40 Hotel Rooms And 2 Bookings Only: The Manager’s Pain Point

Today’s digital media landscape offers different ways on how to promote hotel website. Unfortunately, a lot of business people still assume that online marketing is for online businesses only.

But is that really true?

Based on this exact assumption, many hotel business owners, managers and marketers keep on operating with the same old script. And that means getting the same old results they’ve always had from doing the same thing over and over again.

Hence, the low booking revenue situation got some people trapped in a frustrating puzzle wondering; what exactly is wrong?

So one day on a cool Monday evening, I was seating with some friends at a city hotel.

Just very close to the reception desk, a guy who seemed to be the manager asked; how many bookings did we record yesterday?

As a digital marketing consultant that had worked with other local businesses, I picked some listening interests.

The young lady responded, ‘two Sir’.

Both of them stared at themselves for some brief minutes and the manager went away.

While this may not describe your own exact experience or current worries, am sure you have the desire to increase your hotel room booking and revenue.

One interesting fact is that having the highest number of rooms and best facilities won’t bring in customers.

Thus, if your hotel marketing strategy is effective enough, it will begin to affect daily revenue generation. I bet you don’t enjoy paying salaries and other operating expenditures without impressive ROI.

Interestingly, for those who are barely breaking even from month to month as a manager, two things might be your problem right now.

  • Hotel Marketing Strategy Without A Budget

Think it is location and signage that matters most, think again. Waiting for customers to come to you won’t affect your financial performance numbers positively.

And it is not a good competitive hotel marketing strategy.

You may say you have a number of affiliated taxi drivers that bring customers, but that couldn’t be enough. One fact is that they will always depend on stray prospects only.

On the other hand, one hundred percent (100%) dependence on referrals won’t make as much change as you desire either.

Sure the revenue potential is there, judging by the number of rooms and facilities in your hotel.

  • Dependence On Traditional Marketing Medium

One day, it just occurred to me that:

‘Life’s real possibilities are not as limited as our awareness of their existence.’ Something I never thought possible just happened in my presence within a single hour.

One man stated something that reads like ‘how can we know what we don’t know when we are constantly using our knowledge all the time’. I guess you know who Albert Einstein is.

How can we?

The thing is that dependence on our limited knowledge and experience of what is possible excludes us from real possibilities that are currently unknown to us.

I see this type of exclusion happening in business and marketing contexts very often.

For example, you may have some theoretical knowledge of how to promote hotel website, but if you don’t put those ideas to work you’ll be excluded from the potential benefits.

In that case, what is practically possible if you should start promoting your hotel business website will remain unknown to you.

So as for 100% dependence on traditional marketing medium, it excludes people from the benefits of online marketing strategies for hotels.

If you have 40 – 100 hotel rooms plus high grade event spaces, but your revenue generation rate is convincingly low, then you have to do something different. One fact you should understand is that doing what everyone else does won’t make much difference.

By traditional medium, I mean radio, television, newspapers, billboards, posters, flyers, signage etc. While they still work in some cases, it is not enough in a competitive environment.

Practically, there is nothing wrong with these mediums. I’m aware they still work. But smart people don’t stop there in this day and age.

Now you may say something like, we have a website with online booking system. Congratulations.

But the fact is that merely having a website won’t bring you hotel booking customers. Having Facebook and twitter pages won’t cut it either.

Question, what measurable results have you gotten from your website and social media pages since creating them? Do you have an idea of how many qualified prospects coming to your website daily, weekly or monthly?

And just like the prospects that come to your front office to make booking inquiries, your website traffic (visitors) also flows that way.

The remaining part of the post details some ways on how to promote hotel website if you already have one.

But if you don’t have a hotel business website, you may consider starting a friendly conversation with an expert that has marketing experience.

Hotel Marketing Strategy For Proactive Managers/Marketers

#1: Google Search Engine Marketing

It may interest you to know that most of the centralized hotel booking sites you know depend largely on search engine traffic.

The strategy is to attract people who are actively searching for hotels in different locations.

And almost all of the booking sites have daily, weekly and monthly budget for this quality traffic source.

However, nothing stops a marketing manager in a hotel with sizable number of rooms to invest in constant inflow of search engine traffic. By adding this to your hotel marketing strategy, you’ll experience the benefits beyond paying for visibility alone.

I bet that you, my reader had used Google to search for one product or service in the recent past.

Just as a testament to whether search engine traffic is profitable, Jumia, the leading ecommerce retailing company in Nigeria stated that 76% of their sales in 2016 came from mobile search engine traffic.

With Google search engine marketing, there are two main options.

  • Organic Search Engine Marketing

This is a process of improving the quality and eligibility of your website for inclusion in Google search engine result pages.

To get the best ranking and results, it requires an ongoing month to month optimization process.

With this option, you don’t have to pay money directly to Google to include the links to your website in the search engine result pages.

The screenshot below shows the unpaid listing results of my search for ‘affordable hotel rooms in Ikeja Lagos’. (add shot).

To start getting the benefits of SEO for hotels, it is either you learn and do the work by yourself or you hire a digital marketing expert. Engagement plan could either be as full time job or consulting basis.

This one shows the clicks and traffic volume delivered to a client website via organic SEO. We use Google search console to track this.

On a deeper level you could go further to learn about the optimization process.

This process includes things like like keyword research, long form content writing, on page SEO, link building and analytics.

  • Google Paid Search Advertising

In many ramifications, this is a direct opposite of search engine optimization.

First you have to pay money for Google to include the links to your preferred pages in their search engine results page. Here is how Google adwords work.

You use some selected keywords to set your advert including location targeting preference.

And then when prospects search for keywords like ‘100 person event hall in Lagos’, a link to your page that shows event spaces will appear.

Consequently, someone clicks that link to visit your event space information page, Google will charge your adwords budget account for each of the clicks generated.

That is why it is called pay per click sometimes. Note here that you are paying for real visitors, not visibility only. And you are attracting them only the time they are actively searching for hotels in your target location.

You can as well set some of your adverts to be shown on mobile devices only.

Note that it is not everybody who arrived on your website will end up becoming a customer.

However, buyer intent keyword targeting, A/B testing and data driven conversion rate optimization will help to maximize ROI on your hotel marketing budget.

See sample Google adwords advertisement below for a local hotel in Colorado, USA. (add shot).

For further detailed learning, you can search for things like Google adwords call extension, call only ads, adwords retargeting, PPC bidding etc.

Remember that the main objective is to bring a growing number of people actively searching for hotel rooms and event spaces to your website. And then convert a percentage of them into booking customers.

And then convert a percentage of these qualified prospects into booking customers.

In practical terms, most of these people do their searches with two main intents – to identify hotel location (copy address) and compare price before the actual online or offline booking.

#2: Facebook Advertising

Regardless of your age, I can guarantee by 98% that you have an active account on Facebook.

If that is correct, then it means again that you could be one of the 900+ million people in the world who use Facebook on their mobile phones daily.

It also means you belong to several other demographic segments.

The fact is that hundreds of thousands and  even millions of people like you and I spend good amount of time on social media every day.

Because of mobile smart phone penetration and other trends, the number of people spending 40+ minutes on Facebook daily is also on the rise according to business insider.

Interestingly, there’s no demographic you can think of that aren’t represented well on the big Blue social network.

In 2106, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer stated that the number of advertisers on their network now hovers above 4 million.

And if you look at the Facebook ad case studies on their own page, you’ll get an idea of industries to which these advertisers come from.

So because it delivers measurable business value, many business owners and marketers across the world use it.

Both for growing website traffic, lead generation, increasing sales volume and building brand awareness, Facebook ads work for big and small business alike. Done very well, it will also work for your hotel.

With Facebook advertising you can target prospective hotel booking customers based on their age, gender, location, industry, interest and a whole lot of other demographic metrics.

Check this complete guide on Facebook audience targeting.

Below is a screenshot of some hyper local targeting options available for effective advert setup.  (add shot).

#3: LinkedIn Advertising 

LinkedIn is the #1 professional network on the internet today.

With over 400 million active users, this network offers immense opportunities to reach mature, career conscious and actively employed individuals.

And within their network, you can find an interesting number of people from different locations across diverse industries, job roles and niche markets.

Probably, you may have an active profile in there too. One interesting fact is that a great number of these people go to different career networking and business events from time to time.

While some top level CEOs and executives attend one or few events per year, there are people who often attend out of state or city events almost on monthly basis.

The nature of certain jobs also moves people from one location to the other.

Obviously in many cases, these career networking travels warrant hotel booking in many cases.

Meet them timely, and you could start getting a bigger share of the booking revenue that comes to your target market in each passing day.

Remember that doing what everyone else is doing won’t get you the exact results you desire.

Assuming you are a manager in a hotel with 40 – 100 rooms, advertising in an online or offline version of a national newspaper won’t get you much ROI.

The reason is because, the display won’t be location targeted. And the contents are often read by everyone and anyone.

On the other hand, once a day goes by your advert becomes obsolete too.

For A/B testing, optimization and better ROI, there are different LinkedIn ad formats you can get started with. You can use sponsored contents, text ad or InMail that reaches people directly in their inbox. See this guide on how to advertise on LinkedIn.

The most interesting part of this network is the deep audience targeting options.

From company name to age, gender, industry, job title, field of study, skills, location, company size, you get them all inside LinkedIn.

#4: Youtube Advertising

Both on Facebook and Youtube, video advertising is an alternative ad format that delivers better audience engagement. Just think about the video vs text ad comparison for a while.

However, if you have been to Youtube lately, you’ll certainly see some advertisements promoting different products, services, brands and businesses. And because it works, a growing number of businesses now spend money on it.

Confirmed as the second largest search engine in the world, Youtube now boosts of over 1 billion active users.

The content on this site encompasses every topic you can think of. Moreover, the creators and audience cuts across every country, state, cities and locales around the world.

Youtube offers both free and paid options for promoting products or services on their platform.

With free video posting option, you don’t have to pay money to upload videos and add links to your website. Building an audience here depends on search keyword optimization and channel subscribers.

Paid advert options helps provides access to a large audience who might have not subscribed to your business page or channel on Youtube.

Generally, video ads can be shown to your target audience based on what they have watched, what they are currently watching or the keywords they searched for.

In the context of hotel business promotion, you can use Youtube video ads to showcase your real hotel rooms, event facilities, gym and other things that make your brand different.

In addition to that you’ll now add your hotel website address or even phone number for targeted prospects to see them.

With this, you don’t have to depend on stray prospects or people that live within commutable locations (distance) only.

See the shot below for location targeting options. (get shot here – https://blog.crazyegg.com/guides/youtube-advertising/

Like the other hotel marketing strategies discussed above, you can do some A/B tests to find out what works better than others.

The key variations to focus on include ad format, video content and audience vertical.

The measurable outcome of your Youtube video advertisements will depend to some extent on the ad format you choose. However, in other to get better results you may consider retargeting for bringing back people who visited your website or watched your video.

Here is an image showing the available Youtube ad formats you can use. (http://oodle.io/p/ultimate-youtube-advertising-guide/)


Whether you have 40 hotel rooms, more or less than that, I’m sure that continued low revenue generation makes a business less profitable. You could have the highest earning potential, but if less than 10% of that is at work, then everything will always remain the same.

Maybe you’ve looked for ways on how to promote hotel business website because you already have one.

In that case, growing the volume of qualified traffic (booking prospects) coming to your site with booking intent will certainly help to grow your business.

To get started on that, you really need to focus on the most trafficked platforms on the internet – Google, Facebook, LinkedItn, Youtube etc. And as noted earlier, your target audience spends good amount of time on these networks in each passing day.

You only need to define, find and reach them.

At the end, what you’ll take away is the foundation of what is possible. This will now form a base for more research or to get expert inputs.

Fortunately, putting these specific strategies to work will help to maximize the ROI on your hotel marketing strategy.

Now you can as well join our Facebook group – The Search Tribe to discuss, discover and leverage working strategies to attract only the people in need of your products/services – Now.