. It will help you understand better what consumers are looking for.
Once the niche target markets have been defined for your hotel you should create dedicated landing pages in your hotel website design for them. You need to focus on the parts of the hotel marketing mix that appeal to each particular segment. Of course you have to make sure the landing page includes all longtail keywords and proper meta-tags for good hotel search engine optimization. And you take it a step further by building packages and special offers only targeted especially at a specific market segment.
Also list your hotel on specialized OTA websites. Your hotel distribution strategy should go beyond the generic OTA aggregators. There are many pet-friendly or other niche market travel websites. Pick the top 5 for your destination to start with. And if it gets too much to manage, ask you hotel channel manager tool provider to integrate them.
To top it all off, participate in forum and community discussions. Give your potential guests useful tips on their travels. Become a resource, providing travel tips especially for them and their unique requirements. Don’t overdo it by pushing your hotel. But help out for example by recommending restaurants in your destination that allow pets, on a pet-friendly travel community or blog. It would be a great service potential hotel customers would highly appreciate.
On these forums you could ask them as well what is important to them. Or ask how you could improve things at your hotel. I am sure now that they see you care, they will be more than willing to give you feedback. You can have them review your website landing page, and provide suggestions. You see, social media marketing is not so difficult.
And if you are lucky, they will start talking about you as well, recommending you to their friends and connections online, creating some spin-off viral marketing …
Patrick Landman @ Xotels