Marketing for Hospitality: Hotels, Vacation Rentals, and Restaurants

For those in the hospitality business, delivering on the customer’s expectations has never been more critical. 

Most people love the idea of a vacation, especially after being quarantined for several months.

Bitter teenagers unable to see their friends, college-aged young adults are eating you out of house and home, and the battle of the binge-watching bulge are just some of the real impacts of COVID-19. But for those in the hospitality business, the situation is much dire, and delivering on the customer’s expectations has never been more critical. 

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Shedding a Light of Hope on the Hospitality Industry

As a hospitality marketing firm, we at Incite Creative have been encouraging our clients in the destination business, such as the hotel, vacation rental, and property management businesses, to reevaluate their value proposition and customer journey.

What used to include three steps — Dreaming, Planning, and Booking — is now much more complicated. For example, instead of dreaming of a destination that requires a plane ride, vacationers are looking for drivable destinations. When it comes to planning and research, vacationers want to know the details of their rooms in terms of cleaning and refund policies. And bookings that used to be done much more turnkey from a good vacation rental web design, now benefit from online chat and live reservationist to address timely questions and concerns.

From guest acquisition to satisfaction, retention, and reviews, the hospitality game has changed. Your marketing strategy needs to change with it. We can help!

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Read Our Blog about Customer Journeys

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Our hospitality clients have included:

 

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Marketing Plans, Messaging & Technology in the New Normal

Hotel websites and vacation rental companies struggle to compete with OTAs, metasearch sites and combat negative comments on review sites and social media. But the Coronavirus pandemic has since added a whole other level of complexity.

No longer are amenities like turndown service and free coffee in the lobby part of the differentiation model. Housekeeping is by request or eliminated and forget about self-serve breakfast buffets. The priority for the hospitality industry now is delivering a feeling of safety. Hospitality marketing strategies need to incorporate these messages into their marketing plan and throughout the customer journey.

For example, as golfers and Frank Lloyd Wright fans, a favorite destination of ours here at Incite Creative is Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, PA. They used to greet guests with butler’ ed champagne, cookies, and a personalized note. Over the last few months, guests now receive a mask, a 10-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer, and prepackaged snacks and drinks. These offerings may not be the solution for every hotel, inn, or B&B, but what’s the right solution for your hospitality brand? 

Beyond heads in beds, hotels, for instance, have plenty of space to accommodate a range of guests for nearly any occasion. There’s plenty of parking, overnight accommodations, food, and beverage on-site. Hosting events from weddings (including the new trend of micro weddings and minimonies for smaller gatherings under 50 guests), receptions, birthdays, retirement parties, and even life celebrations are potential new revenue streams.

As for technology, some in the hospitality business have been slow to adopt robust CRM systems, mobile apps, and voice-activated assistants. Today, these systems are necessities to ensure the best customer experience, not just niceties.

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Browsing is Nice. Booking is Better.

Is your hospitality brand leveraging technology as well as it should be? In a world where you need to make every web visit count, count on us to help get you the implementation plan you need to succeed.

As your hospitality brand CMO, Incite Creative can help enhance your website not only aesthetically but also in a way that will get more conversions. Over the years, we have vetted out most industry-leading website platforms and can help you make an informed decision about which one to go with to get you the results you need. 

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How Can you Promote Your Hospitality Business?

The bottom line is that travelers’ needs are different than they were before March 2020.

What marketers used to rely on as value-add menu items, like early check-in availability, are replaced with a more critical amenity like free rental car detailing. Whatever it takes to help guests have a safe experience is taking precedence.

You also need to reevaluate your marketing strategy and what travelers or restaurant-goers are searching for. Don’t leave it to guesswork. Instead, conduct a survey or virtual focus group and precisely what your customers and prospects want and need and respond accordingly by adjusting your marketing campaigns and advertising.

By creating content that your target audience — vacationers, vacation rental owners, diners (if you’re a restauranteur) want to read, you’ll find that Google and the other search engines will rank your content higher, and the leads will start coming in. This information will also help inform your marketing budget, helping you get the best return on your investment.

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Marketing Services for the Hotels and Vacation Rentals

At Incite Creative, we’ve worked with several boutique hotels and one of the region’s largest vacation rental companies.

As your chief marketing officer, we understand how marketing, reservations, and revenue management need to work together to drive positive results. “It takes a village,” as they say, to maintain customer loyalty, while also driving in new customers. 

However, the challenge is that many in the hospitality industry are understaffed or underqualified when it comes to marketing and taking full advantage of all the tools in the toolkit. There are lots of roles that need to be filled, including:

  • Brand Managers
  • Web Designers
  • Content Marketer
  • Writers
  • SEO & PPC Specialists
  • Reputation Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • OTA Marketing Specialist

That’s a deep bench that requires unique skills. Many marketing agencies will sell you a good looking website or third party companies that can help you get more Google reviews. But few active marketing companies truly understand how all of the marketing efforts and internal departments need to work together to drive positive search results.

As a CMO, our vested interest is in your success, and we have access to the team and tools it will take to get you there. 

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Get the CMO Treatment

We are honored to partner with our hospitality clients, recognizing the challenges they face. We welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and capabilities with you so that your business can continue to thrive.

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In the competitive hospitality and property management space, Incite Creative achieved great things in the face of many hurdles. Their marketing leadership, strategic perspective, and ability to juggle multiple priorities put us on the right track. They mapped out an actionable plan and budget to address each step of the guest and property owner journey — from attraction to satisfaction, retention, and reviews — and raised the bar on our brand messaging and integrated marketing campaigns. They are appreciated tremendously!
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Kevin Hodgkiss
Former CFO, Vantage Vacation Rentals & Beachtree Properties

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