Hotel lead generation can make or break your property’s annual revenue targets.
While most companies see the hotel sales team as responsible for hitting sales targets, the marketing team has a significant part to play.
By generating the quality leads that sales needs to hit revenue goals.
Far too often, hotel marketing teams focus on intangible goals instead of revenue and what’s within their control to help reach them. Or, marketing will focus on generating only leisure traveler leads. That leaves the sales team generating higher-value hotel sales leads, like event planners, rather than focusing on their raison d’être: closing them.
Diversity in the types of leads generated is important, but clear expectations and lines of responsibility ensure cross-team effectiveness at hitting hotel sales targets.
Before asking how to generate hotel sales leads, first review your current hotel sales lead generation strategy and understand where to improve.
What a Good Hotel Lead Generation Plan Includes
There are multiple ways a plan can fail, but successful ones usually have similar characteristics.
Have a Lead Generation Quota
Most marketers are not comfortable with numbers. However, they’re necessary to review and measure the effectiveness of a team’s work. It’s difficult to gauge whether a quarter or year was effective if your team doesn’t know what effectiveness looks like.
While a quota can seem daunting, it’s also an opportunity. Hitting or surpassing that goal is a sure-fire way to demonstrate the value of your team.
Know What a High-Quality Lead Looks Like, and Have a Clear Strategy to Acquire Them
Both sales and marketing need to understand who they’re targeting in terms of lead generation, and why.
Leisure travelers are important business for weekends and holidays at hotels. But sales may not value the time spent contacting these individual guests. Their perception could be valid, as getting several of these leads to close could be of significantly lower value than getting an event planner to schedule their event at your property.
Have a system in place to generate and nurture both types of leads (or more, depending on your property and what kinds of travelers it attracts), and be sure to review for opportunities to improve.
For example, automating the process of generating and nurturing leisure traveler leads could keep attracting those guests while freeing up sales to focus their time and energy on higher-value leads, like contacts considering planning weddings and events that will fill venue space as well as rooms.
Not sure how to better understand who your target buyer persona is to start creating a plan?
Review your current guests and look for trends. Having a hospitality CRM, and not just guest information stored in a property management software, can help speed this process up.
Use Marketing Automation to Convert More Leads
Not every task in the process of nurturing a lead needs to be done consistently by a human being. In some cases, these tasks are better done by automation to ensure they’re completed consistently and efficiently.
First, map out your hotel lead nurturing process.
Second, review each step for ways to automate the process in a way that will still feel personal to recipients of messages and content.
Then, use your favorite email marketing or hotel CRM (customer relationship management) software to automate those processes.
Use Retargeting Campaigns to Re-convert Leads
More than a few of your leads are not going to convert the first or second time they visit your website.
A good marketing principle to remember is that most people need to hear your message seven times before they decide to buy your product (or, in the hotel industry, book a room).
Incorporating a retargeting campaign to follow your leads through their favorite online mediums can help ensure more of those leads come back to book, or at least respond to your sales team’s calls.
Potential platforms include:
- Social Media
- Email marketing
According to MailChimp, combining retargeting ads with the other advertising you already do can help you sell 50% more.
With numbers like that, how could you not experiment with retargeting campaigns?
Create Compelling Landing Page Content for Potential Leads
Now that you understand your potential hotel sales leads and how to attract them to your site, you need to incorporate a strong content marketing strategy to retain them.
To do that well, you need to know more about your target demographic, what amenities are important to them, and how they like to absorb information.
Have Consistent (and Quick) Responses Back to Leads
Generating a lead is useless if no one engages those leads.
According to a study by Lead Management Response:
- The odds of successfully calling to contact a lead decrease by over ten times in the first hour. The odds of calling to qualify a lead decrease by over six times in the first hour. After 20 hours, every additional dial your salespeople make hurts your ability to make contact to qualify a lead.
- The odds of successfully contacting a lead if called in five minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times. The odds of qualifying a lead if called in five minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times. When getting in touch with leads, the faster you do it, the better.
To keep that turn-around quick, make sure your hotel sales team has call scripts and template emails to ensure they can make follow-through consistent and easy to do.
Strategies to Generate More Hotel Sales Leads
You now know who you’re targeting, and have a system in place to generate and guide those leads along the path to booking.
Now is the time to start generating more of those leads. Here are a couple of online and non-digital places to generate more leads.
Word of Mouth Referrals
Customer referrals are a hotel’s best friend.
Referrals from a happy guest or customer are easier to close because the referral source does most of the selling for you.
Sending a thank you note to guests who refer leads to you is a simple and personalized way to encourage more referrals to come your way. Add an extra incentive, like a discount voucher, to sweeten the deal.
Be a Good Community Member
Consider how successful TripAdvisor and Yelp have been. Who else is better at recommending where to stay than people living there?
Take advantage of that by being involved in your local community. Look for opportunities to offer on-property amenities of value to locals, such as a:
- Yoga studio
Sponsoring local events or helping push local initiatives can also help build rapport with your hotel. Locals can be an excellent source of business opportunities like weddings, social gatherings, business meetings, and more. All are revenue opportunities as well as ways to further promote your business to more locals.
Hotel Social Media Management
While not always the strongest source of direct conversion from traffic to leads, hotel social media management is a useful tool in the rule of seven chain.
Remember that one? That’s the rule that customers need to see your message seven times before booking.
Different social media platforms are better depending on whom you’re targeting:
Avoid pushing a hard sell on social media. Instead, keep your goals tied to continuous engagement of your followers and posting highly shareable content that’s relevant to your potential leads and guests.
We’re a hospitality content marketing company, so of course, this is on the list.
Your hotel’s content marketing strategy needs to focus on establishing your property as the authority on your location and providing everything your potential guests and leads need to plan a perfect experience.
That guiding principle needs to carry through in every piece of content your business creates:
- Social media posts
- Responses to hotel reviews
- Blog articles
- Hotel search engine optimization campaigns
- Hotel pay-per-click campaigns
- Video marketing
Speaking of hotel SEO, don’t forget the importance of your potential guests and leads finding you on the search engines like Google. After all, “60% of consumers start their research on search engines before heading to a specific website”.
Cross-Promotion and Co-Marketing
Find local businesses that do not compete with yours to create alliances for cross-promotion and co-marketing to each other’s customer base.
In some ways, a referral from another business can be almost as warm as one from a happy guest.
Now Do You Know How to Generate Hotel Sales Leads?
One more seven adage for you before you go off to implement your own hotel sales lead generation plan, this time from the British Army:
Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance
A well-planned strategy will help ensure a well-executed hotel sales lead generation campaign. Use any or all of the above tips and tricks to find and acquire your future clients and guests and turn them into loyal customers.
Colin Pearson | Director of Marketing Services
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